Saturday, July 31, 2010

The 5-year old mother

A woman can never be too old nor too young to conceive. For many people, the question on when a woman can have a child is not about her age but by her readiness for it.

But such is not the case for Lina Medina, who, much to my shock, became a mother at 5 years old.

Born in Peru in 1933, Lina was just like any other girl her age who loved to play with her friends, discover new things and enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood. However, Lina started having abnormal changes in her body, as in her breasts and hips. When she turned 5, her stomach began to grow larger.

Thinking that it was a tumor, her parents took her to the hospital. After a series of X-ray tests and biopsies, the doctors confirmed that she had been pregnant for seven months already. It was also found that she started puberty at 8 months. This condition would later be described as precocious puberty.

On May 14, 1939, Lina gave birth to a healthy baby boy through caesarian section. The baby was named Gerardo, after her doctor.

For ten years, the family kept it a secret from Gerardo that Lina was actually his mother, and not his older sister. Gerardo died in 1979 from a bone infection.

Who got her pregnant still remains a mystery today. In fact, Lina’s father was arrested for suspicion of rape and incest, but was later freed for lack of evidence.

At present, Lina lives in Lima with her husband. She also has another son who lives in Mexico.

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Holy Week...

With my vacation leave approved and ticket to Bohol ready, I am now set for Holy Week. But no, it's not what you think. I don't intend to spend my Holy Week just like the many others who hit top vacation spots and spend some R&R (rest and recreation).

Just like the past Lenten Seasons, I am observing Holy Week with a different kind of R&R - reflection and recollection. During this time, making some sacrifices has always been a practice in my family.

I always hated Holy Week back when I was a kid. My mother would prepare unusually unappetizing dishes for our meals and we were forbidden to watch TV or listen to the radio. At home, we'd spend most of our time saying prayers or reading the Bible. My parents strongly emphasized the importance of going to church, most especially during the Lenten Season. In my young mind, I had never understood why I had to go through these things I thought were plain torture.

"Jesus died for us." was what my mother would say.

As I got older, I've learned to understand what mama had told me back then. Sure I may have agnostic leanings now, which describes why I'd find myself engaging in debates on the topic of religion or why I don't go to church anymore, but in my heart I believe there is a God.

The Lenten season is but the best kairos to truly discover who you really are and move forward. To many, Holy Week is a time to remember the sacrifices the Lord has made. To me, it is an opportune moment to renew and grow spiritually; to make some sacrifices I don't usually do to keep myself humbled and grateful knowing that my life is and has always been blessed.

So how are you spending your Holy Week?

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Musings

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You know what I think about Valentine’s Day?

Simple. It's crass commercialism at the expense of emotions.

It’s the time when flower shops triple their sales; restaurants close beyond closing time, and you see hearts everywhere you go.

There’s so much “love” in the air, its nearing congestion. Somebody get me my nasal strips, please. haha

At least now, no one asks me who’s going to be my date, since the answer is already a given. But no, I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day with my special someone – including the ‘has-beens’.

Don’t get me wrong though, but since my discovery of oxytocins, I have always gotten a taste of ‘Valentine’s Day lovin’ – flowers wrapped in fancy paper, mushy Valentines cards or a cutesy stuff toy.

Everyone seems to be so hyped about this so called day of hearts. I don’t. My boyfriend doesn’t either.

In fact, this year will be no different than last year’s Valentine’s Day, when Cyril and I avoided being a part of the predictable crowd flocking predictable places with their respective partners.

To me, the idea of being predictable defies the purpose of being romantic. I’d prefer receiving flowers or being taken out to a nice dinner any day when I least expect it.

As for singles, who cares if you don’t have a date this Valentine’s day? I’ve been there. And I know how irritating it feels to be asked who your date will be and be felt sorry for, given your single status, as if you can never be happy with being single. Besides, whoever said singles can’t revel in pompous gaiety anyway?

Besides Valentine’s Day is just not for lovers, it’s for singles, for everyone - a special day to celebrate the boons and banes of life’s inconsolable mysteries.

Happy Hearts Day everyone!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trouble Tricycle Drivers in Tagbilaran City

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I go home to Bohol every often. There's nothing like being in your home sweet home, a respite from all that stress living in the big city (which I have come to love by the way). While I love to be home, there's just one thing I really hate whenever I am in Tagbilaran:

Tricycle drivers.

I am still disgusted by our city's tricycle drivers for their rude behavior and lack of discipline. Ask anyone from Tagbilaran City and they'll understand what I mean, unless s/he's never hopped inside a tricycle ever. It irritates me to hell to find how inconvenient it is to get to some place in the city because of these trouble tricycle drivers. Who hasn't experienced a tricycle driver who:

• overcharges
• refuses to convey to your destination
• ignores you because you are commuting alone
• does not follow traffic rules
• makes inappropriate comments to passengers

It's appalling to know that I still encounter the same problem as I used to back when I was still living there. Until now, I still get into spats with tricycle drivers who charge unreasonably high even when my destination is not even that far. Php15 from BQ to the pier? No way. It doesn’t get any worse than this – they get even worse when it rains really hard too.

Also, don't you just hate it when tricycle drivers shake your heads and speed off if they do not want to take you to your destination? How about if they ask you where you are heading to and then start looking around for other passengers while you are left standing right there? Whether he’s off for lunch or needs to call it a day, they should at least have the courtesy to let passengers know. Then again, tricycle drivers are not supposed to refuse to convey passengers to their destination within their designated route, of course.

The poor commuter is left with very little options. Tricycles are the primary source of transportation in Tagbilaran. Not a lot of multicabs ply around the city. Taxis are costlier and not easy to catch as well.

When the price of oil increases, it's no surprise if they'll lobby for another raise to make ends meet for them. But how can you sympathize with these lazy drivers, the fact that they choose who to pick up or where they want to go?

It's appalling to find how nothing seems to be done to address this problem. If these tricycle drivers continue to be abusive, it is because no action is being done at all; much less, their kawalang modo is being condoned. While I have diligently listed down the numbers of these trouble drivers, I haven't the luxury of time to channel my complaints as I only usually stay here during weekends and try as much to maximize quality time with my family and friends. All I could do is to calm down.

If you happen to, or continue to experience the same problem as I do, here are some things you can do.

1. If you are commuting alone, try looking for someone else who is going somewhere 'on the way'. Many tricycle drivers ignore you when you're alone and leave you with stupid excuses why they can't take you to your destination.

2. Minimum rate for tricycles is at Php8.00. If you are a tourist, you might want to ask a local for the rate first before getting a tricycle. If you think they are charging ridiculously high, then they probably are. Demand a discount if you are a student or senior citizen. Negotiate, if you must.

3. Report abusive tricycle drivers, if you can. Teach them a lesson they'll never forget. Their 'salbahe' ways will not have a place in the community if people are more assertive.

These trouble tricycle drivers in Tagbilaran City leave a really bad impression on both locals and tourists, most especially on the good tricycle drivers who conscientiously follow the rules and do not take advantage of passengers.