"Oh kiss me quick, while we still have this feeling.."

"Love me tender, Love me sweet, Never let me go.."

Oh, how sweet to hear these music again. Even my creator rested on the Sabbath, the seventh day of creation. So here I am sitting on the 25th seat of a Victory Liner Bus, with a bag of raisins on my left and a a pen and notebook on my right. I know I've been sick, I know I have many things to do for work, which I'm always willing to do now before tomorrow (for "tomorrow" is a word I use for finding time to rest). But today is special, as the mission is special.

We visit the miraculous church of Manaoag every now and then, but today, we scheduled this date to hear Mass in Pangasinan, our home province, a bare 4-hour travel from Manila. Its a wonderful break for me, and a special request for and by the family. We've come to ask for healing. My youngest sister has just been diagnosed with a lung problem; my mom and I are also on treatment for some minor health troubles.

As I'm writing this, I'm feeling quite drained of my own energy. I feel my hands are growing colder and there is pain in my weakest spot. I have to stop from time to time to meditate and re-energize, for without it, I wouldn't be able to further with my writing. I won't let this stop me though from saying how good this day is and how happy I've felt inside just visiting the church once again.

In the morning

We four ladies bought our early morning meal last night. While they picked Jolly hotdog for breakfast, mine was a McDonald's cheeseburger sandwich (spoken like a true lol fan). We had our late night bath in preparation for our early travel. We didn't want to drag ourselves to shower in the coldest hour of the morning and waste so much time and energy.

My younger sister, who happens to be the certified gimikera of the family, just arrived at around 10pm last night from a summer swimming in Batangas. I was kind of worried that she might suggest not coming along with us. It'll probably break our hearts and spirits. To my surprise, she quietly, though obviously very tired, got up in time to prepare for the travel. Funny we don't travel too much. We're all fond of staying at home and just enjoying each other's company while watching TV or eating every weekend. I think we should do this more often.

Being as excited as ever (since this is not the first time), they have exaggeratedly packed too much food and drinks. Although I didn't have to question them about this, I just wondered if they were really planning for a three-day trip! :P The food and drinks were almost good enough for another swimming outing! :D They've been carrying around 2 large plastic bags of these food and drinks. I think they were happily burdened by its weight. :P

I sat at 7-11 thinking about when we'll be eating them. It was 3:15AM and mama just bought the tickets. I wonder about the contents of my own bag. I relentlessly remind myself last night that I should bring only what I need. In consequence, all these things I brought with me, I should be able to use. At least if I don't, I should remind myself not to bring those next time. :)

We hop in the bus whose body number contained 2 digits of my favorite pin. :) It leaves at 4AM. I enjoyed the aircondition. I sat on the 25th seat. I let my younger sister win the window seat (twice, by the way). It always had to the the elder to give way. Sigh. I'll get my revenge soon though. Hah!

I took my second medicine at 3:45AM before eating my cold cheeseburger sandwich. I feel nausea. I stare at the half-eaten burger with disgust and at the same time, I thought that if I can't eat, I can't take my medications. I try to talk to my sleepy seatmate. She was eating the same food my mom and youngest sister were eating. They were seated across the aisle. Finally turning to my burger, I finish my food. I let mama settle down then handed her the tickets for the collection. Then at once, I retire to a blissful sleep. I meditate for awhile with my eyes closed and I let all other details drown in the quietness of my mind.

I saw Linda, a lady in white. She was looking for her kids. I saw empty rows of seats, seemingly a waiting area for travellers. Its obviously not the one we happened to have sat for awhile while I was eating taho before we went onboard. The chairs were maroon and all were empty. Let me tell you, it looked like chairs of the airport's waiting area. Why? I don't know why.. yet. :)

Linda lingers until finally I don't see her anymore and I was alone again. Quiet. I can hear some details inside the bus suddenly. I couldn't have been sleeping when my body jolts and I awake. Aha! And truly, I was asleep! Hmmm. I find a comfortable position and try to sleep normally, but with my feet crossed.

Though my sister was sleeping peacefully, she's obviously not comfortable for she keeps on shifting to different positions every now and then. As for me, I sleep and sleep and sleep to my heart's content. Everytime I open my eyes, I would struggle to keep them open. Why, its been ages since I gave in to rest! I thought to myself: "Enjoy." And I did! drools

I pickup a thought that I should wake up and prepare to alight the bus. FYI, I hate waking up at exactly where I need to get off. I need around 3 minutes to gather myself and re-orient my senses. That's how I thank God for letting me go back to my body and live more breaths of it. I ignore this warning and sleep again. I was awakened by a nudge from Mama, not more than 5 minutes after the warning. It was time to go. After quickly shuffling my hair and peeking at the mirror to make sure I don't look grossly engulfed by the sleep addiction, we went out tin the busy street afront the church. I smile at the sun. Its a nice day ahead, and a way to get closer to God.

In the church

It was 8AM. Just in time for Mass. We squeeze in our way to the church. Surely I wasn't looking for a a place to sit. I was there, I wanted to be there.. with or without seats. I was fine just standing in that church and feeling the energy. It was a happy feeling. When I saw the aggressive, energetic vendors, I smile. Its been awhile since I was last here. The last time was with my beloved.

I suddenly pick up a thought. There's definitely the air of somebody I dislike who's around here. Meh. I don't let that bother me. I thought there was nobody to kiss on the exchange of peace greeting, heck but I have three wonderful ladies to hug and thousands of others to smile at. I will not let that thought sadden me.

The celebrant describes a wonderful relationship with God. With God as our shepherds, he knows us all by our names.. and our thoughts and our feelings. I feel moved. I know my actions are sometimes weak, but my heart and my thoughts, I try to make them pure. My soul, strong. I pray to Him, as I always do when I walk, or think or take a break. I know He listens. He will not smite an inquisitive sheep. And then, I recall Memnoch, the Devil. I've been reading this book for quite some time now. Memnoch is God's angel, an archangel actually. He continuously accused God for His creations, thinking, wondering if He ever really meant for death and decay to happen. Was everything, simply part of His plan?

I worry that my thoughts could sound accusing, but no! They aren't. In fact, I met Ms. Kristine Demavivas, and we shared stories with each other. I know that she's an angel. Maybe even another soul who needs my comfort, my light. I told her how I never blamed God for taking my beloved away. Now, I see the reasons why. Sometimes when I look down at my heart, I see a hole. This is where I used to keep the living JP in me. This hole sometimes suck my energy and leave me in pain, but its the same hole that reminds me I was so strong enough to be alive now and happy to be back in God's house--the same house my beloved and I used to go to hear Mass in. JP might just be around. :)

I don't accuse my shepherd who tirelessly watch over us to keep the wolves away and lead us to greener grass. Sometimes wanting us to tear apart from the fondness that we develop while feeding on this greenery just to lead us to better places and more wonderful experiences. God is good.. all the time.

As we sing the Lord's Prayer, I notice that nobody held hands the same way we usually do at the church nearest our place. I don't know the hymns that they used, but I pray nonetheless. I close my eyes and listen to the voices of people singing. If I had the ears of God, would I hear whose souls sing the loudest, the most fervent and with the most enthusiasm? I know I sing only of pure thanks and love. I ask myself, "what can I do for you God?" A simple answer came back: "Sing for Him".

Yes, sing. That's one of the things I love doing. Singing. It beats the sorrow and pain in my heart and my mind. Anything. I thought of joining our choir again. Yes, I want to be alive and do the things I love to do. Yoga in the morning, singing for the church at night. Isn't lovely? I can't be a nun and pray constantly. I can't be a missionary to teach around the world. I definitely can't be anything more than what I am right now, but I can definitely sing! :)

After the Mass, the celebrant shares a prayer of peace from the Archbishop regarding elections. I listen to it intently and agree to everything that was said. Before we left, I sang a phrase for God: "I will sing forever of your love, Oh Lord! I will celebrate the wonder of your name!"

cover-image Candles with prayers in the wind

Leaving the church

The same bus that brought us here will leave at exactly 11AM. We have to get going. Eat breakfast and then hop in the bus. We bought breakfast at Chowking. That's got to be the busiest fast food chain in the area, next to Chicken Inasal. We made it to Almuchow! :D I missed this!

cover-image Chowking Almuchow

After our quick meal, we head out to the bus. We pick our seats and leave our things for the bus was extremely hot inside. Outside, we met Manang Marissa. We had quite a chat with her while we picked accessories from her portable store. :) It was a fun experience talking to her. She had a happy yet sun-worn face. Her skin was tanned, but her smile did not fade. She was very polite, meek hearted. I can tell that she has graceful children for she was one. A content mother with loving kids. I can tell.

She spoke with grace and passion for her work as she told us how she makes her bracelets and necklaces. I wonder with awe how such frailty could work tirelessly yet beautifully under the sun without regret and still go home to care for her children then make more of these crafts to sell the next day. She's an epitome of a wonderful woman. Its amazing how much I can describe her, for she's definitely more than that. These descriptions are not enough to capture what I felt when I was around her. Her energy was flowing graciously to us.

cover-image Portable store of Aling Marissa

I know how such hand crafted goods are hard to make, but she sells them only for 10 pesos. Deep inside my heart, I know when I go back to Manila, I'll be ignoring these accessories we bought from her, but I will never forget that face and that energy.

Bus back to Cubao

Inside the bus, I was toiling. I was toiling against the pains of my body. My neck hurts from sleeping nearly upright. My abdomen was in pain. I know I would not be able to stand it any longer. I wanted to just say, "I quit" from this scenario, then just teleport myself back to my bed where I feel most comfortable to be in. It was 11:30AM and the bus was on the way to Cubao.

While not yet sleepy, my seatmate and I chatter about the cows in black and brown skin. They must have been mixed-breeds. They already have horns. We saw goats of mixed colors and we laugh. We passed by some rivers that you'd only see when you watch old pinoy movies in rural plots. I envy those who were in the river, seeing only their heads above the water. The water was green and looked very clear.

The bus plays the movie "Clash of the Titans", the recent story. We chat for awhile then sleep. When I woke up, the bus was already playing "Ninja Assassin" and I took interest to watch the movie. I slip in and out of sleep. At 12:30PM, I can longer sleep. The pains are really keeping me awake now. I had to divert my mind and energy, and so I started writing this post.

Everytime the bus checked-in at stopovers, it would only be for approximately 15 minutes. Every bus stop, I was reminded of JP. He'd always make a run for the CR everytime! I remember where we sat, what we talked about and how it made me feel very old. Why? I'd always worry about him. He's always the one who needs to go everytime! :D The stories shuffle through my head like an old, tired movie player. I let if pass me by, not bothering me.

We passed by Cloverleaf Market and I was reminded of somebody near the area. I stopped writing at Munoz. Again, I remembered some people. At every stop, there was memory. Again, I let my mind wander. What if memories were stored in small vials? Then we could easily retrieve them and watch them, reminisce them as if its a full recollection. Why should our minds forget some details? Is is always inadvertent?

Oh, but then, why worry? There is not a single use for worry. Maybe tomorrow, but never on Sunday. :)