Sunday, May 29, 2011

Turning kitchen warrior

I cringe at the thought of washing the dishes. Oh, let me correct that: I cringed at the thought of washing the dishes. Had I blogged about it yesteday, the present tense would have been appropriate. But our household helper coming back today seems to make all the difference as to my sentiments toward this chore...

It is really something I am still trying to understand. Several days ago, I felt I needed help. I had come to dread the hour or so before lunch time or dinner time only because that would mean I would have to do the dishes soon after. I didn't understand the change in sentiment -- I had come to like dishwashing and to accept it as a normal part of family life (only when our househelper is away for days or weeks, though).

I had even looked forward to carrying out this duty especially when I had been gone the whole day and thus would only have the dishwashing as my contribution to the upkeep of the home for that day.

But about a week ago started the dishwashing-dreading. "I need help in making dishwashing more appealing," I told some online friends. Till then I had already gone through quite a lot of musical genres to accompany me at the sink (Beatles, classical, movie themes -- but I had grown fond of Vivaldi and Mozart playing in the background while I worked the suds; they seem to emphasize the dignity of housework somehow, and bolster my enthusiasm for the task at hand). But procrastinating till almost midnight before finally facing a dirty stack of china meant I needed help!

"Dance the cha-cha while washing the dishes?" someone suggested. That was an amusing thought, and to my mind it posed a challenge in keeping the suds off the floor.

"Why don't you play 'Handel's Messiah' while you're at it?" another one proposed. I had done that before, I replied, but did put a certain "ooomph" into my spirits every time I was all set to conquer the dirty dishes and helped me remember the truth that every kind of honest work carries with it a certain dignity. So, no matter how menial household chores seemed to feel at times, listening to the Halleluia chorus was a welcome reminder of work well done being a good thing to offer to the One who blessed me with hands to work with in the first place.

Somehow the Hail Mary -- the words that the Angel Gabriel uttered to the mother of Jesus when it was made known to her that she had been chosen for a very special mission in the story of salvation -- found its way into the conversation. I had asked for a Tagalog translation and someone provided it. I figured, since I hadn't memorized it, might as well work on it while scrubbing dinner plates.

Feeling irked by the prospect of dishwashing got me really thinking. I mean, if I could enjoy chores one day and almost loathe them the next, where's the stability in that? And what if it graduates to more important things, like marriage? It's a fact that marriage is no walk in the park and that efforts are necessary to live it as it is meant to be.

Just like dishwashing, living one's lifelong commitment is bound to feel boring once in a while. Should that be surprising? I suppose not (so why am I puzzled by my sudden desire to flash the "talk to the hand" stance at dirty dishes that await me?). Maybe because knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. And though I uttered no vows to declare a lifelong commitment to dishwashing, the same principle stands: the beauty of keeping at it regardless of how one feels about the whole thing. I hope a married person gets to read this sometime in the midst of a rocky stage in the relationship, and take home the point that marriage indeed is a bed of roses -- which means the presence of thorns. And they will make themselves felt from time to time. But that doesn't take away the beauty and the value of the bouquet that is meant to last a lifetime.

I doubt it if I'll ever think of household chores as beautiful bouquets of roses, but who knows? When mopping the floor -- even when done for one's family -- gets to feel too much like drudgery, one's imagination can actually save the day and issue reminders that go beyond "This, too, shall pass." Reminders such as "We can do no great things; only small things with great love." And how can that not make a mop, a dirty dish or a sponge look like a challenge worth conquering (and a conquerable challenge at that)?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Swiss I miss

I had been wanting to blog about ordinary everyday stuff but couldn't seem to find enough time or a few leisurely minutes to do it.

Now that I have a few minutes for some leisurely blogging as I let dinner be digested, all I can think about is.... chocolates! And, since my mother right now is watching some tennis match featuring the world's former #1 but still decidedly the best player -- he does elevate the level of tennis somehow -- Roger Federer, combine chocolates and Federer and what have you got?

That one up there is a behind-the-scenes peek of a Lindt truffles TV commercial. And the one below is the "extended cut" of the finished product. I've never even tasted Lindt chocolate, and though I used to be more picky as far as chocolate is concerned, I've come to feel a special affinity to what local makers produce. There is just a special kind of satisfaction that comes with finishing a box of Curly Tops that I can never explain :-)

So, here is the 1-minuter featuring the Swiss Mister and the little brown delectable spheres:

Friday, May 20, 2011

He's a (life-) lover and a fighter

I've bookmarked some articles that reveal just what Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is made of, but yesterday's editorial cartoon from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and a recent news article from CBCP News will have to do for now. More to come soon!

Boxing champ Pacquiao uncovers Lagman's misleading claims of amended provisions

MANILA, May 19, 2011—In what started out as a seemingly one-sided debate Wednesday between a neophyte and a veteran legislator, with the newcomer looking hesitant in some instances, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman ended up admitting to the newbie that certain provisions of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill he had been claiming amended were, in fact, still intact in House Bill 4244.

Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao queried the bill's principal author on the provision regarding a two-child ideal family size, saying that such a measure may lead to a population drop in the country.

Lagman replied that the bill's authors had already removed the two-child ideal, adding that it would take a century before a feared "demographic winter" would set in.

After expressing his concern over the bill’s P3 billion proposed annual budget, the world boxing champion then focused on mandatory sex education, which the bill requires for students from Grade 5 to 4th Year high school in all schools as well as for out-of-school youth.

"Puwede po bang tumanggi ang isang estudyante sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang mga magulang?" the solon asked, airing his concern that more students will be unable to graduate from high school should they miss their sex ed classes.

"Ang compulsory sex education ay labag sa constitution," he added.

Lagman replied that the provision on mandatory sex education had also been amended.

"Wala na nga pong obligasyon na ito, tinanggal na nga ito," the Albay congressman said. "Walang basehan 'yung apprehension na walang makaka-graduate. Exempted sa pag-attend, exempted din sa pagkuha ng periodic tests. Ang mga estudyante po ay makakagraduate."

The Sarangani congressman then brought up the question of whether or not employers will be required to provide condoms and other artificial contraceptives to their employees, as stipulated by the RH bill.

He expressed concern that this would disregard the religious convictions of employers who believe that the measure goes against their beliefs.

"Amended na ang provision na ito. Hindi mo yata narinig dahil nag-eensayo ka para sa laban mo," Lagman countered. "Incomplete ang impormasyong ibinigay sa iyo. Hindi ito sapilitan."

In an unexpected turn in the line of questioning, the pound-for-pound fighter then asked the solon from Albay why there were amendments to the bill when they were still in the period of interpellations. Once a bill has passed the committee level, amendments may only be proposed and accepted during the period of amendments that comes after the period of interpellations.

Lagman responded by relating the March 22 deviation he and ACT-TEACHERS Party List Rep. Antonio Tinio carried out in which the proposed amendments were merely voiced out. This took place after the Committee on Population and Family Relations had already formally approved the Committee Report.

Pacquiao then asked Lagman by what rules these supposed amendments were accepted, as the period of amendments were yet to be reached. Lagman was unable to provide an answer.

In other words, the so-called amendments that Lagman and the bill's co-authors have been insisting are still proposed amendments. The current version of House Bill 4244—which contains provisions on mandatory reproductive health and sex education (Sec. 16), ideal family size (Sec. 20), and employers' responsibility to provide RH services to employees (Sec. 21), as well on malicious disinformation under "punitive acts" (Sec. 28)—stands. (Diana Uichanco)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life.

-- Jean Paul Richter, German Romantic writer

Truth on live TV

Just a quick post on a crucial issue. For those who are interested in the truth, read and watch.

Pro-lifers demolish pro-RH arguments in TV debate

MANILA, May 10, 2011—It was a dynamic discussion on sex education, population and poverty, health issues and the beginning of life as representatives of different sectors debated on Sunday night's "Harapan/ RH Bill: Ipasa o Ibasura" on ABS-CBN.

After the bill's primary author, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, kicked off the debate with reasons why the measure ought to be approved, Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez pointed out serious health factors that made the bill's reproductive health measures objectionable.

Besides stressing the link between contraceptive use and breast cancer according to the World Health Organization and the US-based National Cancer Institute, Golez expressed concern over the perceived protective power of prophylactics against sexually transmitted diseases.

As an example he cited Thailand, where the high contraceptive prevalence rate has not curbed the incidence of AIDS, now numbered at some 600,000 cases.

"Bakit ganon? Kung totoong tama ang RH eh bakit ubod ng laki ang kanilang HIV cases?" he asked.

Full article at CBCP News

You can watch the video of the May 8 debate here

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Red corner

Since Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao has displayed commendable sportsmanship again in today's boxing match with Shane Mosley, coupled with the fact that he won...


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Why we can't just chill about pills

There's been a lot of talk about contraception over the years, and more so lately -- oral contraceptives in particular -- because of a slip of the tongue perhaps.

Here' something that puts a comical twist to the resulting scenario among the proponents of a certain legislative measure that, if passed into law, means State-sponsored, State-promoted distribution of the full range of birth control drugs and devices nationwide.

But then after the chuckles and guffaws, one ought to get down to business and do something about the situation because, really, playing with the lives of women -- and trying to justify it in some way -- is a serious matter.

In case you're not up to date on this issue, or are feeling like it's got nothing to do with you, then try thinking of it as depriving yourself of the truth. Now who relishes being deprived? And think about it -- being informed is one way of being empowered.

For starters, check this out to gain some perspective on some developments on the issue (and bring yourself up to speed about three quasi-celebrities in the process).

Then know more about what transpired at a press conference which tackled this hot issue. An excerpt from "Cancer risk of oral contraceptives ignored by RH advocates":

When asked to comment on the continued push for tax-funded promotion and distribution of contraceptives despite Cabral’s recent admission and despite the Pill’s being categorized as class 1 carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO), [Rep. Luzviminda] Ilagan remarked, “Well, all that it said is that it increases the risk. So according to doctors, well…say in my case, I was told that I should not use the Pill [due to a condition], or women who smoke should not use the Pill. Then they have other choices. That’s the principle ― that you have a wide range of choices. The RH Bill is not against natural family planning.”

When asked to confirm if she would still continue to promote the bill with the provisions on oral contraceptive promotion intact despite the established health dangers, the congresswoman was evasive.

Full story here

Friday, May 06, 2011

Reality, accompanied by the valse

Makes you think, huh?

Learn more at Filipinos for Life

Life around the world in 5 headlines

Here's a look around the world without leaving your living room (or wherever you are as you read this). In just five stories one gets a picture of the varied perspectives on the value of a human being's life. There's more good news than bad here; fortunately, there's always hope as long as one is alive! But one sure can see red sometimes, especially when getting news of the latest scheming measures that a certain global organization is up to again.

So, how's life around the world? Get a glimpse from these excerpts (followed by links to the full articles):

They direct their book to those who, having received a devastating diagnosis, have decided, or are still in the process of deciding, to continue their pregnancy knowing that their baby’s life is expected to be brief. Yet their positive and encouraging approach to these heartbreaking realities paint the choice of abortion as a sad mistake and a missed opportunity for emotional growth and healing.
Because of the shared pain, courage, faith, and, often, wisdom of the mothers and fathers who relate their experiences, any reader can achieve a better understanding of what it means to be a mother and a father:

“As a mother, I have always felt that it was my job to identify what my children need and give it to them. Sometimes those needs are simple and straightforward–clean laundry, a healthy meal, a hand to cross the street safely. Maggie’s needs were not like those of my sons. She needed us to give her a safe and peaceful transition from one world to the next. Carrying Maggie to term did that for me–it gave me the opportunity to ‘mother’ her until she didn’t need me anymore.” ~ Alessandra (p. 345)

"A Gift of Time: Continuing your pregnancy when your baby's life is expected to be brief" at MercatorNet


Roger Kiska of the European Center for Law and Justice said he was “overjoyed” by the new Hungarian constitution, calling it a victory for democracy, for life and the family, and for Hungary. Kiska said he found “shameful” the attempts by the European institutions to undermine the Hungarian government, a government overwhelmingly approved by popular electoral vote. “I hope that Hungary stays strong in its convictions because what is at stake, life and the family, are too high a price to pay simply to appease the bureaucrats in Brussels.”

"New Hungarian Constitution recognizing life 'from conception' signed into law" at LifeSiteNews


The UN is about to ask governments to fund the vaccination of every girl in the world against the sexually transmitted disease HPV, human papillomavirus. The controversial campaign could cost as much as $300 per person, totaling billions.

Dignitaries who launched the campaign at the UN in mid-April included a prominent African first lady, leaders from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the American Cancer Society, and the contraceptives manufacturer PATH.

"UN wants billions for STD vaccination scheme" at C-FAM

This is disgusting. CBSLA News has glorified an elderly woman selling suicide kits as “death with dignity.” From “91-Year-Old Grandma Sells Suicide Kits To Help Terminally Ill Die With Dignity”:

Meet Sharlotte. Like a lot of grandmothers, she likes to keep busy. But while some grannies sit and knit scarves and afghans, this 91-year-old has a decidedly different hobby. She makes suicide masks… Sharlotte, who sells her controversial kits for $60, demonstrated how they work in front of our cameras.
Opponents to changing the law point to one of Sharlotte’s clients, a 29-year-old Oregon native. He wasn’t suffering from a terminal illness. He opted out because he was tired of dealing with his chronic depression. His suicide touched off a major controversy. And now, a group called Californians Against Assisted Suicide wants to stop Sharlotte and her masks.

"Media pushes suicide assistance" at Secondhand Smoke


The meeting between the 7-year-old boy and the 31-year-old man began awkwardly, as meetings of strangers often do. But then young Jacob Kowalik sized up the adult, and began to drop his guard.

They played tic-tac-toe. They talked about hockey. Jacob and his parents invited Marshal Davis to their house for pizza, Jacob's favorite meal.

There also was a gift, a husky dog stuffed animal, though it wasn't for young Jacob. It was FROM him, a small token of thanks to this man who'd given Jacob a gift that the boy was too young to fully understand.

"Jacob's donor: Bone marrow transplant forever alters two lives" at MSNBC

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

From within

People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light
from within.

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Swiss-American psychiatrist and author

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