Araw ng Paglaya or Patuloy na Pang-aalipusta?

Bukas na ang isa sa pinaka-importanteng araw para sa maraming Pilipino: ang araw ng botohan. Sa araw na ito, ihahalal ang mga mauupo sa kapangyarihan na magtatakda ng kinabukasan ng Pilipinas. Ang boto ang magsisilbing daan para ipanatili — o ibahin — ang takbo ng bansa at ang agos ng kasaysayan. Kaya naman, itong araw na ito ay maaaring araw ng paglaya — o patuloy na pang-aalipusta mula sa mga naghaharing-uri at makapangyarihan.

Ang Mayo 9 ay maaaring maging araw ng patuloy na pang-aalipusta. Pang-aalipusta, mula sa sa mga makapangyarihan na hindi tumatalima sa daing ng masa. Pang-iinsulto, mula sa mga kurakot at suwail na hindi tumutugon at patuloy na nagpapahirap sa mga nasa laylayan. Sa anim na taong nakalipas, maraming mga nangako at nagkunwaring magdadala ng pagbabago sa lipunan. Ngunit, sila ay nakalimot at nasilaw ng kapangyarihan. Ang nagsabi ng change is coming ay nagdala ng mga pagbabago: dumami ang mga bulok na politiko, bumagal ang paggalaw ng ekonomiya, at lumala ang kalidad ng buhay. Ang pagbabagong minithi ay itinapon sa basurahan at ang nabubulok na sistema ay patuloy na pinairal. Kaya naman, nanumbalik ang mga dating napatunayang nagnakaw at napakulong. At ang malala, naging normal ang mga tiwaling transaksiyon sa gobyerno. Nakita naman din sa anim na taon ang pagbulusok ng demokrasya sa pag-iral ng mga patayan, disinformation, at fake news. Nabawasan ang diskurso mula sa mga disenteng pagkukuro-kuro tungo sa pagbabatuhan ng mga masasakit na salita at fallacies.

Ngunit ang Mayo 9 ay araw din ng paglaya. Paglaya, mula sa bulok na sistema na patuloy na umiiral. Pag-asa, para sa bayang nalugmok ng utang at maling pamamahala. Ang susunod na anim na taon ay maaaring magtanim ng bagong kinabukasan na magdadala ng ngiti at kagalakan para sa mga kasalukuyan at hinaharap na henerasyon. Hindi man magiging perpekto itong kinabukasan, pero ito ay magsisilbing pundasyon para sa mas mabuti at maunlad na Pilipinas. Ang kulay rosas na bukas ay hindi nakasalalay sa iisang pinunong nangakong mag-aangat ng buhay ng lahat, pero ito ay nakadepende sa pagpupunyagi ng lahat ng Pilipino — mga magsasaka, mga uring manggagawa, kabataan, mga dehado sa buhay, mga NBSB/NGSB, at kung sino-sino pa na tinatawag ang kanilang sarili na Pilipino. Ang paglaya sa bulok na sistema na nagpapatuloy ay nakadepende sa araw ng botohan. Ang boto ang pinakamabisang sandata para sabihing, "tama na, sobra na" at ipamukha na ang tunay na kapangyarihan ay nasa masang Pilipino.

Kinabukasan, gigising tayong lahat upang iboto ang sinumang kumakatawan sa ating paniniwala at nagugustuhan. Ang boto para sa mga magnanakaw, sinungaling, tax evader, at nakakalimot sa husga ng kasaysayan ay pumipili para sa patuloy na pagbulusok ng inang bayan. Ang boto naman para sa mga tapat, may napatunayang track record at may tunay na pagmamalasakit ay pumipili para sa paglaya ng inang bayan sa mga mapaniil, ganid, at panatikong makapangyarihan. Kaya naman, "bayan, pumili ka!"

I will always stand with Ukraine

Let me just say a few quick thoughts on the war on Ukraine (for I haven't conjured up a decent blog post in a month, and I can't think of a witty article):

I will always stand with Ukraine. The Russian invasion is nothing but an act of aggression and desperation for Vladimir Putin, the president-turned-fascist desperate to hold on to his fragile power. His primary reason for invasion — while seemingly noble for those deep into state propaganda — is a farce and founded on lies. The ongoing attack on Ukraine is one of those acts reserved only for madmen and fascists with twisted intentions.

I will always stand with Ukraine. The dreams and lives of many Ukrainians had vanished in just a month due to the senseless war waged by Russia. The thoughts of war that seemed impossible just a few months ago had turned into a nightmarish reality that many Ukrainians have to endure. I can't imagine a world full of suffering and utter devastation — yet somehow, many Ukrainians are now living this reality. Instead of facing a future full of possibilities and opportunities, they now face a future full of uncertainties and loss.

War has always been ugly. The invasion of Ukraine is no exception. What was once thriving landscapes have now been turned into desolate fields. The devastation brought by this war has been steadily growing, and it is utterly heartbreaking. Whole cities are being wiped out, and lives are being claimed by attacks carried by Russia. Russia alone holds full responsibility for this destruction, and they should be completely brought to justice for the war crimes that they had committed.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no end in sight for this war. The whole world is still watching as bombs drop into cities, and as refugees evacuate in fear of their lives. Everyone — and unfortunately, mad men and fascists — are taking note. If the invasion of Ukraine succeeded, then what's stopping fascists from replicating Putin's unholy success? Russia must never be allowed to win, for their victory is a huge loss to world peace and stability that many of us have come to enjoy.

The 2022 Presidential Elections Is One of the Most Crucial Yet

Last month, our country marked the beginning of the campaign period for the 2022 elections. As usual, campaign rallies were held, sorties were planned, and plans were revealed. That of course, is the status quo for any elections — yet this upcoming 2022 presidential elections is arguably one of our country's most crucial yet.

The upcoming 2022 elections have a lot of things going for it, set against the gloomy background of the pandemic; the government's inept, incompetent, and indifferent response to it; and, the malicious spread of disinformation and outright lies. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the crack's within Duterte's strong-fisted rule, exposing his inability to rein in the situation and give timely response whenever possible. A majority of our fellowmen suffered under the pandemic with unemployment, yet the government floated little help and assistance despite the ballooning debt. Compounding the problem is the unforgivable robbery of massive funds that could have helped more of our countrymen get by. Even then, most of Duterte's minions were unapologetic and even have the gall to break laws just because they can. Meanwhile, the rabid spread of misinformation and lies meant that facts and evidences were set aside, distorted and even seen as harmful. What is painfully true and evident were ignored, and what is convenient to believe in were glorified in the veil of "respecting one's opinion".

As such, the spot for the top job is crucial than ever. The next president should and must undo the damage and rectify the wrongdoings this administration had done. It is not an easy task though — as a matter of fact, it is a monumental one. Duterte's minions roam the halls of Senate, Congress, and Supreme Court, each with their own agenda but with a unified gratitude to the one who put them there. Back are the days when politicians can do wrong yet still claim to be in the right. Back are the old, corrupt system of governance that the next president needs a big reform to set the government in a course of correction.

Our country's path to recovery is wholly dependent on the agenda and platforms of the next president. There has never been a more dire post-EDSA situation for our country than these past two years. Unemployment grew, and the country's economy suffered one of its largest crash. Worse, the country incurred massive debts that any fiscal actions taken by our country needs to be frugal and prudent. The next president shall face a tough job of setting the country on a path to recovery. Even then, recovery is not going to be a straightforward especially as we don't know how the COVID-19 pandemic will take shape for the next few years.

The country faces a dire economic situation compounded by the uncertainty of the pandemic. The next president must get the everything right to set the country in a stable footing. At the same time, the next president must tread the fine line as Duterte's administration brought back the corrupt and inept system of governance and amplified the oligarchs that are long presumed to be dead. But the country is at a much bigger stake this 2022 — the upcoming elections will let Filipinos decide if one crucial moment of history is truly worth dying for.

With the return of the Marcos to the Malacañang just one win away, the upcoming elections risk the erasure of what the 1986 People's Power Revolution stood for. If another Marcos becomes the president of the country, the fight of the Filipino people against the erasure of democracy will be thrown out the window. Democracy will take a hit in a fragile country still haunted by the ghost of Marcos' iron-fisted yet corrupt rule. The future generation will be paying the consequence of such erasure, doomed to repeat the same mistakes that plunged the country into Martial Law almost 50 years ago.

The future of the Filipino people — that is at stake come May 9. The upcoming 2022 presidential elections is set to determine not only the future six years, but also the decades to come. Duterte's administration fostered the corrupt and inept, enabling the return of Marcos in an unprecedented way. Plus, there's the looming threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect in the economy. With these in mind, there's no elections more crucial than this year — for whatever the results of the elections, particularly the presidential election, will set the path the country shall take. Now, the path is not yet set in stone. Will it be for the good, or will it be for the worse?

Losing A Dog and Some Reflections in Grief

What can losing someone you value and care about teach you about loss, grief and life? Well, a lot — even if it is not a human, but a dog. At some point in our lives, we have to deal with loss and grief over the death of someone we cherish. After all, death is inevitable. Losing someone can make us all realize and feel one of the most painful yet integral emotions in life.

Two weeks ago, one of our dogs died. She was not an ordinary dog — rather, she was unique from the bunch, cunning yet loyal. She was also special due to the fact that she was born months before the pandemic. So, for most of the time our family have been spending at home, we have her steadfast presence giving us cheer and comfort as we deal with the stress of remote work and more.

For most of her life, she would be accompanied by her mother who had been accustomed to her presence too. Like a normal dog, she would enjoy going for a short walk or an excursion into the neighborhood. She also likes to go inside the house, preferring its warm and cozy atmosphere. She was intelligent, having been taught tricks and figuring out some of her own. In mealtime, she would make one of the cutest pose I've ever seen in my life as she begs for food.

However, everything changed as the new year passes. She was in heat prior to the beginning of the year, and weeks after she began bleeding from her vagina profusely. It wasn't the first time this happened — we all thought that she had problems with her reproductive organs that will resolve soon after. After all, menstruation also happens in dogs. But as the weeks progressed, her condition worsened until one day when her mouth began to froth profusely.

Due to her worsening condition, we had her checked at the nearest vet and unfortunately, the diagnosis came. She was inflicted with pyometra, and it was too late. The infection had already spread into her stomach, and it was only a matter of time before she died. At that point, we still decided to have her undergo a surgery. It was too late, and she died nonetheless.

Everything happened so fast that we never anticipated her death. We can only blame ourselves for not bringing her sooner to the vet. We didn't know any better though.

Grief follows the first few days of her death. The emotion was hard to describe and write into words. I experienced not just a sudden wave of sadness, but a lingering air of emptiness, longing, denial, and shock. It was a powerful emotion that I came to realize and embrace fully.

Looking back, our dog's death made me ponder about the reality of grief and reflect on this powerful emotion. Processing this emotion is hard precisely because it is a powerful one. For me, grief is not just a singular emotion but a complex one. The best that I can come to describe it is sadness with a strong hint of emptiness peppered with shock and denial. Emphasis on emptiness — it really is hard to accept that someone is gone, and that you have to abruptly adjust to that loss. It is okay to cry all you want — after all, an emotion is an emotion, and it does not care for any gender stereotype whatsoever.

Shock and denial are two emotions that follow immediately after realizing that a loved one is no more. Having accustomed to our dog's cheerful presence, it comes as a shocking realization that she won't be around anymore. An abrupt loss is much more painful, and I had a hard time accepting and adjusting to a new routine without our dog's presence.

When our dog was still around, I would pet her whenever I could as a form of consolation and to remove stress. Now that she was gone, suddenly there was a vacuum in the daily routine. This feeling of emptiness and longing persisted a few days after her death.

Days passed and the feelings I first experienced began to subside. The sadness have slowly diminished, and the feeling of emptiness began to go away. However, her memory will not surely fade away. Whenever I think of her now, I let out a smile and remember her quirky character.

My experience of grief — even though it may be short and fleeting — is unpleasant but warranted especially after losing someone we have came to grow accustomed to. The rollercoaster of emotions that I felt was one that seemed surreal, for the death was abrupt. What is important, however, is how I came to recognize these emotions and accept them as part of life.

Switching to Standard Notes and Listed.to

What's in a blog? A blog is a personal space for all your thoughts and musings. That's why it is important for me to maintain a blog – think of it as giving updates about my life once in a while. This 2022, I have decided to streamline my digital accounts and minimize digital footprint as much as possible. Thankfully, I have discovered Standard Notes and Listed.to, both platforms that emphasize privacy and simplicity.

FIrst of all, a background. Why am I blogging with Listed.to? Two years ago, I have opened a WordPress blog to serve as a personal space for random thoughts and anything else. However, there's a big reason why I stopped my WordPress blog. Since I am using a free plan, my blog is riddled with ads, something that I have against with. While WordPress has a decent interface, I am easily burdened by its complexity. It also doesn't help that some things require a learning curve to get going.

I have also been maintaining a Medium blog for years, but I haven't written any new content in several months. In my opinion, Medium has changed for the worse, and great, organic content are harder to find nowadays. I can solely blame their Medium Partner Program, but I think that it has a huge role in making the experience worse.

Write.as looks attractive, but I am still hesistant in opening a new account and blogging with the platform. Something about the platform gives me the feeling that they may not last for years to come, although they are a federated platform (and open source, which is really important to me).

After a long search, I have stumbled upon Listed.to which I discover to be linked with Standard Notes. Honestly, the interface of write.as is much attractive to me, but I value longevity. Standard Notes and Listed.to is also here to stick around, given that they are one of the reputable and established ones in the encrypted notes market.

So for 2022, I am switching to Listed.to. It's been several months since I last wrote for my blog, and I'm eager to restart the habit of writing in a personal space of my own. The only thing is that I don't post frequently. I only write when I want to and when there is a grave need to do so.

That's it for now.