“You make yourself strong because it’s expected of you. You become confident because someone beside you is unsure. You turn into the person others need you to be.” ― Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts
Happy Mothers Day to the strongest woman I know. I love that I get to celebrate you and everything you have done for us twice a year! I love you Mama!
Everything you’ve taught us, I know you’ve learned from Lola Gening, who was such a wonderfully beautiful human being who always taught us to focus on the good, the beautiful and the peaceful. My Lola always taught us that if you couldn’t say anything good to not say anything at all. I must say Lola that I have failed on several occasions to do that. But I am a work in progress and I will get there someday and I will learn to be as genteel and proper as you.
I hope Lola, you know that Mama has raised us as well as she could with your guidance and I hope you are smiling down on her today.
Happy Mother’s Day Mama! I know that you are with Abba in the hospital today and you haven’t told me because you don’t want me to worry. Your strength of spirit is an inspiration to all of us. I love you. I am proud to be your daughter.
Happy Valentines Day everyone! I hope your day today is filled with love!
This year, Wednesday, 14 February, while the rest of the world celebrates Valentines Day, we also need to remember that today is also the first day of Lent.
I have a challenge for you! For each day of Lent, remove one item from your closet that you no longer wear or need and put it in a bin liner. At the end of the forty days, donate these items to a charity shop or a place that can share them with someone who can really use them.
I know I am still grieving. Even though I smile and I laugh at things. My days are still tinged with sadness. But I will be okay.
I have told myself that whatever it was that I wanted to say, whatever it was that I never actually said to my uncle, if I send out in the universe, God will make it possible for my thoughts to reach my uncle. He will know how much he is loved, valued, oh-so-appreciated and respected. The regrets are counterproductive. It is good to acknowledge them, but it won’t be healthy to dwell on them. There is nothing that can be done about the things that I haven’t done. The opportunities have passed and I will have to trust that God will make my good plans and intentions known to Uncle Wawell.
The only way to honour him is to live the life that I am living, the life that he dreamed for me and all his nieces and nephews.
Carlos P Romulo personally asked him to join his team when Mr Romulo was appointed head of the Department of Education. Mr Romulo even sent someone to where they lived in Frisco to invite him to join him in government. Larry Henares called him an Islamic scholar. He was a proponent of the Ninth Ray campaign to introduce a ninth ray on the sun on the Philippine flag that sought to recognise the contribution to Philippine history and sovereignty by our Muslim brothers. He was highly regarded in the UP community and was well known as a poet, a writer, a scholar and a brilliant mind. He was a proud Filipino.
He was a political organism. He ran in circles with the great political thinkers and political personalities. I grew up with him saying he met with this person, or had coffee with that, and then I’d read the name in the newspapers. I know very little of his political involvement, only that he once ran for public office in Toledo, in Cebu. He didn’t win the election, but I have no doubt that had he been successful, he would have served with all his heart, only thinking of what was best for the constituents he served. He helped set up livelihood programs in various locations in the Philippines to help his countrymen improve their lives. He spent his years advocating Mindanao Muslims so that they were represented and respected as valuable, integral parts of the Philippine society, and not viewed as schismatic or separationists.
But to us, his nephews and nieces, he was simply Uncle Wawell. The uncle who wanted the best for his family. To me, especially, he was Koji. When I was little, he was the uncle who visited me and played with me. He allowed me to call him Koji because that was the name of the character he played in my dress up games. He even suffered a busted lip once because we played jump rope and my head hit his chin and he bit his lip. He was in pain, I’m sure, but he said he was okay.
I think he taught all of us how to play chess. I remember him telling me when I was looking at what piece to move that I needed to think, be strategic and plan. Little did I know he was trying to equip me for life. He was telling me that it was necessary to plan and to know where you wanted to go, what result you wanted to achieve and to consider carefully how you planned to get there. He loved his lists of things to do and enjoyed word games, particularly a good crossword puzzle. He loved a good chat and a cup of coffee, and he could talk about anything under the sun. He was brilliant like that. He believed in his nephews and nieces. He was our biggest fan and our biggest defender. He was someone who was always there if you needed to talk. He tried to give us everything we wanted, if he could. When he found out that I needed a portable typewriter for school projects, he just appeared at Don Jose one day with typewriter in hand…just because I needed one. He was like that. He once said that he would do everything to support his nieces and nephews, because he wanted us to realise our potential to make up for him not living up to the promise of his own potential. He loved us, in the way that he loved his brothers and sisters, deeply and completely.
Antonio Porchia said that “one lives in the hope of becoming a memory.” On Friday morning, I received the heartbreaking news that my Uncle Wawell passed away. Koji is no longer with physically with us. I will never hear him laugh or clear his throat, or hear him call his sisters Fems, Gards, Binggay or Jinks, which always made me smile. But he is with God and he is whole, healthy and no longer in discomfort. He said once to me that he never lived up to the promise of his potential. Oh but he did! He has contributed to everyone’s lives in more ways than he can imagine. He has made the lives of a multitude of people better. He has made his family feel valued, supported and important. His memory will live on through his family, his nieces and nephews and their children, and the people whose lives he touched.
We love you Koji. We are proud to call you our Uncle Wawell. You are remembered with pride and love.
“May Light always surround you; Hope kindle and rebound you. May your Hurts turn to Healing; Your Heart embrace Feeling. May Wounds become Wisdom; Every Kindness a Prism. May Laughter infect you; Your Passion resurrect you. May Goodness inspire your Deepest Desires. Through all that you Reach For, May your arms Never Tire.” ― D. Simone
Happy New Year everyone! May 2018 bring you all the best that the universe can bring!
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
One of the best presents I’ve received this year, I didn’t find under the Christmas tree. I found them on London instagram hub meets and impromptu photowalks throughout this year.
I am thankful to Alan for introducing me, properly, to photography and for encouraging me to learn how to take photographs. Because of all this photography business, we’ve gone on to meet so many amazingly cool and super talented creative individuals! But even more than all the new acquaintances, I am thankful for the friendships these experiences have cultivated.
Y’all know who you are. Your friendships are the best gifts Alan and I have received this year! We are blessed by you!
“Our many different cultures notwithstanding, there’s something about the holidays that makes the planet communal. Even nations that do not celebrate Christmas can’t help but be caught up in the collective spirit of their neighbors, as twinkling lights dot the landscape and carols fill the air. It’s an inspiring time of the year.” — Marlo Thomas
As the debris of Christmas eve, Christmas Day and all the lovely Christmas meals are cleared away, I turn to thoughts of Christmas as one often does during these times. Christmas is truly a great uniter…as the real reason for the season truly brings us together. God’s love truly unites us and binds us together, and it is fitting that the season that celebrates the embodiment of God’s love, His Son coming down to live amongst us, unites the world in a celebration of love, joy, peace and selflessness – because Christmas brings about a reason for us to think of others first instead of ourselves, of giving, instead of receiving, of forgiving and letting go.
My heart goes out to all those who have suffered a loss this Christmas. I can only pray that you feel God’s loving arms enfold you in the warmest and most comforting of embraces.
I hope all your Christmases were wonderfully blessed. I hope that all your Christmas wishes came true.
Allow me to say, that despite the sadness that some people may be going through, God will carry you through these difficult times, and I would still bravely greet everyone a very Merry Christmas!