Love and Light

Saturday Evening Posts
December 20-26 Edition

Love and Light

September 21, 2014

This is my reply to an e-mail from a cousin

Dear Cousin,

I'm surprised you still remember me, and I appreciate your letter. I can still recall the last time we saw each other. It was in 2005 when I came to visit Aunt Fe. (her name means "faith" in Spanish.) I was then living in Manila.

I'm sure you remember that when our grandmother died and my parent's house got sold when I was nearly thirteen, I stayed with relatives, first with Uncle Freddy and then with Uncle Ramon, but I wanted to be free so I went my own way and lived my life on my own terms.

I think you know me well enough to know that I've always been very independent. I don't ask for help unless it's absolutely necessary. I actually went to Aunt Fe because I was then short of cash. The mere fact that I would ask help for a relative means the situation is really bad.

In that period of my life, I had been an English teacher for South Koreans in a language school near the U.P Diliman campus. (I spent a lot of time in the Sunken Garden with my sketchpads.) The job doesn't pay much, and frankly, I used to earn more as a fast food service crew when I was a teenager, although the sense of fulfillment as a teacher is priceless.

But the students are returning home because classes will be starting, and I felt it was time to do something else. That's also the beginning of the call center industry in the country. So there I was, on the verge of a new chapter in my life, and I was broke, so I went to Aunt Fe. You lent me some money, and I'm grateful for it.

I haven't forgotten that. I remember everything that everybody has ever done to me. I think I asked for twenty thousand but I'm not choosy. I stayed for dinner that night, we had chicken adobo. You and Aunt Fe were following the soap opera with Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa but you never once mentioned that I look like Jericho.

Pangako Sa Yo
with Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa

See My Favorite Soap Operas in our Slumbook Page

I talked to Cousin Orly for the last time on that same night. He actually taught me to play chess when I was a kid. I feel the fragility of our physical existence as I realized that Cousin Orly and Uncle Freddy have both passed away, and Uncle Ramon seems to have vanished from the face of the earth. Yet we are still here, and we still have their memories, and life has to go on.

Please give my regards to Aunt Fe and to everybody there. I sincerely doubt that my nephews and nieces even know me, and that's okay, and my best wishes still go out to them.

With Love and Light,

Jonathan Aquino's Journals

August 4, 2014

Text to my friend CB

The last time I heard from you, you were in Manila.

That's from your text message a couple of months ago giving me your new number. Some weeks before that, you texted me with another number. I sent replies both times but there were none from you. Have they designed disposable SIM cards?

A lot of things have happened since I saw you last. I got married, for starters. I'm still in the same company, though with a bigger pay but without the motivation unlike before. My plan remains the same: I'll leave after I get my Christmas bonus this December and the tax refund around February.

There's got to be more to life than this, as I told a work colleague last week. I know what I want, and doing what I'm doing and being where I'm now is definitely not it.

How about you, bro? How's your soul-searching? I hope you realize that true and lasting peace comes from within. You won't remain happy if your happiness and sense of purpose depends upon somebody else. It needs to come from inside yourself.

That is one of the most precious things I learned in life. It's not enough to try to find it. You have to know what you're looking for. If not, it may just be there without you knowing. For all you know, it's been there along.

"All the years waiting for a sign," goes the Manilow song, "to think I had it all, all the time..."

All The Time
Barry Manilow

"All the time I thought there's only me,
crazy in a way that no one else could be..."


"All the time I thought that I was wrong,
wanting to believe, but needing to belong;
if I'd have just believed in all I had,
if someone would have said, 'You're not so bad...' "
Some of the happiest moments in my life are when I'm on the road, traveling alone just for the sake of being somewhere else. (That was from my short story "A Thousand Summers" which is in one of my books. I'm publishing it on my blog)
Photos courtesy of,
As we travel down this pilgrimage called life, the landmarks we pass along the way serve us in good stead to help us see where we are, where we want to be and how far we have come. I have now arrived at one of those crossroads...
Huggybear said…

"...true and lasting peace comes from within..."