Who is the Reason of Christmas? Jesus or Santa?

Breeze has something encapsulated in it. Cold air is mix with warm atmosphere of thought for the season. These are what mostly feels 4 months before the most awaited holiday sets in every year. We could hear buzz of plans of what to do or buy, where to go to, who they are going with and lots of expectation for the coming Christmas day. Roads gets congested; mall becomes crowded; prices of commodities and stuffs supersize; dancing lights and twinkling lights installed; vacation leaves were filed so early. Common things are happening for a common tradition that most people celebrates so special.

The Real Reason of Christmas

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The Star of the East

What’s really the reason why this occasion is so special? Christmas – the birthdate of Jesus. A general knowledge inculcated on us, yet, not most people know to whom the exact date came from and where this belief originated. Accordingly, this season should be commemorated with love for family and friends; care for less fortunate; delight and thanksgiving. These sense, truly, are jewels to covet to and keep as our attributes. However, is it really the true sense of it based on how people is observing it? As people longs to observe this precious event with love ones, plans on how money would spent goes together for gifts, food galore and travel. These feasts are chance for businesses to earn more. Audio, visual and paper media are counting down up to the last second of December 24th. Ads for on sale products and services are flash on the screen and posted on the wall. Monetary circulation accelerates after 13th and 14th month pay. The funny yet serious thing is, crime rate also accelerates.

If intentions in celebrating Christmas really consists of these attributes, then, crime rate is expected to be zero. Heightened security is unnecessary, because nobody would abduct a rich kid; mugged someone’s IPhone or Galaxy S4; kill a person like pig for roasting. Peace should be around every corner. Wow! Just like paradise. Well, I guess this is only happening during Manny Pacquiao’s fight. Zero crime rate. Therefore, why not make his fight be commemorated every year instead of Christmas just to achieve all of it.

Santa Claus Origin and Relation to Christmas Season

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The Birth of the Saviour

During these season we’ve been noticing an old white bearded man with red suit. His name is Santa Claus.Have you ever asked “Who is he?” and “How is he related to the birth of Jesus?” It appears that he is the most thoughtful person, because he is going to town riding on a sleigh being pulled by reindeers just to give presents especially to good children. Did he really arrived? In western countries, parents are colluding and make their children believe that Santa is coming and put special present on a sock or place it under a tree if they behave well and leave plate of cookies and glass of milk. When they wake up gifts are already there, cookies they placed were bit and glass of milk emptied. Innocent mind believed he really came, then they thank him.

I don’t mean to criticize, but I just noticed that before or, even, on Christmas day there’s a few – if not nobody – is mentioning and thanking Jesus that he was born then He died sinless and introduced salvation. There’s a 3 – 4 hours occasion proceedings every Christmas party comprises of socializing, eating, gift-giving and show. Is there an hour or even just half an hour allotted for praying? Hmmm… Anyway, I’m glad that there’s a vacation like this and I could receive precious gifts, delicious food and crispy money bills. But, these are not from Santa.

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Are We Too Dependent on Computers?

Life without computers before

God created human to co-exist with other living creatures and organisms here in this planet. He created things like trees, bodies of water, flocks, cattle and bunch of living or non-living things that would sustain lives and habitation.

The bible gives an account of the activity of God in the beginning of human existence. He did it in six days and rested on the seventh day. But in this duration, there’s not even a single word that associates to the creation of computer and its help to human existence. Yet, world continue to exists from ages to ages.

Some people were spotted having a life with longevity like Methuselah, who lived for 969 years. People lived life simply and with privacy. In communicating to someone so far, messages were just handwritten legibly with ink then sent through human or owl courier. Entertainment like playing outdoor games involves physical, mental and social ability.

Life with computers and internet now

Because of human’s longing for convenience and faster activity, machines and computers were invented. With machines, a worker exerts less physical force. With computers, most of the mental work a person like calculation, communication, organization and etc. are delegated to it.

These things in this current generation and beyond make human lives become pre-occupied with a lot of things to do. Because, anyone could do many tasks wherever location he/she is in. Even an ordinary staff could do his filing task using a computer while listening to music; chatting with a friend from across the globe; playing Farmville; ordering lunch meal from an online fast food restaurant; bidding an item from an online auction and lot more things that can be done without even lifting the butt from the chair. And most knowledge that what’s in a library can be quickly found through the search engine.

Most of giant companies operating around the globe are also dependent to the computer and internet. One of which is business process outsourcing in which business entrepreneur hire their support employees from a different country to cater some of their business process to their clients like customer service and technical support. Since clients are located overseas, processes are performed through internet and over the phone. Face to face transaction is no longer necessary. Personal data about the customers are already recorded and can be access easily. All of these are in exchange of convenience and faster business proceedings. Computers taking over the world to keep everyone connected; to keep someone watch on someone; to keep you informed what’s happening on the other side of the planet.

Life if computers are taken away

When a desktop computer was unplugged, the screen would black out instantly and whatever program that operates would stop. The same thing, literally, might happen if computer and internet are taken out of human lives.

All internet based businesses would lay off its employees; private and government offices would terribly slow down; every individual’s day to day tasks and communication would be affected because telecommunications are computer and internet based also.

The question is, how could the world adjust from sophisticated life with technology to go back to primitive life again? How fast would be the recovery from its damage? The world embraces the generation of computers and became one of the major part of it which seems to be much important over nature that God created from the beginning.

Summer Trek on Rock and Falls

Due to my so occupied schedule, even on my off days, I wasn’t able to concur with their invitation. It was sad, but life is like that. Yet, for me, the fun that these girls with their adventure, who are my office colleagues from another team, is equivalent to the fun I have in writing their stories. They came, they saw, they trekked Daranak and Batlag falls. A one of the shortlisted place by a nature lover.

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ETD – ETA

All of them rejoice because it’s TGIF. All of them looked straight to the digital clock on their AVAYA (hard phone use in call centres) waiting the 4:59 change its figures to 5:00 then pressed logout altogether. They assembled all their things in Cogeo, Antipolo. From there, they left approximately 10:45 then set their feet in Daranak Tanay, Rizal at 12pm.

 

On Road Trip

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They rode Jeepney from Cogeo to Sampaloc Tanay, Rizal that took an hour then have a tricycle ride to Daranak falls for another 30mins. The trip is through the zigzag road of Antipolo.

The Place

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Enchantment… that’s what they felt, as they describe the place when they finally reached the green forest and falls of Daranak Tanay, Rizal. Are we in Encantadia? Could we see fairies glittering around? How about elves hiding in the woods? These were funny inquiries among themselves, imagining the fantasy that maybe a reality. The cool and fresh air makes serenity overwhelming. A kind of atmosphere that can never be replace by whatever well engineered place in the urban area.

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Daranak is simply forest, small waterfalls and hill. Fresh breeze exhaled by trees and plants is infused in the water that turns it to an alleviating coldness for the very hot season. When they arrived, many were already soaking their bodies and sitting on the rocks under the falling stream of water from uphill.

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Rock Balancing

Another simple amazing thing here is the balancing of stone-over-the-rock and rock-over-the-stone tower formation that you could see in any area of Daranak. As they saw it, it gave them an awe because of the artfully stacking and balancing of rock on top of another one regardless of its shape, size and position.

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Due to the crowd that occupied the falls of Daranak, they moved up to the hill and chose to spend most of their stay in Batlag falls – which was filled with few. From Daranak, they trekked upward the steep slope of the hill for 5mins., then confronted by a lady and collected 100php/head fee for entry.

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dd9The Activity

Their final resting place, Batlag Falls, was reached at 12:09pm. They set up their things. Unpacked the pork barbecue, the hotdog, the grilled bangus, the mountain of rice and the sawsawan, then spread it over the banana leaves.

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They took pictures of it….then, ready get set and go!

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Voila! Nothing left untouched. They ransacked what they set up.

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After charging up, they finally walked on the water; say cheese over the falling water…

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…troubled the water and be dead on the water… I mean float on the water.

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Like I said earlier, Daranak, and even, Batlag falls are simply a place with trees, rock and body of water. But the enchantment and satisfaction they got; the appreciation they expressed and the teasing stories for me to be envy of, were what that they brought back after this adventure.

A Hair Away From Death

 Based on a true nightmare of mine

J. Marvin Ramoda

Sweat is gushing. My chest is pumping… as I stare blankly through my room engulf with darkness after I woke up from an odd and horrible dream. I enquire within myself… what kind of emotion I have that subconsciously created that kind of dream. It’s totally different from the dream I have since I was a child – as far as I could recall. I don’t mean to try to interpret it. But… it is mysterious. It’s odd.

On that dream – the only pieces that I could remember – I’m walking with some companion, perhaps of four, from somewhere and we’re strolling on a slightly steep and broad cemented street. Houses were pitched by the road, big and small. Some are wooden, some are built in complete stone. While walking straight and slow with my head tilt down, my companion picked my attention as they stop at the front of wooden 2 storey house, painted with chocolate brown. Its texture and colour could tell you that it’s an old house, erected maybe in 1960’s. A unique thing in this house is its window. It’s an aquarium like front wall made of glass that you could see through what’s inside. Yes! We saw what was inside. We were shortly entertained from what we saw through its window.

Old folks were playing rock music with their electric guitar as if they have a concert and we were their audiences. The sound was so familiar, yet, I couldn’t name it. The person that catch my attention, in whom I could still vividly see with my mind eye up until now, is bald, wrinkled forehead and wearing black sunglasses. He’s slowly banging his head through the beat of the music. Again, we’re really entertained from it, because, out of nowhere and does not expect it, we’re watching an amateur concert which I’m really fond of.

At the peak of our amusement, to the point that we’re jumping in sync to the beat, I suddenly stop maybe for 4 seconds. I noticed that the inside 2 doors – situated on the back wall which can be seen outside – were open almost simultaneously. What’s came out were guys armed with high powered M-16 rifle. It was aimed to the old musician and his bandmates and they were massacred. Blood sprinkled on the glass window. I shouted in shock “Crime scene! Run!” My chest started to pump triple from its normal. My lungs breathed out icy cold air due to the terror we witnessed. We run straight as fast as we could, but we were block by 12 feet high house wall. We were stunned in 3 secs., thinking where should we go. But as I looked quickly behind, the murderer broke the glass wall and jump to pursue us.  They started to aim and fire us. We don’t have any choice, we need to jump and reach it. Adrenaline rush make us reach it. I hear bullets colliding to the walls and whatever it hits.

The roof has two level, I yell to my companion and told him to lie down but he didn’t hear me, I tried to lie down on the first level of the roof to evade the bullets but I’m already seeing them with my peripheral eye. My friend got away. I was left behind. I thought I have nowhere to go. On my left, the guy already made it on the first level roof. Behind, another guy is aiming to kill me. As I check my right, the stainless roofing has square gutter hole. I try to get in with my legs first and I fit. I slid through it down to an open area with some garbage and iron scraps.

I relax a little bit and assume I’m already safe. But the tormenting fear resume to vibrate in me when I hear someone is going down. I rotate my body and look around for hide out or escape way, yet, my legs freeze. My sight is blurry. The only area clear to me is a small cabinet like cubicle with thin sheet steel door corroded with rust. I quickly get in. I suppress myself as tight as possible to be in sharp silence. Even inhale and exhale of air is noise for me. But I know at the back of my mind that I could still be found. I’m standing behind the left side of the door while listening to the slow footstep of my killer. Then I feel he stop outside front of my place. I still remain silent and anticipate what he would do next. He slip through the small opening the beak of his rifle. It is aimed at the opposite side of me and fired ferociously.

I whispered “It must be the end of me, but I must do something”. As the gun tilts towards me, I quickly holds the beak with my two hands. The courage suddenly grows in me to face my ending. And I kick the door and I feel that I bang my feet on the steel small ladder built-in with my double deck bed. Then I saw complete darkness. I thought it’s my grave but, nope, it’s just my room.

The Way the Sword is Forge

I just revisit Japanese culture by watching “The Last Samurai”…for the 5th time. Then, here’s my thought…


What would be more fascinating to understand the peculiarity of Japans’ culture? Earth is filled with people scattered around with diversity iimages (1)n its way of life. The way we lived is being mould by the surroundings we lived in; the resources available; topography of our ground; and the inherent quality of perception of a person who stand above the mediocrity to lead its kindred according to his view of life. Japans’ custom and culture fascinates me so much as I notice the sophistication of their lifestyle in every generation that they pass through.

In ancient times, in battle, they were equip with elite warriors who’s believed to be as supernatural in their movemenimagest and tactics in battle. Ninjas are one with it, who mastered stealth and cleverness in subduing enemy in, most of the time, silent. Their main arena is the shadow. They appear and disappear as swift as a wind. They move softly more than a cat. Yet, they kill their target horribly as a butcher utilizing blades in different form. There is also samurai who fused their spiritual being with their sword. They were melee fighter who‘s equip with single blade sword known as katana. They have it as if it’s part of their anatomy. The user flow his own soul on it and make it as their 6th sense. It could slay 3 enemies in one quick slash. One more interesting attributes that they have is their view of dignity and honour. Dying with their own blade, if not during battle, is much honourable than being enslave and tortured in the hands of their enemies. They call it hara-kiri – a ritual suicide. Suicide, of course, is condemnable to some others customs but for them it is glory. Because, in my own point of view, they forged themselves invaluably precious characters through extreme discipline and balance of physical – spiritual being. They would not even allow enemies hand to touch even the tip of their hair. Being humiliated by their enemy is shame.

The way of the Japanese is un-identical to any other culture, besides, they were copied from. They adapted western culture and became civilized in their manner of clothing and carry other foreign stuffs. Yet, never prmitted vast foreign sovereignty within their land. They keep their old ways of discipline and dignity; keep up with their language i.e. most of them may be “no English at all” but the level of intelligence and speed of comprehension

are astounding, thus, they are technologically innovative and ahead. Japan is noted for fastest train Shinkansen, durable appliances, cool gadgetry, incredible robotics, fancy anime and manga. Inside their archipelago, rural people never worry about work for income. Because, giant industries built their nest in provinces where villagers are their workers. That’s why even a forest hermit can find good paying job nearby and don’t need to aspire to go to the urban city anymore.

They were trained to always know their adversary and never fear death and defeat. These attributes are true in them as they proved that no atomic bombs; no tsunami; no earthquake that could make them kneel down before their enemy. They would face battle, serve its people, continue to innovate and become a loyal friend to its ally.

Japan is so generous in depending Philippines as its ally and, in addition, making their mainland a visa free country for us.

Beyond the Blog: Developing Your Online Presence as a Writer

Beyond the Blog: Developing Your Online Presence as a Writer

The Daily Post

We recently highlighted ways that some of you integrate Tumblr into your online routine and use this platform to complement your work on WordPress.com, which is your online hub. Since the internet is a very big playground, let’s talk about other ways to develop your web presence and personal brand strategically, as well as use WordPress.com to promote your writing in a way that makes sense for you.

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What More Can We Ask For? More or No More?

“What more can we ask for?” Is a question that a conservative fellow would answer with “No more!” But, for an innovator, enough is not yet enough and more is not yet more. Because, more begets more to unending more.

An acquaintance of mine was so dismayed to the point that he gushed out dirty words when he surprisingly knew that the hot gossip gadget – due to its supercool, handy, smart and all-inclusive feature – that he was bragging just a month ago turned old fashioned in a whim and price is 30% cheaper than he was cost. He bragged and thought that he gained what the eye – catching ads had said “What more can you ask for?” Shocked and felt cheated due to the fact that something is still far more sophisticated than what he possessed regardless that what he availed was lavish at that mere moment. He aggrandized for a short time, never noticed that he was just amazed to the marketing magical tricks. Nobody could say that he was the only person who fell in to this kind of treacherous and inconstant deal because all of us have our feet on this ground of thorns and thistle – meaning, food that we eat should be hard labored including outsmarting people.

Almost every species in this planet is longing for convenience. Work is imperative. No work, no pay. No pay, no Iphone. Without an Iphone, you’re not a star (I’m not saying that having an Iphone is bad) Point is, having convenience is having plenty of time to rest, to play and to mingle with our friends and family. This is what everyone is working to achieve. However, what we are working to achieve becomes the soil where others could plant their fruits to eat.

An image of a rodent that is running inside a cylinder momentarily pops up in me. As I expand the idea, I am asking, “Why does the rat do that?”, “Is it to lose weight for him to speed up himself when the crosshair is chasing him?” Or is it to make a machine work that will serve a purpose for a benefit of someone. The rat would have his own convenience in running off the chase, due to his lightweight body but someone gained more out the rats longing for convenience. Cliché’ “No man is an island”. Somebody needs somebody to serve its purpose.

An illusionist conjured (who is Harry Potter) “Wingardium leviosa” and something levitates…. or “Expecto Patronum” and an object would vanish. Eyes were tricked and out of it crowd stand in awe, for the entertainment they witnessed then bucks flow in the bag. The idea of deluding the eyes of others to entertain is good and reasonable. But, what if, the idea of tricking the eyes is fuse to something basic which is our necessity like means for distant communication, information relay, or even just to play. Oh gosh! Piles of cash are coming.

Back in the 90’s, specifically on my 5th years of age – my kindergarten age –  I enjoyed hide and seek under the moonlight, chasing spiders and engaging it to a bloody and web sling fight and many more physical and mental outdoor games. During this decade, I also witnessed how people were sending their letter to someone they dear whether it be domestic or international. In information finding, during those years for schoolwork, you need to travel to go to a national antique library just to dig into pools of information. These activities really consume time and inconveniences is also part.

Now here come the marketing geniuses. I recalled my college days, I was handled by 3 different marketing professors who used 3 different books yet they commonly said that marketing is the organization analyzing market; who they are, their buying behavior and what satisfies their needs and wants. They have different teaching approaches but they all emphasize the objective of satisfying customers’ needs and wants. Satisfy? Is it really to satisfy? I asked Ms. Merriam Webster and she said that “To satisfy is to gratify to the full and to put an end to” Basically, if we are satisfied enough why would we look for more and if we not look for more should the business continues? Ingenious marketing pro would assume now the role of the conjurer who would create tricks and play with our behavior.  Wise men say eyes could easily follow whatever things that appears brilliant and could drastically change our mood and decision.

The marketing pro consequently crafted something that would be appealing even to a split second glimpse. Besides, he did not limit it to just an appealing feature but he bundled most of what man could use into one portable device. You could play games, send even 5 pages message to distant friend, and bring with you dictionary, newspaper, compass, and many things more. Then an enticing slogan would say “All the power you want. All day long.” Of course, with this kind of multi-purpose feature nobody would let it pass without having it, without bragging it.  Everyone would crave for it. But again and again is it really all?  Now, he made our day and delivered the questionable satisfaction. And as we say that we would not ask for more, the pro quietly smile and say that wait there’s more.