Monday, October 26, 2015

My trip to the Philippine Embassy in DC

October 23, 2015
I went to the Philippine embassy today to have my passport renewed. I waited patiently for 1.5 hours to be called. During the wait, I was able register as an overseas voter. My brother has been persistent for me to vote as an oversees Filipino. A part of me thinks that I shouldn't but a part of me still thinks my vote matter.

The night before, I was rushing to find my expired passport. I knew I misplaced it. I know I did not lose it. First thing in the morning, I called the embassy. Classic scenario, I had to call multiple times until a real person answered and when I was finally able to find someone he hangs up. Then I had to call a couple of times. The gentleman apologized but by that time I was already annoyed. I kept my composure and talked to him. I told him about my lost passport and asked what I should do. He gladly asked if I had a copy of it and I said yes. He said just bring it and it should be fine. I trusted his words. I asked what the website said but he emphasized that it should be fine. Unfortunately, I regret doing so. I should have put more time into researching what to do. But who should I believe the website or the person working at the embassy? I believed the person. The website might not be updated and the guy should know better because he works there. 

So #995 was called. I went to counter #1 slowly handing out my paper work when I was asked about my my passport. I told them that I talked to someone earlier and was told that it was not necessary. He said that if I was claiming a lost passport, I should have a police report for it and would have to pay $160 for it. Then he added, if that I thought it was just misplaced. I should just find it and file again. 

Pretty much by now, you guessed it right, my blood was boiling in annoyance. I wasted 2.5 hours for nothing. Good thing, some Filipino couple was keeping me company during the wait. That wastage could have been prevented if the man on the phone provided me with accurate information. How will you respect an office if the people working in it doesn't know what his supposed to be work is. Providing wrong information is worse than not knowing. It shows a lack of respect and arrogance. Lack of respect for another person's time. Arrogance for being a know it all without not actually knowing. 

On my way back to the office, I thought to myself; being in the Philippine Embassy It felt like I never left the Philippines. Granted, my scenario can happen elsewhere. My experience in the Philippine embassy felt like home in a way that I don't really miss. 

This makes me feel that I have experienced an unjustified existence in my life. How can this happen. How can it be the same even if I am on the other side of the world and a different zip code? Probably because some things don't change even with a different zip code. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Killing the demons for 2015!

All throughout my life I struggled with the concept of beauty.  I never let it define me but it did become an insecurity at times. My beautiful mother always made me feel beautiful and appreciated.  She always reminded me that other people’s perception of me doesn’t matter until I let them be.
My mother was the epitome of beauty and grace. I get compared to her a lot. They said that I looked like my father. I wasn’t sure if that was supposed to be bad thing or a good thing.



I was fairly a skinny kid. I started gaining weight around 8 or 9 years old. When I was 7 years old, I was molested by playmate’s older brother. He told me I was pretty.  I never told anyone about it until I was in college and had my first boyfriend. Looking back now, that affected me more than I thought.
The weight gain didn’t bother me as much. I still felt normal. When I reach 10 years old, the teasing started. That was that virus of insecurity started multiplying. There were times that I did cry and my mom was ready to console. She was great at making me feel the best at my worst.  I was still part of the IT group. I was in a small school and we grew up together so we all had to be friends.  I was just the fat one of the group. I graduated as salutatorian in grade school. I excelled despite the insecurities that were building inside me.  

                                                                      My childhood pics

I moved to another school for high school. It was hard starting in a new school when you are a nobody. You are the typical pretty girl. I didn’t go to these people in grade school so I couldn’t reconnect. I struggled with relationships and having one. I was tall and big for most men so I wasn’t wantable.  Everyone was superficial. It is just the way it is. Either you are smart or pretty. If you are both then that is a jackpot.  I graduated with honors. I was accepted to a premier university. I knew I was pretty, smart, and adorable but it wasn’t showing in my physical appearance. All they saw what this chubby girl with breakouts and not so perfect teeth. I had great confidence but I still felt invisible.  

I became anorexic for a year in high school and my mom worried and push me into eating right.  It happened when my grandfather died. Then The year after, my dad lost his job, and I started gaining weight again. I felt guilty for being big again.

I wanted change. During my sophomore year in college, I went to a dermatologist and had facials to clear my skin. Got braces. Lost weight.  I became noticeable. I was the same person with the same wit and intelligence yet I felt that people started treating me differently.  I was getting asked on dates. I became admirable. It dawned on me how shallow society is. How I was judged and labeled. Family relatives told me that I looked more like my mother now.

College grad pic 

I had such confidence that I never thought. I excelled in everything. I was doing great in my classes. I dated the guy I fell in love with in my freshman year.  I even became University Student Council President in my senior year.

But I felt emptiness. I already knew how I was perceived. People were liking me with the wrong premise. We are told to look good on the outside so it reflects our inside because that is what people see. We need to be a package deal. Unfair as it seems that is how we humans are. We are made to like visually pleasing things. We like forms, symmetry, and perfection.

I was size 10-12 when I moved to the US. Back in the Philippines, I was considered fat.. extremely fat. Coping with my new life, work struggle, and familial loneliness, I ran and controlled my calories. I ate 950 calories a day and ran for an hour. I became a size 8. It was the skinniest I have ever been. I never thought I would be as hot as I could.  But I still felt fat. I felt not me. When I gained a little weight like a pound or two I was scrutinized.  My diet became an obsession. There was a time I was even purged because I felt guilty that I ate. 

 My skinniest

I dated Christopher. He loved me for who I am. I quit my job after a year and moved to Bethesda, Maryland. I worked multiple jobs until I found a break at National Institutes of Health. The multiple jobs lead to me to eat unhealthy, to overeat, and to stop running.  I was gaining weight. The consciousness to lose weight went outside the window since I have someone who loved me for who I am. Christopher never judged me and made told me I was beautiful every day. I had a lot of excuses. I try to justify my excuses are reasons but they weren’t. They were just my escape goat. 

Despite my weight game and my plump figure, I am healthy. I eat healthy. My vitals are always good. I get physicals twice a year (one mandatory from work and the other just my yearly one). But I still doubt myself. Not as often anymore but I still judge myself every day. I already know how I look and there are still people who tell me how I took as if I don’t know. Don’t they realize that I actually look at myself every day.

Recently, I was called fat by a close family friend. I have already heard it before. But I heard it again when she told another friend about me.  The thing about insult is it hurts the most when it comes from someone close. They think they are helping by being blunt but they are not. It has to be said a certain way for it to work. It has to be a genuine concern not ridicule. It should be a request made from love not a comment made of comparison.

So today, I pledge to lose weight (be healthier) not to impress other people but to finally kill my demons that have haunting me for the majority of my life.  It is time that I live myself not for other people but for myself. 

This time this is for real. Time is running out. I am not the same person back when I was 18 where I can yoyo. This is Real. This is it. Good luck to me! Hello 2015.

Me now.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dear Papa

Dear Papa,

Every year I battle my feelings toward you. As the years progressed, my hope and faith of you is leaning towards anger and disappointment.  And now that battle is turning into a daily one.

You send me emails usually when you need something for your ‘big’ project and that is starting to irritate me. You feel that not having your precious book will ruin your grandeur plans even though they won’t.  You believe that you never had failure.

What happened to you? What happened to the person I admired and respected?  You are very kind person but I’ve realized you haven’t been the ideal father that you are supposed to be. I know you tried to provide the best for us but it wasn’t enough.  If it was enough, then we would go through hell if you did your job well.

Most people rejected you mostly your side of the family. And I do understand their side. And I did listen to your side. I helped you no questions asked because you are my father and you are my blood.

I hate that Filial Piety is the reason that links the two us but it is the only reason why I still I am still around supporting you.

Your grandeur and ambitious plans never went anywhere or saved Mama when she was sick. Your unfinished plans never really fed us when we were hungry or made us rich as you promised. Your broken promises made me realize how life was unfair and that promises are meant to be broken. Your ego and pride taught me that humility is better applied to succeed in life.

Like what I said, I appreciate everything you have done for us but it only lasted until I was in the 6th grade and after that Mama took MOST of the responsibilities.

I admired you a lot that when you criticized my writing when I was 10 that I even considered quitting writing but I never let your criticisms ruin me. And I am glad I did. I realized that you never take a criticism from a person who wouldn’t even take a criticism.

I appreciate all the math lectures. The money you provided in grade school and the fancy things I had when I was kid. But that was it.

Most people want to be like their father, I wasn’t one of them. I wanted to have Mama’s traits but I didn’t want to end up like her and how she suffered the hardships. Because she didn’t deserve any of those. We can start blaming whoever but everything has been done and we should just move on. If you love someone, you will give them the best no questions asked.

 I was scared of becoming like you. I was scared of failing and having unfinished plans that sometimes it stopped me from trying because I didn’t want to be you. I didn’t want to be just a dreamer.

 I am not proud that I became a somewhat of a hoarder. A trait that I got from both mama and you. And you would never admit that you are a hoarder. Look at our in the Philippines. It looks like trash pit. I wouldn’t even want to go live there if not only because that is where I grew up.

I appreciate when you try to help in the apartment but it is not enough. I would appreciate if you do more in the house. You have a lot of free time anyways. You might want to experience how elders are served in the Philippines. In here, you serve yourself. Even in Christopher’s house it is like that. You have to start to get used to that.

I am a frank person and you can talk to me but I feel disrespected when you walk away when we talk to you. Or when you come out of your room only when we are out. Or it would have been nice to know who you are giving our phone number or address out. You are my father but you are also in our home. You never even try hard enough to be bring forth initiative.

It is time you grow up and put your ego aside. Start accepting criticisms. Learn to admit. Stop being defensive. And realize that not everything is spoon-fed. There is a time in your life when you have to be ambitious and there is a time when you have to learn to keep your feet on the ground.

I am not asking you to be rich. I am not asking you the world. For once, be realistic.

It pains me that as the days go on, you have become a stranger in my home. You just seem to be a freeloader or a tenant. It pains me that I have to deal with your medical woes. You made yourself worse when you went home. If you have really appreciated all that I have done for you, you should have done better. You should stop using the excuse “ I don’t know”. That is a lousy excuse for a man.

I will still pay your medical bills. And it pains me to do that. To be honest, I question myself for doing it. The best reason I can come up is because you are my father and that is pretty much it. Filial piety as they call.

You can brag all you want on what you are doing. But that doesn’t make up for everything that happened to me. I am thankful for the kind things you did but I am more thankful to Mama to where I am now. I hope she could have enjoyed what you have now.

So as you read this letter, I don’t expect you to understand. I know you will hide in your room and escape confrontation and ignore criticisms like you do. I am used to that and learnt to deal on that.

I hope for the first time, you put other people first before yourself.

Life is not easy. I hope you know that by now. But you can’t work through life by always expecting other people to clean up your mess. You have to work to make things happen.

Also, money don’t go on trees. You can’t just make millions by just staying on the computer unless you are an IT programmer or you are Bill Gates. Business involves trust and capabilities.  I really wish you the best on what you are doing right. But I don’t expect anything from or I believe there will be something of it. My 15 year old self might have applauded but the 25 year old wouldn’t.

I have learned the hard way what is hard work and how to succeed in America. And you wouldn’t be freely doing what you are doing right now and having a roof on your head if it wasn’t my years of sacrifice here with no family or no permanent home.

You weren’t available when I needed a parent. I didn’t feel a consoling father when I needed one. I just became the daughter who sent money to the Philippines and made things happen. Mind you. I was 21 when I became the breadwinner of this family. And I lost my hero, Mama.  

I asked you if you are willing to work in Kmart and you said you are ok with it. I wasn’t forcing you but suggesting you to. You agreed and that was great. Until, you changed your mind without telling us and just doing your fruitless research. It would have been nice to let us know. I just want you to have a more meaningful existence. But anyhow, I still let you do what you want.

In short, I got mad when I read this latest email of yours regarding your books and research. I grew up with your plans and research and all your brags and all that questions. I am just TIRED AND MAD about hearing about them again and again and you showing off those letter of O’Malley and other people. And where has those plans have gone?  I am not that 12 year old anymore who praise and believe everything you said was real. I know how to differentiate dreams and reality now.

Things might not have been perfect before or didn’t go as plan. And I know you don’t want to admit that. But it is never too late. You can just be a simple person/father right now and be a normal person. Why don’t you be the father that you should have been?

I hate to send this this Christmas.  I AM NOT PERFECT AND WILL NEVER BE. I don’t want any material things….all I want is peace in my heart and no anger.

I write this to you not to wish you harm but to say my piece. This letter doesn't mean to offend and I apologize if it did. And finally, thank you for making me write this email because I was able my set my feelings free after so many years.

I wish you well, Merry Christmas.


PS. I told more than 3 times, we are not near CJ storage unit. I cannot get them right now. Try and be more resourceful since you have all time in the day. When we go there next year, I will let you know.

On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM, IG wrote:
Merry Christmas to all
Can you ask about my books and the CD where the Engine Designs are, I hope they are still there,   a) an old book about designing an engine including testing it b) about Synthesis and Analysis, similar to this words, I can't remember exactly, a chapter in single cylinder engine design and the software on the CD.  I don't know if there was a third book. This are important for our project with Bobby Huang. It will be gratefully appreciated.

Monday, December 16, 2013

F*ck this!

I always thought that 24 hours is not enough for me to finish all that I need to do. Go to the gym, study, clean the apartment, cook dinner and post online. But right now, as I sit and stare at my computer, I realized I have more than enough time. I have just been consumed of "stuff" that I forgot myself. I forgot what it means to be fine. I just want to get stuff done that I forgot what it is to be me. It is during this time of silence that I realize the feeling of emptiness that I have. It reminds me the feeling of not having a mother to cry on. It reminds me that I am no longer a child but an adult stuck in a world of the unknown. I cried today and I am trying to figure out why. I have gained 65 pounds in the last two years. I have developed some acne and my eye bags become darker. I might have become more mature but I have become more sad that I was 3 years ago. Usually, I know what to do or I try to know what to do. At this moment, all I can do is procastinate and hope that everything will work out fine. Take each day as it comes. F*ck this! I need to be happy. To my brother, work your ass off. You don't talk to me like I owe my life to you. You just don't message me and tell me to send you money when you get a monthly stipend from our grandparent's fund. To my dad, where did my hero go? How did you become this stranger that lives in my own home? I hope for once you become my Father and make me feel that I am your daughter. And please stop trying those imports/exports that won't work, they just make me mad because it reminds me of how your dreams never helped us save Mama. Amen.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I am enough.

                                                     BrenĂ© Brown: The power of vulnerability  


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10/08/2013: People camping to be the First 100 customers for the opening of the Chick-fil-a Rockville tomorrow. I should camp too since I'm furloughed. Hahahahha