Should we settle for what we have just because we have no alternative leadership in sight?

I know I said I didn’t want to be political in this blog, but this is a thought that has been going round and round in my head this past couple of weeks when the air of dissent in Manila has been thick and ready to explode. 

I can’t help but go back to this question when I hear of friends wanting to give up lives and career in the Philippines to throw their lot into the (perceived) greener pastures here in the US.  Not that I can blame them — but I have strongly discouraged those who would venture to seek my counsel.  (Not that I picture myself to be a Tiya Dely or an Ate Helen.)

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected into the presidency of the Philippines after I had left to live here in the US.  (I do not wish to debate her legitimacy as the incumbent because we can discuss that to death without arriving at a solid conclusion — too many pros and cons, we might end up killing each other before the truth comes out in full.)

I do remember her as a Senator before I left — and I have always had a great respect for her intellectual prowess.  The woman has brains, that much, we have to admit.  (But so did Marcos..)  She may not have the charisma or the simplicity of Cory Aquino, nor the eloquence and straight-shooting words of Fidel V. Ramos — but she talks sense.  We may not agree with everything that she says, but you cannot just dismiss her with a grain of salt.  Sadly, her presidency has been riddled with charges of corruption not very different from the ones that unseated her then President  Joseph Estrada. 

I have time and again heard people complaining against the corruption and the problems besetting my beloved Philippines.  Yet everyone stops short with the declaration that there’s no one to replace the current leadership.  Could that be so true in a Philippines that produced so many great minds and great leaders at one time or another?  I’ll probably be pelted with comments and disparaging remarks if I say I have no one to recommend or endorse — but that is not a choice to make now.  So do we just let things remain the same for want of an alternative?

I think that in the desperation and chaos, people have turned a blind eye to what has been happening in government for fear of further muddling the situation and seeing the country embroiled in more suffering and pain.  Everybody just wants to get out of the country and find a better life outside.  Little do they know that what they might find might even make them worse off than they were back home.   But is leaving the country really the solution?  I left Manila not out of economic consideration but as a personal choice to follow my heart.  I would have chosen to stay but it was either that or be with the one I chose to grow old with.

Yet even in the greatness of this city I now call home, I yearn for the warmth and familiarity of Manila.  So it pains me to see the government continuing to function as if the people owed them it’s allegiance, instead of the other way around.  It is so sad to hear people say Gloria is so corrupt, but there’s no one better.

Are we going to wait another 20 years before we move for change again?  I don’t think the Philippines can afford that long a wait, not after the way it had been raped and pillaged by leaders before her.  The way we effect that change is a long and ardous process.  How do we go about it?  I will not pretend to be a genuis with some grand design to solve the problems back home.  But I do believe that change can only truly take place if the Filipinos can make up their minds about whether or not they want GMA to remain in power.  So stop saying you want her out but then you don’t want Noli de Castro to lead the country.  If you would rather have her for want of a better alternative, then stop complaining because the turmoil and chaos is a result of your inaction and complacency.

Say you were an adopted child.. would you want to be told you are adopted?

That’s the kind of question one doesn’t answer spontaneously.  I have to think about my answer to the question myself.

Would I want to know?  Yes.  How would I prefer to find out?  From my adoptive parents. 

The When and the How is the tricky part.  Is there really a right way to do it and a right time to do it? 

Now let’s tweak the question a little..

If you were the adopting parent, will you tell your adopted child and how?

This is easier to answer but I speak only for myself.  I would let the child know early on introducing the fact to him or her little by little.  It’s an act that must be coupled with a lot of love and great care.  But again, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. 

Adoption is an act of love.  You choose to have someone become a part of your life as if he or she were your own flesh and blood.  It’s a generous act of giving and commitment.  It’s not very different from choosing to fall in love.  In most cases (as I cannot generalize), the boundaries between blood relatives and the adopter and the adopted all but disappear. 

We’ve seen so many movies where people actually go through histrionics when they find out they are not who they thought they were and their parents not who they believed them to be.  I can only imagine how heartbreaking that must be.  The secret is not let out of the bag with a lot of grace in most instances.  It would be some spiteful person in the know spilling the beans, or a document lying around somewhere that is discovered unexpectedly.. a revelation made in the course of showing the villanous adopted child how she does not deserve the name she carries, etc., etc. 

But I’d like to believe that beyond all the drama, what matters is the relationship the adoptive parents and the adopted child had.  Unless the adopted child was greatly wronged or disenfranchised, victimized by prejudice or bias, and if the adopted child was treated like one’s own, showered with love and nurtured to be a respectable individual as an adult, I’d like to believe a parent’s keeping the fact of adoption a secret is forgiveable.

But that’s me talking.  I cannot speak for others.  I can speak out of experience though that adoption truly is a gift of love.  If I had the means to, if I could, I would welcome another individual to my family given the chance — if God so chooses me to make that decision.

So how would you do it if you were to answer the above questions?



Muggy Monday in March

Saturday must’ve been one of the more beautiful weekends in recent weeks and people even came out in shorts.  It was THAT sunny and beautiful.  It all took a turn for the worse yesterday, though, when it started to rain.  It’s still muggy outside although the sun is peeking out.

Meanwhile, it’s back to work for me.  I spent the morning trying to figure out the best possible compromise about the trip home.

Mom is already booked on a flight on April 20 and that flight is non-reroutable/non-refundable.  I can stick my neck out on a limb and try to refund the ticket based on medical reasons, but the “medical excuse” will cost me $90 for a doctor’s visit/med certificate, and there is going to be a $75 penalty.  We were hoping for Angel and I to take that flight with her but the price is at least $200 more than other Asian airlines which are on sale.  So between me and Angel’s 75% fare, that’s at least $300 and change we could’ve saved and used for shopping.  And the worst part of it all is that Alan wouldn’t be able to join me on the return leg because his outbound departure date of choice is no longer available.

So I’ll just let Mom go ahead, but now I’m faced with the added worry of actually leaving 12 hours ahead of her.  Since Alan is not leaving until a week later, Alan can still take her to the airport actually but I would really prefer to be the one to check her in and all.  (As if traveling alone with Angel wasn’t enough to give me an anxiety attack.. but that, I believe, is something that will be a challenge but not that herculean a task — maybe I’ll just tie him on a leash.. hmmmm.. that’s a thought.)

We would’ve ideally all left on a Thursday (Angel and me with Mom on Week 1, Alan and his Mom on Week 2, and then returned all together without my Mom on Week 3), but now the travel agency tells me that flight is fully booked, and the only alternative would leave me on a 7-hour layover in Seoul.  (I wouldn’t want a 7-hour layover even if it were in Hong Kong.. well, maybe.. LOL)  The choice is to leave a day earlier than planned on May 10 (which I’m not too happy about), or leave 2 days later on the 13th which is not exactly such a bad idea except that it’s my Mother-in-law’s birthday.

As I write this post, Alan and his Mom are deep in discussion about whether or not she should come with us.  It’s my position and Alan’s position that she should — she is rather reluctant because she’s not up to traveling at this point, saving the trip for the time when it is absolutely needed.  Alan’s trying to convince her that if she does go with us this time, she might not have to wait for that absolute necessity in the future. 

I’m really just deadset about going home.  I just wish it were less stressful than this. 

Time for lunch.. I have leftover palabok from Alan’s Aunt’s family who visited yesterday.  I’ve been here 5 years and it was my first time to meet them.  It shouldn’t be any surprise considering Alan hadn’t seen them in 10.  Oh, did I mention they all live in the same borough here in New York? 

Half past midnight Monday morning

I used to go back and forth about calling anything after midnight late at night or early in the morning — it’s one of those things that fall under the same category as seeing the glass half empty or half full. 

We had a very long day today with some unexpected guests visiting (Alan’s) Mom besides the friends we were expecting for lunch.

Thanks to (my) Mom, we served some crispy pata and I pulled off my Negamaki just perfectly with a new gourmet teriyaka sauce from Kikomann.  (Free advertising again! LOL)  But the biggest highlight of our day was finally getting my mother-in-law’s things from the other house.

Yesterday we found her scribbling intently in the dining room.  I thought she might be rewriting her will or plotting new instructions.  It turned out she was making a list of the things she wanted to get specifically — where to find them and which ones she didn’t mind leaving behind.  She specifically asked for the pictures of her grandchildren which were one of the first few things that were delivered to her. 

Although it is sad that she herself seemed intent on making a clean break, it was a relief to see that she was moving on instead of wallowing in her pain.  I know that more often than not she is hit with a huge sense of loss at how things have turned out, but being the strong woman she has always been, she is trying to move on a day at a time.

The two grandmas are settled in their bedroom.  We have a full house but we cannot be happier.  Everything that happened happened for a reason, and we count our blessings rather than our losses.  While we are sifting through the lessons of the past couple of weeks, we derive strength from knowing that we have found our true family intact — and that, to us, is what matters most.