THE YEAR THAT WAS (The Mom on a Mission’s 2018)

My 2018 had been a perfect combination of courage amid intimidation, and triumph amid adversity.

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23 years after I left college, I was able to muster the courage to go back and take the last subject that kept me from my elusive diploma. When I eventually graduated alongside my two cum laude children, I gathered the courage to face the members of the press who found our story inspiring enough to deserve a space in their platforms. (We even landed on the cover of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and were invited for a live interview in GMA 7’s Unang Hirit!)

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As parents, we were able to call forth the courage to see two of our three children leave the safety of our home to face new challenges on their own — Emar (who earned the title “Engineer” after passing the board exams for Chemical Engineering last November) as an employee of a Japan-founded global engineering firm, and Lala as a student of Medicine (who could barely come home even during special family occasions).

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Just recently, I along with the entire UP community, courageously rallied behind the UP Men’s Basketball Team. They made history by managing the monumental feat of taking UP back to the finals after 32 long years. They were also able to unite a community that has been beset with discord for far too long.

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I had the courage to make a stand and to continue fighting the atrocities of this administration –both online and out on the streets–, and to boldly write about my convictions and advocacies. We have yet to see our country restored to its former glory, but we will get there someday. I know, we will.

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I found the courage to meet and show my support for the people persecuted by the madman in Malacañang and his minions. There were Sen. De Lima, VP Leni, Sr. Patricia Fox, PAB blogger Jover Laurio, CJ Sereno, and Sen. Trillanes. These men and women, along with many others who fearlessly hold the line despite constant threats, are recognized both locally and internationally for their indomitable resolve in making the Philippines a better place for us, Filipinos.

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I managed to draw the courage to throw my all-out support for my no. 1 senatorial bet, Atty. Pilo Hilbay, along with the other candidates from the opposition coalition. The outcome of the midterm elections next year is crucial as it will decide whether we will still have the same Constitution and form of government that we have right now, or if we will adopt our Congressmen’s self-serving version of the Constitution. Hopefully, this time around, we will choose the candidates who will best serve the interests of the Filipino people.

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Finally, just a month ago, after managing to build the necessary courage, I actively participated in Liberal Party’s Project Makinig by going house-to-house to listen to my fellow Maloleños’ daily struggles, experiences, observations, expectations and aspirations. My humble contribution, along with that of the other volunteers, will hopefully be instrumental in addressing more effectively the ordinary citizens’ issues and concerns through the policies and solutions that the LP officials, both current and future, will formulate and implement.

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The fight in the many arenas of my life is not yet over, though. As long as I live, I know that there is something that I should be fighting for. Fearlessly. Relentlessly. Courageously.

Thank you, 2018!

Bring it on, 2019!

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FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE

Today, Roel and I would mark our 23rd wedding anniversary. Twenty-three years!

A lot has changed since that fateful day, but I could still vividly picture in my mind the young groom patiently waiting for me at the end of the altar……as if the wedding happened only yesterday.

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Wearing a traditional Barong Tagalog, he was the perfect vision of a debonair gentleman. Looking at him staring back at me, I saw in that instant all the things he was and would always be to me – my knight in shining armor, my soulmate, my kindred spirit, my bosom buddy, my confidant, my partner in crime, my better half, my significant other, my forever and beyond. During that moment, when time magically stood still, I felt like my heart would burst out of my chest – with affection, love, excitement, anticipation, determination and certainty.

During the traditional march, my step faltered, not with doubt or hesitation, but with the sudden realization that, finally, there it was. I was standing face-to-face with my future and eternity. He will be my home, my universe, my sun, my anchor, my rock, my beacon, my sanctuary. Every twinkle in my eyes, every flicker of an eyelash, every bounce in my step, every joy in my heart, every smile on my lips, every lilt in my laughter, every butterfly in my stomach, every glow in my cheek, every quiver, every flutter, every touch, every sweet whisper – everything that is good and beautiful in me – will only be for him and because of him.

When I reached his side and we joined hands, I felt everything fall into place. No more void, no more need, no more wanting, no more brokenness, no more restlessness, no more flaw. I was complete, and I was where I was supposed to be all along.

When we said our vows, all emotions came to the fore, almost stifling and suffocating in their rawness and sacredness. “I take thee to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do us part.”

And when he placed the ring on my finger, I knew with absolute certainty that no matter what happens, no matter what the future and the fates hold for us, we will always be there for each other. We will be each other’s balance – a force that stabilizes and steadies each other other, the half that would complete the other and, together, would make a stunning whole – humor in a gloomy day, caution to temper impulsiveness and carelessness, a push for the feet that drag, spontaneity when boredom strikes, a soft bed to cushion a fall, a Devil’s advocate, a conscience, wings, fire, a security blanket, a one-man cheering squad, a fire extinguisher, a safety net, a thirst-quencher, a torch.

When we shared our very first kiss as husband and wife, tears welled from my eyes. I realized right then that from that day onwards, we could be exchanging a million more in the span of our lifetime together. The passion, the longing, the spark might all be gone along with youth, but the need to comfort and assure each other with even a peck in the cheek will always stay.

When the priest finally presented us to all our families and friends as the new couple joined before God and His church, and cheerful applause erupted, I was assaulted by a series of visions. Silver, pearl, ruby, gold, diamond – all the momentous wedding anniversaries we will be celebrating. Moments when we will visit and revisit that day. With fondness, with lessons learned along the way, with renewed commitment and with gratitude.

Twenty years ago, I chased my dream. Relentlessly. And now that I’m securely holding it in my hands, I’m not letting go. Ever.

Happy wedding anniversary, Knee. I’m looking forward to making more memories with you. And I hope you’ll never grow tired of hearing this because, I assure you, I will never get tired of saying these three little words – words that sum up all the emotions you evoke in me. I love you.

 

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