70 days into my new life as a married man, I underwent certain processes of learning and unlearning some aspects of my being. For the most part, this transition has caused mixed emotions and unknown responses from my inner self. I doubt myself actually whether I’m just attempting to sound profound, or maybe this is really how it is to express yourself from a whole new experience.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, I was out of town for an overnight staff meeting at Tagaytay. While in transit, I had this mental knock on my head that whispered to me I was about to encounter a sad moment that I had already shelved up somewhere supposedly forgotten. I never really figured out what it was until night time came…
…and I was set to sleep alone… away from my Princess.
Finding myself stuck inside that lonely place of my sleeping solitude, I realized that waiting for tomorrow to come was a feeling similar to having to endure a bad videoke song being rendered by a guy possessed by drunken stupor. And as if it couldn’t get worse, I was stuck in a place where the cellphone signals are no different from blinking flouroscent bulbs ready to rest in peace. I had to roam around the place just to get to a spot where I was at the mercy of a clear network signal. When my connection finally came through, I found myself experiencing a bite-sized feeling of being back home in the loving arms of my wife, which, due to failing power supply, will be terminated in 10 minutes.
I said my goodnights and my “i love you’s” before I regressed back to the forgotten feeling of loneliness. Counting sheep failed me in getting the sleep I needed. But eventually, my eyes wearied and I fell asleep.
Fast forward to tonight, the time of the writing of this post.
Here I am again, out of town for an overnight team building activity. I am here beside the pool, surrounded by some friends who are wreaking havoc on the videoke, emptying bottles of red wine, chatting about what to do tomorrow, and a lot of other stuffs that require a company to enjoy.
I walked away from the crowd, to a spot where tranquility was served free. I stared at the evening sky, and again, I heard that familiar knock in my head. As I stared at the starry, starry night, I thought this was supposed to be one of the sweetest feelings in the world…
…until I realized I was staring at the heavens alone… miles away from my Forevermore.
This, too, was supposed to be a forgotten feeling. A shelved up moment of sadness.
I felt my neck stressing already, realizing I must have been pushing myself hard to imagine myself hugging my wife, when in fact I wasn’t. I bowed my head back to the lonely ground beneath my feet, and walked away… wishing the day would quickly turn to tomorrow, so I could finally get back to my wife’s loving arms.
Maybe sometime soon I’ll get to learn to swallow this as a bitter pill that every husband will have to experience time again. But for now, I’d like to be spared from remembering this forgotten feeling.
I miss my Princess.
Let me give you a heads up: if you’re expecting to read a material about urban legends, life-sucking creatures, and the restless undead, I’m sorry but this isn’t one of those dark narratives you hear on midnight radio skits. Pardon me with the misleading title, but I can’t think of any other way to best brand this heart to heart talk we are about to engage on. Patience is a virtue, you see, and it will do you good if you read through this first.
The story that I am about to tell you is not the one that you huddle around as kids in grade school, trying to terrify the scardiest cat in the gang. This story handles more than just the unknown entities lurking beneath the shadows or above the thickly covered branches of your grandpa’s mango tree. And to ultimately burst your terrified bubbles of frightened expectations, this story does not cross the boundaries of the real and the metaphysical.
This is a real ghost story.
I say ‘ghost’ not to mean the ghouls, monsters, blood-gulping vampires, undying zombies or the mutated creatures that either fly, crawl or drool with acidic saliva. For the most part of our lives as youth, we have been bred to believe and tremble in terror with these unclassified beings. But not before long, we most often find ourselves outgrowing the immaturity of succumbing to the fright that these characters bring to us. The occupation that we now experience with our work, family, friends, and other empirical facts of our lives have become the ultimate ghostbuster weapon. They take our minds away from what is largely figments of our own imaginations, to the real world at hand. At the end of the day, we sleep at night, no longer terrified if the closet in our rooms are holding forts of hairy ogres.
But the ghosts that I am talking about are just as scary, if not a hundred times scarier than the pale-skinned creature you dread (or romanticize over, as in the case of Edward Cullen). Long after you have outgrown the fright for evil beings, you still find yourself haunted, scared, and reminded of how vulnerable, how weak, how fragile you are. These ghosts do not reside in the trees, but in the deep recesses of your heart, of your mind, of your inner being. More than just terrifying you, these ghosts oftentimes put your feet to a halt while walking down an otherwise brightly lit urban road–because they don’t need shadows or covered and isolated corners to exist and cast their fear on you. They just need a moment–a moment of you regressing back to a supposedly forgotten page in your past; a forgotten past that once unraveled from oblivion, will horrify you a hundred times more than a ghoul staring you dead straight in the eye.
The ghosts of our past blunders.
But unlike the creatures that have been concocted by our elders to force us to bed, these ghosts are our very own creations. Some time in the past we have committed miscues that have changed everything that was supposed to be. Mistakes that have forever altered the path that you were supposed to tread. Errors that are better left untouched, unearthed, unknown–but will eventually resurrect, like the living dead, to haunt us over and over.
I would have to admit every now and then I find myself stopping in the middle of the street while walking home, totally careless of the living world around me as it happens. My mind just beckons back to a time in the past–a time of regret, disdain, hurt and inexplicable sorrow. I often find the attempt of jarring myself back to the real world futile, as my mind seems to be sucked deeper and deeper into a black hole of frustration and despair.
And without notice, I snap out of it, back to the real world.
I walk away from where my feet were locked, shaking my head as if trying to dislodge the awful images of the ghosts that I have created. After getting the sanity back in its place, I spill out in silence a dozen wishes–wishes that the ghosts never existed. But I always end up in the same spot where I began–the reality that my wishes won’t come true.
I could never change what has been done. But what I can change is what is yet to come. After years of attempting to ward off these bad ghosts of my past, I realized I am attempting in futility. And I also realized that the best that I could do is to learn: learn to depend more on God’s grace. After all, He is the ultimate forgiver of my sins, and if He himself has forgotten all of my miscues, then I should have no business of crucifying myself into a cross that He has already taken for me. Learning also teaches me to be humble, careful, wise and considerate. My decisions not only affect me, but the people around me. They’ve done nothing to me to deserve the scare and scar of my wrong past. By thinking of others, I rescue myself out of the black hole of miserable regret.
By now, I should have convinced you already, my friend. This is not an urban legend. This is not a story made up by your grandma.
This is a real ghost story.
Is it just me or the sudden influx of tasks and responsibilities that kicked off this new year that I find myself struggling to really get on the laptop and blog consistently?
If it ever happened that you were sitting beside me at 9 AM today here in the office in front of my laptop, you’d probably understand how frustrating it is to even jump start a blog post. I would often catch myself hang in dead air for 10 seconds before I come up with the next set of words for this post. Just like this sentence… which took me half a minute to figure out.
Is this weird, or IS THIS WEIRD?
Not that I am blaming it, but the opening of the new year for me was just so overwhelming, I kind of lost grip on my blogging senses. It felt like getting myself to post something up on the site is a big burden I just needed to get off just so the day would be fine. Hoping that tomorrow will be a different day, I walk up again to the laptop to start typing something, only to end up shutting it down, and totally quitting on my supposed goal of putting up a post online.
I look at my dwindling stat chart, and I get a mixed feeling of frustration and numbness: frustrated because my figures are just wallowing below 50 hits, and numb because I can’t even get to pull myself together to act on these abating statistics.
So I figured this spontaneous genius will do the trick of reviving my blog blood.
I hope I could pick up the steam to get things going up for my avid readers just before March comes in. Among many things, March is my month, which concludes with my day. It also happens to be the anniversary month of this blog site. There! Something to be excited and enthusiastic about.
Looking at the previous series of posts, I still have two series with backlogs, including my wedding pictures’ series. Maybe, if I can get the series done, I’ll be able to free my mind up with fresher thoughts to concoct here. I just hope the office desktop will be cooperative enough to get the pictures uploaded as fast as possible. It helps a lot to us multi-taskers that some things move quicker than usual.
I also wish I’d be equipped again with my boss’ camera so I could vivify further each upcoming posts. I want to provide my readers with more colorful posts that will make sense not just to their heads, but to their eyes and ears as well.
Another attempt I just actually did was to read my first ever blog last March 11, 2009. Reading it again for the first time since I gave birth to it, I kind of felt a refreshing aura flow through my prosaic veins. I thought I heard a voice from my poetry fairy, beckoning me to sit down and start writing down a magnum opus. But a few minutes later, I found myself backspacing the whole 4 stanza I have already thought of. Not just yet, I thought I heard my mind whisper. And maybe that’s just right. I can’t overwhelm what is still overwhelmed. So instead, I went to Chico Garcia’s blog and read his Ode to Durian–a classic!
In the process, I just hope ranting about my own laziness in keeping a consistent flow of thoughts from my head to the web, will jolt me up to floor the accelerator on blog blood and get my fingers typing in rapid-fire mode.
For now, bore yourself with this latest of my spontaneous genius.
Was it just coincidental that after just a day of kicking off the new Blog Pulse with a Pizza Edition, I won over the number one entry at RX The Morning Rush’s Top Ten Movie Title for a Tragic Story, entitling me with a gift cert?
Hanep nga talaga! Nag-level up na naman ako!
This also happens to have fallen in the same week that the RCandCess love story leveled up from blog to TV. Indeed, this has been a level-up week for me.
Could I just share a few celebrity moments here, guys?
For example, I was at Starbucks Columns in Makati for our regular staff meeting, when the lady barista recognized me and said, “Sir, kayo po ba yung RC nung Mel and Joey last night? Astig, sir!”
Over at 7-11 in Pasong Tamo, the counter guy went, “ser, kayo ba yung sa ‘Love Made In Heaven?’ Nakaka-inspire naman yung love story nyo.”
During three separate community sorties we did at Sta. Mesa and Bacood, a barangay kagawad, two housewives, and a young teen-age girl recognized me from the Mel and Joey show. They were wondering if they could get my autograph? What the…!
Then yesterday night, during our out-of-town meeting, the pastors all congratulated me for the feature we did. I did not really announce the show among them, but I soon found out that as far as Davao City, and as far up as Tuao, Cagayan, people from our fellowshipping churches were either watching already, switched channels or turned their TV’s on, after finding out that me and Cess we’re being featured that night!
And guess what… this week happens to cap off with us leveling up to our second month as Mr and Mrs RC and Cess! Yes! We’ve been married two months already!
There’s really no better two words to describe this than the words “level up.” And because of that, here’s another level-up video you should definitely watch! Click on my pic for the biggest revelation I have made before the world today…
We love pizza! Last Sunday lunchtime, Cess treated me for our Valentine’s date at a pizza restaurant near our congregation (I’d rather not say where we ate, so you won’t get influenced by my preference in this poll). Before, I have the capacity for half of a family-sized pizza. These days however, my intake has been reduced to only three. One time, I thought I still had it in me to finish off an entire regular size, only to find myself throwing up half of what I already ate (excuse me to those enjoying their meals). Oh well, let’s just charge it to experience… again for the Nth time.
So, after asking you which pets adore you the most, we’re back to taking the pulse of our regular readers as far as their appetites are concerned. We’re asking you…
Poll in your answers, guys, and let’s see who among these top choices stand out the best among 100 of our regular respondents. Ciao!
(this is part 1 of the M&J Valentine’s Episode, with an intro of our feature story. the actual recorded show is just below. get to read this behind-the-scenes story first…)
It was absolute hysteria yesterday night over at my aunt-in-law’s house, and practically in every household that was glued to their television sets watching Mel and Joey, as the dynamic duo of Mel Tiangco and Joey De Leon featured “Love Made In Heaven: The Love Story of RC and Cess” during their special Valentine’s Day Special Episode.
Just three Wednesdays ago, a comment was posted on one of the latest blog series I am now doing about my wedding last December 21. It was from Jeffrey “Jepoy” Canaria, a segment researcher and production crew for GMA 7. In the comment, Jepoy expressed his interest over our love story and asked if we were willing to have it featured on Mel and Joey on their Valentine’s Day Episode.
At first, I had this feeling of doubt that this might be a prank over online blogsites. But Jepoy left his cellphone number on the blog for me to contact. I called him up and confirmed that they were on the search for interesting love stories that they’d like to feature on the show. He said that our love story was a good material for the show’s segment and asked our permission to have it featured. I wanted to think this over very seriously before making any move, so I requested that he allow me to think things over, and asked if he could give me a call after 10 minutes.
Of course, everybody, if given such a break, would immediately grab it. But I was well aware of the fact that putting our love story up on primetime TV isn’t just as simple as posting it on blog. As a pastor, I have to be very careful with how I give of myself to people, especially in such a big scope as television. Also, this isn’t just about me—it’s about RC AND Cess. As a husband, my role is to protect Cess’ character and reputation—one that can easily go under scrutiny, even if it was just 15 minutes of fame.
So, I called up my Senior Pastor, Dr. Benny Abante, Jr. and asked his advice about it. To my delight, he approved of the idea of getting our love story on TV. His approval was my go signal for the story to go on air.
I next told Cess and a couple of her co-teachers about this latest development. Cess was just as delighted as me about the prospect of having our story put up on TV. Jepoy, a few minutes later, called up and asked what I thought about his request. I said yes to the proposal, and over the phone we made some arrangements in prepping up for the video feature they will be doing.
Between that Wednesday and the following Thursday, Jepoy and I exchanged e-mails and PM’s about the story feature being made on us. I sent him a summarized version of our love story, as well as a couple of old and new pictures of me and Cess.
Thursday, February 4, was the date that the production team set with us for the shooting. It was examination week over at the school, and so the schedules were a bit erratic. Anyways, we were able to set the sked for the shoot. At around 3PM, the production crew led by Ate Rowie and Jepoy, arrived at MICA for the shoot. They passed by the school office to make a courtesy call with our school directress, Mrs. Marie Paz Abante, before heading off to Cess’ class for the recordings. The team also took footages of Cess’ co-teachers and students for the next 45 minutes, before moving to the church sanctuary for my own footages.
After the interview at the MBBC Sanctuary, we went to the Roxas Blvd. Baywalk for another set of video shoots, before finally going to La Scala in Ermita for the last set of footages. The scheduled interview ended at around 7PM.
Even after the interview, I still had doubts if our story would really get featured at all. I was texting Jepoy, asking how was the taping and editing doing, as if really checking if this thing will really pull off. Jepoy assured me that things are turning out as planned, and in no time, the plugging will be up on TV days before the actual show. Taking his word, I started telling my friends and relatives about the show.
All the while, I really had mixed feelings if this was really going to happen. Until Friday night came, and a couple of friends texted me and Cess, saying they saw the Mel and Joey plugging already and they saw us there! Wow! This was really true! ‘This thing is finally going to happen on Valentine’s Day,’ I said to myself. I then doubled on my texting to everyone I knew to watch the show.
The funny thing about this was that we ourselves haven’t seen the plugging yet! A dozen friends have already seen the commercial, pero kami ni Cess hindi pa rin namin napapanood. We even tried waiting in front of the television the entire evening of Saturday, and the entire afternoon of Sunday, but we never caught the plugging. That was really an “ARGH” feeling. But, oh well, at least the show will finally go on air.
Finally, V-Day came. The evening worship service of the church ended quite earlier than usual, and everyone got the chance to rush to their homes and catch the show. Since we still didn’t have our own TV at home, Cess and I went to my aunt-in-law, Tita Sally Cristobal’s house and there watched the show. Just minutes before the show aired, we saw the plugging of the episode for that night.
Just like that, the whole house went berserk seeing me and Cess on TV—and this wasn’t the show yet! Everybody that was sitting on the dinner table suddenly unlocked themselves from their seats and congregated around the TV with their meal plates, waiting for the last five minutes of Starstruck V to expire.
I got my laptop and had the built-in webcam face the TV to have it recorded. Although I already asked a very good friend, fellow-Rusher, and fellow-believer ate Rhix “Purplerose” Yray to record the show, I just wanted to be doubly sure I have my own raw copy of it. Tita Sally had her digicam also ready. Cess and her sister Aya were busy texting their friends and relatives to watch the show. It was just crazy that time!
And finally, the show started:
And just like that, me and Cess had our own fifteen minutes of fame!
People from as far up as Cagayan and Isabela, all the way down to Cebu and Bacolod were texting me and congratulating me for the wonderful and inspiring love story we shared. The young people’s group from our work in Tarlac all watched the show together, and were themselves blessed by the story. Even our friends from abroad, Rich Abante (who’s getting married this year also), Mr. and Mrs. Victor and Taties Nazaret (from UAE), and Crisant Dema-ala (our best man, who is now in Malaysia with his big brother), all watched the show via youtube upload courtesy of ate Rhix, and were themselves delighted and happy for us and the love story.
A lot of folks from our church, our relatives in Batangas, Mindoro, and Laguna were just texting us like crazy. My parents and my siblings were all tearing up with joy after watching the show.
As for me and Cess, we just simply hugged each other, kissed and told each other “I sooooo love you!” as the special feature ended.
I had already written an epic-length acknowledgement for all the people who made this show a huge success. But, wait a minute, is this a blockbuster movie? Hindi naman! That’s why I deleted the two-page segment on credits, and reduced it into this list:
– God, of course, has to be number one;
– My pastor, Dr. Benny Abante, Jr., and his wife and MICA’s school Directress Ms. Marie;
– The Cayanan and Dizon Family, who were just frenzied and fanatical last night while watching the show!
– The GMA production staff of Ate Rowie, Jepoy and their team;
– Rhix “Purplerose” Yray for the recording and youtube uploads;
– The admin office of the MICA and MBBC;
– My fellow Morning Rushers’ Family;
– My fellow preachers: the Tropang Crosswind;
– Our MICA students, especially Deo and Jenny;
– All our churchmates, high school and college classmates, and friends who watched it and congratulated us last night;
– To Rich, Taties, Bitoy and Crisant, who are all abroad right now. They got to watch the show via youtube;
If ever I failed to mention anyone in particular, here’s the blank space __________, which means you are that person. Just put your name in there, my friend. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
To my Princess, thank you for sharing this love story with me. Our journey is just beginning. Let’s make every moment of it worth remembering, OK?
And, before I forget, have I told you lately that I love you so much?
At last! This has been by far the blog pulse that took that longest to get 100 votes! Well, probably our avid blog readers aren’t much into owning pets. But thanks to all who voted. Here are the results:
#1 DOGS (53%)
Man’s best friend is still top of the list. This is also statistically the most domesticated among pet owners. But while they are man’s best friends, they too can be their worst enemies. Paging thieves, robbers and akyat bahays.
#2 BIRDS (24%)
Their bright colored feathers, sweet sounding voice, and lightweight feel makes these flying creatures the second most adorable living thing inside our homes (humans and electronic gadgets not included). But unlike dogs, they require more attention and care.
#3 CATS (15%)
You still have to give it to our feline companions–they can be charming, adoring, and fuzzy at times. But the moment they start licking themselves, or start throwing up with hairball… yes, you’d think twice before holding them close to your body.
#4 RODENTS (8%)
Finally we have our fury, hand-sized friends, the rodents. They’re small, lightweight, easy to maintain, and cute, alright. But there’s only one rule–keep them locked in their cages, especially these lovely guinea pigs. Either they start squandering your food for their meal, or they end up on the dinner menu of their bigger bullying cousins–the rats. And, oh yeah, rats neither belong in your pet cages nor on your homes.
December 21, 10:45
And so the ceremony went on…