For the past week, I’ve heard of many stories of how people remembered my grandmother. And it got me thinking about why and how that happens, but the only thing I could think of was that people remember different things about a single person, object, or place because of how they interacted with them. With my grandmother’s case, people had only positive things to say about her, and I learned so many things about her that I never knew before.
As I was growing up, my dad and one of my aunts (姑姑) would occasionally tell me stories of the hardships they went through when they were younger, as well as stories of how their mother struggled to support all her children. My siblings and I were not particularly close with our grandmother, so we seldom had the opportunity to talk about her history (and my being an introvert didn’t help). Little did we know that our grandmother could not read nor write, as she didn’t have the opportunity to go to school and study. But she did odd jobs to make ends meet, in order to send her children to school. She was very frugal, preferring to walk long distances just to save a few cents (which, back then, was quite valuable already). And then when her husband, our father’s father, fell ill due to cancer, she took good care of him. Our grandmother proved her commitment and love for her family for so many years, we just didn’t realize it.
Her most important legacy, I believe, is her faith. Many (if not all) who spoke and shared their memories of our grandmother during the wake mentioned our grandmother’s consistence and persistence in serving others. She had a really good heart; she loved to serve others in whatever capacity she can. And one of the things we’ll miss most would be her cooking. For years, she had served members of the church with her cooking, when she got involved in preparing food for the canteen in the old campus of my primary and secondary school. Our grandmother occasionally contributed food for the lunch meetings of the women’s fellowship of the church. In addition, she was known to be a steadfast prayer warrior for the church, that despite her old age and physical ailments, she would remember to pray for the church, her family, and for the unbelievers.
Our grandmother also lived very simply. Everyone in our nuclear and extended family knew of her penchant to wear her favorite old, rose-colored and loose-fitting dress, even during family celebrations. Even when people gave her new clothes and accessories, she would refuse to use them unless all her children will ask her to dress up for formal occasions. When my cousin or my aunt would send their family driver to bring our grandmother to church or to their house, our grandmother would refuse and insist on walking despite the hot and sunny weather outside. She also preferred staying home to rest, to listen to the radio, to read the Bible, and to cook for the family. When she does go out, it was to attend church service or women’s fellowship, go to the wet market, or to visit old acquaintances.
There are still a lot more things I can tell (mostly based on what people shared during the wake) about my grandmother, but what I wish to emphasize is that love can mean differently to different persons. There are so many factors that influences how people define love, as well as how they show it, but for my grandmother, she chose to exhibit her love through caring for others (sometimes even more than herself). Her countless acts of kindness to everyone and her service for the Lord would be remembered for years to come, and that’s why I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful kin. The Lord certainly looked after my grandmother and our family for so long, even up to my grandmother’s last moments.
I was checking my Facebook account when I came across a few interesting text-graphics. It’s simple, straightforward, and makes sense.
There are occasions wherein we worry so much about what other people would think about us, hoping they would like us if we behave like them. Or at least act like the way you think would appeal to them. Humans are social creatures; I doubt there’s anyone who would willingly isolate themselves from society (unless you’re eccentric like Edward Scissorhands). We want to fit in, be able to carry a casual conversation with someone, and expand our social circles. But somewhere along the way, you discover that your personality and identity just doesn’t match/click with a certain group. So you have to make a choice—whether change yourself to fit in with that group, or step away in order to retain yourself. And so you distance yourself from them, all the while feeling awkward and lonely. Then you move on with your life, thinking there must surely be another group of people who would appreciate you in your entirety. Sure enough, you realize that those kind of friends have been around you for years, and just didn’t realize it.
They’re the type of friends who support you in everything you do, and gives you comments/criticisms/suggestions without fear of offending you. You may have totally different interests, work in different fields/industries, come from different walks of life–the fact remains that you simply enjoy talking to each other (about anything and everything under the sun). They would understand and not take it against you if you have to cancel on a meet-up or appointment, whether your excuse is that you’re busy with work, or too lazy to go out. They accept you for who you are; they do not force you to change your behavior/habits (unless it’s a bad vice that would put your health and life at risk, of course).
And then you realize that because these friends have accepted you–faults and all, you begin to love yourself a little bit more. You learn to appreciate yourself–your dreams, ideas, skills (life, academic, professional), values, personality, looks. And after getting to know different kinds of people, you realize that you’re happier being yourself than trying to change who you are.
I really like the message of this song–about making the most out of life, and sharing love with other people. The love being referred to is not limited to romantic love, but also for family, friends, strangers, hobbies, objects, and so on.
The bubbles used in the video remind me of how fleeting life can be. Just as you express awe for seeing the bubbles floating in the air, then suddenly–poof!–it’s gone forever. We have no idea how much time we have on this earth, but while we’re still alive, we should live our life to the fullest. There’s no telling if you’re going to die ten minutes or ten years from now; nor do you know if the opportunity that has presented itself to you will come by again tomorrow.
Also, the song speaks of optimism towards life. Life’s too short to spend it hating other people. Rather, we can use the time we have right now to care for others, to make other people happy, to appreciate their presence in our lives. As they say, “you only know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” So, let’s not think too much or worry about the what-if, should-be, could-be… there are situations where we have to take risks and see where and what life will bring us.
Before I even thought of writing about my own interests, I was already inspired by many people who were doing their own thing, because they had the passion for it. What they do may not make sense to us (if not now, maybe never at all), nor will it be fully appreciated, but sometimes they just don’t care what other people think. They are happy doing/creating something, and that’s what really matters.
I’m pretty sure you’ve met someone like that in your life—perhaps a stranger doing spray art in the street (there’s one like that in Ximending actually), a distant relative, an odd classmate or colleague—maybe you’re even one of them. But I’m not saying that it’s good or bad, I just wish to state the existence of these type of people.
Personally, I respect people who, despite the criticisms they receive from others, have made it a point to stand firm in their beliefs, and approach their craft as something valuable to mankind. I don’t have a specific Top Ten list or anything, but I’d like to mention a few people whom I’ve met (if not physically, at least I’m acquainted with them through social networks) that exhibit passion.
Architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa
Arch. Mañosa, a Filipino architect and National Artist, is renown for his love of Filipino culture. His architectural designs definitely mirrors that love, and I really admire him for sticking to that belief. I have had the opportunity to meet the legendary Arch. Mañosa in October 2011, when he toured our board exam review class around his house. I admit to being starstruck by him back then, but I was more impressed by how he showed off about the Filipino culture and lifestyle. And he was definitely successful in representing that through his architecture. He actually advocates the existence and the practice of designing Filipino, even though people would argue otherwise.
Indeed, even I am a little hesitant to claim what exactly is designing Filipino, having no firsthand experience of living in bahay kubo (a small hut usually elevated a few meters from the ground) until I visited a distant relative in the province almost 4 years ago. Yes, I knew the basics of what the traditional Filipino house looked like, but I never knew how the people truly lived. And Arch. Mañosa explained how his design accommodated the traditional Filipino lifestyle.
For example, the house was elevated to almost a full storey high. The kitchen actually faced the main gate, rather than the front door (which was a little to the side), because people in the kitchen would easily see anyone who might ring the doorbell. Also, there were very few doors between every room—the only ones that had an opaque door were the washrooms and the bedrooms. That way, people can conveniently move around the house, and to encourage good air ventilation.
The living room was set in the center of the house, partially enclosed by walls and is illuminated through clerestory windows. Around this living area were several sets of informal tables and chairs, benches. There was no specific dining table in sight—Arch. Mañosa explains that they prefer the freedom to choose wherever they want to sit and eat. They did not need to be confined to one specific table in order to partake of their food.
The building materials used in his house were organic and native; the way he used bamboo is noteworthy and impressive. Decorative elements in his home were diverse, from wooden spoons, shells/conches, to framed photographs. Arch. Mañosa also showed us the playroom and outdoor custom-made bahay kubo of his grandchildren, demonstrating that he doted on the kids. Even the room in which he uses to relax and watch TV has a miniature table and chairs, most likely to accommodate the kids. Truly, the house was family-oriented, even the shed underneath the main floor of the house were filled with lounge chairs and furniture that encourages interaction between people. There’s even a “treehouse” built in one of the big trees in their yard, to allow people to interact with nature as well.
Indeed, despite the growing trend towards modern architecture, Arch. Mañosa has always been committed to designing Filipino. He is confident about and proud of his identity as a Filipino, and is encouraging everyone else in the country to be the same. I do hope that somehow this incredible passion would rub off on me, and I could treat my craft as a way of expressing my ideals, values, and hopes to others.
I came across this image in Facebook. It’s a very simple drawing, but this was really interesting for me because of the action being done. While it is not literally/physically possible to intentionally plant love and grow them, I think that there are occasions wherein we unconsciously begin to love someone (like friends, acquaintances, family, etc.) and we can’t pinpoint when that love started. Nor are we able to stop that love from growing, we just know that it just does.