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351 Days of Madness

Tripped on a tangle of daisies and molasses

Fell into a deep pit of gravel and molasses

Smiled at the wall and laughed with corpses

Cried a bucket of wine, gave a toast for the masses
The wounds bleed green as the flowers bloom

She rises from a pool of purple doom

Dances with shadows in an open tomb

And stares at the crowd in an empty room
Hearts die as new lives are born

Actions defy words that are sworn

She keeps the daisies and lets the roses mourn

And bids good riddnance to her days of scorn

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The past few days have been a whirlwind of emotions. Saturday night, a colleague showed me a Facebook post about a concert the following night. “Switchfoot at Walkway. Sunday, March 27, 2016, 7pm. Bonifacio High Street Ampitheater.” I literally gasped out loud, and had to look again and read the name of the band carefully, letter by letter. Yes, it’s Switchfoot. Yes, that’s them in the accompanying photo. And yes, the concert date is the very next day, when I unfortunately had prior commitments. I began to feel really bad about the whole situation.

Now before anything else, I have a confession to make. I have not been a hardcore Switchfoot fan from the very beginning. They’ve been around since the 90s, and I’m sure I’ve heard a few of their songs during that time, but I only started to really pay attention around 2007, and became obsessed by 2011. I know, that’s a slow build. But don’t worry, I have now properly stalked them. I’ve read all about them, listened to all their songs non-stop, and have watched a plethora of music videos, podcasts (If you haven’t seen these, look them up. You’re welcome.), interviews, and live performances on YouTube. I think I can say I’ve made up for lost time. Haha!

Back to 2016, and the band’s upcoming concert that grazed the palm of my hands and was threatening to slip away. After a few minutes of sulking and making sure I’ve turned on social media notifications from Switchfoot and each member so I won’t miss any other announcements from them, I decided I would really hate myself if I didn’t do everything in my power to make my dream of seeing them live come true.

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I don’t want to bore you with details, but I was able to move things around, and the next thing I know, I was there at BGC, patiently waiting for my favorite musicians to make their appearance. I went to the venue alone, but fortunately met with a friend there so I felt like I could fangirl without feeling awkward.

Turned out that it didn’t matter if I was with someone or not. Once the show started, I got completely lost in it all — the fact that I was seeing some of my favorite people in the flesh, witnessing their incredible musical prowess, and hearing the beautiful music, and the words of wisdom, encouragement, and hope that filled the air on that magical Easter Sunday.

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The Foreman brothers Jon and Tim, Chad Butler, Drew Shirley, and Manila-born Jerome Fontamillas landed in Manila only that morning, but if they were jet lagged, it certainly didn’t show. They were a wonder to watch onstage! These guys are masters at their craft, expertly playing their instruments, and navigating vocal melodies and harmonies with ease. They can easily be overlooked in a rock band, but those harmonies are flawless. Frontman Jon delighted everyone (and probably risked injury) by climbing and hanging on to metal rigs beside the stage, leaning in close to eager faces in the crowd, all the while not missing a single beat. At times, he climbed down the stage to get up close and personal with some very lucky fans.

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Speaking of fans (or as Jon always says, friends), can I just talk about how amazing this crowd was? Yes, I was part of it, so I’m quite proud. Speaking as a performer myself, I could tell that this was the kind of crowd that brought genuine smiles to the people onstage. And genuine smiles we did see, right from the get go when it seemed Jon wasn’t supposed to come in with the first verse of Stars yet, but everyone was already singing their hearts out so he just picked up from mid-verse.

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Hundreds of people passionately singing every song along with the band, coupled with adorable bromance moments onstage (not just between Jon and Tim) made for an unforgettable night of music and camaraderie. I hope they come back soon. As Jon said right before encore, “Isa pa, dalawa pa, tatlo pa.” (One more, two more, three more.)

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And many, many more, Jon. Your Filipino family will never get tired of Switchfoot.

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I can’t say that I clearly remember how this whole “Lessons learned” thing started. I just found myself mentally jotting down lessons I pick up from everyday life: people, events, and random stuff that happen around me in this roller coaster ride we call life. Strangely enough, I think I’ve actually gained quite a — for lack of a better term — “fanbase” because of these lessons. I’ve been compiling them all so I can look back and re-learn them if needed. Some of these may seem plain humorous or sarcastic, but there is a real lesson hidden somewhere beneath the surface. Enjoy reading, and may we all have a happy and prosperous 2012 ahead of us. Cheers!!!

  • Be careful what you wish for… and what you prepare for.
  • Numbers cannot be trusted.
  • There is no bad picture, only bad photographers.
  • Think outside the box.
  • You can’t always trust Google.
  • Pictures can be deceiving.
  • It’s a good habit to memorize your friends’ plate numbers.
  • You can go through an entire experience and not have a clue what the whole thing was about.
  • Knowing is different from performing.
  • There’s always room for dessert.
  • You can bring all the hats and sunblock you want, but it doesn’t mean the sun will actually show up.
  • There’s a thin line between art and pornography.
  • The truth will remain to be the truth even when it’s doubted, shamed, wounded, or hidden from the people you love.
  • Karma can get stuck in traffic too.
  • Patience is a virtue, but it won’t actually fix anything.
  • Humor may be a good mask/shield, but only for a short period of time.
  • If you close your eyes and feel the music, amazing things can happen.
  • You may think you’re crazy, but you’re really not.. but then again, maybe you are.
  • Expect the unexpected.. and don’t expect the expected.
  • Be careful what you ask. You might not be able to handle the answer.
  • It’s the thought that makes you think.
  • Babies can be very stubborn. But mommies are even more so.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of donuts.
  • You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be recorded.. provided the memory card is not full.
  • Make the most of every happy moment, get accustomed to change… and be careful not to get any stains.
  • Having freedom and not having to rely on anybody is a good thing.. but it’s also very lonely.
  • Necessity is the mother of learning new things in an instant.
  • Love is also deaf.
  • The truth will always prevail. Ergo…
  • …what you don’t know will eventually hurt you.
  • Heaven and hell can exist in the exact same place at the exact same time.
  • Seeing and hearing are deceiving.
  • Silence is the best policy.
  • There’s always a choice.
  • A key word does not an entire message make; Misinterpretation can lead to chaos.
  • Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do.
  • There is light at the end of the blackout.
  • Birds of the same feather fly away together.
  • You never know what you may get when you scratch beneath the surface.
  • Patience can brew the sweetest tasting tea.
  • Some things are better expressed with a “wow”.
  • Wow.
  • The camera lies (with the right settings).
  • Jokes can become a reality.
  • Good things come to those who wait soaking wet in the rain.
  • “Malapit lang” is relative.
  • You can hide, but you can’t run.
  • The world gravitates towards beauty.
  • The truth will set your hinges loose.
  • There’s a reason for everything.. but nobody said that the reason will always make itself known, or that it will even make sense at all.
  • Calm rage spews deadly fire.
  • No matter what is going on around you, there’s always time for a kiss.
  • What happens in your mind can be very, very real.
  • Don’t doubt yourself. Chances are, you’re on the right path after all.
  • You are what you eat.
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.. Ergo, be careful how hard you laugh. You might end up cyring (and cursing) just as hard.
  • Be careful what you text. You might get it copy pasted right back at you someday.
  • Original plans are made to be revised.
  • Be prepared for anything. Just when you thought you were gonna have fun, you might end up having fun instead.
  • Whatever you are feeling.. happiness, sadness, or annoyance at someone… you are never alone.
  • A single photo does not an entire picture make.
  • What you see is what you choose to see, and therefore can also choose to ignore.
  • There is always more to anyone or anything than meets the eye.
  • Numbers don’t matter.
  • You are what you read.
  • Tragedy creates opportunities.
  • Happy thoughts create happy memories.
  • Crazy minds create crazy ideas.
  • You know more than you think you do.
  • You can do more than you think you can.
  • You deserve more than you think you can ever get.
  • When the world seems to be conspiring against you, there’s always at least one person who will be on your side.
  • It’s all in the mind.
  • Your heart, lungs, and legs may agree to a brisk walk, but unless embraced by comfortable shoes, your feet will always have a violent reaction.
  • You will find what you’re looking for if you just look in the right place.
  • No matter how disastrous your day might be, you can always choose a happy ending.
  • You can always find something good in every bad situation.
  • Every negative thought can be converted into a positive one.
  • A tiny hint of “maybe” means YES.
  • Boredom is the mother of all craziness.
  • Desperate times call for necessary ignorance.
  • Not everybody, or everything, can be saved.
  • You can’t fit everything in a box, much less in a nutshell.
  • There’s always room for a question.
  • Time flies when you’re packing.
  • Never assume the other person has the same level of intellect as you do. Maybe theirs is higher.
  • If you think you’ve waited too long, you’ll be surprised to find you can wait even longer.
  • There’s never a direct, accurate translation from one language to another, or from thoughts/feelings to words, and from words to actions.
  • Never underestimate a person’s level of understanding or ability to empathize.
  • Square is the new triangle.
  • If the picture isn’t clear and adjusting your focus won’t work, change your subject.
  • Red capes are overrated.
  • Armors and shields will eventually get stained.
  • The dove is not as fragile as you think.
  • You don’t need to get splattered with paint too for you to create a beautiful work of art.
  • Loving words can wound you just as well as they can heal.
  • Cheese can hurt you.
  • Everything you see is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Heaven will always reign high above hell.
  • You can be in two (or more) places at the same time.
  • Survey your surroundings before taking a deep breath.
  • Early to bed, late to rise.
  • If you see a suspicious looking person, move now or forever hold your breath.
  • Accents evolve with alcohol consumption.
  • Song lyrics are flexible.
  • When it splashes, it drips.
  • When it drips, it pours.
  • When it pours, it stabs.
  • You can lose the match, but win the fight.
  • You can lose both the match and the fight, including your sanity.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • We don’t quit when we’re tired. We only quit when we die.
  • If you don’t want it now, you might regret it later.
  • It’s never an accident.
  • It’s never nothing.
  • It’s never simple.
  • Everything is a blessing… sometimes in disguise.
  • Pictures paint thousands of words, create millions of ideas, and trigger a gazillion emotions.
  • Some plants are just not meant to grow into trees.
  • Beauty is in the eye of all mankind.
  • Everyone deserves to be happy… including your worst enemy.
  • Nothing is ever kept secret. A full pitcher is bound to overflow.
  • Rubbing salt into a wound may be painful, but will eventually help heal it.
  • Hope may be immortal, but you can lock it up and throw away the key.
  • Be careful what you say. You never know who’s listening.
  • What can make you weak can make you stronger.
  • Words are powerful weapons. Be careful where you aim them.
  • Every second counts. Life is too short for you to do  (or not do) something foolish.
  • Time is the greatest gift you can give or receive.
  • Silence creates tension, excitement… and impatience.
  • Speed isn’t everything.
  • There’s always time for a song.
  • True friends will laugh with you… and they’ll know when to laugh at you.
  • What you do with time will determine whether it will heal wounds or make them hurt more.
  • There’s a thin line between happiness and sorrow.
  • If you want it, you must will it. If you will it, it will be yours.
  • Some good questions have no good answers.
  • Small steps can create big things.. like synchronized dancing and an avalanche.
  • “I can’t” really means “I don’t want to”.
  • “I don’t want to” is relative.
  • Action speaks louder than words, whether they stay inside your head, are spoken out loud, or are posted in social networking sites.
  • The show must go on.
  • Sometimes the best intentions are hidden beneath a thick layer of sarcasm.
  • ‘Should be’ doesn’t matter. What matters is what actually is.

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No Holds Barred

No Holds Barred

By Ingrid Samson

 

How can you see what’s right under your nose,

When you keep turning back, and the door is closed?

The world is smiling at you, but you turn a blind eye.

Windows are open, but you don’t even try.

 

Do you hear the wind when it whispers in your ear,

Which way to go when the coast is clear?

You sing out loud when you don’t know what to say.

Read between the lines, keep your doubt at bay.

 

What do you say when no one around you

Seems to speak the same language you do?

You wait an eternity for someone to understand,

To feel right at home in a foreign land.

 

What do you do when you want to go but the signs say no?

When a green light flashes weakly, and the red blinds you so?

You want to run but you just have to walk.

Bottle up the potion, there’s no need to talk.

 

How would you feel when you learn what is true,

That the earth is flat and not at all blue?

Would you run screaming, and speak in haste?

Come rest awhile, don’t let it all go to waste.

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Life In Death

I am often described by my friends as “pasaway”.  And so on my birthday, I will, in true “pasaway” form, talk about death.

 

Through all these years, especially in the last year or so, I have encountered several deaths.  The death of a celebrity, a colleague, an acquaintance, a relative’s relative, a friend of a friend, a total stranger.  Death often comes as a shock, and it is always met with grief.  But while it is a tragedy, death is also a celebration of sorts.  A celebration of the end of pain and suffering.  A celebration of the beginning of endless peace.  A celebration among people you leave behind, that finally, you’re gone.  Kidding.  Or maybe not.

 

Okay, let me get to the point of this article – my “huling habilin”.  Now, before you get excited, I am not dying.  At least not anytime in the near future.  I hope.  I just want to save my future dead self from cringing or wanting to haunt my friends and loved ones.  I want to have, as morbid as it may sound, my dream wake/funeral.

 

On that cheerful note, here is a list of my requests:

  • I don’t want to be in a boring, tasteless, white garb.
  • I want to be cremated.
  • I want a party for my wake.  As in good food, entertainment, upbeat music, booze, etc.  If it’ll cost too much, a simple get together will do, as long as it’s still a party.
  • Guests must wear something colorful.  If you wear black, I will haunt you.
  • People seem to only talk about the deceased person’s good traits, habits, etc.  I’m sure there are negative things that can be said about me.  After all, nobody’s perfect.  And you can’t please everyone.  It’s okay to talk about the bad stuff.  Seriously.
  • Do not play card games.
  • If there is any mess, trash or dirt, go ahead and clean it up.  Make sure to use a broom.
  • My relatives should shower.  Please.
  • Feel free to take pictures.  By groups of threes.  And please smile.  Wacky shots are allowed and even encouraged.
  • Guests leaving the party can be escorted or seen off at the door.
  • I don’t care if I’m carried out head first or feet first.  Jeez.
  • For crying out loud, don’t do that slow march thingy on the streets on the way to the funeral.  I don’t want to cause traffic, especially when I’m already dead.  Step on it.
  • I don’t want some boring, slow, sad song blasting from my “limo”.  Play something happy and upbeat.
  • If there’s a birthday party, wedding, or whatever festive activity that is to be held within a year of my demise, by all means, the event should push through.
  • I don’t want any of that “pa-siyam” or “40 days” thingamajiggy.  The yearly bit will do just fine.
  • After the funeral, the guests can go straight home.  No, my soul will not follow you.  Unless you chose to wear black.
  • Try not to cry.  It’s a celebration, remember?

 

I’m too lazy to research on any more superstitions about deaths and funerals, so I’m sure I missed some stuff.  Just make sure to do the exact opposite of whatever superstition dictates, and we’re good.

 

Having said that, I don’t have a death wish, so… knock on wood.

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Slow Sonata

Give rest to the riddle, leave the puzzle undone

The end can be traced to a badly placed pun

Able hands may crack under the sun

Wounds inflicted in more ways than one

Thoughts, ideas, possibilities lurking

Silence is the key to emotions unfurling

Eyes and ears surrounding, waiting

Time will tell as fate keeps shifting

Whispered words, uttered like a walk in the park

Unheard, misread, lost in the dark

Heaven forbid, the arrow misses its mark

The melody rings true, the song of a lark

Grains of sand upon the open hand to brew

Mindless actions one may rue

Kind words spoken without a clue

A loving wish just may come true

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Narrow Highway

Fallen on soft uneven ground

The woods familiar and full of peril

Music is played without a sound

Words written on stone in pencil

Winds blow and blue birds sing

Cheerful melodies lost on deaf ears

Laughter and tears the seasons bring

The sun smiling on cries no one hears

Night falls as dreams awaken

A vast oasis, sweet and cruel

Leaves rustle and slumber is broken

Dawn barges in, embraces a fool

A little feather brushes the surface

Its quick caress light and tender

A magic box opens, beautiful and merciless

The last one screams a resonating whisper

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