Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Robin Hood and Scrooge Christmas

I am excited. CDO here I come! ^_^

I have been frequenting different malls for the past two weekends. The malls were packed, everyone seemed to be in a hurry and I know the merchants are just laughing by the sidelines. People are being fed into the jaws of commercialism. I used to be one of them. I bought what I felt would be appreciated and did not think of my expenses. I was the opposite of Scrooge but afterwards, I felt like I was robbed by Robin Hood.

Because of my impending plans for early next year, I was forced to save. But even with being spend-thrifty, I realized that it was a nice feeling to have secured finances. Everything is now plotted out, I could now breathe. But still, I have to push myself to tie a leash round my wallet to put all plans into place.

How do we get to buy gifts and at the same time save? Here are some tips I can give:

a.) Don't give out gifts based on what the person wants but on what the person needs. There are more stuff we can buy which is needed than what is wanted. Wants are more expensive than needs. Say for example, you buy an organizer rather than a very expensive hardbound. It would still be appreciated, and in the long run more appreciated. You will have an idea on what he/she needs based on his/her occupation. A writer? A cute pen or a nice notebook. A programmer? A nice book on programming. There are endless options.

b.) Don't buy on impulse. Write all possible gifts you can give on paper. This way, you could discipline yourself to buy what is planned, and not just buy as what you see on the shelves. This way, you'd be right on budget.

c.) Don't bring a large amount of money. Just bring an amoung a margin higher than your budget. This way, you will be forced to buy what is on the list, and avoid changes. The wallet leash will still be on!

d.) Don't buy expensive Christmas wrappers and ribbons. You can make do with colorful papers around your house or artsy stuff from previous projects or even with colorful magazines! People will just tear Christmas wrappers apart. What matters most is what is in the inside, and not the outside.

In my opinion, it would be cheaper to buy gifts rather than give money. Buying gifts would consume energy thereby burning fat and losing weight! It could also assure you that at least the money is spent surely on a thing rather than on something else! :)

Sometimes Scrooge has a point in being thrifty and Robin Hood also has a point in giving...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nonsense Conversation

Does it even deserve to be called a conversation?
It's either we are both bored or senseless, or we have nothing to talk about.

But it's fun though.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas in the Philippines

If everything will go as planned, I will really miss my country and Christmas with my relatives here in the Philippines.

"Pasko" is the tagalog word for Christmas in the Philippines. Seems like Filipinos really love festivities! Christmas fever starts as soon as the month with "er" comes (September) and ends until Valentines day. It really is a long stretch.

"Parols" or Philippine lanterns are already hanging from different people's homes. Christmas recipes are already being prepared and the pig to be roasted for Christmas is already being fattened (poor pig!). Like all other nations, Filipinos will be also seen scrambling for gifts in the malls.

When I was still young, we used to play lots of "parlor" games during Christmas. My aunts and titos would shower us with coins to grab together with envelopes of "cash gifts" during Christmas parties. But now that I'm already working, I couldn't have that "cash gift" anymore; Not to mention that my grandparents are already up "there".

We also celebrate this "simbang-gabi" where we go to church early dawn starting Dec. 16 until Christmas day. They say that if we get to complete attending mass until Christmas, you will have the privilege of one wish and that wish will be granted. I was able to perfect it once! But only once. I really dragged myself from bed that time.. There were times when I attended mass just by myself (without my family). But the good thing is, I get to enjoy the free chocolate drinks after mass! ^_^ Not to mention having my wish at the end of the series.

Christmas in the Philippines. Not just a season of joy but a culture.

My Country the Philippines

I really am not that patriotic, but here I am, writing about my country. I recently read an article from Philippine Daily Inquirer and even though the present state of my country hurts me, I just have to chew the facts and swallow them.

I used to be an avid chatter in high school - getting giddy in the fact that I could chat to another person across the globe. Technology bowled me over, and I was ever ready to grasp it. I frequented internet cafes just to browse the net and get into the MIRC. I loved the idea of chatting with someone blue-eyed or red-haired from some country. I was too young back then. But I never intended to meet them in person. I could still envision Little Red Riding Hood and the possibility of being eaten up by the big bad wolf. The world is full of wolves. We ourselves could be the wolves.

I've been in Cebu for three years now and I notice there are a lot of women here who have boyfriends and husbands who are foreigners. It is hard to accept that some of these women (not all) marry their husbands for money and not for love. I've even seen a girl who was just like in the age bracket of 18-20 years old and was with this foreign guy who was like - 50 years old? o_O You think that is marrying for love? The Philippines was used to be known as a country with conservative women - but now I see our women wearing tiny skirts and revealing blouses with their foreign husbands clinging by their sides. Is that to impress? I hope women could show more self-respect than that.

Kudos to technology. Kudos to the brains of it all. We can take advantage of technology to the maximum level but let us not let technology abuse us and our reputation as a country.
Blast to the philosophy that love is a decision. Look around us, our women are "loving" because of this decision. I frequented internet cafes in the past to have fun, but look at women now. They frequent internet cafes to show what is not supposed to be shown and to be teased with the prospect of being able to lift themselves from poverty by sacrificing their self-worth and getting married to someone they don't love or maybe eventually will learn to love. It's all for the money.

This all boils down to our economy problems. Our country's problems. If our country weren't that plagued with political and economic concerns, "real" love could still have prevailed.

Still, all change starts with us.

But are we too blind to realize that fact?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Busyness" and Coincidence

I made a poem not so long ago about the word "busy". I stowed it away somewhere with the rest of my super heartfelt poems (oh so heartfelt!) - poems which I made whenever I really really felt so low, or whenever I felt so giddy with love. Yah, corny but true. In the past, whenever I felt so down in the dumps, it was like having this bottle with the cork that wanted to pop, that when you pop it, the wine overflows or something like that (ever heard of the advertisement of Pringles saying: "One you pop you can't stop!"? I felt like that). But going back to the topic "busy" - yeah, busy, I hated the word. And I hated its essence.

I've watched tons of movies. I cannot say hundreds 'coz I'm not really a movie buff. I keep recalling those scenes when children cry because their dad did not make their dream treehouse or their dad did not go to the promised camping trip or their moms were not able to attend their school plays. All for the reason of "busy-ness". I felt that way at the end of the previous week and the beginnings of this week. Like some child complaining, because of the circumstances of this "busy-ness". I guess I was really just selfish. They are children, they have the reason to whine because they still don't have the maturity to understand things. And I am an adult - a selfish one at that.

I have this principle in life that when I promise something to someone, I should do all things to achieve or fulfill that promise. If I could not, at least that person should have the knowledge or should have seen that I put all my sweat and blood to overcome all obstacles (or shall we say "busy-ness") to fulfill the promise. Not just say "I'm sorry , I'm busy that day." Or, "Sorry. Busy." Feeble attempt at rhyming huh? Well as they say, everything has a reason and that reason is "busy".

I guess I am just frustrated. Because all commitments promised to me were broken. 95% of them this week and the previous week. I understand every instance of them were just pure coincidence .. or maybe I'm just losing self-importance. Or I just want them to give me importance. Maybe that's it.

I really am selfish.

The thing is, what matters to me is if you can't make it, just say the magic word - "sorry" in a heartfelt manner and everything is forgotten.

So for those with kids, I guess an apology is not enough. You have to make it up. Just make sure that when you promise, the second time, the promise should be fulfillled. If you apologize that time around, the apology is already stale at the start. No use.

Life is not built on work. Or on business. It is built on the foundation of time wrapped with love sprinkled with effort and care.

Maybe all was just "busyness" and coincidence.

There still is a second chance.

And I am not a child anymore.