Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Divisoria! Divisoria!

For one person who finds going to malls too stressful and not at all relaxing, isn't it ironic if I tell you that Divisoria is my topmost destination in this part of the globe? Before you start raising your eyebrows and howl at me for being the walking paradox that I may be, let me tell you that I have long asked myself this question:

Divisoria, why do I love thee?

Believe me when I say I did some sort of soul searching there one fine Saturday while accompanying my sister to buy giveaways for the baptism of our niece. Armed with only a few survival bucks--since never did I intend to go on a shopping spree-- and a digital camera to capture the sights, I allowed myself to drown in the sea of people with my sister totally clueless of what I was up to. And as I sank deeper and deeper into the crowded streets, I found reasons, profound or otherwise,  why the place fascinates me to no end.

Divisoria puts one's survival skills to practice. Finding my way to the next street or building means bumping into mortals of all forms and sizes from different walks of life--shoppers carrying oversized plastic bags, vendors pushing karitons, policemen shoving the vendors off the sidewalks, kargadors with tons of big boxes on their backs, children and manangs selling shopping bags etc. etc. You feel a certain sense of fulfillment if you arrive at your next destination in one piece with all your valuables still intact. I love the challenge!

Divisoria is a shopping paradise, all in one. Aside from people, Divisoria has all goods one can ever think of buying and selling from toothpick to battleship. While the sidewalks have the merry mix of everything, there are streets known for particular kinds of goods, say, Ylaya for textiles and Tabora for craft materials as well as home decors, and shopping malls for clothes and more but with the advantage of having airconditioning systems. Most famous of which are 168, Juan Luna, Divisoria Mall and Tutuban situated only a few blocks away from one another.

Divisoria offers value for money. The cheapskate in me is most likely to grin from ear to ear stumbling upon good finds with unbelievable marked down price tags. Imagine buying a pair of fashion flats for P250 when you can find something similar in the high end malls for more than P2K! My sister even got her pair for P100 from a sidewalk stall. Fashion for less? Divisoria is it! But no matter what you are buying, you should learn the art of haggling. Here's the trick: never take the price at face value rather bid for the lowest price and start to negotiate from there.  If the stall attendant doesn't bite try to walk to another store. You win when he or she calls you back.

Divisoria depicts Filipino generosity and resiliency. Christmastime or not, people flock to Divisoria practically for everything (did I just mention from toothpick to battleship?). A mother shops for her kids' uniforms and school supplies. Visiting relatives troop to 168 to buy pasalubongs to bring to their loved ones left in the province. An entrepreneur sells curtains salvaged from the recent floodings for P10/yard just so nothing is wasted. Despite the economic crunch, you can opt not to be deprived of things you may either need or want by scouring the shops or sidewalk stalls in Divisoria. That's just learning to maintain the normalcy of life without feeling the guilt of violating your belt-tightening resolve.

Divisoria is never boring. I have been to Divisoria countless times and every visit offers new treats--the sights, smell, noise, markdowns, items on sale, people etc etc. It is just so full of character and color! I always look forward to going there even if it would mean enduring the Quezon Ave.-Espana-Avenida-and-back traffic, not to mention aching feet from too much walking. Ooops, let me just point out it is extra challenge to be in Divisoria when it rains because chances are you are to wade through the muddy streets or worse murky flood waters.

That's Divisoria for me. If there's one thing which is a bit inimical to me though,  the place provides opportunities strengthening my tendency to weaken my political will. I went home with 21 yards of ribbons to spruce up our baptism giveaways, a shirt, 1/4 kilo of castanas and an inflatable big rubber reindeer toy for my baby niece, all for a little over P300. And that's after intending not to go on a shopping spree.

Until my next trip!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A grim reminder

57 innocent lives lost
Lawyers, journalists, civilians murdered beyond brutal
A crime that was unfathomable for human beings to commit. Animals not even. Only demons can.
Darkness looms over Maguindanao, the ARMM, the entire nation

Let us not forget to make a noise of justice for the victims
Let us not forget to take part in preventing whitewash as the primary suspect is a high-ranking government official, friend and ally of the little lady in the Palace, someone who considers himself and his lot 'untouchables'
Let us not forget to be watchful until we see the culprit(s) inside the cold prison cell, behind bars

Let us not forget to remind our so-called democratic institutions to shape up because the whole world is watching
Let us not forget to pray for God's light amid the evident gloom

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Writer's block

I want to write. I want to put my thoughts into words. I want to come up with an extraordinary story of the events in my ordinary day.

But my creative juices refused to flow out tonight, evaded me even. The words just wouldn't come. My mind has gone blank just like the computer screen in front of me before I started typing away. Writer's block it might be. Arrrrggghhhh!!!

The more I push myself, the more it becomes futile. So I guess I have to end here and try my luck again.

Sometimes, you just have to quit when it becomes your only option. Tomorrow is another day anyway!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Single and loving it

A few times I was asked about my current status, I always had a ready answer:

I am single and loving it.

Don't get me wrong. I am not romanticizing the idea of watching the sunset solo on my rocking chair. Nor do I intend to completely abandon my aspiration of raising adorable and smart kids with a good husband. It's just that I am enjoying the state of life I have at the moment, no ifs no buts.

Some people, especially my friends from outside of Ligaya ng Panginoon (a Catholic community where I am a member of), find it weird that I am still not into a relationship of sorts. The "what-is-wrong-with-you?" banter used to be a staple whenever love life issues crop up in conversations. As if I am the one who caused global warming! My relatives too would often rib me if they have to wait for doomsday before tasting the proverbial "mainit na sabaw" in my wedding banquet. To counter such terrorist-like attacks I have come up with this killer line: Is it a crime to be single and happy? That sends them to peace as they respond with a resounding “no.” Case closed.

Being single is a gift and not a curse. It's sad when others associate it with the latter because that is totally missing the point. So what if you're tucked in the world of singledom? I can't think of any person who is deprived of sunlight just because he/she is single. On the contrary, this is the best time when one can have as much opportunities to enjoy the sun, literally and figuratively. Hey, you only have yourself to take care of might as well max out the fun while you can.

I understand that many single people nowadays don't smile much because they're busy looking for that supposedly one piece of the jigsaw puzzle which can make them whole. It reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw's line in one of the television episodes of Sex and the City: “As we speed along this endless road to the destination called who we hope to be, I can’t help but whine, ‘Are we there yet?’” Getting fixated on what is not there robs you of the chance to experience the bliss of the now. It doesn’t hurt if we stop and smell the roses, does it?

Being single actually has many benefits married people could only yearn and love to trade places for. Freedom thrives. Since you don’t have a husband/wife or kids to attend to, spending countless moments with God is never a luxury. Mobility comes easy as you can go anywhere anytime without having to ask permission from anyone. You make intelligent decisions and if things don’t work out, the only casualty is yourself. You can shift careers, learn new sports or craft, go for what you are passionate about, explore the world, discover yourself….and the list could go on. These can hardly be done if one is tied with the responsibility that comes with marriage.

Singlehood is a path one should learn to love before moving on to the next. Hopefully it is just a temporary stop, a transition point as we get ready for bigger things ahead. The duration of your stay though depends on how you embrace the kind of life you have as a single person. It goes without saying there’s also a possibility that you will be stuck by choice or by circumstance. But whether or not “the right one” you are waiting for comes along to get you out from this state, you still have choice to live a full life no matter what. It happens when it happens, it comes when comes.

My mantra comes from Paulo Coelho’s “Love Your Path”—the path doesn’t last forever. It’s a blessing to travel the path for some time, but one day it will come to an end, so be prepared to take a leave of it at any moment.

When my time is up, I wish to be ready to go for another state of life with bated breath. Only God can tell the proper timing. But as I wait, I am dead set to have a blast for now as a single person and absolutely loving it.