Month: March 2013

A Calm Entry Into the Filipino Future

     I came to school today not realizing that it was a holiday. It was like a zombie apocalypse. The parking lot was deserted, and the guard on-duty was short of interrogating me on why I came to school on such an (un)holy day. I came in that day to work on my thesis, which involved having to access the data through my adviser’s local network at the office. I was so eager to write a paper that would change the face of the world! Well, not really. But I was excited about it, and I just couldn’t wait to finally finish processing all these raw data on coral reefs. Something felt a little odd, though, being so hard at work yet no one was around (save for my adviser who came in that day, too). It was a holiday, I know, and as I thought and thought about the thought of not having anything else “better” to do on a holiday, a sinking feeling suddenly enveloped me. An empty, meta-existential feeling that echoed through the whispery halls of my deserted building. What the heck am I doing here? What is the point of all this? 
     The sight of an open field (the ‘Sunken Garden’ as we would call it) so vibrant with footballs and discs relieved me, as well pockets of people gathered in small mats. I didn’t bother turning up the AC and instead pulled down both windows of my old van. I drove slowly, elbow out and just feeling the gust through the front seat. I savored the sweet feeling of my campus, and I told myself I felt how much I would dread being away from all this.
     We are right in being eager and sleepless because a fortune lies in our future. It’s richer and more real than what the Yamashita treasure could ever offer. We’re at the forefront of great social reform: environmental responsibility, a constant desire for growth, and a greater sense of the poverty around us. At the dawn of the rise in Filipino quality of life, we’re not becoming lazy, wasteful parents and scatter-brain, get-wild-and-drunk kids, but instead we’re still ever eager for more development, more business, more money, and more knowledge.When we were young, everything our teachers ever told us about was that the Philippines is such a poor country ridden by abuse of natural resources and extreme corruption, but that we’re the “hope of the future” and that ” time comes” when we take up leadership, it should be for the better of this country. Somehow, those uncited ideas have boiled so strongly in our blood. It’s been an inception that knocks everyday in the back of our heads. But when we do get to those greener pastures of the Philippines’ promised economy, do we want to become just like every other developed nation today? 
      I realized why no one was at work that day when I passed by our church. The streets were lined cars stretching to a hundred meters into the neighborhood, and the pews were packed. Lenten ceremonies were going on inside. I suddenly wished I could’ve gone with my family who went home to the province, but I couldn’t because I was scheduled to play the piano for Good Friday and the Easter Vigil that week. As I slowly passed by, I admired the sight of worship. If I could just capture all these images of Filipino life into one idea, I’d say it’s very beautiful. Fifty years from now, I’d like to see even more modern technology, a flawless, seamless government, and lives as healthy as they could be. But I’d still like to do everything else from going home to the province, enjoying the company of my family, to being very happy to be Filipino.Image

A Less Doctrinal Josh Groban

     From a super sensitive operatic baritone portrayed by this gwaping male artist, Josh Groban suddenly decided to venture into something more…down to earth. Yet! You’ve still got your string sections and other orchestral components such as a timpani hit exploding underneath rocking climaxes. With Josh’s multi-textured, semi-nasal, classically-seasoned sinusoidally fluctuating voice, All That Echoes champions the au naturale of music, dressed at its best by great songwriters, arrangers, and sound engineers he had onboard. Groban does claim his collaborators are “the greatest group of musicians” that ever walked him into a studio.

     But to separate All That Echoes from the rest of mainstream music, it still somewhat lies a little away from pop but doesn’t exactly fit the bill of his other hit revivals such as Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, The Prayer, You Raise Me Up, and that very first single he had on Myx top 20 To Where You Are (2002). I doubt if the songs here will have as much acclaim as those songs, but that’s what I really like about this new album! His earlier songs were feasted upon by church choirs, wedding singers,and spick and span tenors. This time, the album will be more…solitary. Heavier on truth and baring oneself. I guess that’s what makes it rock! Image

Getting Old

     Childhood was a wild scramble of ideas and behavior. Anything cool you saw you’d copy the next day, like making the effort to descend each step of a flight of stairs foot by foot, grasping the glass of water with one hand, and, for girls, posing like the teen girls they saw in TV commercials, or, for boys, posing like a wrestler or any of the power rangers. It makes sense why a lot of toddlers start off clumsy and accidentally-destructive. They’re just so curious and open. It’s a later period of emancipation where they begin to differentiate admire matureness in adults: opening up a wide spread of newspaper, hunching up on a study table with a lamp, being smooth and swift in basketball or seeing a sort of femininity in volleyball. Some saw parents in blazers coming home from work, while some heard drunkards and corporal child punishment among the neighbors. Some had a rigid schedule of piano lessons and Kumon, while some were free to wander around and bathe in simplicity.

     Today in our 20s, what have we finally got? Here we are slugging it out in college. It’s not much a wild learning experience anymore. We’re straddling a gray region between our past and how we want to step into the future. At a time when we’re barely adults and no longer children, we’re struggling to prove that we were raised right and where we’re going is to the land of milk and honey. It’s such a battle! But as much as everyday is a new experience, we still intuitively return to the essential things we learned as younger people, and there’s the rub.

     Getting old is sort of a stasis. Sure you’re hitting your highs and getting ready for the real life, but there’s just so much compactness about it. The world just passes left to right through your eyes and you crawl up in your own little corner, ever dreaming backwards. Life should be full and satisfying; lived with passion and purpose. Life is a historical continuum — its parts are sown organically and with meaning. It’s not meant to turn out the way you want it to, but think of your childhood and childish selves and how you’re no different then from today (static), and oddly see that…there’s no other way for it to have turned out but in that way! You still miss your old toys, your grandmother’s voice, the only church songs you could sing by heart, and all these other artefacts of an earlier time. But knowing in your heart that every day is a blessing will make lessons your new toys, your seniors as a wise and sensible voice, and your profession as your indefatigable religion.

    Life should be a delicate balance of real. No pretense. Just your ideas, your education, your past and your purpose. Sure, have that ’emancipation’, but make sure to have it only once. With that, get your dream job, gain your best friends, and have your best days.