my PLACE in the big city

You might be thinking of New York upon seeing my title. But I am actually referring to Quezon City, the city that was once proposed to be our country’s capital but wasn’t approved due to some reasons, aside from being a progressive place it is also the melting pot of trade and industry. Not to mention the Hollywood City of the Philippines where you can see most of the biggest networks and majority of the residences of our local celebrities.

Almost seven years of staying here where I spent my college life and career building rightly after. Somehow my urbanized lifestyle made me miss how simple my life had been before I get here in this big city. I grew up in small town in Tarlac. It’s the first town right after the last town of Pampanga at north. Bamban, my childhood town is not that fully developed but I could say it’s working in progress. But it was totally hindered by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Mount Pinatubo would be a long story I could even title another blog for it, (perhaps trauma or nightmare) going back to my childhood town that was lambasted by mud flow. My infant tongue could even barely pronounce it. I used to say Banaban whenever I am asked.

Night life, clubbing, techno, gadgets, trends, fashion, social gatherings, education, all the latest actually are first hand here. But I am a probinsyano and I’ve never been abashed about it. I always miss the quiet and simple lifestyle. Do you know what I do when want to relax and take a snap shot of a province-like lifestyle? I go to U.P. Diliman.

 Whenever I go to U.P. campus it is always my voluntary instinct to down all my windows and turn off my AC. I will drive unhurriedly, lock my eyes for a second and feel the natural frostiness and oxygenated air of the campus. The lofty and ageless trees (mostly acacia) that keep me sightless of the skies above, it’s like a nature-made tunnel. My lungs get to replenish a normal dosage of untainted air and oxygen. I will whisper and say; finally I’m out of the city.

I don’t really intend to feature UP Diliman. Maybe I just want to blog and to say something nice in one of my favorite places here in the city. Yesterday, I went again at the campus to drive my nephew who will be taking the UPCAT. I’ve never seen the campus that packed out with cars. High school graduating students coming from different schools here in the metro and nearby cities and provinces and even those who are really far keep on coming to take the exam.

Francis slept early that night and woke up at 4am in the morning. I was already awake that time and I knocked at his door to ask what time we will go to UP and I saw him praying the rosary. I remember I was once like him when I took the UPCAT. Though I wasn’t able to graduate at UP I get really excited for him. From the University road the traffic gets really slow and since he’ll be taking the exam at the College of Music which is just at the right side of the University Road at Ylanan Road he decided to skip out the car and run the full length so as not to get late at the exam. And sooner I saw some examiners doing the same thing.

Aside from being a nature lover, what keep me coming back again and again at this campus are its sumptuous foods. Me and cousin use to eat kikiam, fishball, chicken ball and squid ball here, sometimes we spent more than three hundred pesos just for these foods.
And of course every time we attend a Sunday mass at the Holy Sacrifice we will never miss eating at Rodic’s with their most famous TAPSILOG, which is an institution already. The food is not really well garnished. Few minutes after you place your order there comes the TAPSILOG. They don't fake it, although not properly garnished,the fried rice, topped with beef and sunny side up egg never fail so far my taste buds whenever I eat here. I can't really blame them with hundreds of students going here.

In the shopping center where we usually do some paper works during my college time and up to now because aside from the good quality they provide, their services are also student friendly when it comes to prices. Beside it you will also enjoy a lot of easy to eat and inexpensive foods.

I really feel lighten up whenever I’m here; seemingly I am far away in the big, crowded and deafening city. My soul owes a lot from it. Here I can also calm down my spirit. I remember this place had been my training ground during my driving lesson. The standardized road with fully equipped traffic signs and the oval traffic scheme made it easy for me to learn fast and get familiarized with the traffic rules.

Inside the campus you will see jeepneys in sign boards UP ikot due to the  oval traffic scheme. Seldom you will see U-turn and maneuver spots because the campus is purely one way.

Signs Behind Signs

The road line is equally divided for joggers, bikers and to both public and private vehicles. That, made the campus very convenient for the first time drivers like me (before). Aside from the natural gas it produces the place has been also a place of reflection for me. The fully equipped road with traffic signs somehow made me realize that in our life's journey we also need to take note of these signs. Behind the concrete and literal road we traverse everyday, there is an invisible horizon full of signs and lessons for the sensitive souls.

Praying is a communication. And communication is a two-way process. And God speaks to us in different ways. Sometimes we don't really need to hear His audible voice to tell us what He wants to say.

There are times that I just love going with the flow. Go with majority. I am even afraid to be left behind. I stop leading and try to be just a simple follower. I can't really  see something wrong with that because I want to believe that to be someone else in this world you have to know a little bit something of everything. Doing this really doesn't mean I'm losing my identity but more so i want to test my self and my strength on how to stay real in spite of the dreadful truths of this confroming world.
I have learned when to enter and to exit. To say "no" no matter I am push through. To follow my conviction and say "yes" to the things that really represent my intentions.

There are times that I just need to keep it RIGHT and to never compromise my virtues and values. No matter how borderless this world is I have to keep guarded with the lessons I've learned from home and through all the years that I'd been a keen observer of failure, mistake, triumph and joy of my neighborhood.

The journey is far more important than the destination. Maybe its a relative thing. But that's what I believe. Sometimes we already know our destinations but the way we take the journey depicts how we will reach our destination. 

I dont really know when to unhurriedly take the journey and when to hassle a little bit more, unitl I've seen these signs and found out that God is already talking to me.

Life is a long expedition. There are times that I need to stop. Pay attention a little more and be still and just listen to the voice of silence. Life is not really complicated after all, people are. Of course there are times that I miss my balance. Maybe everybody gets tired. On my case I am the kind of person who will give everything, this best put in love perhaps. There are times that seemingly I can no longer go on. When I exhaust my last love and in return I have nothing. I would always tell myself that don't love to get something back, just love and never expect something in return. I'll be hypocrite if I'll say I never really expect but somehow I want to be loved just the way I wanted. Everyday is a story to tell and when it comes to relationship everyday is a revelation. I've learned that when things get into rough way just work it out. Not every night is a bed of roses and not every morning is breakfast on bed. When the journey gets tiring STOP and PAUSE.

There are things that are not really meant
for us even if we wanted them badly.

We can only pass freely after we give way and understand that hatred, unforgiving spirit and envy are some of the things that we need to throw up so we can journey freely.

Out of the arduous drive in my life. I’ve learned that most of the time I need to unload all my cares and give them all to God. My travel would be burdensome with those bitterness and doubts. I need to unload them, and load those things that will really help me find my way to my dreams.
Life is not a sweet promise. We are not marionettes. God gave us the blessings of making choices. And we can live our lives as free as we can. I realized that whenever goodness is near, evil is nearest. There are many crossroads in my life. But I’ve learned to think, to weigh up, to ask God and to search my conviction. Sometimes crossroads are between good and bad, between us and them, between love and dream and so much more.
I have never imagined how this little place became a meeting place for me and to God. How those little and simple signs became an unforgettable encounter to me and to my creator. The words were not audible, they are soft and colorful, carefully painted in a flat metal with a stand.

Random photos I took from U.P. Campus

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