Category Archives: Live and Inspire

Giving Light to Youth’s Mentality

One shot for feelings betrayed and neglected. Two bottles to arrest confidence and vent out inner melancholy. Three buckets for a love defunct, demised, and broken. The counter goes on and on until all became wasted. This is the only way Andie could escape from all depressing emotions that keeps on drowning her. And recently, this too, has been one of the novel ways the youth of today or what were tagged as ‘millennials’ do to unmask pain and deal with coping up.

Astray, like nowhere to be found, she was. For days, my classmate Andie locked herself inside her room and gone seemingly incognito into someone she was not because of her failed relationship. With thoughts of quitting medical school and close-to-cutting her pulsations off, I am scared that this might also be mutual thoughts to many other youth encountering the same feeling at that particular moment.

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Today, mental health becomes a pressing issue not only in our country but even in the different parts of the world especially in neighboring Asian countries, with a long lasting cultural stereotype due to the manner in which it has long been labeled. In the Philippines, one in five people suffers from a mental health problem and mental health illnesses are the third most common forms of morbidity for Filipinos not to mention the ratio of mental health personnel to population which is nowhere near the World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommended levels in the less developed countries of the continent. What makes the numbers rise unceasingly is due to the endless stigma that sticks with one who seeks professional help as if it’s a taboo so to speak. From there, access to psychiatric care are impinged which created more Andies vulnerable especially among the youth of this generation.

Change is an immutable element in this time and change however, for this concern to be resolved, making a difference to what has been ingrained in society’s mindset might change people’s perspective on these mental health issues.

For one, venturing into medical school opened the gates for me to knowing the biopshychosocial approach when dealing not just only with patients but with other interpersonal interactions with people. I see a person not just a human being anymore but as a totality where one needs to consider the holistic aspect in treating others. With this image imperatively painted in the minds of the youth, a whole, new perspective may arise and gradually dispose off the stigma that sticks along.

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Mental health awareness is the key to opening the minds of those shallowly-influenced by the norm. The power of social media where the youth reigns supreme can move mountains and reverberate this voice especially among ASEAN nations who are statistically suffering the lead with the most cases of suicides and other mental health problems to note. Millennials are socially-conscious people who believe that they can change the world in a realist kind of way hence can be pragmatic in supporting such causes, which I do in my own simple way through blog.

When united as one, we can delineate the gaps between the what-used-to-be’s from what-should-be’s in today’s mentality. These depressing feelings when channeled to the very right reason can give birth to a beautiful purpose. So as we encounter more Andies in our lives, may we remind them that the negative emotion they feel is a flowerbud that can blossom to an amazing work of art or story or beautiful melody. For no shots or bottles can heal the mind than a hand held tight reminding that someone’s there ready to listen and give light.

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I Just Feel like Saying it

No, I don’t say it often.

It’s too rare a case that I say it. I only say it when I feel like saying it. I don’t want to oblige my self the way most people do whenever they toe the mandate to say it. I don’t say it only because of the imperatives. And I don’t say it just because.

It is not that I have the most brilliant philosophy in the galaxy. Neither is it because I have the loftiest way of reasoning. Nor is it because I am prideful or haughty. It is not also that I am bright and wise. As a matter of fact, I have already experienced being in the stupidest of things. I know how it feels like to wrestle with the repercussions of my wrong decisions.

It is true, though that I often deviate from what is typical. For no reason, I tend to break what is conventional. It is my nature to oscillate about and go beyond the confines and commonness of generality. I seldom join the hype, and I rarely jump on the bandwagon. No, I’m not fond of Nutella. I don’t like Coke. And I don’t like Milo. BUT I love Lily’s. I like the look of Pepsi. And I drink Ovaltine.

So, whenever I hear the lines “Hey, you should always say it.” and “You must say it now!” or “We should say it every day,” part of me always wanted to resist. There’s nothing new in me resisting, anyway. I am a stubborn Taurean who vaporizes his own horn and assertively eyes for what he believes is beautiful regardless of the majority’s opinion and objection.

In addition to this attitude problem, I often ignore criticisms, and most of the time, I do not believe in praises.

Freely convinced that it is doubly interesting to patronize something that is not liked by the majority, I dwell on peculiar angles not usually seen by many. Or to rephrase it: what others see is ugly is beautiful to me. And what I see is trite is ideal to them.

I must confess, though, that there are also times when I am not being me. There are times when I ought to like things that I don’t like just to feel some sense of belongingness.

But not on the frequency and wavelength of saying it.

I am a moody introvert who catches the fancy of aloofness as I paddle my own canoe towards the catalog of my interests. I ache with loneliness as I build my own world. I mean my galaxy of interests. A place in the vastness of the universe where I can release all the pain in me. That very sense of being part of something larger than me can somehow bring unexpected peace and help repair my emotional wreck. Because I live in that atmosphere most of the time, I have often been misunderstood, if not criticized.

SOME GOOD PEOPLE would say that constructive criticisms are good for me. For us. But the way I see it, there is no such thing as constructive criticism. For me, a criticism is a criticism, and to classify one as constructive is a graceful exit to being blunt.

Of course, everybody will disagree with me.

It is at the cherry that the readers and even the lexicographers, together with the philosophers, will decry my logic and rationality if I aggress by saying that I see no valid way of branding a criticism as constructive or destructive. Either of which is a criticism, and my stand is that we cannot validly fix its classifications.

To read between the lines, that state of being constructive or destructive hinges not on the criticism itself but on the purpose or effect of the criticism. Neither does either state hinge on the manner of criticizing, but on the manner of taking the manner of criticizing and the very criticism.

Taking a criticism constructively does not posit that the criticism is constructive already. Neither does it posit that the criticism is destructive already if it is the other way around. A criticism branded as constructive by one may be taken destructively by another. And a criticism classified as destructive by some may be taken constructively by others.

To reconcile my way of thinking with those who negate, I could patronize theirs if I would be freely convinced by their definition that a constructive criticism is a kind of censure or disapproval whose purpose or effect is good and helpful. The reverse is increasingly true of destructive criticism.

But then again, and as insinuated earlier, the purpose and effect of criticisms vary, switch and intersect. How could we qualify the validity of classifying a thing if the bases of its classifications are varying, switching and intersecting?

Before the readers call me imbecile, let me tell you a secret: It is my intention to bait this not-so-mind-boggling-yet-appearing-labyrinthine subtopic on criticisms not merely because I have regard with the validity on how and why it is classified, but mainly because of what I will declare in the next two sentences. I just did that not because I deem I have a point, but because I want to multiply opposing responses from the audience. I just did that to trigger intense reactions from the readers, without them knowing that they are just being maneuvered to participate and rebut as they read.

Of course you wouldn’t laugh. It is because I am not good at joking.

prayer-1This piece of writing, anyway, is not about criticisms or jokes. This is about saying what has to be said and the ‘frequency’ of saying it. I just inserted a “discussion” on criticism because the last paragraph prior to the one beginning with “SOME GOOD PEOPLE…” is full of wounds.

And I don’t want yet the oyster to be mortally wounded and die and become a pearl.

An old adage goes like “Whenever two good people argue over principles, they are both right.” I don’t know who said this. Well, no one knows. To associate this adage with what has to be said and the frequency of saying it, to say it always and to say it seldom can be both right. One on the side of saying it always is equally righteous to the other on the side of saying it seldom. It is just that I don’t say it often, and I am not on the side of saying it always.

Why?

Do the why and the it still remain in a big red question mark? What is it? And why not say it often? I don’t know! Do we always know? Or maybe I knew it. I just didn’t know that I knew it already. Sometimes things like this happen. And sometimes things like this happen like this.

It so happened that I don’t say it often.

It’s too rare a case that I say it. I only say it when I feel like saying it. I don’t want to oblige my self the way most people do whenever they toe the mandate to say it. I don’t say it only because of the imperatives. And I don’t say it just because.

I rarely say it because I believe that it is PRECIOUS.
And most of the time, THE PRECIOUSNESS OF A THING LIES IN ITS RARITY.

I only say it when I feel like saying it.
Sincerity is saying it when you feel like saying it. And saying it with sincerity is like having it conveyed even without you saying it.

Only then will my eyes sparkle for REAL.

On the other hand, saying it routinely will, in a way, make it a custom. A norm that has to be followed because everybody is saying it even without the feel to say it; but only because they are occasioned to say it. To many, too, saying it always has been the standard of expressing it even if it sounds HABITUAL rather than CORDIAL.

Nothing.
It is just that, like some, I deviate from the norms and customs of a preset way of expressing it. For me, the say-it-everyday-just-because-someone-might-be-dead-tomorrow is a diamond-hard imperative that has grown into a splendid culture or tradition. A convention designed and engineered through auto-mechanical performance.

Say it.
Is it possible to never lose the pleasantness of a repetitious song sung in its soullessness?

I don’t know.
Have we always known?

Part of this piece may sound selfish and impolite, but this is an honest-to-goodness lub-dub of my heart. 

© Juancho

Yolanda Memories

Today marks a history, poignant and depressing, one could ever remember.

For twenty three years, I grew up in a country where all I hear from media and witness are disheartening news- increasing crime rates, poverty, border claims against other nations and other political problems to date. I started living up with them every waking day of my life considering them as normal scenarios. All these seem to make up every piece of me and I have no choice but to carry them along.

On the same day last year 2013, it has brought our country in great turmoil which affected thousands of families and caused early demise to innocent individuals. No one is spared, poor or rich alike, especially when Mother Earth posed its disastrous fangs of punitive measures to humankind, leaving the Philippines and some parts of the world devastated and disorderly.

It was October when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook our lands and turned it into muddy, fractured pieces of terrain ruining the Visayas region where my family exactly resides. That deadliest earthquake equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs engulfed two hundreds of Filipino’s loved ones. In just minutes of tectonic tremble and 72 aftershocks, simple dreams were broken into hopeless pieces of despair and tragedy.

 A month after, typhoon Yolanda (Philippine name), the strongest cyclone ever recorded, spurted us with strong, storm surges and towering-high flashfloods turning the once peaceful provinces of hope into a sepulcher of depression, where dead bodies were scattered and decayed everywhere in the streets stealing more than six thousand lives. Iloilo, Capiz and Tacloban provinces scavenged for something to eat and drink. Sailing ships were seen on the shorelines, walled cities vanished, and all you can see were survivors running and weeping to and fro the highways.

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These turn of events that had happened believed to be the turning point of every Filipino which revealed our resilience despite the disasters that come our way. As a young man, I have learned the spirit of camaraderie and the initiative to extend one’s aid as I felt the sincerest presence of about twenty-three countries that helped us rise from such havoc. Hither and thither, the loaded trucks I’ve seen carrying packed goods and foreign choppers dropping bottled waters from above were salvation. I was moved.

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As a nurse, I was initiated to partake in various medical missions and offer my service to those unfortunately impinged. In mMedMissionountains we climbed to reach affected families and give them hope of living again. With friends, we collected our unused garments and clothed the naked, fed starving souls and satisfy them with the food we gathered from the donations of the lucky community.  Our outreach and helping together or “bayanihan” helped rebuild schools, churches and homes which promise hope and refuge for the coming generations.

Everyone turns the crises of the previous year into a showcase of humbling acts. I, for one, continue to conduct missions in any way I can today. This is a testament that we don’t need to be powerful or be the richest man in the world in order to give a hand. I believe it is in inadequacy that we learn service. It is in adversity that we find strength and oneness. It is in simple, humbling deeds that we find a hero. What’s the best way forward for humanity are no ordinary people, but extraordinary beings that will assume heroic roles of standing by each other in their most little ways.

Now, where do we start?

be-your-own-heroOur dear citizens, we are what the world needs today. Begin with one’s self. Each single act of kindness joined together will collectively change the world to move forward. Be empowered. Let us not wait for catastrophes as this to strike before we start making a difference.

Be your hero your way.

(Let us pray as well to the victims of the said calamity, who were heroes themselves.+)

Culturally Powered as Juan

Half a century of oppression had passed. Bloody battles and colonization left the land. For several years of freedom he was robed in blue as royal as the peaceful sea. His lips are tainted by scarlet red marks of patriotism and valor. He is that ‘three stars and a sun’. He is Juan- born out of cultural blessing and diversity.

You know, culture has been an influential tool in making us cognizant of what happened on our past. Substantially, it drives us to realize the essence of our present generation. It is but a solid reminder that we have to abide, to retain and respect however diverse circumstances seem.

juanIt is Juan dela Cruz, the national epitome of the Philippines often used to represent the Filipino, anyone of us. He thought of every simple thing as insigne of his race, of his long-treasured and well-cultivated culture. From among the nations of the world, he considers himself weak who barely has any riches to take pride in.

This is Juan. And this is me. Yet feeble as we are, I never realized that this pauperism otherwise revealed the mighty powers we possess.

One of our treasured strengths is language & music. Geographically, we’re sundered by seven thousand islands in eighty-seven tongues. At first it may seem perplexing to converse diversely, but we are one people when we sing. The Kundimans from the North answers the reverberating strums of lutes from South. Young men croon their girls by the window at the rice fields. Under the coconut trees, Visayans are there singing their self-made songs. Through this, we share in harmony the mutual language of music. Let this be an inspiration for the world to unify amidst diversities. We sing and speak different notes and languages but let those alien speeches be our linking chains to form camaraderie, to tighten hand grasps in times of adversity. Let neither blood nor race discriminate those we strangely understand. Let those unfathomable defy the odds to know and acknowledge one another. This is one unique Filipino trait: we battle not through bombs or guns but we scuffle through voices and pens instead.

Faith draws us closer to our gods. This is our other armor, our Faith. Juan honors not only one god but plenty of them. Although Christianity conquered the majority, there are still those natives who kneel to their Bathalas, the Muslims who abstain and fast for several days, the Baptists preaching their bibles along the way, the atheists of no belief and so forth. I believe the world is not as far as having this religious disparity but just like Juan, nations must also come to realize oneness even different deities are revered. Let our varied faiths move ONE mountain then, for we are one people when we pray.

tumblr_m5359rUKik1rw3ua9o1_500Now what make us also unique from the rest- our native values. And these again are our valuable powers. I can always remember those huts walking down the streets to transfer for a new place during calamities. This is cooperative endeavor or “bayanihan” which makes me appreciate family and brotherhood. Those simple gestures of doing “mano” or taking the hand of an elder towards your forehead, those kisses to parents whenever you go out or arrive home respectively, those taking off of slippers when entering another else’s home- such petty things that depict a sign of utmost respect to authorities make me proud of where I’ve grown, hoping that the world too may appreciate and see RESPECT as every culture’s value.

To become the vanguard of peace to this world, let every nation recognize, learn and respect another’s culture. We all have different practices, but a better future is more achieved if these differences are accepted to drive a CULTURAL WORTH.

For Juan who’s standing for us Filipinos, these are the bonds that hold us together. And as long as there remains in these islands one native to sing a self-made song, one priest to stand at the altar, and one hand to give the elderly respect, the world will no more be living with withered culture. We are one. All nations too must radiate these powers as Juan.

Jose Rizal

(This essay is another endeavor to make the Philippines known and reach the world by far just in time as well of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal’s birthday.)

Enkindled Lights of Peace and Victory

One doesn’t need to travel light years away on space to feel that awesome, galactic serenity.

Amidst the enigmatic states we are currently facing today not to mention the hubbubs and mayhem setting in brought about by the disharmonious relationships from nation to nations, there is now that emergent resounding need to call for World Peace.

968924_10200736081477559_1927025265_nIt may sound too unattainable even to foresee but behind our conscious minds, we are blinded by that simple mantra that everything starts “within”, hence World Peace is through Inner Peace for that matter. Exactly. To some religious faithfuls who promote meditation and self-awareness, it is imperative to note that starting with oneself and obtaining inner peace is the key to let it spread and bring peace as well to others and the entire humankind.

Everyone ardently desires to achieve serenity and create a tranquil world especially today. And by the fact that it is never impossible to attain, I am proud on what my fellow Ilonggos initiated and realized just few days ago (May 24, 2013) which conquered the national scenes as far as defeating the usual appalling news and bad vibes in the air for that very moment.

A Wish of Peace for the World

Philippines Lanterns Guinness RecordThe vast, dark night sky in Miag-ao, Iloilo, Philippines turned into an amazing free-flowing galaxy of lights when a sea of illuminating paper sky lanterns of about 15,185 pieces set aloft bringing harmony across the worlds.

Dubbed as “Inaugural Light of Peace Event in the Philippines: World Peace through Inner Peace,” and organized by the Middle Way Meditation Institute (MMI)-Philippines and its Thailand-based main organization which promotes meditation, the divine endeavor has not only successfully reverberated the message it aims but as well as brought a great feat in besting the past world record of Romania (12,740 lanterns on June 2012) thus hailed by the prestigious Guinness as the most-numbered fly lanterns launched simultaneously at once.

The Thai-manufactured sky lanterns were made of rice paper with bamboo frames which ecologically brought an essential environmental impact “much less than that of fireworks and rubber balloons.” Add up to that, the lanterns did not use fuel oil but tissue paper dipped in wax making it as safe and nurturing to Mother Earth.

Shine bright like lanterns in the sky

854727935_1369315603In our own simple ways, we can make INFLUENCE a significant deed in inspiring and making others live harmoniously in peace. More than the material things, we need sense of calmness, of direction despite what we are hurdling through our lives at this point of time. Just like those sky lanterns sparkling in the blunt sky, we too can make someone else’s life more than dazzling and fueled with peace.

It may be a simple act, but that thoughtful endeavor touched the hearts of many. Those flying lighted lamps carry different moving dreams. Those little sparkling lanterns promise a better future for the world. Truly it shows that when everyone unites, ONE DREAM may turn to REALITY in no time.

I could’ve been there. I could have experienced that amazing moment and be part of history. But I know… more than that, I can still help making that cause a reality. It’s just a matter of inner peace, indeed. Gain it. Feel it.

Shine and make others shine in peace as well.

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Be #KEVinspired.

(Photos are grabbed from Google and a friend, Pauleene. Credits to you, folks!)