good morning!

I woke up late today. Around 10 am. That is unusual because I have always been an early riser. But since I have been sleeping less the past few nights I decided to overstay in bed. 

Yes, it's official. My body is feeling the Bar coming...and definitely I cannot deny it. As weird as it is, I have been feeling all sorts of stuff. When I shared this with another bar-hopeful friend, she chuckled and commented that I can also be human. Haha. Yes, I am. :) 

Well, this morning I woke up with the sun washing over my window. I reached for my phone and Ipod touch (which are usually beside me, when I sleep). I checked for messages and I logged on the net to check FB mobile. This was what I found:

Mom sent me a message encouraging me not to give in to fear. At first, I thought maybe she read my shout out on Facebook saying,or maybe, a mother just knows well how to read between the lines. Those six words spoke tons of messages to me. There really is a language only parents and children speak...and oftentimes, words can just be too much to use. It made me smile knowing that my mom does have faith in me and feels that all I need to do is trust in God. Now, I am beginning to tear.

I guess all these months I have received all the best wishes I can ever receive from people close to me, telling me that I can hurdle this last step to getting my dream of becoming a lawyer. I even received encouraging words from former professors saying that they see in me what it takes to pass the Bar. Maybe, it's really time to believe in my self. I've been in law school for five long years and I think I've prepped enough for the past months. Now, it's God's time to finish the work we've started. Ready or not, I just have to be ready.

I read a portion of a former professor's article in Business Week (June 2010) and he said: "...the truth of the matter is this: the Bar exams are here, accept it. And pass it." Yes, IT IS REALLY HERE and I declare, I WILL PASS IT. :) 

Now, I really hope to feel better today. :)

Current Song: Love So Pure by Generation Unleashed


manual for climbing mountains by paolo coelho

I climb mountains that is why I completely understand what he's talking about. And yes, this is not just about physical mountains but also our mountains of choice in life. 

Let me first share my story before you read what Paolo said (this is my blog so I can say my piece. Haha!) Some years ago, I decided to climb Mt. Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon...and it is there that I realized how climbing mountains and life are so related. When I reached the summit, I knew in my heart that I have conquered myself. It was then that I found the truth that I can do anything provided I set my heart on it. 

Now, on Paolo's article: 

A] Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing.

B] Know how to get close to it: mountains are often seen from far off – beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. But what happens when we try to draw closer? Roads run all around them, flowers grow between you and your objective, what seemed so clear on the map is tough in real life. So try all the paths and all the tracks until eventually one day you’re standing in front of the top that you yearn to reach.

C] Learn from someone who has already been up there:
no matter how unique you feel, there is always someone who has had the same dream before you and ended up leaving marks that can make your journey easier; places to hang the rope, trails, broken branches to make the walking easier. The climb is yours, so is the responsibility, but don’t forget that the experience of others can help a lot.

D] When seen up close, dangers are controllable
: when you begin to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to the surroundings. There are cliffs, of course. There are almost imperceptible cracks in the mountain rock. There are stones so polished by storms that they have become as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are placing each footstep, you will notice the traps and how to get around them.

E] The landscape changes, so enjoy it:
of course, you have to have an objective in mind – to reach the top. But as you are going up, more things can be seen, and it’s no bother to stop now and again and enjoy the panorama around you. At every meter conquered, you can see a little further, so use this to discover things that you still had not noticed.

F] Respect your body: you can only climb a mountain if you give your body the attention it deserves. You have all the time that life grants you, as long as you walk without demanding what can’t be granted. If you go too fast you will grow tired and give up half way there. If you go too slow, night will fall and you will be lost. Enjoy the scenery, take delight in the cool spring water and the fruit that nature generously offers you, but keep on walking.

G] Respect your soul:
don’t keep repeating “I’m going to make it”. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to be able to grow, stretch along the horizon, touch the sky. An obsession does not help you at all to reach your objective, and even ends up taking the pleasure out of the climb. But pay attention: also, don’t keep saying “it’s harder than I thought”, because that will make you lose your inner strength.

H] Be prepared to climb one kilometer more: the way up to the top of the mountain is always longer than you think. Don’t fool yourself, the moment will arrive when what seemed so near is still very far. But since you were prepared to go beyond, this is not really a problem.

I] Be happy when you reach the top
: cry, clap your hands, shout to the four winds that you did it, let the wind – the wind is always blowing up there – purify your mind, refresh your tired and sweaty feet, open your eyes, clean the dust from your heart. It feels so good, what was just a dream before, a distant vision, is now part of your life, you did it!

J] Make a promise: now that you have discovered a force that you were not even aware of, tell yourself that from now on you will use this force for the rest of your days. Preferably, also promise to discover another mountain, and set off on another adventure.

L] Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains.

on choosing well

Amid my rambling and wondering about the Divorce bill, I remembered an article that I have read some years ago about marriage. It appeared to have been written by Eduardo Calasanz but in truth was an excerpt from the book  Letters to My Son, A Father’s Wisdom on Manhood, Women, Life, and Love written by Kent Nerburn. Whoever wrote it does not really matter, but learning from it does. This article deeply etched in my head the importance of choosing well. Here is the complete text:


I have never met a man who didn’t want to be loved. But I have seldom met a man who didn’t fear marriage.Something about the closure seems constricting, not enabling. Marriage seems easier to understand for what it cuts out of our lives than for what it makes possible within our lives.

When I was younger this fear immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake. I saw my friends get married for reasons of social acceptability, or sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do. Then I watched, as they and their partners became embittered and petty in their dealings with each other. I looked at older couples and saw, at best, mutual toleration of each other. I imagined a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering days and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate. And yet, on rare occasions, I would see old couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other’s presence. They seemed really in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other’s foibles. It was an astounding sight, and it seemed impossible. How, I asked myself, can they have survived so many years of sameness, so much irritation at the others habits? What keeps love alive in them, when most of us seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other?

The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed. It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset.

Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages.

Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side. This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together.

The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other’s laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept up into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality. This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility.

One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each others company over the long term. If your laughter together is good and healthy, and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new.
Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together.

After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again. If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can’t accept, you will inevitably come to grief. Look at the way he/she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.

Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance does not become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood. There are many other keys, but you must find them by yourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.

So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have chosen a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I speak of a miracle. But I think it is not too strong a word.

There is a miracle in marriage. It is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon becomes the butterfly. Winter becomes spring and love becomes a child. We never question these, because we see them around us every day. To us they are not miracles, though if we did not know them they would be impossible to believe.

Marriage is a transformation we choose to make. Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We cannot know the flower that will blossom, but we can be sure that a bloom will come. If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reason, the bloom will be flawed.

We are quite willing to accept the reality of negative transformation in a marriage. It was negative transformation that always had me terrified of the bitter marriages that I feared when I was younger. It never occurred to me to question the dark miracle that transformed love into harshness and bitterness. Yet I was unable to accept the possibility that the first heat of love could be transformed into something positive that was actually deeper and more meaningful than the heat of fresh passion. All I could believe in was the power of this passion and the fear that when it cooled I would be left with something lesser and bitter. But there is positive transformation as well. Like negative transformation, it results from a slow accretion of little things. But instead of death by a thousand blows, it is growth by a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presences, two separate consciousness come together and share a view of life that passes before them. They remain separate, but they also become one. There is an expansion of awareness, not a closure and a constriction, as I had once feared. This is not to say that there is not tension and there are not traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibate to monogamous to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt that the road not taken somehow more fruitful and exciting, and each becomes dulled to the richness that it alone contains.But only marriage allows life to deepen and expand and be leavened by the knowledge that two have chosen, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can know the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that deepens that experience into something richer and more complex.

So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons. It is an act of faith and it contains within it the power of transformation. If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then wait. The easy grace of a marriage well made is worth your patience. When the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom…endlessly. 

Current Song: Oo by UP Dharma Down

I wonder what Gabriela Silang would say

This week Gabriela Party-list refiles a bill legalizing divorce in the Philippines. According to them, the bill (if passed to law) would give “married couples in irreparable marriages another legal remedy that they can resort to in addition to the country’s existing laws on legal separation and annulment...and help put an end to domestic violence still prevalent among married Filipino couples.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 August 2010) 

Then my legal mind started to wonder, how then would Congress treat this bill? Isn't it that our very Constitution protects "Marriage as an inviolable social institution for it is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State" (1987 Philippine Constitution, Art XV, Sec 2)?" Realizing also that the people we elected in Congress are human as they are, would they espouse the common good or would they would again 'twist' the concept to espouse their own personal beliefs? It seemed to me that our lawmakers are not yet contended with the remedies provided by our existing laws. Isn't Psychological Incapacity as provided by the Family Code as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage fully-stretched and abused enough to sever the relationship of troubled husbands and wives? Aren't we burdening the Judiciary of too much personal problems?

If this bill becomes a law, is our society now promoting a non-committal culture? What then are we telling our children? Have we been too westernized that we want to live life casually talking about our ex-wives/husbands and have children who calls each other 'half'? Where now are the values of Family (which by the way, very Filipino), Integrity, and Responsibility?

I am not afraid of change nor do I resist it. On the contrary, I always desired for growth. Looking at this Divorce Bill now, I do not see any resulting growth on the persons of the parties concerned and as a society as a whole. I see this again as a quick-fix to the issues that people want to escape from. True, there really are "irreconcilable" differences but I do believe that married people should put in their best efforts to reconcile them. Divorce isn't as simple as opting for separation pay in case of severed relationships of employers and employees if reinstatement is no longer viable. Didn't husbands and wives vowed to each other: "For better or for worse; For richer or for poorer; In sickness and in health; UNTIL DEATH DO US PART?" Too much? Yes.
People who read this may think that I am not in the right position to speak about marriage because I have not been married myself, hence I do not have the first-hand experience of the gruesome (if you may) truth about marriage. Yet, I speak from the hopeful heart of a young individual who believes that commitments should be revered; That marriage, a vocation, is something that you owe to yourself, your partner and to the One who put you together. Being a commitment, marriage is a decision that one makes prior to indulging into it--a decision that should have well been discerned and prayed about. I speak because I know of real-life stories of people who despite of their "irreconcilable" differences had managed to stick it through--more so lived a happy life together. Not by chance, but because they decided to turn their situations around. I also speak because I think of my generation whose lives are just starting. Some of my friends have just began their married lives and I do not want them to just give up on their decisions of loving each other and living and building their lives together. I also speak because I know that our culture have been becoming permissive and I do not want to wake up one day seeing my future children getting married every five years. I want a life of conviction.

Gabriela Silang fought for the Philippines against the colonialism of the Spanish. Gabriela, the party-list, veers our culture to westernization of values toward marriage. Ironic, is it not?


bar w(h)ine

I miss living a normal life. I miss my friends. I miss lounging without feeling guilty after five minutes.

In a few weeks these will all be over.

Current Song on repeat: Viva La Vida by Coldplay