Good times

As I was fixing my things, I found this again. I started this month with you in my thoughts, looks like I'm gonna be ending it the same way as well. As weird as it sounds, I was smiling at the sight of this and all the memories it brings.

My take on last night's shooting

Joshua 1:9-11 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Around 4pm, I arrived at the mall feeling excited and hyped. I was about to meet my batch mates (from my organization in College) and it has been years since we last saw each other. When we met-up, we just talked, ate and pretty much had fun. Normal as normal can ever be. Then, around past 5pm, we headed out to have coffee. We opted to stay at the fourth floor - away from all the bustle and hustle of the whole mall - perfect location for catching up and chit-chats. We sat at the last table along the mall's main floor for we found the interior of the coffee shop too hot and crowded. For roughly 2 hours, we just stayed there, chatting. Then around past 7pm, one of our friends went to the comfort room. I remember laughing and talking unmindful of the world around me. A few minutes later, I didn't even notice he's already back. All that registered was the panic on his face, my shock, people around us running, and his shout: "TAKBO!!!!!!". Chaos followed suit.

I stood up, took three steps and even went back our table for I have forgotten something. Everything's still not registering. I knew I had to run, but lot of questions still ran through my head. I was more perplexed than scared. After a few minutes of running, there was another set of crowd running towards us. Yes, towards us. Imagine my scare when I realized that we're apparently running towards the wrong direction. We were running towards our impending doom. Then, one of my questions was soon answered - there were gunshots. Upon hearing it, only one thing registered - I have to run as fast as I can and hide anywhere. I am in no way's hell going to die without having tried to survive.

More chaos followed. I remember seeing my friends passing by me, one of them even fell. I tried my hardest to reach her but got taken by the crowd. Then all I can remember was trying to follow my two other friends in front of me. I just knew I cannot let myself be on my own at any cost. We managed to go down two flights of steps and hid in what I initially thought as a gym. I can't see clearly for I didn't have my glasses on, I just went in straight, found my friends and went inside what seemed like a storage/locker room. Lesson #1: when you don't have a 20/20 vision, always wear your glasses. Or better yet, use some goddamn contact lenses.

More people followed us - two sets of families, two elderly women and an old man. An infuriating old man. I guess we were all shocked at that time, just merely catching breaths between questions for each other. 'Where are other friends?' 'What's really going on?' 'Did I hear right,were those really gunshots?' 'Where are we?' 'Why is this happening?'. Then there were loud bangs at the door. I held my breath. I can imagine the gunman. I kept thinking that the only thing separating my death is a little wooden, beat-up door. My friend and I scrambled and tried to fit ourselves at a little corner filled with metal railings. If he is really out there, and we're about to die, I do not want to be the first one dead. The banging stopped. We then contacted our two other friends who got separated to know their welfare. In God's grace, they were okay. There were still shooting at the floor they were at, though. They managed to hide at a clothing store a floor beneath us. They were safe. We were all still alive. That had to be a good sign.

As I'm trying to recall the set of events, I remember this part well. From all the terror, this had to be the most comedic part. As we were locked there, scared off our asses, this old man kept insisting on opening the door. He was so damn worried about the stuff at the locker room. "Siyempre andito ang mga gamit nila, baka kailangang na nila kaya buksan na natin". Good point on the staff worrying about their things, what I don't get is why the hell would anyone want to easily open the door when there is a whole lot of chance that a gun might be greeting you? Silence. And then he still insisted. I couldn't take it. I spoke up. If I'm gonna die, I ain't gonna die helplessly and stupidly. "Wag na po muna natin buksan, delikado pa po." A lot of insisting on his side followed which made the whole room furious. No one wanted the door open. But then again, he was still persistent. Then my friend spoke up "Ako na po ang nakikiusap sa inyo, mag decide tayo as a group, may mga bata tayong kasama, wag na po muna nating buksan. Mamaya na pag alam na nating safe na sa labas." He stopped and then retaliated with a sarcastic laugh, "eh paano natin malalamang ayos na eh nakakulong tayo dito? Tinatakot nyo lang ang sarili niyo, okay naman na sa labas". I swear, my mind was already racing with all of the reasons I want to shout back at him but I still managed to shut up and maintain my composure. Fighting someone won't help given the situation. A whole lot of that happened for around 20 or 30 minutes before I decided to go out of the storage room as well. When I went out, I realized we weren't in a gym, we were at a bingo house. The most nakakaloka part? Tuloy ang bingo. Walang pakealam sa mundo.

We asked the security personnel and the staff of the bingo house if the situation has already been contained. We asked numerous times if we can already go out. We kept on asking them if it was already safe for us to go home. They all said yes and insisted on us leaving. I was hesitant at first. I don't think it's possible to contain a situation like that in such a short period of time without even a single police officer in sight. I remember even asking one of the staff where the police are and got no reply. We called our friends and learned that they already got out. So yes, maybe it is indeed safe already. We went out. We were walking along the floor and was already trying to make a joke out of everything. We were glad we survived that incident. We were already happy we can go home peacefully. And then, just as we were about to leave our worries behind, there were shouts again. My instinct was to run. Then I heard a gunshot - a very near gunshot. I got really scared. And then I heard a guy shout something unintelligible. Something that sounded more like "HOY!!!!!!" And then he shots were fired again. I swear, he was so near us already. Another shot and then I heard a woman behind me shout in pain. I wanted to cry at that instant. THAT COULD'VE BEEN ME HAD I ONLY BEEN A SECOND SLOWER. I ran faster. I have never ran that fast my entire life. All I can ever think about is not being shot, not being shot, I SHOULDN'T BE SHOT.

We were lucky and managed to enter the cinema area. The guards and staff were trying to stop us but I guess they saw how real our panic-stricken faces were. During those instances, all I can think about is hiding. If I don't want to die from multiple gunshots, I should hide. I entered the nearest movie house I saw. As I approached the entrance, all I can utter was "Help! Help!" Lame word, I know, but help was the only thing I managed to spit out of my scrambled head. I didn't stop running. They allowed us entry of the cinema. Halfway through its dark passage, I managed to think clearly. Where are my friends?! Luckily, we somehow entered the same movie house. We were shouting at each other thinking that we were the only ones there. No. Of course they didn't tell the people what was happening. We went up the highest part of the cinema and stayed there for an hour, I guess. Only until my friend's boyfriend fetched us were we somehow convinced that it's safe enough to get out of the mall. Of course they were still letting people enter the establishment even if the gunmen were still there; of course they were still letting cars out the parking lot without inspecting them; of course they were still letting anyone out without inspecting them at all.

Even as we got out, we were still jumpy. We still can't let go of each other's hands. We just got out of harm's way. We just survived the greatest scare of our lives.

I have never feared for my life the way I did last night. During all the chaos, all I can think about is trying to survive. So that's what it's like. Never in a million years did I think that I will experience something as terrible as that. And I do hope no one else will experience that ever again. As I end this post, I would just like to thank God for a new life, a new day. I feel as if I was given a second chance on life. I feel as if I was given this experience to realize how much I have been missing out on my life by focusing too much on things that only make me sad. This time around, I promise to focus on myself and to living the best possible way I can. And for the first time, I actually mean it when I say, "Cheers to love and life!" ❤

2 Timothy 4:17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

This January

I'm thankful that after a long while, we were finally able to look at the same sky at the same time. There are just a lot of little things worth more than what it actually does. I have no other prayer for this morning than better and more wonderful things to come. 😊

2012 is for the adversities: A tell-all - annotated

One will never know his strength unless he is at his weakest.

If I can summarize this year in one word, 'challenges' comes to mind.. I have been made to face endeavors not only on the academic aspect of my life but in my family and relationship as well - which, as anyone of you can guess, comprise the most part of my being. In short, my year has been one emotional turmoil.

It was difficult. But even difficult is an understatement. I have cried tons of tears this past year if that can be a gauge on how hard things became for me.

1st Quarter (January-March)
I remember trying to fight to keep my spot in medschool at the start of the year. Medschool has definitely been the most mentally challenging path I embarked on. Never in my life have I had difficulty in studying to the point where there came a time when it already border-lined depression. Most of the time too, I tend to ponder if this is really for me. Am I really where I'm supposed to be because for the longest time, I just don't feel at home. I have never felt I belonged here, actually. But, as all things in life, this has been my choice and I just have to suck it all up, because difficulty is not enough reason to stop anyone.

I got a grip on myself and was finally able to pass all my subjects. During these times, I realized that one can only go as far as he'll let himself. My own self was my biggest adversity. The main problem? Thinking too much. The main solution? Focusing on the things that needs accomplishing.

2nd Quarter (April-June)

Depression, loneliness, frustration, and long-distance relationship never adds up to a good sum. For the first time in almost 6 years, Sam and I broke up for more than a month. Up until now, I still cannot pinpoint the main reason, but I guess we just both got burned out along with the agony of not being together. I was at fault for that break-up, I confess. Sometimes, when we're too focused on our goals, it is easy to lose ourselves. I let my depression get the whole of me. I changed for the worse and I dragged the relationship along with it. Knowing that it is I who has fault wasn't easy either. I was the one left with all the what-ifs and could-have-beens

Then, summer vacation came. I tried focusing what's left of me and made it into something greater. The time alone helped me focus on myself. I cultivated, nurtured and molded myself into the person I am right now. I first targeted the depression by reading self-help books and reflecting on the areas of my personality I wanted to target. Then, I allowed myself to enjoy household chores and cooking. I rekindled with old friends and started counting blessings instead of frustrations. In short, I had a make-over, so to speak. ☺

3rd Quarter (July - September)
And of course, just as the 3rd quarter started, Sam and I got back together. Haha I knooooow. I told you, it was one helluva chopsuey-like emotional turmoil for me. Haha Along with the start of a new school year, my love life held promise of a tabula rasa. It initially wasn't that smooth as we're still both broken and hurt from all the things said and done, but we were able to somehow get over them and was happy. Although, I never thought that that happiness can only be short-lived.

4th Quarter (October - December)
This I guess had to be one of the most difficult things I had to face this year. My dad has been in and out of the hospital for almost a whole month. For the first time, I have seen him so helpless and just plaintive. It literally broke my heart. The realization of my parents aging started creeping in. Why do we have this tendency to think that the world just stops the way we remember it? I have been too focused on myself that I have forgotten the fact that it is not only I who grows.

Then semestral break came. I have been given the most shocking news I have yet to receive so far. I need an extra year. Until now, I still haven't made up my mind on how to deal with that, but what the hell. I still need to pass my subjects this year before I deal with that demon. Haha

On top of all that, before the year ended, Sam and I broke-up for good. I caught him cheating. I didn't see that one coming, really. It just wasn't him. But, enough of that. We have talked about it just a few days ago and we have settled things between the two of us. It was a sigh of relief, actually. All I really needed was the whole truth. It's difficult to explain as of the moment, but, what is done is done. I still may not have accepted the whole fact as it is, but I'm getting there. And I think that's what's important and what I need most right now. And now I know, what we both need is to heal. And who knows, maybe after all the pain, regret and suffering has ended, true love still prevails. I hope so. I really do. ☺

That's basically how my year has been - a complete set of crazy, but important just the same. I still haven't faced and dealt with a lot of the things here but this 2013, I'm hoping for breakthroughs and solutions. I am a strong believer that these things were given for my growth as a person. Cheers to better and bigger things! HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! ♥ ☺ ♫ ♪

P.S. I basically edited the contents of this entry as I have been so sabaw while doing this, the timeline's just so confusing, hence the mix-up of dates. I have actually been itching to edit this a week after I wrote it but I haven't had the time (not that I have all the time now). K, I'm mumbling all to myself again. Ciao for now!
-edz (3/18/13)

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