Under the same moon and sky

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I enlisted with the US Army.

This has been the biggest decision I made in my life so far and at the same time will be one of the most influential factors that will affect my immediate future. This came as a surprise to a lot of people, both family and friends but most of all to myself.

A year or maybe even a few months ago, enlisting in the army would be one of the last things I would think of doing. First and foremost with the War that the US is waging in Iraq and Afghanistan it would be the most inopportune time to enlist due to the extent of danger entailed in the job. As some people would say not only is it stupid but suicidal as well, and it was also the same feedback I received from some people. Second, I do not really see myself as someone tough, strong and other adjectives that are associated with the military. Simply put, I and other people just don’t see myself as “soldier material”.

What were the reasons that made me decide to enlist?

Frustration was one of the reasons. I have been here in the U.S. for six months but I haven’t found a job that I would enjoy doing. I passed my resume’ and job application to various companies. It’s either my application was rejected or I never heard from them. I did get a part-time job, but it wasn’t enjoyable and I ended up quitting after three months. I can’t get the jobs that I want and I also got impatient due to the setbacks I experienced. Being impatient is unbecoming of me, especially when I view myself as a patient person when it comes to a lot of things. One thing I learned about myself is that I am not as patient as I think I am when it comes to other things.

The benefits are great. The pay may not be big, but the benefits are what made my decision easier. Housing and meals are free and you get a health, dental and medical insurance. You can also study at the same time while in service and the army pays for your tuition. After finishing your contract, the army will also help you find employment and you get priority when you decide to apply for a government job. But what really sold me was that you can get your US citizenship in less than a year, compared to the usual five years after receiving your greencard.

I need to get away from my mother. I cannot stress the importance of this reason. I can’t stand her twisted value that revolves around being materialistic and treating money as her god. We just can’t get along. Our principles and priorities are just irreconcilable. We have a lot of differences and it’s just too late to fix it or make a compromise. Being away from one another is best for both of us.

All my life I have always chosen the easiest or most convenient paths. I simply don’t like to make things difficult for myself especially if there is a simpler way. This is the first time that I did the opposite. If I find out that I made a mistake in this decision, I cannot quit, but rather I should endure and face the consequences of my action especially when some people want to see me fail.

I have always been someone who doesn’t like taking risks. I always choose to play it safe, making sure that everything is certain and familiar rather than someone who is a risk taker that likes to venture into the unknown. Again, I did the opposite when I enlisted with the army. This is the first time that I am not sure of what will happen.

The most important thing for my family and friends is my safety. I perfectly understand their concern when I told them that I enlisted with the army. I reassured them that I am aware of the possibility of being deployed in the Middle East and the probable danger that comes with being stationed there. I also made sure that the job I got in the army was not combat related but one concerned more with support. One involved with procurement, inventory and managing of supplies. However, I did ask for them to pray for my safety and hope for the best.

I expect to experience difficulty in this undertaking. I have left my comfort zone and I do not know what awaits me. This is the choice that I made and I stand by it. I want to become stronger and explore my limits, that in the process I learn more about myself and in what I am capable of and with firm resolve that at the end of it all I become a better man.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Mizu no Tenshi

Another year will be added to my age tomorrow, November 8. 24 and I already feel old. It's funny how when you are young that you want to grow-up as soon as possible, and when you have grown old you want to go back to being young again.

Whenever you talk about something you usually start with "Nung panahon natin..." (translation: "When we were younger..." or "Back in the day...") What usually follows is how different today's generation to your generation and how things were better before than now. (Old people are often gulity with this)

It's been almost 2 years since I graduated from college, yet I feel as if it has been more than that. I think that you mature faster once you leave school and realization about your concern for your future sets in. Lately, this is what I have been thinking about. I have mentioned before how I do not want to make very detailed plans about my future but instead, I make vague plans that can easily be modified to suit my preference. It's most probably because I do not want to tie myself to a single pursuit and then later on regret all the effort I exerted should I fail to achieve that goal.

They say that with age comes maturity, but this is not true for everyone. Indeed, some people become more immature as they grow older. Age and wisdom is distinct from one another and should not be equated. It is possible for someone to be wise at a young age, and I hope that it would be for me.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Times Square

The concept of Luck is one of the most interesting ideas in our world.
A lot of people believe in luck, in harnessing or obtaining good luck while at the same time driving away bad luck. As a result man has come up with supernatural beliefs, rituals and charms in order to be lucky.

A thought that crossed my mind, would be to have a luck calculator to enable people to be lucky. It is a machine used to calculate the luck rate of a person on a daily basis by use of data and other related variables to come up with optimum results for the person to have good luck. It would involve doing rituals and coming up with good luck charms in an effort for the person to be lucky.

But then again, Luck cannot be measured or controlled by outside forces. If it were, that wouldn't be luck.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


It was in a magazine that I first saw her.

The magazine was published monthly by the Japanese Embassy and discussed topics such as immigration, foreign and diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Japan, culture, and lives of Filipinos living in Japan and lives of Japanese living in the Philippines.

She was a regular student at the University of the Philippines, taking up Landscape Architecture as her major. Before studying in UP, she majored in International Studies at the International Christian University in Japan. She decided to study in the Philippines, after an academic requirement and started her 4 years of study there.

As,I read the article about her I learned many things. She was active in supporting Filipino and Japanese Non-Government Organizations that dealt with poverty and uplifting the conditions of underprivileged people. She also practiced tradional Japanese dance. Travelling around the Philippines was one of her passions, and she greatly enjoyed learning Filipino cultures, customs and traditions. She was also fairly fluent in speaking Filipino/Tagalog because of this.

She inspired me due to her altruistic ideals and optimism. It was her kindness and pleasant personality and simple beauty that attracted me to her. It was through a common friend that I met her and got to know her more.

She was in the final year of her studies and she was busy with school work along with her commitments to the various NGO's that she supported so there was not much time that we spent together. It was thru her that I became a member of SALT, a Japanese NGO helping out the people living in Payatas (An open garbage dump site) thru livelihood programs and education programs by giving supplementary classes in English and Math.

My Sundays were spent teaching the children. This wasn't something new to me because we also had a program called "Tulong Dunong" or "Knowledge Help" in a rough English translation, back in high school as we tutuored children studying in public elementary schools.

As I got to know her more, we became good friends. I always offered my help whenever she would need assistance in NGO work and also with researching. Helping her made me happy and this made me realize that I was falling in love with her.

I admit that I am "torpe" (a person who cannot tell his feelings for a beloved) and a shy guy. Although I did not tell her "I love you" verbally, I made sure that my actions would convey that message subtlely but clearly. I made it known to her by actions both great and small and thru seemingly vague messages. I guess the biggest fear for me was losing the friendship if I ever told her how I really felt towards her and if I found out that she doesn't feel same way towards me, the whole thing would change for the worse. I did not want her to avoid me because of this or for it to affect our relationship adversely. I also didn't want to be a distraction to her out of respect for her studies and busy schedule, I figured that she has a lot of important things to be done and it would be selfish and inconsiderate of me to tell her in the midst of her thesis and other academic requirements. I decided not to tell her and to continue conveying my love thru action instead of words. Beeing around her was enough for me and brought me happiness, but at the same time I was also wishing for the best with regard to our situation.

As her studies came to an end and it was time for her to go back to Japan. I decided to tell her how I really felt regardless of the result, as selfish as it may sound. Finally saying it would end all the "what-ifs" and the regret of not telling her my true feelings. Before she went back to Japan, I asked her out for lunch. I was having doubts whether to tell her or not. After leaving the restaurant and before going on our seperate ways, I told her how I felt. I no longer remember the exact words she told me, but if my memory serves me right it was something like this, "Why... I'm going back to Japan... I'm sure you will find a better girl for you." I would be lying if I told you that I didn't get hurt with what she said, but I was prepared for anything and I didn't care much anymore as long as I was able to tell her how I felt. After uttering those words I felt a sigh of relief. In analyzing her answer, I wondered if telling her earlier could have changed the result. I told her "I hope our friendship still remains", and that the result wasn't as important as me telling her how I felt. As we separated ways, I watched her disappear towards the horizon.

It has been 4 or 5 months since then. She is now in Tokyo and I'm here in New York, we are miles apart and seperated by twelve time zones. We still e-mail each other sometimes. I just remebered to e-mail her yestreday, beacause it was her birthday and I also sent her a birthday card a week earlier. I still think about her sometimes and how she's doing. I guess the only consolation for me is that we are under the same moon and sky.

In the birthday card and e-mail that I sent her, I had one wish for her.

To My First Love, I Wish You Happiness.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Job Hunting

The primary reason why I moved to New York is to find a job, and hopefully to save enough money after which, figuring out what to do with the money I saved is the next plan that I would work on. I have often complained about the difficulty of finding a well paying job in the Philippines and the lack of job opportunities. Most of the job openings back home are in sales or as call center representatives. I have nothing against those jobs, it's just that I'm not made for them. I figured that working in the U.S. would help me fastrack my way to financial freedom, something I feel that would be almost impossible for me to do in the Philippines.

After being here in the U.S. for 2 months and 2 weeks, I'm still looking for a full-time job. I have already found a part-time job, but getting a full-time job still eludes me. I am getting impatient and a little frustrated with this situation. I know that patience and a lot of prayer would really do me good and it is also the same thing that my friends and family adviced me.

Sundays are usually spent looking at the job market section of the newspapers. Everyday, I check my e-mail for replies from companies that I have applied in, as well as passing resumes online. I have also posted my resume to monster.com and other web sites that help job hunters land jobs. Setting up interview appointments by phone have also become part of the routine. There's not much to do but keep on trying and keep on persevering in finding employment. Especially when all I have is $240 in my bank account.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thank God for the rain

I finally got my wish.

The weather here in New York has been rainy and cloudy for the past 5 or 6 days and I couldn't be much happier about it. It's a lot cooler because of it and watching the raindrops fall is surely a sight to see. What's even better than watching the rain is walking in the rain, with an umbrella of course. Except when the rain is just a slight drizzle and I'm too lazy to open my umbrella and just opt to feel the raindrops falling on my head. Walking around in NYC in the rain, It doesn't get any more emo than that.

I have been exploring NYC this past week. It hasn't been for leisure purposes though but strictly business. I will reserve going to NYC for leisure till I save enough money for the digicam that I have been wanting to buy. I will be posting pictures weekly or even more than once a week when that time comes. Hopefully it will be sometime around October to November.

Going back to business in NYC, I was there or passed by there on my way to interviews. The first one was my interview with Continental Airlines in which I was late for 10 minutes and the outcome was I wasn't able to interview because of arriving late. Not a good trait for some one who wants to be a flight attendant. I blame the delays in the schedule of public transportation for that.

The other interview was yesterday for a position as an ESL teacher. I was able to arrive on time this time and the interview was so-so.

I'm still getting used to riding the subway, I am able to get to the right station and ride the right train, but sometimes going to the opposite direction of my intended destination. That's something that will take some getting used to. Going around the city and being able to familiarize myself. I miss Manila all of a sudden, the jeepneys, MRT/LRT, FX's and even the tricycles and the other means of transportaion getting around Manila, My Manila

Anyway, I'm really thankful to God for the rain. It's been giving me happiness.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Barber

I gave myself a haircut today. It's now official, I am a barber both literally and figuratively. It's not really difficult, since I just shave my hair and leave just about 3mm of it (see profile picture). I do admit that I had some trouble in the beginning because my hair was a bit longer than the usual. I get a haircut once every 3 or 4 weeks, but it took me 2 months before I cut my hair today.

The last haircut I got was 2 months ago, before I left the Philippines. The price of a haircut in the Philippines is just 50 pesos or $1 and the price of a haircut here in the U.S. ranges from $10-15. It's just 10-15 times more expensive. My friend Kirby, adviced me to buy an electric shaver to cut my own hair instead of going to a barbershop in the U.S. for a haircut. He made perfect sense, I would at least save $120 dollars a year on haircuts and I can use the money I save to buy other things. And best of all the electric shaver that I bought just cost me $15, the price of a haircut.

The whole process of cutting my hair took about 20 minutes. I was enjoying giving myself a haircut. After getting my hair cut, I took a bath. I again looked at the mirror to see if I got an even shave on my head. I realized that I may just have a hidden talent for cutting hair.

When I was still in high school, I remembered one of my classmates bring an electric shaver to school. Some of my classmates took turns giving one another a free haircut and they pretty much enjoyed themselves. At the end of the day, there were 11 students with shaved heads in a class of 37 students.

The next idea that came to my mind was why not start a barbershop in the future. The barbershop is one of the places where people come to share stories both true and the not so true while relaxing and of course getting yourself groomed. Almost all the barbers I know are friendly and are always eager to begin conversations and share stories. After the haircut, they usually give a shoulder and head massage to the customers. The barbershop is a fun place to be in.

If you also want a good movie to watch, I suggest watching The Barbershop starring Ice Cube. I should practice giving haircuts to other people for free. The next thing for me to figure out is what to name my barbershop in the future.