Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jomarie of Shangri-la Mactan

Over a week ago, I suffered, what my physiatrist termed bicipital tendinitis. In short it’s an inflammation of the tendons. So my left arm was placed on a sling. It will be on a sling for another week. This is not the first time that I had this kind of injury. According to my medical records I had the same problem four years ago. But, it was my right arm then that suffered intense pain.

Poor Samantha, my Doberman is being blamed as the cause of my injured left arm. I regularly walk her to give her the exercise that a sporting dog needs.

Actually, it is I that needs to do 30 minutes of walking regularly. My dog has given me the will to persevere in walking for 30 minutes at least three times a week.

They say a tired dog is a happy dog. So I make it a point to walk her regularly. In seeing to it that my Dobie gets her daily dose of exercise I too am able to maintain my weight, keep my blood pressure in check and live a healthy life.

A few days ago I had dinner with two of Cebu’s most respectable journalists and Globe Telecom’s corporate communications head at Cowrie Cove, Shangri-la Mactan.

Since it was a Thursday, dinner was buffet. It was a spectacle of fresh sea foods from lobsters, tuna to prawns. Since I’m allergic to lobster and I want to enjoy the restaurants excellent house white wine, I decided to forego eating lobster so that I don’t have to take an antihistamine.

The mouthwatering prawns looked irresistible. I was toying with the idea of asking a waiter to serve me some prawns with its shell taken out. I decided not to bother anyone.

Since my left arm was on a sling, I decided to limit myself to all the other sea foods that would not cause me any allergy.

Lo and behold as I was feasting on the fresh bounty of the sea, Jomarie, Cowrie Cove’s outlet in charge walked towards our table with a plate full of prawns. He went near me and told me that he knows I would have loved to eat prawns except that it would be a big hassle because my left arm is on a sling.

So he said he brought in a plate full of prawns with shells cut and ready to eat so that all I have to do is use my right arm and with a fork enjoy the sumptuous prawns.

Eating in a restaurant is a way of life for me. As a public relations practitioner, I usually talk things over with clients, the media or stakeholders in a restaurant.

But, it was only in Shangri-la Mactan did I experience service extraordinaire. Jomarie of Cowrie Cove did not only make my evening it also surprised my companions.

Many times over, like a broken record I always remind my eldest son, now 13, to think of others. What Jomarie did that night was an epitome of thinking of others. Kudos to Jomarie and more power to Shangri-la Mactan.

Silence is deafening

I live in the city all my years. Sunset is not an ordinary sight for me to behold. But I always love the sunset. It does not signal the end of the day but the coming of a new tomorrow.

When we were young, my grandparents and my mother use to bring us to Banatayan Island specifically in Suba, Bantayan to the family house of my grandfather. My mom once told me a simple anecdote about my great grandmother, the mother of my grandfather. My great grandmother was once asked why she had no TV in her home.

She replied, I don't need a TV. Just look at how beautiful the sunset is and you will never need a television to give you the visual pleasures your heart desire. The vista is more than what a television can give you. In all humility, she pointed at the sunset, a big fireball slowly descending from the sky above. It silhouettes the several islands scattered along the vast sea that is facing the ancestral house. It also provides a beautiful orange ray on the small boats parked by fisher folks as they await the evening to head off to fish another day.

Every time, we stayed in Suba where we numbered around 100 relatives during Holy Week we can never stop to marvel the sunset. New visitors who join us during Holy Week won't hesitate to finish whatever film they brought for the holidays just to get the best shot of the sunset. (There were no digital cameras then in the late 70's.

When I had the chance to stay in Balicasag Island, off Panglao Island in Bohol last Holy Week, I could not stop using my Sony Ericsson K610i. I first took pictures of the hut without anybody inside it. Then I asked my brother to stay put inside the hut as I clicked on the shutter until my hands numb in utter excitement. Then when the sun was at its lowest, I requested my eldest son to sit down with his uncle and pose for me and for the SE K610i I was using.

My son and my brother sat there mincing no words, all they did was face the sunset. But the silence grew so loud that my ears could hardly take it. I wondered where the sound came from. I looked around and all I could see were few people walking on the beach just marveling the sunset.

At first I could not make sense of what I heard. It was like a sonic boom of a passing jet plane, and then it sounded like a rouge wave about to devour the entire island. Only later did I realize that the sound came from my heart and my soul.

Suddenly, calm beset me. I fully understood what the sound was all about. In the stillness of that afternoon, when the sun was setting, I was told that life is not going to be over. That it was just about to begin when the sun rises in the east the day after.

As we watched the sunset, we usually wax melodrama in our heart and soul fearing the coming of December. That April will long be gone and the coldness of the night will induce us into an everlasting slumber.

Fear not, for sunset is the ultimate gesture that there is tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Journey Along

I can go on and on and yet I am not anywhere near my destination. But I know I am not lost. I am certain I am not wandering either.

After frolicking with politics for almost three years the circumstance brought me back to the corporate world.

First thing I noticed my blood pressure has normalized. I am able to drive back home before sun down when before I get home as darkness envelopes our little abode.

My teenage son no longer has to suffer listening to the news or radio commentaries. I also get the chance to dialog with him as I negotiate the after work traffic.

As soon as I arrive home around late afternoon or early evening I change to exercise attire. My four year old son rides his bike while I walk my doberman around the neighborhood.

While my routine has changed, while my energy and creativity is now solely used inside the board room I have not really waved the white flag on politics. Except that it is now in the back burner.

Before I immersed myself in the world of politics I get easily upset with how politicians run government. I was in the impression that politicians should not lay claim to the word public servants. I shuddered at the mere thought of politics.

These entire notions about politics and politicians have changed when I had the opportunity to work for a family of true-blooded public servants. I saw how they gave up there personal space to accommodate the needs of the populace.

Unfortunately, they were sorely misunderstood. I don’t blame the people who chose not to understand them. Like the rest of humanity, I too had the same assumptions before I dabbled with politics.

As I wandered along memory lane, I realized that it is us, the people being served who needs to change if we want change in the first place. There is nothing wrong with politics and politicians.

They entered the game with the intention to be good public servants. But, we the people cajole them. We seduce them. We coax them to do things the way we don't want it done.

Think about it as you journey along.