29 November 2005
It's been a while since my last entry. I really missed blogging. I couldn't post a new entry not only because I was pretty busy as I'm back to work after a three-week leave, but also because I wanted my sister to see/read the last entry since it's about and for her. I'm not sure if she's read it, though, since she hasn't given me any feedback or reaction yet. Oh well, that's okay.
A lot of things have happened since I last posted an entry. On the same day my sister celebrated her birthday, Bok's grandfather passed away. I got to go to Minalin, Pampanga (Bok's hometown) twice to sympathize with the family. The first time, I went with Mommy Minda (my aunt). The second time, I went with Erik and Lachi and we spent the night there so we'd be there for the funeral. It was a new experience for me and a different one, too. It was my first time to actually witness a burial up-close because usually in Muslim burials, only men are allowed to go to the very place where the deceased would be laid to rest. And also, in the Islamic way, there is no coffin; the body is just wrapped in very clean, white cloth. It was also my first time to actually go to a wake like that. I didn't know that different places or provinces here in the Philippines had different customs and traditions for wakes. Aside from the Lumads, who I'm very sure have different burial rites, I thought there were just the Catholic way, the Islamic way, etc. for the other Filipinos.
In Pampanga, wakes are a bit noisy and lively. There are lots of card games and the like going on. It almost feels like you're not in mourning. I've been to some quieter wakes in the past so I was really surprised. We even played Bingo and it was a lot of fun! It was also my first time to actually play Bingo. Everything was really interesting and the whole family amazed me. It's an experience I will never forget. May Lolo Carmelino Catacutan rest in peace.
A few days ago, a very sad news came while I was walking around the campus with Bok and Mae. I received a text message telling me that one of my closest friends' mother succumbed to breast cancer that very afternoon. I was shocked beyond belief, but I couldn't cry. I was in denial for a while. It was easy for me to refuse to believe it because I wasn't with them back home. I was very close to my friend's mom. Ommie ("my mother" in Arabic), as we called her, was one of the kindest, nicest, most proper women I've ever encountered. I've spent countless nights at their place as an undergraduate. Theirs was the only house I was allowed to spend overnights in because my mom could call Ommie to confirm everything. I've taken countless lunches with them from 6th grade until I finally left for Manila. Ommie was always there to give us advice and lessons whenever we needed them. Ommie was my second mother. She treated us like her own, too.
A day after the news of her death came, sitting on my bed alone, the truth sank in and I cried for hours. All memories of Ommie came back, from the time I was in second grade when she'd teach us Islamic songs to the time I'd visit them when I came home for vacations and she'd ask me how things were. She was one in a million. She was very religious and conservative, but very well-educated and well-read. In the many years I've known her, I've never even seen her hair because she always had a veil on. She was strict, but she was also a lot of fun. I remember I always enjoyed listening to her talk, especially about Islam. Oh, how I loved her! I'm thankful that my memories of her are of the days when she was strong and healthy. She will always remain to be one of the strongest Meranao women I know. May she also rest in peace.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji'uun. (Surely we belong to God and surely we will return to Him.)
On a happier note, today is my dad's birthday and also his and my mom's 30th wedding anniversary. :)
Happy birthday, Abi. Happy anniversary to you and Mom. I love you, guys, sooo much! Mwah! :)
10 November 2005
"My friends know so much about you because I talk about you... a lot!"
"Whenever I'm caught in some situation, I'd always try to imagine how you'd react or what you'd do if you were in the same situation. That helps."
"Hey, that doesn't look good on you!"
"Let me fix that..."
"What on earth were you thinking? What kind of singing was that?!"
These are but some of the millions of lines I remember her saying to me. She'd tell me, in brutal honesty, whenever she saw anything wrong with my appearance (clothes, face), my performance (in singing, dancing, public speaking, teaching, etc.). She'd be the first to congratulate me in my little triumphs and achievements. She'd be the first one to fight for me or defend me if and when the situation called for it. She'd be the first to tell me when I'm wrong. She's my biggest support system and my biggest critic!
She gets away with things I will never allow any other person to do and/or say to me. She's the only one who can touch my things without permission and gets away with it, too. She's the only one who can ask me for anything and I'd, more often than not, give in. She's the only one who can unabashedly laugh at me even when I'm in the worst mood. She's the only one who can actually make me laugh even when I'm so angry at her!
All these years, people have been comparing us. People would say to either of us: "Ey, mas mataid sekaniyan adi seka!" (She's prettier than you!)
Whenever I got this comment, I'd just smile/laugh and say, "Importante na palaya kami mataid." (What's important is we are both pretty.)
I've never minded being compared to her. When people say she's prettier or she's better in this and that than I am, I'd feel very proud of her. But, when people say I'm prettier or better in so many things than she, I'd feel offended. I'd always refuse to accept this and I'd usually explain that she's very young so it's not fair to compare her to me. I know it's difficult to be compared to anyone because it would seem like people would put you in a box and limit what you can do to what that other person can do. I'm lucky, in our case, because I'm older so I'm not the one who's put in the box.
I don't think she minds being compared to me, too. I'm just so glad that she's become one of the most confident people I know, much more confident than I ever was. She's so comfortable with who she is that it amazes even me sometimes. She likes the same things I like. She's into the same stuff I am/was into. But, more than that, she has things of her own, too. She says she wants to be just like me, but I always tell her that she can be more- much, much more. And, she understands that.
All this time, I've been observing how she's grown into the person that she presently is. She used to like anything I liked and hate anything I hated. She used to ask my opinion about anything and everything. She'd ask me things like, "Do you think this person is cute/good?"
If I said the person's not cute/good, she'd totally stick to this and even fight for it. She'd always say, "Diane says so..." That was for her the ultimate argument that no one can rebut! It seemed like, to her, my opinion was the only correct opinion or that I was never, ever wrong. It was really funny.
She eventually outgrew that phase. She started to see things through her own eyes and taste. She started to argue with me about things that she liked.:) I remember when she became an NSync fan and she thought I hated them. She told me, "I don't care if you hate them, I like them. Nothing you say is going to change that!" I just laughed because I didn't really hate NSync, I actually didn't know who they were then. She couldn't believe that!
Slowly, as time passed, she became her own person. People started to see her as herself and not merely my shadow or my very own Mini-Me! She broke free from that box people put her in. And, I couldn't be happier and more thankful for that.
"You're my idol, you know!" She told me this the last time I was home and we were together.
I jestingly said, "Yeah, I better be..." But, deep inside, I was surprised and felt really flattered.
This is the girl I saw went from one phase/stage to another. This is the girl I, unbeknownst to her, gather strength and confidence from. This is the girl I truly admire for her whole being. This is the girl so similar to yet so different from me. This is the girl whose advice I always take seriously. This is the girl who knows the real me and who knows the most about me. This is the girl I'd give anything and everything up for. This is the girl I vowed to protect from any harm. This is the girl I'd easily die and kill for. This is the girl whom I'll always be here for. This is the girl, though much younger than I am, I look up to most of the time. This is the girl I will never tire of talking about. This is the girl I will always be proud of no matter what. This is the girl I love and trust most! This girl is my best friend. She's my one and only little sister, Ayeesha Maruki (or Maroo)! Not everyone has someone like her and I know how truly lucky I am to have her.
My mom told me once, "She's your biggest fan."
Now, as she turns 19 (on the 13th), I would just like the whole world to know that I am actually her biggest fan!
06 November 2005
My friends and I got back from our Baguio trip yesterday. We got here (Quezon City) at around 9:30 in the morning. At around 10:00, I fell asleep and I woke up in the evening! I was dead tired!
It was a fun, fun, fun trip! I really loved all the places we went to. It's always nice to go to places just to unwind, relax and look around. And, it's doubly nice when one goes with good friends. Although we never found the cheap second-hand books I've been hearing about, I really enjoyed the whole trip!
What made the trip extra special and unforgettable for me was that I spent the Eid'l Fitr (the End of Ramadhan) there. The Eid, of course, to the Muslims is what Christmas is to the Christians. It's a very special day for families. In my case, since my whole family is back in Mindanao, the next best thing is to spend the Eid with very good friends, and in a place I don't really get to go to often, too.
There are actually lots of Muslims in Baguio. Even before we left Manila, I was really looking forward to praying with the Muslim community in Baguio. That was one of the things I was so excited about. So, on the Eid, at about 5:30 in the morning, my friends and I went to look for the masjid (mosque). We found it in no time. It was big. And then, a young Muslim guy saw us and informed us that the Eid prayer was to be at the Melvin Jones Field at Burnham because there wasn't enough space for everyone in the masjid. I was actually expecting that because I knew that it's always better to pray in the open air and, of course, that's what we do back in MSU (we pray at the soccer field).
When we got to the Melvin Jones Field, we didn't see Muslims anywhere. We went around and waited for the nearest McDonald's to open and got some food. We went back to the MJF and it turned out that we were actually too early. More and more people came, so I decided to finally go and join them as my friends also left to get more sleep. As usual, I cried while we were doing the takbeer mursal because that was when it dawned on me that Ramadhan has really ended once again and I remembered my family and friends back home especially when I saw families gathered and taking pictures of one another. Also, I thought of all the things I should've done, but didn't do, during the past month. I was happy and sad at the same time, the Eid always gives me that feeling.
As I was looking around and watching the young kids laughing and running around and the adults greeting, hugging and kissing one another, my thoughts brought me back to past Eids in MSU. I knew how those kids felt. Muslim kids always feel so excited during the Eid because it's the time to wear one's best clothes (usually new ones) and the time to eat special food and spend wonderful time with the rest of the family (aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, grandmas, grandpas included) and friends. I also knew how the adults felt. Muslims feel really happy and peaceful on this day because it's the time for asking forgiveness from one another and to forgive one another for anything and everything. I really felt the spirit of the Eid embrace my whole being.
The only thing I didn't like much about the whole thing was that I couldn't hear the imam (the one who leads the prayer) very well because the sound system was not good. It was difficult to concentrate when I couldn't hear the imam. When the kutbah (sermon) started, I went closer to the speakers. I stood alone by the side of the men's area. It was okay because a lot of people at the back were already moving around and preparing to leave. I just couldn't leave without hearing the kutbah because it'd feel weird and incomplete. It wasn't the best kutbah I've heard, but it was good. All in all, I really liked my first Eid in Baguio!
After that, my friends and I went to a lot of places and ate a LOT! We stayed in Baguio for three days and three nights. We slept late every single night (never before 3:00 in the morning!), spent the whole day going around, sang soooo many and different kinds of songs (to the amazement of our Japanese friend), and just laughed and laughed and laughed! We went to many places - Burnham (where we went boating), Camp John Hay (where we played Golf, Mini-Golf that is!), the Ukay-Ukay place, Tam-awan Village (I really loved this place. There's this viewdeck that they have where one can see the contrast between the old Cordillera and the present or modern one!), the Manor (my favorite among the places we went to!), the Philippine Military Academy at the Fort del Pilar, etc. We also went bar hopping and listened to many kinds of singers and bands. The last one we listened to (at the Pilgrim's Bar) was a group composed of three singers (two females, one male) and a pianist. They were great! I was so happy, too, because they did an APO Hiking Society medley and a Broadway medley! We went back to Sibby's place with huge smiles on our faces! I really thank God for times like these. They make life so much better and worth living.
This is our group...
...and Hide is our Japanese pet, este, friend!^_^
20 Random Things About Me... :)
01. I love chocolates.
02. I do not eat vegetables.
03. I hate being late, but when my friends (or whoever I'm meeting) are late, I don't mind waiting.
04. I love to take pictures of sleeping people. I actually collect pictures (I take) of sleeping people.
05. I love poetry!
06. I am willing to die and/or kill for a friend... and for my family.
07. I can run really fast. Sometimes, this surprises people bacause they never expect someone my size to run as fast as I can. (I actually did track and field back in high school!)
08. I have been an insomniac since age four!
09. I have sixth sense, i.e. I can feel "their presence".
10. I do not like cooking, but I love to eat!
11. When I love/like people, I really love/like them. When I hate, I really hate!
12. I use only Dove and Cetaphil on my face, but I use any kind of soap for my body.
13. I love combing my hair and brushing my teeth. Both totally relax me.
14. I like to do things on my own.
15. I am very emotional!
16. I love to learn about different cultures and languages.
17. I ususally don't have breakfast.
18. When I was younger, I used to destroy stuff just because I felt like it. (Yeah, I was totally mental!)
19. I am often lazy!
20. I'm usually good at reading non-verbal language.
I was tagged by
Whoever wants to be it is tagged! ;-)