suffering from the extra a*hole chromosome, & an overdue letter

thanks and acknowledgment for the photo from!

thanks and acknowledgment for the photo from!

[ Note : With the exception of this short paragraph, best efforts were made to deliver this better-late-than-never letter in the version you see below to the proper recipients.  While I expect that the letter, written and posted in the interest of blogger’s disclosure, will further drag me down in your esteem,  ultimately it’s something I should’ve done long, long ago.  Just to make sure, this is for C now in Taiwan, C now somewhere in California, M now in Vancouver, and one more person.  I met them all in the old country.  To the recipients, thanks in advance for allowing me to share!]

Dear Someone :

So many things I can’t do now, that I did without a moment’s hesitation only a few years ago.  I also have to watch my diet these days, so many foods don’t agree with my various conditions.

And it takes longer than it used to when recovering from a strenuous day of work, or an extra-long run.  (I have recently taken up running again.)  A far cry from the time I knew you.

I won’t insult your intelligence by giving you a thousand and one reasons, least of all that it wasn’t about you as much as it was about me.  Then I won’t rub salt on old wounds years and years after the fact, by saying sorry.

But if will help, I am sorry.  That’s one of just two things I hopefully can establish here in this (obviously) much-belated letter.

*****     *****     *****

Like many others on this earth, we are born (1) with an irrepressible need to like and be liked.  More so, (2) by people who we are attracted to and who we feel stand a good chance of being attracted to us.

Unfortunately, by accident of being born at the same time, going to the same school, attending the same class, or joining the same club/organization, you were brought into a situation where overwhelmingly, you complied with needs (1) and (2).  You would’ve known this almost immediately, because I lost little time in making my intentions clear.

Unfortunately again, once I was able to make you believe that what I felt was undying love and affection, I lost my focus and direction.  Moreover, once I gained your trust and able to make you reciprocate my feelings, I honestly didn’t know what to do.

Realistically, we were not even the days of our youth; no job prospects; our lives ahead of us, so with me unable to trust my own feelings and intentions, not the slightest bit aware of the consequences of my actions, I was bound to do the inevitable and just leave you hanging…

…because there’s no mincing words about it, that’s what I did, I just left you without so much as a by-your-leave.  One moment I was committing to you my heart and my soul, the next I was gone like yesterday’s news, and as the title of my letter says above, I behaved like a world-class a**hole.  (Those asterisks are just for me sorry, just in case I cross the line of allowable words in a general-admission blog site.  But I admit it, something you know I am, an orifice for a rectal thermometer that deserves the worst of your adjectives and modifiers.  After all these years.)

*****     *****     *****

As mentioned earlier, I present no excuses in my defense.  Not even my immaturity and the impulsiveness of youth are enough to justify what I did to you, especially to you.  What I did was God-awful, and you deserved better treatment.  Much, much, better.

I may have tried to explain myself to you in years past but that might have not been enough, in fact it may have just confused you whether I was sincere in what I was trying to say.  Regardless, I’m saying it now.  I was a fool, and now I’m just asking that someday you can forgive me.  Lord knows it’s been much delayed.

It looks like I’m hiding behind a letter, but one day if we meet (and I’m hoping we do), I will still ask for forgiveness face-to-face, regardless of who is present, and with your spouse / boyfriend / partner by your side, if you wish.  I know this sounds selfish, but it is as much for me as it is for you.  Looking at your recent photos, I know you have lived well and basked in the love of your family.  I am happy for you.  As I should be.

Be safe and be loved.


PS.  Did I say I wanted to establish two things?  I did.  The second was that, after what I did to you, unsurprisingly, I got what I deserved.  Hopefully that will be stuff for another letter, for another time.  Peace!

sa ika-limang anibersaryo ng pagdating ni Mahal sa New Zealand (on the 5th anniv of Mahal’s arrival in NZ)

so sorry I couldn't find a more candid shot of Mahal, I could only select from a list of approved photos, if you know what I mean :) Here she is in one of the last outfits of New Zealand's 2015 summer!

so sorry I couldn’t find a more candid shot of Mahal, I could only select from a list of approved photos, if you know what I mean 🙂 Here she is in one of the last outfits of New Zealand’s 2015 summer!

YES, life is getting better and better all the time back home in the Philippines.  And yes, Your Loyal Blogger and each kabayan I know miss the old country terribly.  But not a day passes when each migrant I know here in New Zealand is so grateful we are here to live better lives for ourselves, our families and the loved ones we have left back home.

No one here shares this view more strongly and similarly as I do than wife Mahal, who joined me in Aotearoa (New Zealand’s name in the local Maori language) five years ago last Tuesday the 10th, on a windy overcast Wellington afternoon, typical for this part of the country.  It was her first trip to New Zealand, her first trip abroad, her first EVERYTHING, but Mahal faced the brave new world of a New Zealand migrant as fearlessly as a veteran climber at the foot of Mayon Volcano.  At the airport, I didn’t find her, she saw me before I did. 🙂

***     ***    ***     ***     ***

Mahal wasn’t so sold on the idea at first.  When I told her I would be staying a bit longer after a visit to a brother in Auckland in 2007, she was in parts, surprised, confused, and then heartbroken.  In so many words, she was convinced I was preparing for a future thousands of miles away with scant regard for her, and probably without her.  None of my entreaties and sweet nothings could convince her that this wasn’t the case, and that it was precisely for her that I was embarking on an extemporaneous adventure as a New Zealand guest worker and hopefully future migrant.

Truth of the matter was, I was making it up as I took each uncertain step towards gaining a foothold in New Zealand.  Given the fact that she was initially unconvinced in my plans, would you be surprised to know that I didn’t tell her that the chances of getting a work visa only a few weeks removed from a visit visa here weren’t that hot.  I mean, would you?  See what I mean?

But after a few months of selling the idea, I finally convinced her that either (1) if my plan was successful she was following me here one hundred percent, or (2) if plans went awry I would surely come home.  In any case, she gave me a year to get my immigration status organized, plus another year to get her back by my side.

It took a little more than the two-year quota she imposed.  And I would not be exaggerating if I told you that there were more than a few twists and turns in my journey (in fact it continues to this day) and many times I had no recourse but to go back with my tail between my legs, but Mahal persevered together with me and my reward to her is the warmth and embrace I provide each night we go to bed in this strange but friendly land.

***     ***     ***     ***     ***

I am actually trying to make this long story short, but I would be remiss in my storytelling duty if I didn’t tell you at least two more things.

First, from the preparation of the papers, to the collection of supporting documents, to the arduous legwork, Mahal was a one-woman team on the Philippine side.  Yes, we had an immigration adviser, but esposa hermosa (another colorful name I have coined for her) reduced time and money requirements with her blood, sweat and tears.  Of course she had a personal interest in a favorable outcome, but still she outdid herself in doing everything required, and then some.

Second, she has taken to migrant life here like the proverbial fish to water.  Would you believe she started working no more than a week after she arrived in Wellington, has worked two part-time jobs for more than six months before her first full-time job, has probably made more friends than I have here in the relatively short time she’s been a Kiwi-Pinoy, and has earned her full driving license in record time.

There, I think that’s enough.  What I’m trying to say is that I’m so proud of you Mahal, and on your 5th anniversary in New Zealand, you continue to amaze me.  Love you always, and congrats from all of us!

happy birthday Tom Agustin!

He usually loves to cook for others, but here he is enjoying great Pinoy seafood. ;) happy birthday and all the best Tom!

He usually loves to cook for others, but here he is enjoying great Pinoy seafood. 😉 happy birthday and all the best Tom!

HE had an outstanding job with a big company back home, probably one of the 10 top multinationals in the Philippines, but how does that compare with a chance to raise a family in New Zealand?  Being a typically resourceful Pinoy, he uprooted himself, started from scratch, accepted the first job that was offered him in Kiwiland, and piled up as many hours as he could in two jobs.

That’s my cuz Tom Agustin for you.  He is also a loving, dedicated and romantic husband, a strict but understanding father to his kids, and an outstanding friend to all.

He never fails to give me a call on the weekends he’s not at work, asking me about the family and life in general.  He always reminds me that you can take the Pinoy out of the Philippines, but you can never take the Philippines out of the Pinoy.

Even if he wasn’t my favourite cousin, he would be one of my favourite people in Wellington.  He deserves the best.  Happy birthday pinsan Tom, and blessings of love, life and health always!