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Planning to Unplan

There are moments in our life when we either regret or bask in the choices that we make. I hope I can just simply choose what I feel with the events of my life but with the one thing, I wasn’t given a choice, with the other, I kept going back and forth until I just went with the flow. But whatever I feel with the life I lead now because of these events, I know I won’t have it any other way.

My son, Jace Gabriel Wisen, came to my life as unplanned as IMG_3985it can possibly get. I even cried when I found out I was pregnant, as unsure as I was of motherhood. Two years in though, I could say that Jace is my sunshine. My light at the end of the tunnel. My rainbow after the rain. All his giggles, coos, and gurgles send my heart a leaping and it always feels close to bursting because of so much love. He is the best unplanned event that has ever happened in my life. I never thought I’d be grateful for this unexpected surprise but I am, each and everyday.

 

 

On IMG_3872the other had, our dog Hunter, might not have come unexpectedly but he was surely not planned as well. I just came across his picture on Facebook and decided right then and there that I wanted him. Not the most ideal of life decisions when you go about it but I know I made the right decision. He may be an overly rambunctious, hyper social, and somewhat stubborn five month old Siberian Husky I have ever met but he is also the sweetest dog that has come into my life. He may have brought a lot of changes into my life like waking up real early to feed him and getting soaked every week because I’m giving him a bath but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love this dog and every waking hour he just worms his way into my heart more and more.

So you see, making plans for your life is a good thing but sometimes, it is the unplanned ones that give the greatest joy and brightness into our lives. Maybe because it’s God working. It’s His plan, not ours. He planned for our life to be like this, not us. It’s only unplanned because we didn’t take these things into consideration when going about our life. God did and that’s why it still perfectly fits our life.

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Ang Panday

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I remember watching my first ever Panday movie, I was about 5 years old and Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ as he is more popularly known was the dashing hero. Fast forward 30 years later and I am now 35 and Coco Martin is the dashing hero, or the poging tagapagligtas, according to him.

I never would have guessed it but Coco Martin’s take on Panday is one exhilarating, joyful, and roller coaster ride through different worlds of good and evil. There never was a boring moment in the theater as the pacing of the movie was fast. Coco Martin as a director is a revelation. The kid has a knack for directing. The actors were an absolute joy to watch, each and everyone of them was superb. All of them delivered, especially Jake Cuenca, he was so good as Lizardo, the villain. All those courses in the US was worth it.

The movie though, was not without its flaws. It kept jumping from subplot to subplot without ever solidly establishing the subplot and the characters in it. Some of them were, in my opinion, unnecessary to the story line such as the gay pageant and the revelation that Diego is gay. What does that have to do with the movie’s storyline? And speaking of fleshing out the characters, Flavio’s (Coco Martin) love interest, Maria (Mariel de Leon) didn’t have that much dialogue going on for her. She was (almost) just a wallflower in the movie. Why did Flavio like her? Just because she’s tall, beautiful, and sexy? Come on – that’s too shallow.

Given the flaws though, Ang Panday delivered lots of thrills and entertainment. The comedic timings were perfect and the action was jam packed. Despite the mini subplots, it still delivered a cohesive story when it comes to Flavio’s backstory. The CGI was really good, it blended well with the background that you can’t tell it was computer generated. The sceneries were astounding, you’d think they shot in different countries instead of just here in the Philippines.

Ang Panday is as good as it gets, just don’t go into the movie with a bloated expectation and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. After all, this is no Hollywood movie but a Filipino movie who is still into its toddlerhood and is still looking for its identity.

A Mother’s Heart

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Before I had my son, I didn’t know I could love as much as I do now. Friends kept asking me, “What changed?” and during my son’s early months, I couldn’t answer them. I think the change came gradually. Before I knew it, everything that I did was because of my son and for my son. My thoughts and life purpose is consumed by him.

I never knew love as pure and as overwhelming as I look upon my son. He has become not only my world but my life. Sometimes when I hold him, hug and kiss him, I feel as if my heart is going to burst from so much love for him. I think all mothers would agree with me when I say that our heart has grown exponentially just to accommodate this humongous love we have and feel for our child/children. I look at my son and I could see all of my hopes and dreams in this little guy. He has become the personification of all my hopes and dreams. It’s like falling in love for the very first time. The kind of love that you discover the first time, without any pain and heartbreak.

Like all mothers, I know I will never get tired of my child. He, along with his father, is the love of my life and my world. I know nothing is perfect but my life now with my son is close to it. It doesn’t, and will never, get any better than this.

Positivity through Negativity

MILO MURPHY'S LAW

It’s been a while since a cartoon has been more than eye candy. Enter Milo Murphy’s Law.

Milo Murphy’s Law is a cartoon on Disney channel about an accident-prone kid named Milo who’s last name Murphy is the true embodiment of Murphy’s Law which states that, “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. At first I thought it was going to be a boring show that just shows this kid having accidents every single day of his life. How entertaining can that be? Seriously, how can the writers make a good story line out of just that? Lo and behold, I was proven wrong. Really, it was my fault for underestimating my fellow writers. I should have known better.

The cartoon does show the many accidents and shenanigans Milo and his friends go through but it also shows the trust, faith, and loyalty they have for each other. It also shows some serious optimism in the form of Milo himself. I like Milo’s attitude. It’s the kind of attitude where no matter how many bad things happen, the faith is still there that everything is going to be alright in the end. His catch phrase, “I’m sure it will all work out,” is something we should all aspire to as an outlook in life. As Milo once said, “Life has a funny way of turning out okay in the end”.

How many times has a cartoon taught us something valuable about life? How many times has a cartoon transcend it’s 2D life and reflect real life at its best despite all the worst thing that can and is happening? Not since the 80’s and early 90’s (think Care Bears…yeah I know, I’m being biased here, being an 80’s kid and all! Haha!). In this day and age, it’s a dime a dozen to have shows that are not only entertaining but also teach something about life. It’s best that we pay attention.

Dukot

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Hi everyone ^_^ I just watched Dukot (Kidnap in English) at SM North and it was pleasantly surprising. I didn’t think it would be as heart-pounding and nerve-wracking as it was and I was proven wrong! So here I am gushing about the movie in this quasi-review but do keep in mind that I am no critic, basher, nor fan. Just someone who happened to to watch this certain film because the movie I wanted to watch didn’t match my schedule for that day. This is purely all my opinion so please take it with a grain of salt (and some fries! :D) Without further ado, here we go:

In an industry saturated with romantic comedies, Dukot is a fresh of breath air. It was nice to finally watch a Filipino movie without product placements (hard sell much? makes you think that it’s actually one long commercial disguised as a movie) and hugot lines that sometimes seem like it is trying hard to be classic one liners (I do miss the movies in the 80s and 90s, now those hugot lines where truly classics!). Take heed though, this movie will leave you yawning at some parts as the story builds up to a suspenseful scene and then let’s go leaving you wondering “Why?”. It would have been better if the movie made you keep climbing up and once you’re on top of that mountain, slowly and smoothly let you down. However it was so abrupt that it became a disappointment. Think Jupiter Ascending. There was one scene where Carlo (Enrique Gil’s character) was able to escape and thus ensued a chase scene between him and his captors. Of course, the movie audiences shrieked when it seemed that one of his captor was going to catch up to him, while I hid my eyes hoping he would be able to escape. Naturally though, like with most Philippine shows, he got caught and was beaten to a bloody pulp. Here I am reminded of Mara Clara where Mara is always on the verge of getting his Tiyo Kardo’s diary but something always happens so she doesn’t. It would have been better if Carlo escaped and we are treated to  scenes of the captors bluffing their way with his family just to get the money while also trying to locate their victim and recapture him all the while not knowing that they are racing against the police in getting Carlo because he was able to contact his family. I know the Filipino audience loves that building up the momentum thing then nothing (again, Mara Clara). But sometimes, directors and writers need to give us what we need more than what we want. Write what you want and direct the way you truly do. Make a wonderful, fantastic, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping movie without the formulaic plots and storylines Filipino moviegoers have been bombarded with and they will thank you all the more for it.

Don’t despair though because some parts of the movie will leave you gripping your seat and biting your lower lip. All-in-all, Dukot managed to almost give me a heart attack. One of the things it succeeds at is to make the audience paranoid but in a good way. It makes them become more aware of their surroundings and not to withdraw money from an ATM located on a deserted street at past 1 in the morning. Seriously, what can be so important that you can’t wait until at least 9am?!

Of course, movies rely not just on good acting but also on good writing and directing. It takes a brilliant director to take a seemingly simple screenplay and turn it into a classic or blockbuster, sometimes both. Paul Soriano is a big revelation here. Give him more time and he could very well be the Philippines’ next Lino Brocka or Ishmael Bernal. That’s how good he is. Sure, I’ve heard of his indies but I’ve never watched anything he did until now and honestly, I am looking forward to more of his works.

Meanwhile, Dukot made me painfully wistful for the 80s and 90s (I’m an 80s kid and that decade is one of the best!) action movies with the likes of Jeric Raval (he was one of my big crushes then! haha!), Robin Padilla, FPJ, Raymart Santiago, Rudy Fernandez, and even Ian Veneracion and Romnick Sarmienta (my two biggest crush until now!). This movie proves that the Philippine movie industry will not go silently into the night. It will fight the good fight and with enough support from the government and us Filipinos, maybe we can have our own Hollywood or Bollywood. When that time comes, the only big problem we’ll have is finding a name that has all the pizzaz and flash of the Philippine entertainment industry and that goes well with “-wood” at the end. We already have Encantadia, Mulawin, Probinsyano, Sugo – quality tv shows. It’s time that we also have quality movies and Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, Moments of Love and now Dukot has already paved the way for that.

 

 

 

 

 

Of Bipolar and baby

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My son, Jace Gabriel, will be two months on May 3 and I still can not get enough of him; I doubt I ever will.

I remember when I had an inkling that I was pregnant, unlike a number of women wanting a baby, I was nervous. The day I confirmed my pregnancy, I was scared, nervous, and a little bit happy. I was at the mall and I immediately called my husband to tell him. I almost cried. I don’t know about other women with Bipolar who became pregnant but I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions and none of them was pure joy or elation.

Saying that the whole nine months was difficult is an understatement. Yes, I did not have any problems such as pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes but my mind was and is not stable. I had Bipolar and not being able to take any medicines for it while I was pregnant aggravated my condition. I had major attacks at times – hitting myself (luckily not on the stomach), stomping my feet, hurting my arms and face, screaming until my throat hurt – and it scared and worried my husband as well as my mother. Me? I kept promising myself to do better next time, that I will control myself next time. But “next time” never came. When I wasn’t having my attacks, I saw my pregnancy as something so weird that I even likened it to the movie Alien where the main star got pregnant with an alien. I hardly felt overjoyed when I felt my baby’s kicks, I usually got goosebumps. All in all, being pregnant felt very surreal for me.

Fast forward to March 3, 2016. My psychiatrist recommended a C-section for me, fearing that I would have an attack in the middle of labor pains and the actual labor itself. As I was being wheeled towards the surgery room with my husband by my side all I can feel was trepidation. I was agitated and it was because I knew I was going to be injected with anaesthesia and they will inject it in the spine. I was actually crying because of that. I don’t really remember it but according to my husband I was on the verge of an attack.

When my son finally arrived at 8:59 am, I didn’t cry tears of joy. I didn’t feel any happiness when I saw him. I wasn’t gleeful. Truth be told, I wasn’t anything – I did not feel anything. For days and weeks, I struggled with my feelings towards my son. Why didn’t I feel loving towards him? Why do I keep looking at him strangely? Where’s the feeling of love every new mothers rave about? And the ultimate question every moms ask – Am I a bad mom???

Along with his birth came the Bipolar medications that prevented me from breastfeeding my son as well as taking care of him since the medication came with a sedating effect and I  was asleep for 15 hours and sometimes more.

It took two weeks, almost three, and not taking my medication just so I can take care and bond with him for me to feel the first stirrings of motherly love. It was like a dam slowly getting cracks until it burst. And now I know without an ounce of doubt, I love my son more than my life. Oh, my medications still keeps me from fully taking care of him and my attacks are still there that I sometimes actually felt hate towards my innocent baby boy twice but that’s how it is – for now. I can fight my attacks but everyone with Bipolar knows how futile it is. During the good days, I feel like I can do anything, I make plans just like everyone and bond with my baby but on bad days I am a wreck, non-stop crying, screaming, and hurting myself. One thing I am grateful though is that after twice feelings hate towards my boy, I now look at him with a gentleness I didn’t know I can muster during my severest of attacks. No matter how bad my attacks get, whenever I see Jace or hear him crying I am slowly brought back to my senses. Before him, only my husband can do that to me.

Bipolar and babies don’t mix, I found that out the hard way, but it is and will always be worth it just to see my precious son’s toothless smiles and grins, his happy gurgles, and his milestones. The nine months of hell was easily replaced with a lifetime of heaven with my son’s love.

 

 

A Bipolar’s Manic Life

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Have you ever been to hell while alive? It’s like waking up from a deep slumber but instead of feeling well-rested, your head is swimming in constant emotional and mental turmoil. It’s being born again with all the misery and hollowness in the world put inside you and you feel like bursting any moment. Your mind is a jumble of mismatched wires and your heart is beating but you feel lifeless.

I have Bipolar II which means I have more manic depressive episodes than high or elevated moods. More often, I sleep the whole day because I feel like my energy has been drained but there are also times when I am restless and can not sit still or stay in one place. There are times when I am overly excited or happy and have grandiose plans regarding my life, and life in general. Other times, I shop compulsively. I am sometimes the most pleasant, enjoyable company you will have, and at others I am the most obnoxious, sarcastic bitch in the room. I am prone to suicidal tendencies and hurting myself. More so to feel something than to deliberately inflict pain on my being. I have Bipolar, not insanity.

Many an article both here in the Philippines and abroad have featured suicides due to depression and others wonder how these people could do it. What on earth possessed them to end their life, to give up just like that? As someone who have thought of killing herself on more than one occasion, I may not be able to speak for everyone but this I know to be true: the misery within, the silent plea for help when we don’t even know if we want it or not, and the conflict between losing & finding ourself  are all too great a burden that all we want to do is end it. End the chaos plaguing us, for it is a plague, a never-ending plague that only settles but never leaves.

Sad to say, only a few people with Bipolar get the much needed support and unconditional love from their family and friends. On my end, I am not criticizing any friends – nor family – I have but they do tend to ignore me when I am in my manic depressive mood. Others even have the gall to ask how I am doing when it is obvious how exactly I feel. I guess it’s because they do not know. They do not have the slightest clue of the conflict I am battling every single moment of my life. They have their depressive episodes but that will be gone in a few days or week while mine stays. It is a constant in my life. Except for my husband, I am almost always left alone where the feelings of guilt and worthlessness magnify into a thousandfold.

In a way I am guilty of my Bipolar blossoming. I nurtured it you see. From the throes of slight depressive episodes until the depths of a dark bottomless pit, I have watered it until it thrived. You ask what made me do it? Not because I wanted to be in the lowest hierarchy of humanity where pity is constantly on its feet but because I am a writer.

As much as I have Bipolar, I am self-aware and it did not take me long to realize that I write a whole hell of a lot better when I am in my manic depressive mood. It is in my darkest, most primeval, and volatile state when I become in charge of all my faculties – literary at least. In these moments, nothing can stand between me and my thoughts. I am then compelled – summoned more like it – to put pen to paper where all my thoughts gush out, like a faucet opened on full power. It is when I write to my full satisfaction where my brain and heart literally race and tumble over words. I do not know how many people with Bipolar experience this but it is during these moments that I am in bliss. I feel like I am me again – no, I AM me again. My pathos is also my salvation.

Some people might think it but no one ever wants to be mentally ill. No one. But it is something I, and a hundred or maybe thousands of people, have to deal with everyday. I have it not because I am weak. I have it not because I have a flair for the dramatics. I have it not because I am pessimistic. I have it simply because I do. It is a fact and nothing can ever change that. The agony, the tiring ups and downs of my emotions, and the constant feeling of drowning and emptiness is mine and mine alone. Understanding Bipolar will take time but if people put in a lot of patience coupled with dedication then one day, the stigma that is Bipolar will be broken. Then, people with Bipolar like me will be seen as caring, strong, and thriving members of our community – not as weak, cry babies with whom others always have to be on edge with.

I can see the light. It is not that I, and the others, choose to be in the shadows. It is because I need my family and friends to make that light reachable for me, especially in moments of anguish. Yes I need help, but sometimes, I still wonder if I really do. I need patience and understanding, not scrutiny and judgments. One day, I know it will happen.