That crane.

“If you could be anything else but yourself, what would you be?”

That was your question while we were walking around Bonifacio Global City in Taguig one weekday after work.

That Crane

“I would be one of those cranes,” I said while pointing to the construction in front of us.

“Why?”  you retorted.

You stopped walking and faced me puzzled.

“Cranes aid you in building that dream skyscraper. It helps you work on the reinforcement better. It facilitates the otherwise complex task of completing that tower, ” I answered.

I paused for a while to take a deep sigh.

“But  when the tower is already complete, when everything in the blueprint is realized, when each details of the structure is done, you are not needed anymore. That’s when you are dismantled and disassembled.”

There was silence as we continued walking. We already passed by the tower being constructed when I said:

“I am that crane. And I know one day, I will be dismantled and disassembled from you. But I will be happy knowing that when you were being built into what you will be in the future, I was a crane in your life.”

“No, you are not that crane. You are something else for me.”  Your eyes met mine.

You smiled and we continued walking.

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Acquaintances after all.

I was cleaning my cabinet of books at home one weekend, when a piece of folded paper fell off from one of my Calculus books. I opened the folder paper saw this:

          I wish I am that shoulder you can cry on in times when the world seems too unfair to you. I wish I am the friend you could go to in cases where you need help.  I wish I am that confidante you share your deepest and darkest secrets to.

          But sadly, you didn’t see me as such. Not even close.

          We happen to meet, because we form part of a team and a group. We happen to chat, not because we want to, but because we are there at almost the same time. We happen to go out, not because we enjoy each other’s company, but because “we go with the flow”.

          I expected much from this “friendship”. And I am starting to accept the failed expectation. 

          From now on, I will remind myself we are not friends, and we might not be anytime soon. From now on, I will devote my time and effort on people that gives me the chance to know them more. From now on, I will stop wishing and hoping, and just start believing on people that value me as I value them.

                    I need to remind myself we are acquaintances, after all. Nothing more.

– Ed               

When I was younger, I usually scribble thoughts like this on paper.  The letter above was one of the things I wrote and was never sent to the intended reader.

Me talking to myself

There will always be things and people that we wish to have in our lives. Truth is, the things and people we wish for, might not just be the things and people we need as we journey through life now.

But maybe, just maybe, sometime in the future we will meet them again, and there they will fulfill their purposes in our lives.

It took me some years to realize that point.

As I re-read that short note from the past, it brings me to smile to realize that we meet people to teach us lessons that we’ll be using in our future lives.

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My Top 5 Apps for Editing Photos for IG

My Instagram (IG) experience has been enriched with the help of some editing apps that I use to make my photo merit a second look.

In my nearly two years of being an Instagram’er, I have tried editing apps—paid and free alike—and experimented on using these apps. Some apps are a bit pricey, but there are so many others that are free.

I listed below my 5 most used editing apps for 2012.

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  1. Pixlromatic. This free app (both at the App Store and Google Play) offers variety of filters, borders and light effects that can enhance your snapshots in so short a time. I usually use this app to create that vintage-feel for my visual stories.
  2. Snapseed. I bought this app at $4.99, but it is now free at the App Store and Google Play. With just simple strokes, you can fine tune your snapshots to your desired effect—saturation, brigthness, vignette, tilt-shift can be achieved in just one-two-three steps.
  3. Phonto. I am fond of sharing visual stories along with a story written in six words. This free app in App Store and Google Play simply makes putting that #SixWordsStory in the photo hassle-free.
  4. Squaready. This free app can only be downloaded from the App Store. Snapshots taken from our smartphones are rectangular in shape, while IG photos are all squares. I use this app to cut these rectangular photos to fit the IG frame.
  5. PhotoWizard. This app has a free version but I bought the paid one from the App Store. I mainly use this app for masking and layering—when I wish to put one photo on top of another.

I do not use just one app in editing my visual stories. I usually use two or more apps to get the desired effect that I wish to use on my shared visual stories.

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My Gang

In life, when things don’t go as planned or people fail us, we seek someone to hear us out—either our parents, friends, siblings or special one that knows us more than anyone else.

These are the people we run to when the world seems so unfair, or the world has cut us deep inside.

As for me, I have this set of friends who had stick with me through my most trying times and has been there during my happy moments.

I’m just glad that though we now have gone our separate ways and work on different companies and chasing our own dreams, we gather every now and then, look back, share our stories and experiences, laugh or cry about it, hear their thoughts on things and then go again on our own ways.

These are the friends I run to whenever I feel so low, or whenever I am the happiest. The barkada I am so thankful of having. The buddies I will forever cherish.

Meet my “Colleagues Having Ultimate Chance Hurdling Individualism”—the CHUCHI gang.

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‘No’ is not an option.

“We didn’t hire you to say no. You are there to find options.”

That statement made a mark in me.

Since that day in May 2012, it has been my daily mantra to tell myself “I am here to provide choices and possibilities, and not to say it cannot be done.”

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It has been more than 6 months since “no” became an unfamiliar term for me.

Since then, the plate I have has been full, and  been overwhelmingly refilled time and again.

The things and assignments I need to juggle went from one to many in so short a time.

These resulted to longer waking hours working for things, but lesser and lesser hours for people that matters.

It took me more than 180 days to realized I can never be Superman.

Now that I have made up my mind, I am drafting the note I will hand over the soonest time possible. While scribbling the words I wish to utter, that marked statement still lingers in me:

‘No’ is not an option.

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How do you eat your pasta?

That was my prof’s question for us on one of our sessions in our Humanities class.

I got to my toes and answered that I usually mix the sauce and the pasta first, then I eat.

And she said, “try eating it as plated.”

I was uncertain I got her point.

Chicken Pesto (Photo credited to @jeg83 in IG)
Chicken Pesto (Photo credited to @jeg83 in IG)
“There will be parts of the dish that is bland, while some of it will be very tasty,” she continued.

“And your tendency is to savor the moments that the taste is so rich, and you try to content yourself meekly on flavorless part.”

“And that what makes pasta more scrumptious to eat.” She paused.

“Much like life, it was never designed to be plain from the start. Because if it was, then we won’t have the ups and the lows, the happy and the sad, or the sweet and the sour.”

“And with the pasta analogy, its trying to live life as it is that makes it worth living,” she ended.

The class was in awe when the bell rang signalling the end of the class. That bell, as well, signals my afternoon break.

Guess what I will be having for my afternoon snack.

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Of Endings and New Beginnings.

I was never fond of endings, because that only means whatever I have will be gone. I don’t look forward to finales, because I sense nothing but goodbyes and severed ties. I evade “the final bow” because this connotes cutting whatever connections or communications I have.

But that changed when I met you. 

I try to avoid new beginnings, because that means I am back at step one, of whatever I am doing. I don’t look forward to fresh start, because as a blank slate, all will be starting from scratch, from nothing. I hate starting again because that means whatever I have started before were all in vain that  I have to do it again.

But that changed when I met you. 

Now, I always look forward to every month end because that means two things:

  1. the current month is ending, and
  2. a fresh new month is about to begin.

Ending of the month implies we spent 30 days of taking it one day at a time. Ending an old month means we survived 4 weeks of challenges of distance and of quality time. One full month connotes we held on to each other, for a month,  whatever Life present us with.

A fresh month implies 30 more days of weaving dreams, and fulfilling them one day at a time. A new month means 4 more weeks of proving how much you mean to me, and how you changed my life. Beginning another month means one more month of journeying life together, the two of us.

You made me believe that endings are simply beginnings of better things. 
You also made me realized that beginnings are milestones of happy endings. 

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The Lucky One.

It was December last year when you came into my life.

From Manila, I got you in a dog bag, and we were off for that 170 km stretch on our journey home. You were so active and perky at the start of the ride, but as we continue the trip, you fell silent and sleepy, maybe because of dizziness.

Dad and mom were so surpised to see you–the daschund pup that they only see on TV and internet is now at our own abode. You became their instant “apo“.

They covered expenses for your  food, accessories, even the monthly shots necessary for your protection were all paid by my parents. I saw how happy they were when you respond to their call, and how worried they are every time they leave you at home.You became a family to us.

You grew so fast that in 4 months time you doubled your size. You were showered with much love and care that my parents gave unconditionally. To which, you reciprocated with very adorable and sometimes intriguing ways of appreciation–the ticklish lick, the bark you do when intruders are at our doorstep, the howl you create when you think no one is at home to check on you.

Last Sunday, when I learned you were sick, and that you haven’t eaten for days, Mom has been calling friends and colleagues for a vet referral to have you checked. Only after hours that we were able to find one from references, and we brought you hurriedly to him for checkup and medication.

But luck was not on our side, we we’re too late. You were already infected with the Parvo virus.

Just today, I learned that you let go of Life. You held on for days and waited for me to come home, to be with me for the last time.

I am sad that I didn’t see you go.
I am unhappy that you left me so soon.
I am lonely because my parents lost you, their instant “apo“.

But I am glad to let you go, that He, our Creator, will be taking best care of you.

When the time comes that my children,  and grandchildren ask about pets, I will surely tell our story and how lucky I am to have had you, even for a short yet meaningful and memorable time.

So long, my dear LUCKY.
Until we meet again.

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All that matters.

Fireworks has always fascinated me.

Ever since I was young, I always look forward to new year celebrations because that’s the only time that I can see fireworks displayed magnificently in the sky.

I would always be amazed by the transformation of a “kwitis” to an amazing rocket ship that launches itself from the ground until it ultimately reached its peak in the sky, and burst into glittery lights.

I would always question where and how the “fountain” gets the energy to radiate and throw away sparks of colors from that little upside-down cone.

I would always ask Mom and Dad “why can’t we have a daily fireworks display?” and to which I would always get the answer “because, son, if it would be a daily thing, you would not be as excited,  as amazed,  as starstruck as you are every new year.”

With such a limited exposure to fireworks, I always dreamt of taking photos of it.

So when I learned there was a pyromusical competition at the SM Mall of Asia 3 years ago, I made it a point to watch the show and freeze the moments when the colorful lights lit up the dark skies.  These fireworks always bring back childhood memories of amazement and joy.

With the same eagerness as when I was a child, I booked the two of us reserved seats for this year’s Pyromusical competition. I felt ecstatic that we’ll be in  very good vantage point for the whole show.

But as the pyrotechnic competition commenced, and I started clicking the shutter, I started to  walk towards the bay and found a better view of the fireworks.  I was so engrossed in taking pictures that when the first part of the show ended, I was already far from where I left you.

I walked back towards you in that reserved seat.I realized I booked this event because I wanted to spend time with you. I sat beside you, held your hand and smiled while making a mental note to myself:

Never mind that I will not be on that better vantage point to capture photos. 
I don’t care if there will be silhouettes of people in the framed lights in the sky. 
It doesn’t matter that the shots will not be gorgeous enough to merit a second glance. 

Because all that matters now is you.

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Real Virtual Friends.

Kuya, please come to the hospital. I met an accident.”

My heart beat suddenly rose from its usual 52 count to nearly a hundred when I heard my sibling’s voice on the other line trembling.

I rushed to her not knowing what really happened and was only guided by the fact that she is in ER alone.

I arrived half an hour later leaving significant amount of uncompleted task at work to attend to my sister.

I was relieved seeing my cousins already there. They came to the rescue when my uncle called them upon hearing the news from me. My cousins related that my sister has a crucial fall in Buendia-Taft while trying to catch a bus going to Makati CBD. And that, this fall might result to a dislocated elbow or worst, a fracture.

An hour in the waiting area seemed like eternity. When I finally heard the doctor’s assessment, I became uneasy–he will do a manual reduction to bring back the humerus (the upper arm bone), the ulna (the larger bone of the forearm) to its original position.

Seeing my sister cringe every time feels like a dagger is being buried deeper into  my heart. 
I wanted to just doze off and wish that this is all a dream. But reality bit me hard and I can’t do anything but  to hold on to Faith and let Him do His miracles.

Six hours in the ER, 3 re-aligning and x-ray sessions were carried out. After finally settling the bill, we were discharged and sent home.

During this ordeal, a few people reached out.  And I realized most of these who got my phone ringing in the waiting area are people I have met online. I have shared my life through this past year that I made virtual relationships turn into real ones.
I might not be able to discuss this personally but through this post, I wish to share this story to all of you in its entirety. 

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