Thursday, January 27, 2022

Of Flooding And Self-Awareness



January 22, 2017  · 

After the latest flooding this week, one that brought so much devastation to places not otherwise familiar or visited by unwanted water, can we declare that the city is now prone to flooding?

I have no answer, except to imagine a scenario that could apply here.

Man breaks into a pristine place blest by nature with bounty and beauty.  It had hills and valleys, meandering waterways, flora and fauna of diverse kinds, balmy and hospitable weather.  Etc. All perfect for human living.

Yet, nature being what it is did provide some cautionary caveats.  There will be rains, tides, and fires, to provide risks for human living, but man is expected to adapt and learn to live side by side with them.

But man is never contented, nor is he a prudent and diligent steward of nature. He did what he could to degrade and alter nature’s provisions.  To a point that nature lost its balance and became a hostile force to man.  And freaks of nature became the norm. Flooding in places where man had chosen to live, harsh typhoons and torrential rains that damage altered topography obliterating humans in the process, deadly diseases in places where humans live in  despicable congested conditions, etc.

Given that, can we humans then declare that our place is prone to hostile flooding and its concomitant miseries?  

Like blaming nature for what is happening?

Rather than pointing the blame to ourselves?


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 SELF-AWARENESS

Self-awareness is one vast and hazy territory to cover and learn.  It encompasses knowledge of one's character, feelings, motives, and desires.

How does one even start learning about all these things?

For one thing, we know that we can detect if a living organism has it or not.  We have tested certain "lower" forms of animals and find them as self-aware, too.

But in humans, the greater challenge is how do we measure it and is it quantifiable?  Thus, some are more self-aware than others?  If not, then why do people differ in their understanding of many things, say even about certain but common facts?

I believe this innate consciousness is very elemental, maybe even non-judgmental, generic, and maybe even, morally indifferent.

Thus, I do believe we need to differentiate between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge is raw, unrefined, indifferent and maybe unsorted and unvetted.  Wisdom (and even prudence in the ethical sense)takes the extra and more involved steps to refine the process, sifts through extraneous details, and attempts to arrive at the kernels of truths.

How we are able to delineate and navigate between the two differing notions I do believe accounts for the differences of opinions, notions, and beliefs in man, even among those who may share so many things in common, like family relations, environment, same educational backgrounds, etc.

This is not to say that those who have gone through the process of pursuing and acquiring wisdom are necessarily better of, only that it is incumbent upon all others to initiate those extra steps to try and unify the thoughts of the community of man.

We are all self-aware humans, gifted with the same amount and degree of it, but it is what we do beyond or omit to do that we now find division, tension, and dissension amongst us.


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I thought this observation I discovered today important enough for this medium.

"It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance." -Thomas Sowell

In my blog profile, I declare:  

"By discoursing together we seek comfort from one another. But let us speak of things that edify."

How can the twain meet?  Without discourse, it truly is a desolate world.

Begin with humility, with the premise that we can all learn from one another.  No one-way street for an open mind.  

Our beliefs stand on their own, and not leaning on somebody we are trying to push down.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Where Turnest Thou?



 In the Year of 2019 one Sunday morning,  thoughts given life by a mind that just awakened from a state resembling death.


Where Turnest Thou?

When the swirling winds of temporal anxieties buffet your hapless soul, where turnest thou for relief and comfort?

To the entrancing and hypnotic allures of worldly cares that provide immediate and placating ease to your labored soul? 

But how truly in a moment we find that these only provide temporary surcease, that the pains go deeper in our souls.

For we also learn that there is no escaping from ourselves and our daily crosses, that best to face them head-on.

And search for promised remedies that assuredly work for our eternal benefit, and not be blinded by snares along the way

When itchy problems appear to sap our resolve to rebuild our tattered lives, then it is time to do violence to outsized egos.

It is ripe to turn to Christ to seek redemption and grace, in holy imitation of His enviable life here,  the self-same life that we all now are dreading and fearing.

There turnest thou.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

MORE COMPENDIUM OF THOUGHTS

 

 


Time As the Greatest Equalizer

 It is often said that time is the greatest equalizer, it absolutely stays the same for everybody, rich or poor,  young or old. 

It has been reported that the current Pope has been asking for prayers for himself from the flock, so he can continue to do things which at the rate he is doing them is not humanly possible. Only the grace of God can make that possible.

One finds that very heroic and admirable.

But thinking about Christ’s life, one finds something essentially different.  He appeared not to have been bothered by time, or saddled by its limitation. 

Thus he lived a very short life, spent mostly doing very mundane things like being a carpenter, doing errands for kin and other people, etc..  Or spent a lot of time just being alone with his thoughts.  Remember he spent only 3 years attending and ministering to his growing flock.

So how essential is time for our purposes?

Is it then possible that if we are too concerned about the time of our life, we not only complicate our lives but also risk the added possibility of doing too much for our own good?


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Spot the differences:  A Tale of Two Cities

My unheralded arrival brought on the onset of good rain in northern California, welcomed not only by its humanity but also its flora parched dry by many months of drought.

Shimmering fall leaves teamed up with the rain, racing to the ground for tenancy.  The brownish hillsides are beginning to color themselves the hue of green.  The nippy temperatures have suddenly become bearable, save for the occasional gusts of breezes that push the thermostat down. By some stroke of design, the rain has stayed away during my jogging sessions at the park, visited only by occasional colder breezes.

TV news people have been quite unanimous in their positive assessment of the rains, interrupted only by occasional accidents caused by hydroplaning in the many freeways around the state.

So over all, all’s well in the world and California.

Then yesterday, social media configured for local news in the homeland burst forth with news of heavy rain in the hometown, Cagayan de Oro City.  Initial reports shouted good news too, since the place too had been dry for quite a well, though not yet in drought mode.

But it did not take long for the tables to turn.  Ominous news of flooding in the usual areas.  Brownouts in the city.  Leaky rooftops in both homes and public places like malls.  Antsy citizens stranded in different parts of the city.  Commuters either unable to find their way home, or needing instructions on which routes to take to avoid floods, etc.   All making a citizenry quite harangued and harried. 

So over all, all is not well with the world. 


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Learn Some Lexicon

If you have not noticed social networking is engendering its own unique lexicon.  Two of the most popular creations are” selfie” and “throwback”.

For those who were asleep in their past FB sessions, selfie is a self-taken photo of oneself, usually taken with a hand-held camera or cellphone.  Usage has become so popular even the current US president recently figured in a now infamous selfie with a couple of European leaders.

When I first encountered its usage in FB, I nonchalantly brushed it aside with the thought:  nothing new, been there, done that.

Indeed, even before the time of FB during the milieu of the blogs, I have had to take photos of myself to complete certain requirements of registration forms or what have you.  I usually could not come up with the needed photo, so I would simply take my camera and place myself in front of a mirror.  With some delicate placement and some twisted motion, I would click at the image on the mirror.  Thus, many of the photos of me here are mirror images.  My current avatar is a sample.

But wait, a selfie is supposed to be one taken in front of the real you and not an image.  Bah, a silly inconsequential detail!

The other one is throwback, when showing old images.  Immediately my mind raced:  Throwback or flashback?  Since I thought the latter was the more appropriate term.   But is there no distinction? Found out there is a big difference as one source pointed out :

A throwback is something that acts as a reminder or is reminiscent of something...

Men are now wearing their hair long again, in a throwback to the 1970's.

A flashback is an episode in which you have a mental image of something that actually happened in the past.

He was so traumatised that he is kept awake at night by flashbacks of the accident.

Glad to have learned something new.


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A View on US Minorities

From our own experiences, most minorities in the US are only too happy and focused on attaining the American dream, rather than delving too much on their status, especially as supposedly victims of the system.

It is essentially just one vocal minority group that continues to pursue alleged victimhood and pretends to speak for the rest.  And this is borne by the people who one sees  publicly and visibly promote these theories and advocacies.

In racial tension issues in the US, consider  the 2 sides of the racial divide, and you see this undeniable fact in action.

But of course, not many will point this out publicly for fear of reprisal from the very aggressive cancel culture and wokeness that pervades.

The stain and strain of a previous generation could be rectified in many ways.  One easy way is for the next generation to stay away from those pursuits that allowed the stain and strain in the first place to take place.

We just hope to God, this is realized by the current generation that definitely had no hand in the responsibilities and accountabilities of a previous older generation.

If not heeded, the temptations could easily re-emerge and bedevil that generation.

Some lessons to know and learn from the experiences of one such person in somewhat similar situation.   And how she deals with an unwanted heritage. 

10 Questions for Katrin Himmler - TIME 

http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,2129399,00.html


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A contrarian view.

As a people we are wont to elevate mortals to heights of gods, as icons for pride, renewed patriotism, personification of our own aspirations for ourselves, and all the good stuff.

How easily we forget that when we do so we are bound to be disappointed, and yes, frustrated, too.  We forget the inevitabilities and constraints of realities.

Being mortals, our flawed idols are bound to fail at some point or other; there is no going around that nor rationalizing our way out of that.  No amount of weaving wise tales or sagacious advices of lessons to be learned can detract from that.

Unfortunately, no human is worth all that attention and adulation.

We are told in no mean terms that we lay treasures that are not of this world.

Everything else is vanity.  All a fool’s hopes and dreams.  So let us all please learn to hitch our dreams and aspirations, and yes our attention and concerns, on the things that count.


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 How to Spend Your Waning Years

Unfortunately I find serious issues with some statements propounded here. I find that some would try to nullify or diminish the altruistic concepts of sacrifice and charity that are so much part of our quest to imitate Christ. That earthly life is not about happiness and contentment but in faithful imitation of the selflessness and sacrifice shown by Christ. Greater love than this no man hath, that he lays down his life for his friends, and family, too.

Even the more temporal notions of providing for better opportunities for the next generation have to be considered. Thus, our blessings however temporal we try to leave for our next generation for them to have better and more opportunities in life than ours. The eternal quest to try and leave the world a better place for others.

In the statements below, there is even the hint that the next generation may not be worthy to be bequeathed of blessings bestowed on the parents, that it is simply a less than giving bunch prone to deprive the latter of their hard-earned wealth.

 I do entertain more charitable thoughts for the coming generations, given the more blissful opportunities allowed them.

A continual source of some contentment in my puny life has been the realization that the abundance of God's blessings to our family, has in turn given us as parents more instances to bestow more and greater opportunities to our children. And measuredly, more than what we had been given and been allowed during our youth.

And the earnest thought is that when the children reach their own reckoning, they will in turn attempt to provide more and greater opportunities to their own children. And this cherished tradition be allowed to continue on.


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Why can't people pursue this issue to the end?  That if and when Roe v Wade is overturned, it does not mean that abortion will be banned?  That it simply means that this critical issue should be all left to the individual states to pursue and resolve, rather than the Federal government?  Wouldn't that be a fairer and more equitable solution?


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Allow me to clear some nagging thoughts that continue to bother me.

Reading through the handful of groups devoted to the brewing local controversies, it would seem that collective disdain for the current mayor and his cohorts knows no bounds and continues to escalate.  I find myself being drawn into that vortex.  It is very catching.  And could possibly drive one to be less careful in one's judgments and criticism.

So just some idle conjecture.  Do you think he perceives right or wrong the way most people do?  Many judge him to be amoral in that respect, unable to grasp generally accepted moral issues, but passionately driven instead by his whims and caprices.  So does he perceive things through that prism - his own perceptions of right and wrong? Thus, anything goes as long as it is for the kabus?  Even the pervasive use of that color in government property seems confusing. 

 In that light, the act of enriching oneself in public office would appear easier to explain.

 Or can it be explained simply as one dull person having decided that public service was one big private undertaking using huge private resources to be dispensed with any way one wishes?


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6 years ago  March 26, 2015  

Today begins the graduation ceremonies and conferment of honors and honorary degrees in our beloved alma mater, Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan).

As members of its fold, we wish it well and grudgingly hope that the steadfast path it has taken leads to its intended goals, despite rigorous opposition from some sectors both locally and nationally.

It ought to be mentioned that for many of us, we do not question the personal integrity and/or credentials of the honorees.  For all we know, they could be the best specimens humanity could offer for the task assigned to them.  We just do not know and/or are not assured that the path they have articulated and defined in their peace negotiations would lead to lasting peace, security, and equity in this benighted land of Mindanao we all call home.

And we note some irony which could give us pause with regard to attitudes and fears that have been left unsaid publicly.

That amidst all the talks of peace, of peace panelists, of efforts toward peace, etc. we cannot help but notice how security laden the graduation exercises have been reported as becoming.  Making our haven of peace and learning looking more like a military installation at the very least.

What are we afraid of or preparing for?  That the Christian residents of CDO would do violence to the honorees or disrupt the process?  Or is it because some factions of our Muslim brothers might be the likely perpetrators?  There is no history I know that Cagayanons would do such thing.  And what about our Muslim brothers, who with the proposed law would be receiving a lot from our government, save maybe only the kitchen sink?

It confuses the mind.  Does history or current global events have anything to advance regarding this?

In the final analysis, only time will tell.

Would we be still around, 10-20 years from today?


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January 17, 2017  · 

Woke up at 6am today to an overcast sky, though the rain had cleared we got only filtered daylight.  Decided to drive around the city to observe how it was after the frenzied torrential rains last night which caused actual flooding in many parts of the city and kept clusters of harangued and harried citizens huddled in different dry havens away from their homes.


Before anything, we pride ourselves in our resiliency after calamities and disasters.  The following images tell us that though not misplaced that claim can be greatly attributed to one of nature’s ways, at least in this instance and others similar to it.


While the night prior brought on actual hardships and frayed nerves, and founded fears of even greater calamities, the morning after tells or suggests a very different story.

Literally within hours the threats and dangers of unwanted waters in our streets and homes had dissipated, and leaving only mostly telltale signs what had actually happened.

The first of a series of images starts with the areas in and around our subdivision, which the night before had been partly inundated with flood waters as low as waist-deep and as high as shoulder-deep.  Stray stones and debris left clues to where rushing waters made their passage and exit, eventually finding home to the river and the bay.

From A. Velez St. south took the Rodelsa bridge which showed only the usual puddle of water where the drainage is inoperative, and proceeded the climb To Carmen Hill via the Balulang flyover of mystery.

The little landslide going up Carmen Hill was cleared.  Took then the route back via the Calaanan route passing by the landfill.  Back to Agoho Drive Patag and into our cloistered haven in RER.

The typically putrid-smelling and garbage-laden area in the landfill looked kind of clean and fresh after the flooding.  Part of it migrating to the low-lying areas in the paths of the rampaging waters.

Along Villarin St. in Carmen, where the water was above waist-deep last night, showed only residue of water and mud and debris, all coming from the high elevation areas around it, like from Zayas, the landfill area, etc.  Open invitation to infection and disease.

Scenes along A. Velez (Del Mar) St. in the poblacion do not give any inkling that the night previous had been quite a disaster for the entire city.  Mostly dry.  And students in uniform lined the curb and walking about.  Though could be students stranded in their schools and are just now waiting to go home at past 7am.

Drove south beyond this and crossed over the river via the Rodelsa Circle bridge.  Then up the flyover toward uptown.  Some debris left along Pryce Plaza area going up.  Not much different from any ordinary day after a rain.



Thursday, January 06, 2022

The Healys of San Francisco


                                                    A little tribute to Margaret and her family.

A family which to me personally typified one of the precious gems we discovered when we migrated to the San Francisco area. Our early challenges and doubts experienced by most immigrant families coming to live in a new place among total strangers, could not have been made easier because of how this family welcomed and treated us. It greatly assisted us adapt to the changed conditions our family found ourselves in.
Maybe a little retelling of the Healy family would help reveal and unravel the great wonder and appreciation we developed over time in our associations with its members.
Margaret and her family lived in the Sunset District of San Francisco, a lovely place comparatively near the ocean and, I was told, was built on mostly sand dune. At first glance, we thought we were inside a movie set when we entered their house. I thought so because it reminded me of the many American movies I had seen as a kid growing up in the old homeland. Except that our experience had become real.
Though looking very Irish, Margaret had an Italian father who once operated a very popular bar in San Francisco. But husband, John Healy, was definitely very Irish and even had two sisters who were nuns. And he retired as fire captain in the SF Fire Department. I used to spend countless interesting times in the Stonestown Mall parking lot conversing and exchanging ideas with John, while we waited for both our wives to finish work in the bank nearby.
Margaret had been such a sturdy support and mentor of Evelyn when she started working with her in the bank. Again the transition was made that much easier because of the presence of Margaret and other friendly co-employees. We also got very acquainted with all their children who were just as helpful and accommodating.
Our first Christmas ever in San Francisco was spent in their house as their most special guests. Our entire family, I, Evelyn, and the 4 kids were in attendance. It was quite memorable experiencing a Christmas celebration largely different from what we were used to in the old country.
And over time we would get similar invitations to their house or to family outings, where we would be introduced to their friends and relatives. They definitely made us feel that we were part of their big extended family.
And for that and more, we are all forever grateful.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Four Score and Counting



The milieu was World War II, another conflict to be noted as one to end all wars.   It was December of 1941, and already the threatening dark clouds of global war  were wafting through the Pacific.  What was needed was an incendiary spark  to light up the entire planet.

It came on the morning on the 7th of the same month.  The blistering early-morning attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan ignited the Pacific region where the US had a very commanding presence, the Philippines being one of them.

Thus, without delay Philippine residents all the way down to the island of Mindanao went on "evacuation" mode, fearing  similar surprise attacks by Japan against US forces. In a week or so, my family and the rest of my father's family had quickly hied to their well-hidden haven in the hills, in the place called Taguanao.

Three weeks after Pearl Harbor I would be born under such trying conditions.  It is related that the family had to send people to the town, maybe including even my father, by horseback to engage the services of the family doctor, in the cover of dawn. To stealthily ride into a city that had now largely been shuttered and deserted.

Now we know that conflagration raged like wild fire for many years, at great sacrifices of men and material.

Thus, 80 years ago, I came into this world very inauspiciously, with everybody else focused on and mindful of the ongoing war.

Four score is a long time to reckon and take account.  

But we all try our best to justify our continued existence, and assess our relative worth as stewards to this blessed land of God.  And hope that our continued living is justified.


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My own thought for the day lent to the written word:

                                

                                     A LESSON IN LIFE


The greatest gifts we can give are neither touched nor fondled.  

Neither wrapped nor bundled.


Because of their very nature, neither get tarnished nor soiled.

Neither diminished nor roiled.


Beyond the grasp of ashen being, they endure time and space.

And the vagaries of petty human caprice.


Transcending puny aspirations, rising to eventual rapture.

Which bring nods of assent of our Creator.


They are the unnoticed deeds we churn out daily in solitude.

Hoping for a change in our attitude.


Attempting to leave the world a little godly than we entered it.

A consummation, we devoutly wish it.