Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Concept of Losing

At what point in our lives do we understand the concept of losing? At what age do we realize that there's actually pain in losing?

When my son was younger, he cried a lot whenever he lost a game. In playing Monopoly with him, I'd usually get the higher bills everytime he needed to pay me or the bank. This way, he wouldn't feel that he's losing based on the number of 1-dollar bills that he's still holding. Eventually, of course, all his 1-dollar bill will be used up. Expect World War III to start by then.

Whenever my son goes into his tantrums, my Mom would usually say, "Hay, naku! Nag-mana sa Mommy n'ya!" Hehehe! At first, we manipulated the game so he can end up the winner, just like what they did to me when I was younger. But really, that's not the way to raise a child.

Little by little, I tried to make him understand that not everybody end up as winners. Losers gain a lot, too. Whether we end up as winners or losers is not what's important, how we played the game and how we gave our best are the things that matter.

When Francis first joined a taekwondo tournament, I silently objected to it. Not only was I a swimming advocate, but I felt he was still too much of a baby for such type of competition. But he insisted, and I could really see in his eyes how genuinely he wants to join the tournament.

He lost his first tournament. I don't even think he understood what the whole tournament was all about at that time when he had a fight. We left the venue immediately after his fight and watched "Batman," which he had been longing to see for several weeks at that time. We also went to Tagaytay and spent the rest of the afternoon for a much-needed bonding moment. At the end of the day, I honestly think he has forgotten all about the tournament he just had and the fact that he lost.

Yesterday, my son joined his second tournament. I still didn't want him to join any tournament as I feel his kicks still lack strength. But as usual, he insisted. Not that I often give in to his wishes, but I also cannot think of any reasons why I should prevent him from joining one. Win or lose, I think he will benefit from it both ways.

I try not to be the kind of parent who shout their hearts out whenever their children are playing or performing. I'm the quiet one. My son gets easily distracted so I just spent the entire time watching the game through my camera lens.

Like any other parent, I also wished for my son to win. Or at least, move on to the next elimination round. But his opponent was far more advanced. Despite being a yellow-belter, he was used to doing headshots (well, that's what I heard other parents say).

I wanted to close my eyes everytime my son receives a kick on his face. But I also don't want to stop taking shots as I might miss a good kick from my him. In fairness, his taekwondo skills have improved. There's more effort in kicking his opponent instead of simply throwing his legs aimlessly, as in his first tournament.

But headshots are two points each. My son lost.

From where I sat, I could see his coach talking to him, and my son drinking water. Is he scolding my son? Is he consoling my son? Is my son crying? I'm too far away to know.

My son gathered up his stuff and went straight to our seats. Still several meters away, I could see how hard he was trying to pull back his tears. But when he saw me, he walked faster, then ran towards me, embraced me and cried.

Have you ever had that experience? I did. And the most recent one was just a year ago when my friends and I climed down from an unsuccessful attempt to reach the summit of Mount Kinabalu. I had no trouble climbing up, but the climbing down was extremely difficult for me. To make the long story short, when I reached Timpohon Gate and saw my friends, all the tears I held back came out in one surge. I knew my time of pretending to be strong was up, I can now be myself with them.

My son had the same moment. He knew he could just let go right there in my arms. It took several minutes before he stopped crying. Thank Heavens for PSPs, they make problems go away in a snap.

After a while though, I asked my son why he cried. But everytime he starts to say something, his eyes get watery so he goes back to playing his PSP. I offered reasons on why he cried, but he kept silent. Until I asked him if it was about my brother's promise of a Micro Game Boy should he win his fight. Ayun, he started crying again.

When we left the stadium for lunch, I asked again why he cried, not fully satisfied with the Game Boy Micro reason. He softly said, "natalo kasi ako, nahihiya ako."

I wanted to console my son with kind, comforting and encouraging words, but I, too, had a lump in my throat. I remembered Ate Faye's blog entry: "It pains me to realize that I had no control over things, over her. No control at all." As much as I want to protect my son from everything else that might hurt him, I simply can't. More than the physical pain he must have experienced during the fight, how can you ease his emotional pain?

We spent the rest of the day roaming around MOA, capped with the fireworks display at night, which Francis was looking forward to all afternoon. Somehow, it feels different this time. My son was happy with the fireworks display, but I also knew that he still feels disappointed from losing his game.

"And as a mom, I just watch like a hawk and go to her when she needs me... I need to let her fight her own battles, it's not at easy as it seems." -- Still from Ate Faye's Mommy Randoms blog entry.

Mommy: Francis, wala kang taekwondo practice sa Tuesday and Thursday kasi exams ha, sabi ng coach mo.
Francis: Ok.
Mommy: Sa Saturday na daw, aattend ka ba?
Francis: Opo.
Mommy: Ayaw mong mag-absent?
Francis: (nods his head)
Mommy: Sasali ka pa ba sa tournament? (with a tone of sarcasm)
Francis: Opo.
Mommy: Pa rin?
Francis: Opo. Sabi ni coach, tama daw 'yung ginawa ko (pertaining to the talk he and his coach had after his fight). Sa November, may tournament daw uli.
Mommy: Ha? Sasali ka pa rin dun? (naka-recover na kaya sya nun?)
Francis: Oo. (with a matter-of-fact tone... and take note, hindi na sya "opo").

Postscript #2
I referred to events that happened yesterday, but the tournament was really last Saturday pa. I just couldn't get myself to write about this without having a lump stuck in my throat and a tear forming at the corner of my eye.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

52 Weeks of Frozen Time

We learn by practice. Period.
As much as I want to practice freezing time everyday, my work (what else is new?) limits me to do this. Limit, but not stop.
So, from now on, I will take photos and practice as much I can. Every week, I will choose one photo (out of how many or how few I'll be able to shoot) which I will upload here. That one photo should be my best for that week... Well, at least best for me. Camera details will be in the description portion.
And you!!! Yes, you!!! You are all very welcome to make C&Cs. The more C&Cs, the better, thus, helping me improve. Good and bad? I'm here to learn.My only rule for this "personal project/contest" is that the photo to be uploded should have been taken during the current week (from Sunday to Saturday). Parang photo diary, pero weekly nga lang.
By next year, around this time, I should have been able to upload 52 photos. And I should have improved by then? Sana... Let's see.
Covered week: October 5 to October 11; Camera Model: Nikon D80 (as if I'll be having a new camera model anytime soon! hehehe!; Flash Mode: No Flash; Focal Length: 50mm; F-Number: F/22;E xposure Time: 1/90 sec.; ISO Speed: ISO-800; Metering Mode: Pattern; Exposure Program: Shutter Priority; Exposure Compensation: 0 step; Date/Time Taken: 10/11/2008, 7:34am; "Unphotoshopped" except for putting in my watermark
"In learning and straightway practicing is there not pleasure also?" -- Confucious

Friday, October 10, 2008

First Day Back at Work

Today is my first official day back at work. Although I've already been making timetables, researching references & fixing treatments these past few weeks, I did all these at the comfort of my own home. But since we already have an awarded project and today is the first scheduled meeting, I have no choice but to go to work.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I have a project. I've been hibernating for almost 6 weeks now and it's high time to go back working my ass off. But resting can also be addicting. It's like a drug that overpowered me. Not only was I able to watch TV at anytime, go online for hours, or sleep like there's no tomorrow, but finally, I had all the time in my hands to be able to do the things I've always planned on doing.

I had 2 trips during my hibernation -- one, with my Holy Week friends in Bantayan & Malapascua, Cebu; and two, with my son for our birthday celebrations in Hong Kong & Macau. What's so special about that? Two trips without mobile phones, that's why! Now, how often that does that happen? (Like... Never!)

I was also able to enroll myself in a photography workshop that I've been eyeing since July. Having so much time in my hands, I was able to concentrate more in doing my assignments. I also made use of the opportunity to scout the metro and practice shooting on my own taking pleasure in the discoveries I made which I, initially, thought could only be done by serious hobbyists and pros (but mine's nothing pro-like, still learning...).

So, despite the six-week hiatus from work, in a way, I was still busy -- blogging and cataloguing my files and photos which I can't seem to do for several months now (and I'm still not finished); fixing my papers and payments for PAG-IBIG, SSS, etc (the burden of a freelancer); going to a
doctor for check-ups (and we're still not done yet); spending sleepless nights to finish an assignment for my workshop... Marami pa. It's like I had to rush and finish everything up before my director gets back here in Manila, or else, everything will be pending again as to when he will have another vacation.

And today, all of a sudden, I'm in a state of panic. I felt everything that I planned on doing before this "vacation" started hasn't been fully accomplished yet. I'm going back to work, whether I like it or not.

I like it. Going back to work, that is. But can you blame me if I'm having an anxiety attack right now? Yup, I'm worried that previous plans I made may not push through again and I'll fall back to the same ditch of home-work-home routine. I'm worried that I won't get to see new found friends and re-establish my life back since my son has obviously started to establish his life without me. I'm worried that I will stack my camera inside a cabinet and forget I even have one (remember my Nikon F-301?).


Isipin ko na lang... If I don't work, I can't travel. If I don't work, I can't buy the flash and the lens that I like. If I don't work, I can't send my son to school.


Eto na, nagbibihis na po... Getting ready to go to work.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Thank Heavens for an assignment we had in my photography workshop, I was able to try out a crude do-it-yourself lighting set-up to take photos of some kitchenware. Since I kinda liked the result, I did the same crude lighting set-up again, this time, to photograph my mug collection.

Yes, mugs.

My mug collection started in 2000 when I bought myself a souvenir from Sagada, Mountain Province. Being a coffee addict, it was only natural for me to buy a coffee mug. But when I got back to Manila, I felt the mug was too artistically-made to be used merely for my morning coffee. Wag na lang. I opted to display it.

Since then, I've been buying all sorts of mugs from all places I've been to, here and abroad (some of my mugs were given to me). Yup, instead of pins, keychains, or refrigerator magnets, I collect mugs. Unfortunately, not all provinces or cities have souvenir mugs. In their absense, I opt for shot glasses. And if there's still none, anything that kinda looks like a mug will do. Hehehe!

I still lack a lot of mugs. SIGH... So, if you happen to go to these places, pwede ba akong magpabili? Hehehe. Or does that mean I'm going back to these places? (I wouldn't mind, really!)

- Rizal (oo, ang lapit, diba?)
- Cavite (sa dinami-dami na nang napuntahan ko sa Cavite, wala talaga akong mug nila!)
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Siquijor
- Antique
- Capiz
- Guimaras
- Bataan (kahit Corregidor na nga lang uli eh)
- Zambales (ilang beses na ba akong nag-shooting sa Subic?)
- Quezon
- Agusan del Norte- El Nido, Palawan (although meron na naman ako ng Palawan)

Adik ba ako sa mga mugs? Kasi naman, I realized recently that my mug collection represents the different stages of my life. Uh-huh. So, instead of being regular souvenirs, I treat them as my trophies from battling the many adversities of my complicated life. Simply put, these mugs are my mugs of accomplishments.

Drama! Eto na nga ang mga photos ng mugs ko...

Individual photos of my mugs are in my Byaheng Barok Multiply site.