What Makes Us Human

What Makes Us Human

On my way home one late afternoon, I was riding the MRT, when I saw an older woman sobbing in the corner. We passed through one station… then another, and another, and she still wasn’t stopping. I was shocked that she couldn’t stop crying. I kept stealing glances at her, but she was too distressed to notice. I could see her face was wet with tears, and I could hear her sobbing. She kept gasping for breath, as if she was drowning in her own agony. We were both lost in our thoughts. Her sobbing visibly made the other passengers uncomfortable. I could see them shifting and squirming, avoiding eye contact with the women and pretending that she wasn’t there – that she wasn’t crying. For everyone else this was just another commute home from work.

When a baby cries in public, it’s not a big deal to anyone because babies cry all the time. That is normal. But when adults cry, why does it seem so embarrassing – shameful even? I myself have shed some tears while in public, but I have to admit that it makes me feel so embarrassed when it happens to me. Aside from my troubles, I wonder what people are thinking of me. Are they judging me? Would they rather not see me?

As a college student far away far home, I find that every day is filled with new experiences and stories. Isn’t that what everyone’s life is like? We see old friends, laugh over TV shows, and suffer heartbreaks and loss. Our days are filled with many different emotions – highs and lows, good and bad. Yet in public, we keep quiet. People frown and scowl when someone is talking too loudly. It’s considered normal not to show emotion when we’re around others.

That woman crying on the train made the other passengers uncomfortable because of her sadness, but we need to understand that she must cry sometimes. We would simply prefer that she didn’t cry around us. It is not that we don’t have to accept people crying in public, but what we can ask is why seeing someone show emotion unsettles and upsets us. What would it cost for us to reach out and break that wall that divides us? Maybe we’re too shy. Maybe we don’t know how to help. Maybe we are scared to be judged.

But aren’t we all human beings? We all experience things. We all feel things. And at the end of the day, it should be okay to just be a person – to feel sad and to feel weak, to be happy and to be strong not just in the privacy of our inner lives, but in public as well. We need other people. We need those who feel the same way and even those who don’t. The philosopher, Aristotle, said, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Because at the end of it all, the one thing that makes us fully human is the other person across us.

Better Keep that Trash

Better Keep that Trash

When I was in Elementary, I have kept my adviser’s words in my mind when she told us something about keeping our trash (such as candy wrappers or anything that would be considered as litter) in our pockets if we cannot see a trash bin nearby. I heed what she said until now. Ever since I heard that advice, I stopped throwing my trash anywhere I can like throwing a plastic bag outside the jeepney or bus window.

As I travel to school, I always look at my surroundings. The streets are full of litter. It saddens me to see how dirty our surroundings are already. The beautiful landscapes are blemished by human’s garbage.

Manila street garbage

Manila street garbage

Because of the advice in mind, I started to appreciate the MMDA cleaners and Metro Aid who I usually see trimming the grass, sweeping the streets, and even clean the road dividers! Without their help, our surroundings will stay dirty and look unpleasant. Because of the advice, I also started to be irritated over those who throw their trash along the streets. I started to become aware of those who litter because we should be taking extra care of our environment these days since environmental issues are becoming prevalent.

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As a responsible citizen, let us keep our surroundings clean by keeping our trash in our pockets or bags for a while when we do not see a trash can around. Even if we have janitors to help us clean our surroundings, let us be aware of our own litter. Let us help one another in cleaning our surroundings for the future generation.

Photo credits: http://www.hobotraveler.com/2005/12/manila-philippines-street-children.html

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=328899&amp%3Bpage=287

South Sea sojourn: Photos from a place I used to know

Observing Nature’s Colors

Observing Nature’s Colors

nature

Photo taken at the University of the Philippines-Diliman

Whenever I observe the beauty of nature around me, I always commend God for His wisdom about color combination. He is, after all, also a God of creativity and art. The green color of the grass and its shades of brown when it dries up compliments the color of the brown butterfly in the photo I took. Every time you leave your house, try looking at the different color combinations that nature has for us to observe.

Appreciating Escolta Street

Appreciating Escolta Street

In every student’s history classes, their teachers must have taught them about the Philippine’s rich culture and history even before the Spaniards came to colonize the Philippines. The Philippines also continued to develop through the cities on which people now see whenever they go around the country to travel, especially around Metro Manila. But there’s this once well-known street in Binondo, Manila that, in my own opinion, needs to be remembered by the Filipinos because of its historical value. Escolta Street is its name.

Being able to visit the Escolta Street, for the first time last year, I felt as if I was stepping into a precious street in Manila. It was known to be the business district of the Philippines because of the widespread trading in Binondo City. Being the business district during the American colonization times, the old buildings in the street showed how it was so alive in the last 50 years.

September 1930, Escolta (photo credit: www.lougopal.com/)

September 1930, Escolta (photo credit: www.lougopal.com/)

First United Building (Photo by Paolo Bustamante)

First United Building (Photo by Paolo Bustamante)

Fact: The late Comedy King, Sir Dolphy, had his office located in the First United Building.

Inside the Juan Luna E-Services building

Inside the Juan Luna E-Services building

Going back to my observations in this valuable street, there are a number of abandoned buildings. It’s already unimaginable how it looked like Makati City before! It is sad that recently, rumors spread that the El Hogar will be soon demolished (read more about this here). Another sad news came last January 07, 2015 (Wednesday) about the fire that burned the building where the City College of Manila and Philippine National Bank were once situated (read more here). But gladly, people (organizations) that advocate for the restoration of Escolta are always on the move to revitalize the street. Part of revitalizing Escolta is the Saturday x Future Market organized by the 98B COLLABoratory. Make sure to watch out for it every month!

Chalk art inside the Saturday x Future Market

Chalk art inside the Saturday x Future Market

Escolta is a Philippine cultural heritage that needs to be conserved. The stories that echo in each of the buildings still needs to be heard by the future generations of people.

Have you been to Escolta? Or maybe you have also been to the projects done to reviving Escolta’s beauty. Let us know through our comments section below!

References:

http://www.lougopal.com/manila/?p=83

http://www.imagesofasia.com/html/philippines/escolta-road.html

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/03/22/14/how-artists-entrepreneurs-are-reviving-escolta

Be updated about Escolta through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EscoltaOfficial

Staying Still

Staying Still

In every photograph lies a story. Have you ever thought about what a single moment captured in a photo means to the one who took it? No matter how candid or formal it may be, the one who took it and his/her subject becomes part of that photo – including the things or other people in the background.

puppy, dog,pet

Have you ever thought that a photograph can stop the time even for just a second it is taken? The memory could live for generations, despite of the changes that may have occurred inside the photo. That’s how it became for this photo of our lost pet puppy. He was and is still loved by the one who took this moment in a picture… And that person is me.