Strange things happen during Halloween

Unfaithful to what I pledged last year, I had a bit of Halloween celebration. That is, by dressing up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a far cry from my decade long style of celebrating this pagan custom. And as the old saying goes, old habits die hard.  Right or wrong, my kids and I always treated this occasion as a photo opportunity. Thus,

 

You must agree with me that Miguel’s eyes, reminiscent of the Village of the Damned, added to the creepiness of the photo.

My sons’ pictures above were regular; nothing special nor spectacular. However, when it was my turn, this happened.

The  second picture below, using an I phone, was taken by the lady whose head was mysteriously included in the photo. Don’t ask me what app was used because we did not use any. In fact, the photographer, the owner of the floating head, freaked out.

Strange things do happen during Halloween.

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Feeding the Birds

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The last time I had a pet dog was during law school days. It was an afghan hound- very tall and very hairy. All law students would agree that if you are studying law, you spend hours and hours poring over the pages of your law books even during ordinary days to prepare for a possible graded recitation. Considering that my schooling usually ends at night, I didn’t have the time to bond with my dog until it died of a broken heart. Like humans, dogs have feelings too. My heart sank when I came home one night to find it lying down motionless. Fearing that another dog would suffer the same fate, I had to satisfy my “maternal instinct” by turning to turtles and birds instead of a furry friend. With dogs, there is the constant fear of outliving my pet again. Further, dogs have emotional needs. To my mind, birds and turtles are not as  emotional as  dogs. As  I write, my brother Ramon is grieving  the loss of his dog-Clotty. Clotty was ran over by a truck the other night. He died instantly.

Cloty when he was still alive.
Clotty when he was still alive.

In 1995, my older brother Luis gave me a female umbrella head cockatoo. My Family simply calls it Parrot but I named it Tak tak then my kids later on named it Nigel based from the evil cockatoo in the Disney movie RIO.  I bought it a mate in 2005 but its mate escaped.Its been twenty two years and for the third time, Nigel  escaped its cage. Nigel dashed out of its cage when my Mom opened the cage to feed it.

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Nigel  is currently on top of a tree in our backyard.

 

We feed Nigel by putting sunflower seeds and balingbing  (star fruit) in the basket.
Can you spot the bird? My blogger son, RG tries to bribe Nigel with sunflower seeds.

The nice thing about Nigel is it merely stays in the garden hopping from branch to branch. Occasionally it visits its cage but clearly, it has no intention of staying there.  My current predicament is feeding it because the trees are too high. Further, Nigel has developed the habit of walking on the grounds searching for fallen fruits  and scattered sunflowers- a potential meal for a lot of stray cats.  Studies have shown that  stray and feral cats have contributed to the decline of uncaged  birds. I decided to put a basket in a Bignay tree. So far it is working.

More on feeding the birds, my children just wasted one jar of birdseed to feed the neighbors’ pigeons which took up residence in our roof. The nice thing about feeding the uncaged birds  is  that you don’t have to worry about cleaning their surroundings. However, the danger lies in the spread of diseases.

 

In closing, I leave you with a quote made by Anatole France which goes: Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

 

Painting Again

I never knew I could paint again until I tried. It’s been two decades since I picked up the brush and the palette. In this day and age of confusion, art is a great  stress reliever: or is it? Art is considered a stress reliever if you are not being commissioned to do it. Meaning, you are not time bound nor pressured to finish the painting tailor made according to the client’s specifications.   It’s a good thing that lawyering, my main profession, is not similar to  painting in which the client almost always can dictate the outcome.

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Here we are during the opening of the Art Exhibit.

On 24 April 2017, around 20 listed and declared artists in our office convened and showcased their painting/artistic talents. I was among the privileged to showcase my two artworks. Here are my contributions:

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From left to right: Let it blow, let it blow (Snowflakes) and The Prophecy of Simon (Jesus)

Your eyes do not deceive you. The featured image resemble the painting at the right. The earlier artwork was done in watercolor and painted by yours truly 23 years ago. It is more detailed and admittedly, more beautiful than the recent copy. Painstakingly reproducing it brought frustration and immense difficulty because the goal was to produce a better or clearer version of my earlier masterpiece. Reproducing it was in itself a journey. Imagining does not translate well into canvass if its rarely done. Focusing on that thought and thereafter releasing it through movement onto the canvass are two different things. You will be surprised that I literally prayed to Jesus (in my painting) to allow me to finish the painting in time for the Art exhibit. The recent copy although it is not as detailed as the original,  is not entirely a failure.  I merely  allowed my emotions to dictate what comes out: not mind. If I may say so, although I meant for the recent copy to look like the original, what turned out was  – just an expression of my soul.

After finishing the two paintings in eight days, I never expect I would actually be excited to finish some more.

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This is me with fellow lawyer, Atty. Jannel Cajote during the art workshop under Fidel Sarmiento.

Growing Old

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My parents

When I was 5, I wanted to grow up. So many rides, too many height requirements. I  was impatient about growing old.

When I was 10, I wanted to be 15 because I had a crush who was 18.

When I turned 18, I felt like an adult, but  not yet capable of paying my bills.

When I turned 22, someone broke my heart and I wished I was 18 again.

When I turned 29, I fell in love again, only to have my heart broken again and again and again.

When I reached 35,  I worried about the additional pounds gained.

When I reached 40, worried some more about getting old or dying young.

Talked to my father who is 82 years old, who never thought he would reach 80.

He drank too many beers and smoked too much cigars, survived Vietnam war and crashed on a post when he was 53.

He said,”You see, too many familiar names in the obituary. I don’t think I would be happy to live a few more years until I reach a point that you have to wipe me with a tissue.”

“Life is short Anak, let go of the hurt and remember only the love and good times.”

He said his life is filled with regret that he did not meet up with his friends only to find out that they already died.

He always said that if only he could apologize for the wrong things said or wrong things done to his kids when they were young he would do so. He was also busy growing up during that time.

Nobody could have said it better than a man who drank a lot of beers, smoked a lot and crashed on a post.

So enjoy the little things with your kids, because when you grow up, the little things turn out to be the big things.

Priestly Love

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Pray for your priests.  (Photo credits to the owner)

This post was supposedly intended for Valentines day. Well, I meant to write it sooner but due to several deadlines, now is the perfect time. So, here goes. Is there such a thing as love at first sight for priests and nuns? I don’t mean to be cheesy but can nuns and priests survive on God’s love alone ?A conversation with three priests revealed that they have feelings too and that they are prone to falling  in love. It’s just a matter of staying in love or acting on that love which makes love highly reprehensible or simply put, sinful.

When a priest falls in love, love becomes evil because our society mandates that priests remain celibate until they retire. On the the other hand, the woman who is similarly lonely/attracted could either reciprocate that love which makes her an evil temptress or choose to ignore  her feelings for the priest which is what social norms dictate and highly expect of her.

Recently,  Pope Francis raised the possibility  of ordaining married men given the shortage of priests. The pope ruled out the prospect of allowing single men who are already priests to marry but was open to the idea of allowing unmarried laymen or men already married to be ordained.

So what happens now to the priests who fall in love and want to celebrate their love freely with their partners? In our Catholic faith, it is either they get out of the ministry or simply give in to their hearts’desire but  risk  appearing sinful/taboo in the eyes of the public.

In this season of lent, let us pray for our priests. They become scarcer by the number because not many are attracted to the idea of a lonely mandated celibacy for life.

 

Be wise, make your own evidence

I presume that most most lawyers know this. But these tips are for non-lawyers.  Yesterday, my younger brother was worried about an account which was recently assigned to him. His problem was, the period to collect from the debtor was about to prescribe/expire.You see, most transactions, debts, death claims, right to collect amounts and other benefits, like it or not, contain periods to observe; otherwise, you may lose your right to recover. How does one prevent or hold the period from expiring? Better yet, how do you win in an ordinary case without solid evidence? Solution, make your own.

The following tips are proven effective:

  1. If you get  hurt,  threatened, be it a death threat or an ordinary threat, report it. Not just verbally, have it blottered/registered in your local police then get a certified or photocopy.
  2. If someone slaps you or inflicts injuries on you, don’t forget to do a SELFIE. You don’t have to post it on Facebook. Further, go to the nearest hospital and consult a medico-legal practitioner so that should you decide to file a complaint, you have evidence.
  3. If somebody borrows money from you, make him sign a letter acknowledging receipt of the money. Photocopy it  a lot of times. Putting a date is optional. A date could work for or against you. Should you decide to put a date, use the same pen and ink color.
  4. Bringing a friend to witness the borrowing is helpful too.  You could even ask the witness to take pictures while talking with the debtor or as he is  signing the promissory note.
  5. If you neglected to follow up in writing an account or debt, call the person concerned; if no action,  write a letter: “This is a follow up on your outstanding debt..” To make it make it appear that you’ve followed up several times.
  6. If someone owes you money and you don’t have evidence,  write him or her a letter saying: This is pursuant to our agreement that you will pay $ 10,000 upon signing….
  7.  Please buy a clear book. I have proven that record keeping is easier with a clear book. If you bought something, say an appliance or furniture,  or after you’ve consulted a doctor who prescribed you medicine, before you decide to clear your wallet and desks, put all your receipts and prescription in your clear book. You never know when you will need proof.
  8. If someone slanders you or maligns you in Facebook or cellphone text message,  print screen it ASAP because that will serve as evidence.
  9. One warning though, before you click the send button on your email or text, review it first. Omit words which might be used as documentary evidence against you. Chances are, a potential litigant might have consulted a lawyer or read this blog.
  10. Lastly, are you aware that Facebook posts may be used as evidence?

The bottom line is, written evidence is better than verbal evidence because writing has more staying power. God bless!

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Be wise, like an owl.

Being popular for a day

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I’m too shy and too slow to have my picture taken beside Senator Manny Pacquiao. My son Miguel (in red striped shirt) was sorely disappointed.

Today, the union officers in our office were  inaugurated by no less than  the very popular, eight time world boxing champion turned senator, Manny D. Pacquiao. Who does not know Manny  Pacquiao? Everyone dreams of becoming as rich and  as popular as he. Actually, for me,  I would settle for rich.However, the idea of being popular appeals to me also. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be popular even just for a day? Actually, my dream came true sooner than expected; I did become popular for a day when this came out several years ago :

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I am not a topnotcher ; just lucky.

Imagine the delight of all my relatives and friends when my face appeared in the front page of one of the dailies. How did this happen? I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Back to Manny. It is no secret that Senator Manny Pacquiao came from humble beginnings. During his speech at today’s inauguration, he confirmed that he used to live in the streets and would experience hunger from time to time.Gifted with strength and agility, he harnessed his boxing skills until he reached the peak of his career as an Eight-division Boxing World Champion. Everybody dreams of becoming rich and famous but I don’t think  anybody wants to experience what he has gone through prior to his superstardom.

Meeting a celebrity is always a dream which does not always end up positive.There are several horror stories which will put you off meeting celebrities for life.  The nice part of the brief encounter with Manny is he was always willing to accommodate anyone who wants to have a picture.My office mate and fellow lawyer Atty. Jasper Sales was fortunate to have a selfie with Manny.

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Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Atty. Jasper Sales and Mrs. Leonor Sales

So why didn’t I have a selfie/groupie with Manny? First, everything happened so fast. Most people in the crowd were armed with an advanced high tech cellphone. Next, they were tall. Thirdly, they were quick! The exact opposite happened to me because my cellphone conked out as the Pacman alighted from his car. Next, those who were successful in getting a selfie with Pacman were either tall or armed with a selfie stick. Neither of which, I possess. Thirdly, I was too slow because I was wearing high heeled shoes and had a small boy in tow.

The secret to being popular is simple in this day and age. There is the long and hard way.  Study hard to become a topnotcher. Or if you want instant fame, jump off from a building in a thickly populated area.  If you’re lucky enough to be alive after such a daring feat, you will find yourself immortalized in you tube and other social media. Lastly, you can do what I have done,  be in the right place at the right time.

#maguinolbay