Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bright, Fine Day

Forgive me for not confiding what had happened since late last year. My life was in a complete turnaround ever since I decided to escape the hubris of city life and transferred here in Mindanao. I remember how I left my apartment in Quezon City. The night before my flight to Davao, all my possessions were in a clutter, and that night one thing was clear, I was packing up my messed up life. My clothes were in disarray and i had practically no idea what to bring and what to leave behind. But then again I was bound to leave and whether I bring all what is necessary or not was no longer a thought that has stuck at the back of my mind. And so I left for that 7 am flight the following day with myself tugging along bulging and worn out bags as well as the fickleness of mind, unsure what this life-altering decision of mine was leading me to.

I found myself loving Davao City, though, where I am based now. I have no family here, only a few newfound friends. I worked for a Non-Government Organization working for indigenous people's rights and climate justice. From January to May, I tried to immerse myself in issues concerning land rights of IPs and the right of the people to a clean and healthy environment. I began to love my work as an environmental lawyer especially the visits to IP communities we assisted which entailed traveling along difficult and dangerous roads in habal-habal (motorcycles) to reach remote villages under threat from mining and power companies.

My trip to Lake Sebu was the most memorable and it challenged all of my perceptions on lawyering. At one point, when the habal-habal I was riding fell down near a cliff I asked myself what I was doing with my career. But then again I began to realize that it is in this kind or sphere of work that lawyers are most needed and where only a few has dared to dip their hands into. Lawyers must endeavor to empower people by allowing them to understand the law for them to know their rights as well as their responsibilities. I am privileged to experience.
alternative lawyering of this kind. I have many plans then and for once in my still budding professional life, I have found direction until the NGO ran out of funds and had to close down its Mindanao offices.

From June to middle of September, I was unemployed and I felt lost. Lost in the middle of the sea, I had to find strength to swim ashore. Depression set in and like before when it hits me, I was almost always like a rat trapped in a maze. Sometimes I laugh at the thought of myself being likened to a mimosa folding its leaves inward and drooping when shook. At one point, I was embarrassed after being told by one doctor after another, that this is all about me and the cure to all of these is in me. It is difficult to find the cure then, I say.

I write before I start to work on so many assignments here in my flat. I found work now still with an NGO with a different advocacy but still working on the same principles of alternative lawyering. It gives me the luxury of working at home to finish pleadings, many of which are now waiting in line to get finished, in between visits to the comfort room to pee; while I struggle to tolerate the throbbing pain in my head and to balance myself when standing; while the noise of the siren of an ambulance passing along the road near this flat distracts me; while I look at the bright blue sky and the scattered clouds drifting upon it; and while I say to myself that this is a one bright, fine day for me to relish and enjoy. Tomorrow maybe a different weather.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Avoid the Unreal

It is good that it rained. For one, the water shortage may already be a problem of the past and it trapped me here in my room the whole day. I have never felt so much peace in me the past few days than now. That is why I am here indulging yet again in self-stories I have been known of. It has been eons since my last post here in this blog and that so many things had happened in between documented supposedly here in this repository, journal of this fledgling lawyer. No one is visiting me now I must say for the stats have dropped and the few followers might have resented eavesdropping for novelty has passed away and monotony has sunk in the travails of this challenged lawyer.

I have been lucky to visit the United States last month and has not yet chronicled my travel except for a collection of photos of the places I visited I uploaded in my Facebook page. Some of my friends have been nagging me that I put some story in them. But challenged as I am right now in putting my thoughts into words, I cannot say anything to capture the milieu that surrounds me except maybe of the common excuse of a brainless man that is becoming speechless. My almost one month stay in the US was a blessing from God which have resulted to such thoughts as telling myself I am ready to die. It was very hard to believe that I got through one of the most generous scholarships on earth in one of the most renowned educational institutions. Be that as it may, I must accept that dreams do come true and that I must be happy all the time. I did become happy especially that I was able to meet and live with, even for a short while, one of the most special persons in my life right now that is Mom Lydia and Mike. I met Lydia through my other blog, Thirty Thousand Fishes, and was knocked out by this feeling of familiarity and homeliness through her insightful comments of my posts written during the tumultuous period of my Bar review. If I have to believe in reincarnation and the interplay of the cosmos, I must say that I met Lydia in one of the periods of my past life and that she could have been a parent, a sibling, or a best friend. There was this magical feeling when we first met at the Oregon airport together with his husband Mike that I never felt that they were strangers to me but rather that I have missed them for so long and that I am very happy to see them again. I never told Lydia that I cried to myself when I went passed the immigration and could no longer see them from afar when they accompanied me to the airport on my way back home. It may be a while again to see them and only God knows when.
I really had to struggle not only of jetlag but of depression when I went back home. I had relapse of the abdominal pains I have been suffering from for a very long time and it had worsened that I have to force myself to see a doctor. I was so worried that I have focused so much on the pain and the feeling of nearness with death. I have never confided this thing to anyone except to myself, to a very special friend and to Lydia in an email a week ago telling her what I truly feel and that I am very much worried of my health and that I thought I have cancer. When I read her email I broke in tears right then and there in front of my computer reading love and compassion brought to me from miles away. I would always tell Lydia in my email that I love her; that no one really knows me, my thoughts, my aches and pains, my love quarrels with the world except her and that I will always be relieved of them after reading her response.

I have a personality disorder. The truth of the matter is that even before I became a lawyer, I already had to grapple with it in law school, in dealing with a problematic job, and the most challenging periods in my life, the consequences of a dysfunctional family and the death of my grandmother three years ago. I would always ask myself before why can’t I manage the stresses of work now considering that I managed to live with it before. And I would always dwell on that million dollar question and would always fail myself answering it. It is only now that I am beginning to let myself accept the fact that the truth is that I never overcame stress and that I was in denial all the time.

I went to see the results of the tests last Saturday. They were all normal. I was able to find a good doctor who was very patient in being the sounding board of this anxiety. He appeased me and explained that what I am feeling now may be a functional problem and that it is not organic. He would then explain to me that there is no need to undergo further tests right now or a leave from work. I told him that if there is one thing I am happy about is that he did not tell me that I will die soon. The doctor smiled. He knew I think through his eyes that here is a man in his young age who is too much concerned with death when he has the world to live. I had to thank the doctor for all his concern and for prescribing me anti-depressant which he mentioned during my first visit.

If you will ask me if I love my profession right now, I must say I will have second thoughts in answering yes. I must say that the fire burning in me, the passion in me is slowly settling down. To you who believed in my capabilities and that I would become a great defender someday, the drama is here to stay not in the courtroom or any legal battle but it my unending personal struggle. It came to a point where I became too much burdened that there’s no room left for another. I will not dare to indulge in jus cogens or literary thieves for dinner. I dreamt of being a hero, but reneged on it unconsciously and subsumed myself to a tragic one. I hope and pray that I can find myself with renewed strength and vigor in the process. For the meantime, I will just be here avoiding the unreal.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I have to tell you this while the smoke of memory is still trapped in my foggy mind. I was under the flyover. The massive cement block dark like a starless sky above me, I waited in the middle of that busy highway without a thing in my mind waiting for the signal to beat green. A rush of energy suddenly flowed within me from nowhere taking away the pain, the worries and the ghosts that haunt me. Then the go signal. A mute brisk. There was the homeless man almost hunch back sporting a toothless smile a worthless effort of begging from people passing the busy road. I was happy to see him. I was ecstatic to see the embers of a dying soul ignite a life. I ran and saw secret lives passing through the corners of my eyes. Beads of sweat dropped slowly to the ground. The ground was nourished by sweat because the rain has done a great abandon.

Few hours ago two women were in my sight languishing from pain. They sought help because of desperation. They talked about connections, of buying judgments, of having developed profound mistrust. I talked of keeping faith when I know very well that it is like now when everybody prays for rain and nothing else comes but futile promise of rain clouds that quickly dissipate in the skies.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I write about the city

Smoldering heat one early morning. You could feel it touching your skin burning it easily like paper. There’s no way to cool yourself but to think of mirages of beaches, of rain, of ice; to quench your thirst for life in a city full of busy streets, busy minds, busy people, busy hearts. I envy the skies, the stagnant air, the dried leaf that drifts above the street, the train, and the long road way back home.

Friday, January 29, 2010

To Love or Not To Love

Like waves that rush up the shore and retreat back to the sea, I am now bothered with the thought of whether I will let myself drift in the sea and find the sweetness of love ashore or just permanently there at the sea, alone, waiting for the rain to come by.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bringing Back the Music

I will bring you dear Nicolo with me when I return to the city. I will wake you up from somber and finish your dirty surface back to its shining glory. Sorry if I abandoned you. You didn’t know how the years that passed lingered in my mind with you mesmerizing me, of your sorrowful music, of your nostalgic cries. You were there for all those days that I wept for bitterness. I am away when you want me to play your golden strings.

I will bring you back dear Nicolo. You will play both in my heart and mind.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Speak

You told me that I came first to your mind when you were planning on who will speak and grace your festivities. I was reluctant and told you that I could no longer indulge in real-time self-stories after I realized that my life was as good and bad like any else’s. But I gave in anyway for my distraught father’s pride.

Then I thought about speaking. I digress instantly. From where I am I tell you justice in this country is dug deep, six feet under and I am at a loss right now finding meaning in this vocation I had rather not chosen. Shall I say you stand guard? But definitely don’t take justice in your hands. Justice to each his own. Find it in the most peaceful and comforting ways and you will learn that this world is full of balance you have never known.