Thursday, April 24, 2014

Losing Again

I'm a control freak. I like to plan.
"As he made his morning coffee, Tengo found himself silently wishing that this peaceful time could go on forever. If he said it aloud, some keen-eared demon somewhere might overhear him. And so he kept his wish for continued tranquility to himself. But things never go the way you want them to, and this was no exception. The world seemed to have a better sense of how you wanted things not to go."*
Things NEVER go the way you want them to go. The universe have always had a perverse sense of humor. I've said this since I was in college. Even how carefully and studiously you plan, something happens that just shakes your world and wakes you up, as if to say, you cannot have it so easy. You can't have a perfect life. It does not matter if you work your ass off to accomplish a plan, to reach a goal, to attain a dream. Something's bound to mess up.

I had an ectopic pregnancy which had to be removed after rupturing last week. If I don't have it removed, I might die. I also had a miscarriage 5 years ago. One of the friends who I informed of this told me that there's nothing I can't face anymore, no burden will be too heavy.

Maybe I've gone through all this and maybe I should wear my battle scars proudly, but things just make me wonder. Why can't I have it my way? Some faithful, religious, bordering-fanatic people might say that I should just put everything in some higher power's hand, that we are mere people and we cannot control anything, that what we need will be handed and what we don't will be taken from us inevitably. I have not subscribed to such doctrine. I have offended so many with my beliefs I am aware, but I just can't get myself to believe any of it.
“If a certain belief—call it ‘Belief A’—makes the life of that man or this woman appear to be something of deep meaning, then for them Belief A is the truth. If Belief B makes their lives appear to be powerless and puny, then Belief B turns out to be a falsehood. The distinction is quite clear. If someone insists that Belief B is the truth, people will probably hate him, ignore him, or, in some cases, attack him. It means nothing to them that Belief B might be logical or provable. Most people barely manage to preserve their sanity by denying and rejecting images of themselves as powerless and puny.” *
I'd rather be powerless and puny in certain periods of my life, in certain aspects. Let me lose my mind a bit. But I don't wanna give up and just let some invisible force work its way into my life. I've seen lots whose lives did not get any better after surrendering their lives into some higher power. I saw then falter and finally fall, get buried, forgotten. I won't take that. I'd rather take control. What I believe in is human's power to think, to analyze, to understand, to adapt, to learn.

One of the best messages I received was from a schoolmate back in grade school, we were not even friends then, she was a year younger, all I remember is we always end up at the top of the class and we attend the recognition rites together. As we grew older I saw how our principles coincide, and that's how I felt that we built a friendship deeper than I usually have, despite the distance, despite the differences.
"I don't pray, I don't think I have the words that can provide comfort, you don't deserve any advice from me because I have not known the pain of loss and the hardship of losing control over different aspects of your life at  the same time. But please don't deny yourself of coping as a human being, write, even curse or scream, cry all day, if you have to. Don't deny yourself of the humanity in feeling helpless, of hurting, of questioning, of being vulnerable to the things we cannot explain. You will be in my thoughts and I will hold good intentions for your recovery, from both emotional and physical pain. Breathe, live one breath at a time."
What she wrote is not the cliched "be strong". She understood that more than being strong, I need to cope, to feel vulnerable, to feel the pain, to release the anger, to question everything I believed and did not believe in -- to feel human. After this, then I can go through the waves, then I can get back on track, put fresh grease and get the gears running.

Yes, I might be in limbo, in denial. I don't want to talk to anyone about what happened. That one composition I wrote would be enough to get my message through, to inform people of the gist. This is is me in my weakest, I haven't quite taken control yet. I'm still lost. What has happened to me got me thinking, of my capacity to bear a child, my fertility. What might not be my sole purpose but my husband's expectations of me -- sure he's been supportive, taking all the emotional baggage, carrying the psychological toll and accepting all the financial blows that this brought -- all that's happened might bring him to the edge. He loves me, I know. He brought me to the doctor, the hospital, bought my meds, skipped work, made ends meet, fed me, held my hand, my arm -- in my weakest, my helplessness. He waited, I just hope he does not get tired. He's always been a patient man; cool, reserved, logical. Characteristics that I like so much -- characteristics that I need to regain. But I need to break out first, to eject the toxins. I haven't quite done that yet.

I'll write, I'll read, I'll introspect, I'll create until I climb out of this hill of unwavering emotions. I'll translate all the vulnerability, all the nakedness into something else, until I'm back to my fighting form. I will learn and I will take the world with a bigger worldview. I might get a little more somber after this, but not surrendering, not losing control but taking control

*Excerpt from Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kill Bill Vol. 2

Last Tuesday night, Mike and I found out that we're pregnant after a pregnancy test administered in St. Lukes. I called the office to check if we have maternity coverage under our HMO. If married, yes, they said. It was unexpected, but an accident that we would've accepted whole-heartedly. 5 minutes in the news, an ultrasound was done and they found out that it was an ectopic pregnancy and that it must be removed. Then they advised that maternity coverage of the HMO does not involve ectopic/abnormal pregnancies. It wasn't ruptured then and a laparoscpy was suggested ASAP, which as per St. Lukes will cost roughly 100-200k. We don't have that amount of money right now so we asked if its ok to get discharged and go to my actual OB. That 4 hours of tests costed 13k already. I sleeped that Tuesday night with the heaviest heart in between learning that we're pregnant, losing it yet again, questions about my womanhood and capacity to bear a child and the expenses that I have no idea how to shoulder. It was one of those death-rollercoaster types.

I woke up very early Wednesday morning and called my OB. She said she can meet me noon. I went to her clinic by myself as Mike had to go to his office first to apply for a salary loan to cover for the impending expenses. Upon check with Dr. Alcantara (my OB), she said that the supposed embryo has already ruptured and I need to undergo laparotomy, an open surgery to have the ruptured embryo removed and the bleeding siphoned ASAP, my right fallopian tube will be removed too. otherwise it's the risk of death. Recovery time is similar to Caesarian section, 2 months. I asked the probable cost and said it would be around 80k and we'd need 50k give or take prior admitting. She said we'll do it in the Paranaque Doctors Hospital where they have a blood bank, as there is a possibility I'd bleed profusely due to the procedure and would need transfusion. I met up with Mike who said his salary loan can only be approved and released the next week, since it is Lent. I advised my office about the dilemma. We're very grateful that Ms. Lesley and Tina advised that they can lend us part of the money needed. They sent kuyaChristoper to bring us 50k at the hospital.

Wednesday night, I was admitted to the OR. I was anasthetized, and in a few minutes I was out. Around 10 pm, the surgery was done. I spent about 3 hours in the recovery room before I was sent to the ward. My brothers were there, along with Mike, waiting for me, then I slept. Thursday was spent between crying, hurting, complaining, and just drinking water. I cannot eat solids yet. I'm back to being an infant, so helpless; minus the innocence.

It's Friday today and I'm still in the hospital. I still hurt. The area where the incision was done pains me like hell. Adding to the injury is the emotional toll, the financial worries. I apologize to everyone who are asking me how I was and I don't answer. I don't know how to answer, I start to cry when I do and I don't have the patience anymore to tell it separately. Tears fall from my eyes as I type this. I'm questioning everything I believed in and did not believe in. If this was some divine intervention of sorts or just reality that I must face. I've had a pretty good life. I had the education I need, a job that pays for the needs and then some, my family as weird as it is has always been functional. More than anything, I still stand by my ground on Reproductive Health. I could really use the clauses in the law right now. Maybe this will turn me more into a women's activist. Maybe this is a faith catalyst. Or maybe not.

I'm just thankful for the people who helped, who showed support, who gave the time to console and condole. I often thought that when people pray for you, you are helpless, I am often offended with that. But I am helpless right now. I feel so bad I'm running in my head ways to end things. But sure, pray for me if your faith and instinct tells you to do so; maybe it will help me, maybe it will help you. As Kurt Cobain put it, "thank you from the bottomless pit of my nauseous stomach". I'm 27 now, am I worthy of the 27 club?
I know this is a sad-borderline-morbid story and I shouldn't be thinking and writing what I am right now. I've always released my feelings best through writing and I thought this would be a great exercise for my sanity. Writing and re-reading my own thoughts give me an out-of-body experience of reading my own story and reflecting on it after I'm done. I am documenting this so I can stay sane

I'm tagging the people I want this shared with. Not everyone in my list are entitled to such knowledge and news. Feel free to share this with people who know me without malice, and would care about the story. Do not retell my tale differently...

PS. No more pregnancy jokes and when will you have a baby questions from now on. I fucking swear I'll punch in the face who will attempt to.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


So I finally decided to chop off my hair and go pixie yesterday. And this was how I felt about it.

I thought that pixie won't look good on me too for a long time. Not to sound too melodramatic, it took me a few months to make myself ready and lots of overanalyzing. I though that my face is too round, that I need to lose weight and get those jaws going on first and that I'd look like a boy and society might not find me pretty/attractive anymore.

Maybe Buddhism, yoga, research on all the varieties of pixie available and lots of inspirational and women empowerment quotes and the RH law made me make up my mind. I never felt more beautiful and strong. Yes, that haircut is an ode to womanhod.

RH Law

I've never felt so passionate over something for so long. The feminist in me is crying and shouting in wild joy. Again, it's not about shoving principles down people's throats. It's always about choice.

Part of my conscious ultimatums prior to child bearing was the RH Law. My faith in humanity is partially restored; the branches of the government despite the plethora of errors in so many facets has done one right. That's still a good thing.

And to commemorate this win, I've decided this afternoon that the #RoadToPixie must go on. They say feminists cut their hair short as a political statement. Then let this be it...

Now, let's fight for more freedom. Let's all choose to be in the correct side of history (specially when left is right).

#SafeSex #RHLaw #NoGloveNoLove #ProChoice #ProGoodLife #ReproductiveHealth #NotReproductiveDeath #SeparationOfChurchAndState #TaxTheChurchIfTheyInterfereWithState

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dear Raul Dancel

A reply to this social climber rant disguised as journalism.

The Philippines -- Metro Manila might be a ruckus; a dangerous, noisy place to live in. But I'd rather be braving this danger and feeling the vibrant culture, the bass-driven beats, the non-1984* way of life in the country I was born. I'd rather be anything THAN be a stuck-up balikbayan who suddenly feels all high and mighty just because he uses 'lift' instead of 'elevator' and 'takeaway' instead of 'take-out' -- as if those words will give him some effed up sense of entitlement. In case you don't know, BPO employees and Harry Potter fans were able to learn all that without having to leave the country.

I have greater respect for people who can speak 4 different languages -- accents included -- fluently. People who goes from country to country, absorbing and learning different cultures and traditions instead of idioms, slang or whatever-isms they picked up in that place. People who travel to feel small, as opposed to those who do to feel big.

Now, a person who cannot comprehend simple 'Filipinisms' and Filipino way of life-- even if he was born, went through preschool, puberty and adulthood in the Philippines just because he was exposed to a few years of 'Singlish' and 'discipline', should not be writing at all.

And yes, this is another ad hominem tirade, but sometimes, some things must be addressed such that the growing ignorance will be kept at the minimum.

*1984 is a novel by George Orwell depicting a dystopian society where people are so disciplined and anal because they are under the watch of 'Big Brother' and behaving otherwise will literally kill them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So Far

At 26*, I just turned 27, I'm in that point of life where I eject toxins out of my life as I've realized that life is too short to spread myself too thin and end up suffering.

I value my family -- my husband who showers me with love (in the form of hugs, kisses, jokes, intimacy, finances, food, thoughtfulness, respect); my parents who are there for me as I am there for them; and my siblings -- as different we are.

I have friends, they're real and are not mere names that accummulated on my social media blackbook(s); we sometimes don't talk for long periods of time but when we do, it's still like it is -- 5, 10, 15 years ago.

When meeting other people, I keep my mouth shut - at first. I observe. How they behave, interact. I don't impose me. When I've gotten a hang of these new people and I enjoyed their company, they are promoted to friends.

I have fun, but not with strangers anymore. There is always a gaping hole, an emptiness after socializing with phonies. I laugh and scream my lungs out in joy -- with people I love, people I care about.

I respect other people's times. I am punctual, majority of the time; and I respect people who knows how to respect other people's time -- after all, time is the only thing we cannot really earn back.

I love myself, I fully realized that all the money in the world -- working like farm animals to get to that money -- is worthless if your health and wellness struggles. I love myself enough that I make sure I get enough sunshine, breathe fresh air.

I measure my happiness with the number of morning hugs I get from my husband and number of hours of sleep each night and not with the number of social network likes. I stretch -- probably more than my muscles, bones and joints can handle, with yoga.

I plant, I care for animals. I read books, articles, poetry -- I have been reading since I was four. I follow the news, I stay aware and informed on the real and important stories; I put gossip, fashion and drama at the least of my priorities. TV time has decreased immensely than I used to 7 years ago. Stretching the mind is just as important.

I admit faults. I am fast at apologizing and fixing them. When other people have faults, I give chances, I explain what was done wrong, and I try to fix things if I can do it so as not to hassle the other party. In the event that the other party used up all the chances, I come up with a solution such that similar events will not transpire anymore. To avoid further conflicts. I forget faults. Give me time and space and I forget faults. Repeat faults and brat your way, and I don't forget, nor forgive; at this scenario, toxins are identified and ejected from my system.

Then we go back to to the first paragraph.

*Originally penned February 21, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Olivia, will you marry me?

Ang misteryo sa'kin dito ay yung bakit apektado ang karamihan ng tao.
May nakapagtanong na sa'kin kung lumalabas ba ako ng bahay at wala akong pakialam and/or alam sa "misteryong" ito.
Na parang napaka-walang kwenta kong tao dahil sa apathy ko sa hinayupak na billboard na to at sa bagong pelikula ni Piolo.
Mga biktima ng media ang mga naging "curious" dito.
At pasensya kung sa mas importanteng bagay ko tinutuon ko ang pansin ko kesa sa billboard na ito.

Olivia billboard mystery solved
MANILA, Philippines -- Mystery solved, and Olivia said yes.
The "Olivia, will you marry me?" billboards are part of a marketing campaign for Pioneer Woodlands condominium in Mandaluyong.
A new billboard appeared on EDSA that says, "Olivia Said Yes! So we bought our first investment together at Pioneer Woodlands Mandaluyong City."
On the week of Valentine's, mysterious pink billboards with the words "Olivia, will you marry me?" popped out accross main thoroughfares in the metro. Also written on the billboards were the numbers "21414," that many assumed to be Valentine's or the proposal date.
It turns out, "21414" refers to the weekly price of a unit in the said condominium. "For as low as P2,141.4/week," said the new billboards that recently popped out.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cross that out (Part Trois)

Read the first part so you'll be able to understand the whole process. Part One is here and Part Two is here.

And so, for the final steps

9. Releasing of the cheque. BDO texted us that the cheque is ready for release.

Upon providing the seller with the down payment in item no. 7 (in Part two of this trilogy), we prepared an acknowledgement receipt, two copies, one is seller's copy and another buyer's copy.

This is what the bank required from the seller to provide to claim the cheque. And a valid ID/

10. Bringing home of our car. And so, we went to the seller's house, and gave her two boxes of Tipas Hopia (optional) and finally brought home our car!

Next on our agenda were:

  • Giving the car a name
  • Buying a car cover (since our garage isn't covered)
  • Duplicating the car keys
  • Photocopying the OR, CR, Deed of Sale and payment acknowledgement documents.
  • Smile. We are now car-owners!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Cross that out (Part Deux)

Read the first part so you'll be able to understand the whole process. Part One is here

6. Providing Bank with necessary documents. Now you need to bring to the bank the documents obtained after the transfer of ownership.They advised us that a car history check will happen, this will take about 3 days and finally advised we pay the down payment to sellers, as they will release the cheque in 3 to 7 working days.

7. Paying down-payment. BDO only allows to pay 70% of the total cost, so the 30% less the earnest money, we provided the seller -- in cash as we don't have a chequing account.

8. Getting a Comprehensive Insurance. After three days, the bank loan officer asked us about insurance. This is where it got a little confusing. The sellers bought TPL insurance in LTO, but what the bank needs is a Comprehensive Insurance with Acts of Nature included. They advised us to get one as the TPL cannot be used at this point.

Being the busy office people that we are, the first thing we did was go to the internet to search for an Insurance. I contacted MAFPRE and followed Standard Insurance's online car insurance auto-calculator for a quotation. Standard Insurance provided lower rates (lower by PhP 5,000), so it was the obvious choice.

For a less than 2-year old car with 3K km on it's mileage, Standard Insurance priced the insurance at Php 11,000. We settled payment online through credit card and the insurance policy was sent through email. They, however, needed to create another version of the policy which has the mortgagee's name (BDO). They asked us for the mortgagee's name and address to include in the insurance policy and asked as well if we want to send the policy to the bank by ourselves or alternately, they can send it. So we let them send it to the bank, one off our plate.

Another 5 working days passed since we sent the bank the Transfer of Ownership documents. Total days, 28 days.

As of 2:33 pm today, this is how far we've gone. I'll post on the final steps again maybe next week. Part 3 is here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cross that out (Part Un)

I have always been a fan of listing down things. From the most mudane everyday shopping lists and to-do lists to the more abstract list of things I must do before  turn 20, 30, etc...

This month, I decided to finally cross out GET A CAR off of that list. This is on my list of things to do before I have a baby. Mike and I have only been borrowing cars from my brothers and his dad before. If we get a baby, I don't wanna go through he hassle of having to borrow a car if said baby decides to get ultra ill at 3 in the morning.

So we have decided -- well mainly I decided, if it was up to the boy, he'd get a big bike instead, to buy our first car.

Let me walk you through the process -- which up to now is still not finished. The important documents/points, I'll italicize.

1. Deciding on the car. First things first. What car do we want. Here were our considerations:
  • Carbon footprint - being the pseudo-green that I am, I wanted a car with the most gas mileage. 800CC is currently the lowest for cars,  running at 14-21 km/liter.
  • Price - we set our budget at the PhP400K - 500K range.
    • From here we decided on either a Suzuki Alto Deluxe or Hyundai Eon GLS

2. Brand new or Second hand? Then we started canvassing suppliers. We just typed the name of the cars we're interested in at and out came a myriad of search results both second hand and brand new. We were initially considering getting a brand new Suzuki Alto at first mainly because it's cheaper and for some strange reason that I trust Japan more than I do Korea.

Until my brother showed me an ad for a second hand Hyundai Eon 2012 GLS with only 33K on its mileage, priced at 345K. A brand new one would cost 498K, so that's already 150K savings. And given it's mileage, we're pretty sure it's used very very seldom. Plus there's the add ons of a back up sensor/camera, leather seat covers and 3M tinting. So yeah, we got sold on that. We met up with the seller, left an earnest money of 15K and advised that the rest will be through bank financing.

3. Finding the bank to finance. BPI had this online facility to apply for an autoloan. Since BPI is our primary bank, it immediately became our go-to-bank. I was really hopeful that they'll approve the autoloan. But they didn't. BPI rejected our autoloan application. I am a little hurt with this; Something about me and husband being with an employer for a fairly short amount of time. Not even considering that my husband was with his previous employer for 4 years.

Good thing there's still plenty other banks out there. I went and applied at EastWest bank and BDO. I applied directly at EastWest, and BDO with a broker.

Eastwest was the fastest one to process, though the lack of support to clients kind of turned me off. They approved the autoloan in a day without asking you for any requirement. Just fillout a form which they sent me through email. Then they replied to my email saying I am approved then asked for the details of the seller to have the car appraised. They'll reply again with a long list of requirements without any explanations. I called them to clarify things, though the loan officer seemed very distant and uninterested in our business.

With BDO, it took a little longer to approve because they ask for the requirements first. Then once approved, they'll ask you to come over to their office in JMT Plaza in Emerald Street (in front of Podium). What I liked about this is that the broker was very accommodating in providing all the details.

Requirements which the bank asked us to submit for approval of autoloan were:
  • Latest ITR or Certificate of Employment with Compensation and 3 months' payslips of buyer and co-maker.
  • Valid IDs 
This took about 5 working days.

4. Choosing the bank among those which approved. With EastWest, we need to open an account to be able to go through with the autoloan. BDO on the other hand, is our secondary bank and we have a savings account and credit card with them. I had to internally decide on this factoring in the fact that BDO is open even Saturdays and Sundays on malls. That basically decided it.

So me and my husband went to the BDO Consumer Lending Office and there we signed the Chattel Mortgage Promissory Note and was provided the Credit Approval Advice Memo (which will also serve as the guarantee letter to the seller). We then went to a BDO branch to pay the Chattel Mortgage fee and then we provided the Credit Approval Advice Memo/ Guarantee Letter to the seller.

At this stage, they provided us with the second set of requirements which will be needed for transfer of ownership:
  • Original Notarized Deed of Sale between you and the car owner
  • Stencils of the vehicle Engine and Chassis
  • Original LTO OR and CR under the name of the new owner
This took another 5 working days.

5. Transfer of Ownership. Now this, the seller decided to do this part themselves. We offered being there on this process, though perhaps there is a fear on their part of us running away with their car, so they said they'll do it for us but we'll just pay for processes/ fees. We agreed. After all, one off our plate. This is the nity-gritty.

To process this, a Deed of Sale needed to be signed and notarized by buyer and seller. Then, the car must be brought to Camp Karingal for PNP Clearance, Stencil and Macro-etching, though the owners said they just processed everything in LTO Laloma where the car was registered. Then they finally processed Transfer of Ownership to new owner (us) by presenting Deed of Sale, PNP Clearance, Stencils, a TPL Insurance (acquired in LTO under Great Domestic Insurance) and the buyer's TIN ID

Another 5 working days. Total days spent, 21 days.

As of today, 6:07 pm, this is what we've accomplished. I'll blog again on the next steps. Part 2 is here.