29

Well, it’s been four months and I haven’t written a single entry. What a way to suck.

So anyways, I just celebrated my birthday five days ago and it was great. It wasn’t totally grand or anything, but rather simple and cool.

The week before my birthday was more interesting though. So let me flashback further to —

Silent Retreat

I.
The invitation arrived on the first semester of school-year 2013-14, but I didn’t really take it seriously, not until the second semester. I asked the DAVP office if there was still an available venue/slot, and I was told that there were two options: Betania and Maryridge (both of which are in Tagaytay, just neighbors I guess). I took the latter which would be given on the last week of May. I thought it as an opportunity to recharge myself. I also asked Ahj if she wanted to go, and she said yes.

II.
We arrived in Tagaytay at 9 in the morning (24 May 2014). Still groggy from last night’s trip. My co-workers complained that they could hear someone strongly snoring at the back. It was me. My bad!

The retreat directors were late, giving us more time to roam around and establish our prayer venues (think of it as one’s personal station or territory for meditation). I chose the pseudo-kalesa bench near the swings, overlooking the beautiful Taal lake.

III.
Once the silence started we were all focused on tuning in to the proper meditative/reflective disposition. My spiritual director (SD) assigned us a couple of passages to consider. I chose two (at first), then prayed over them, then finally decided to go with only one to focus on.

IV.
Five days. Five frakkin’ days of silence — and it was all worth it.

You see, it’s been five years since my last ‘legitimate’ silent retreat. While the first one established my spiritual life (and validations of faith), this one gave me a glimpse of whatever possible future I would take. This retreat made me realize how attached I was to a lot of distractions: from desires for certain recognition[s], to my extreme holding on the past (and my past self).

I had to let go.

The process was hard. It took a number of passages, internal struggles, endless doubts, extreme anxieties, and spiritual negotiations. Add to the fact that my instincts would tempt me to open my cellphone to check the ‘world beyond.’ But it was all good in the end. I was finally able to decide to take only one path, to finally (and humbly) accept the fact that I can’t have it all.

V.
To that entity who listens and speaks between our silences, thank you.

Manila Vacation

Ah, finally! Ahj and I were able to spend vacation together in Manila! I was happy that she was able to hang out with my friends. I was also able to introduce her to my landlady and landlord, who took care of me when I was still a student in AdMU.

We went to Cubao X on the first day (well, basically it was night since we arrived in Manila from Tagaytay at around 5pm, 30 May 2014). There we ate dinner at Bellini’s and then had a meet-up with my best pals Peter and Aspen. John Torres also made a surprise appearance (I actually shouted his name the moment I saw him)!

On the second day we went to AdMU (and my old boarding house) where I also got to donate to the school’s scholarship fund (a ritual of gratitude that I usually do whenever I am in campus). We then went to Tomas Morato to meet my other blockmates. In the afternoon we proceeded to Makati and checked out Ayala Museum (nothing changed much, but it was cool being there with her). I then showed Ahj where I worked (the buildings which once housed the offices of October 80 and Hinge Inquirer), and the pathways I took (from Greenbelt, to Legazpi Village, to Chino Roces). We went then ‘walked’ to The Collective, but weren’t really impressed (save for Wabi-Sabi and the shop which sells Katipunan Beer). At night we reveled in music at SaGuijo (with Revolver productions featuring Ang Bandang Shirley and Techy Romantics). Mikey (Purple Chickens) was also there.

On Sunday we went to Intramuros and I was surprised by the changes. The place seemed hotter, and more residents had arrived to ‘take hold’ of the city. We then went to Bonifacio Global City to visit Fully Booked, but Ahj got a little frustrated ‘coz she couldn’t find the book she was looking for.

On our last day we went to UP Dilliman and ate at Rodic’s (the serving of Tapa bits seems bigger these days). Ahj and I went to UP Press after so she could buy Conchitina Cruz’s Dark Hours, but unfortunately it was sold out! But hey, we were already there so we might as well splurge on a lot of titles. Ahj got some High Chair books, and I got me poetry books plus Carljoe Javier’s Geek Tragedies.

After checking out from our hotel we left our bags at SM Cubao then watched a movie to pass the time.

A funny thing happened in the late afternoon though. I wanted Ahj to try the food at Mr Kabab at West Avenue but unfortunately we didn’t have the time. On our way to Cubao X (since Ahj wanted to buy some books from Remnants before going to the bus station, and I wanted to have a drink or two as part of my going-home ritual), we spotted a newly-opened branch of Mr Kabab the Manhattan Condo. Woot! From there It was all automatic: as soon as we got in I immediately ordered their Special Celo Kabab plus a plate of Ox Brain! It was all good.

Gratias

So the last week of May (and the first three days of June) has been awesome. I am thankful for the blessings which I have received, for friends, for family, for my ever-supportive girlfriend (hi, Ahj!).

I’ve just turned twenty-fucking-nine this 2014. This will be my last year before I meet the dreadful Three-Zero. I’m sucking every air around me, I’m tasting every single taste there is available. I’m embracing life to its fullest, and I’m seizing every fucking chance out there.

Have I grown wiser? More patient? Kinder? I don’t actually know, but hey, let’s just what we can to become the best versions of ourselves.

Cheers!

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