Philippine Daily Inquirer
Why I wished my father was a congressman
Your mantra for the week: “When I move in the direction of love… all fears are gone.”
Filipinos have approximately 321,000 hours of wakefulness for a maximum average life expectancy. How do we use these hours efficiently and intelligently for a fulfilling and meaningful life?
We work for a living, not just to labor for income, but to do what we love to do and prosper in it. The essence of our existence is anchored on believing in the Good, making our dreams come true and having a good time. Most of all, we spend our lives learning to love ourselves—for if we do not, we’ll be unable to love others truly.
Here are some lessons we have to learn if we are to really love ourselves:
1) Give up all your baka (might haves) and eh kung (what ifs) which are forms of scaring ourselves. Worrying also falls within this category. The Bible says, in Job 3:25: “For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.”
2) Stop self-criticism and self-judgment.
3) Start letting go of the belief that you are a sinner. Remind yourself that sin comes from an old archery term which means “missing the mark.” Thus, simply aim again.
4) Give yourself food, exercise and rest that your body needs.
5) Praise yourself when you are feeling down or need to be encouraged.
6) Reward yourself with pats on the back when you have done a good job.
7) Take care of your needs first, for you to help meet the needs of friends and loved ones.
8) Become a loving parent to your inner child. Give tender, affectionate nurturing when it is upset.
9) Treat yourself to dinner, have a massage, and spend at least two hours of fun a day.
10) Learn to tithe, which is the kindest, most loving thing you can do for yourself.
First cycles: Du30 and Leni
Today is the birthday of Vice President Leni Robredo. She enters her Sun or first cycle that promises expected and unexpected blessings.
President Duterte has invited her to dinner. And when it finally happens, they will both be enjoying the benefits of their first cycles—like they did last year when I predicted that their cycles would propel them to victory in the May 9 elections.
In the course of that dinner, I trust that the Philippines’ No. 1 and 2 public officials will come together with new projects that they will mutually agree upon to benefit the country.
Both have the best intentions for the Filipino people, though they sometimes differ on the method or the approach to bring about the desired results. Let harmony reign between them.
‘A Wedding Affair’
On April 20, Solaire’s Gianpietro Iseppi, Philippine Tatler’s Irene Martel Francisco, Bulgari’s Mario Katigbak and Inquirer’s Thelma San Juan cohosted “A Wedding Affair,” which launched two books, Philippine Tatler’s “Weddings” and Inquirer’s “The Bridal Lookbook,” at Solaire Resort and Casino. I got copies of both books and went through them the next day—delighted at how weddings in the country have evolved.
In Lifestyle editor Thelma San Juan’s “The Bridal Lookbook,” she recounts and illustrates through fabulous pho- tographs how “today’s bride is no slave to tradition”—and how!
Of the 34 bridal gowns featured in the book, only seven will make it close to the traditional bridal gown. Maybe it’s because of the summer weather so there is a lot of flesh exposure, but that surely will be of no help to the man of the cloth officiating, who is a celibate.
Philippine Tatler’s “Weddings: Celebrating Love,” edited by Shauna Jay Popple Williams, totally convinces me that people get married for the rituals and festivities—not for celebrating love.
Imagine how exciting the whole process is—a year before, a pamanhikan is scheduled, a formality of the groom paying a visit to the parents of the bride to ask for her hand in marriage. The couple then lists down the minor and major sponsors, deciding which church and who will officiate, which designer will do the bride’s gown ( now they can choose from PDI’s “Bridal Lookbook”), what the groom will wear, where the reception will be held, who are the people to be invited after consultations with parents of both parties, etc.
Likewise, where will the couple spend their honeymoon, and will there be more than a dozen ninong and ninang for whatever reasons like establishing political, business and social connections.
Then there is the despedida de soltera and the stag party for the groom, and, finally, where the couple will reside after the wedding.
If this is a regular wedding, one can expect from 800 to 1,500 guests. The size usually determines what venue will be chosen for the reception.
Married, then separated
A few decades ago, a friend was about to get married and I gently recommended an alternative: You and your fiancee fly to Hong Kong for two weeks, have a blast and, upon returning to Manila, announce that you got married. Surely no one would really care whether you did or did not, for as long as there is some form of an- nouncement and a little gathering to boot.
Imagine how much would be saved in effort, finances, etc. Of course, my friend would not think of it—especially his bride who was looking forward to walking down the nave in a bridal gown a la Princess Kate, with all the trimmings and pageantry.
And so it came to pass, but three years later they separated and spent a few more millions just to put things in order.
The business of weddings
I amnot a cynic and I believe in celebrating love, but certainly not in the manner stated above. All these rituals do not make a marriage, but surely it is good for business.
Consider the jewelry exchanges (ask Bulgari) and the money spent on flowers, invitations (Write Impressions) and other recommendations of the event coordinator (Moss Manila) which include the reception program, photographs, videos, menus and/or food options, and whatever it takes to make it a memorable occasion.
Matrimony not for me
Despite all these, I’m not convinced about matrimony, especially after the countless times during my counseling years that I heard grievances regarding, for instance, mothersin-law.
Which brings to mind the anecdote about two cannibals having dinner, comparing complaints against their mothersin-law. One of the cannibals said, “I really hate my motherin-law,” to which the other replied, “That’s okay, just eat the vegetables.”
I won’t be stopped because I just remembered a conversation I had as a teenager with my mother, when she announced that my father had signs of early dementia at age 35. I asked, “What… why do you say that?”
Mom answered: “Well, I think your father has forgotten that he is married.”
I knew it, my father should have been a congressman.