Stream of Life

Stream of Life
Eternally flowing...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Prodigal Ant is Back...

It has been more than a month since my last update - or at least a semblance of an update.

The ant has been busy - and uninspired (or just plain lazy) - for the past weeks. Besides that, nothing eventful really happened.

Well, I did have my birthday last month but even that was not so note-worthy. I started out planning to go out bowling with the family but last minute changes and a sick nephew prevented us from pushing through with it and my parents and I ended up eating out in a mall.

I haven't been going to yoga sessions for well over a month, I guess, and I am starting to feel the weight coming back and the lethargy setting in. I really, really need to get back to working out. Though I've really been taking it slow for quite some time now as I have been beginning to notice asthma attack precursors showing up - due mainly to weather changes and work-related stress.

Speaking of work, it hasn't been rosy at the work place either. I had to make major man-power decisions and is looking at making another this week. All these aside from the numerous reports, process monitoring, performance evaluation, training development & implementation and other non-work-essential-but-work-related projects.

On the flip side, though, I have gained some headway on my comic collection - what with the recent opening of a local online comic book store. Truly, a boon from the gods - and a bane to my savings account!

Which is actually why I am sitting on the fence with regards to moving on and quitting my job at this point. No job at this time means no extra money for X-Men, Ultimates, Justice League and Birds of Prey. Sigh - the things one has to consider to make life more interesting.

And in a few more days, Christmas will be upon us - and the SMAP, or Samahang Malaming ang Pasko (which I am currently the Mother Superior of), will have its annual retreat. Oh, how I would love to not be a member of this group this year! Any takers?

So, I've pretty much covered updating the more important aspects of my life on this post.

Hopefully, something good and exciting is brewing up just around the corner for the next few days or weeks before we finally say goodbye to 2011 and say hello to 2012.

So, the Ant is back... for now...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No to Stigma

Please read the story on the link below

Monday, May 23, 2011

OHAT Package Concerns

This is originally posted by Juan Dela Cruz here

Dear Philhealth,

Firstly, I'd like to think that persons living with HIV (PLHIVs) like me truly appreciate your gesture of taking care of/subsidizing the cost of antiretrovirals (ARVs) that many of us take and of certain laboratory tests that we need to undergo relative to our medical condition, especially with the approaching termination of the Global Fund's financing of the same by December 2012. It would be of great help to us - financially, that is.

But I have some gripes with the way your office is treating us PLHIVs, who do not deserve to be burdened with certain requirements and procedures that would only stress us out a lot. Do know that stress and/or depression is not good for those like me.

You have required PLHIVS still not taking ARVs to pay for the CD4 count, for example. Whether or not, they have Philhealth. A CD4 count in a certain treatment hub costs P3,000! That amount is too heavy for someone who is earning just the minimum wage or barely reaching minimum wage. What if a PLHIV cannot afford to take that count or some other lab tests because of lack of funds? He or she will never know the current status of his or her immuno-compromised health unless he or she undergoes the regular physical exams and lab tests.

Another predicament that PLHIVs face is having to ask our human resources (HR), administrative heads, or managers to sign the CF1 form, which we need to submit every time we get ARVs or every three months. The most common questions asked of us who ask our employers or company officers to sign the documents are: what is this for and why do we need to sign it? We are a loss on how to explain it. We cannot tell them we have HIV, right? Or that we need this document for our HIV treatment.

I have learned that doctors of designated treatment hubs and representatives of PLHIV groups have met Philhealth officers and asked if your office can accept payslips instead of the CF1 because of the difficulty faced by PLHIVs in having it signed. The payslips would show that the employed is a regular contributor to Philhealth anyway. But your office have reportedly turned down the suggestion saying that payslips can be faked. But your office can check with where the PLHIV is working to determine if he or she is indeed employed there as suggested also but your office said that it would entail lots of work and would be an additional burden on your part.

We have the option though to tell our company that we will personally take over paying our contributions directly to Philhealth in order to evade questions on the signing of the CF1 forms but that would be tedious for PLHIVs, knowing how slow procedures are when it comes to government office transactions.


So we PLHIVs have no choice but to submit the CF1 form, along with the MDR every three months, and face the scrutiny of our employers, even the risk of not having our CF1 forms signed unless we can adequately explain why and for what reason is it being submitted for their signature.

I wish your office can make it things easier for us PLHIVs. We already have this medical condition. It was a lapse in our personal judgment by not adhering to safe sex that is why we contracted HIV, but do we have to be "punished" like this by your office?

I hope more consideration would be given to us because the bottom-line here is: lives are at stake.

Yours truly,
R10-AAC of RITM/"Aries"

10cc Lighter

I had my latest blood extraction for my CD4 determination this morning. Had to wake up earlier than normal to get to the laboratory early. Was still quite drowsy as I made my way there.

I arrived just in time. The laboratory just opened and we were asked to come in. After about 30 minutes, I was out and about 10cc of blood lighter. Stayed outside for a while to chat with an acquaintance I haven't seen for a while then proceeded to leave.

I'll have a week to worry over the result together with my other stressors.

Incidentally, this is the last free CD4 test that I will have. With the global funding for free laboratory tests for PLWHA at its last round, I should start working on my PHILHEALTH claim and begin a personal fund for medication and treatment.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Ant Goes A-Flying

My travel bag sees the light of day again as I prepare to pack my stuff for a 5-day training in the city of the merlion.

It has been a crazy 2 weeks of sleepless nights finishing presentation slides and clearing my back-logs so I am not really looking forward to this weeklong training.

Hopefully, being in SG again will provide me with a fresh perspective of what I am really doing in this job and, more importantly, why I am at this job.

But for now, the case lies open on the floor. I don't know when I'd start packing.

Candelight Memorial to Look Forward To

*Originally posted by Pinoypoz here
On Sunday, 15 May 2011, the Yoga for Life community will come together to join the world in commemorating the 28th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the Glorietta 3 Park in Ayala Center, Makati. Entitled Yoga for Life: Touching Lives, it will be an afternoon that will gather yoga enthusiasts and HIV advocates alike in a candlelit sunset ceremony honoring the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS.

The Yoga for Life community will take the traditional candle lighting ceremony further by making an impact in the way that it knows best - through yoga. Co-founders Charmaine Cu-Unjieng and Paulo Leonido will be joined by the country’s top yoga instructors in leading the community through yoga poses, breathing techniques and guided meditation, to demonstrate how the discipline and community of yoga help those affected by HIV. More importantly, the event aims to unite the community’s energies towards igniting the flames of HIV awareness in the general public.

The event will begin with registration at 3:30 pm, and will be supported by yoga instructors Roland dela Cruz, Jeannie Javelosa, Tesa Celdran, Marilen Elizalde, Marc Carlos, Lex Bonife and Rebecca de Villa, HIV advocates from different sectors and friends of the Yoga for Life community. Proceeds from the event will support the services that Yoga for Life provides to the HIV community, which include yoga classes, meditation sessions, and HIV and life-skills counseling.

This is the 28th year since the International Candlelight Memorial was first held, making it the longest running community event around HIV and AIDS. It will also be the first time that the Yoga for Life community is joining the tens of thousands of people from 75 different countries in touching the lives of those affected by HIV. While the Candlelight Memorial was originally held to commemorate the lives lost to HIV, Yoga for Life chooses to empower the lives of those who continue to triumph in spite of the virus, and celebrate the HIV advocate in everyone.

Yoga for Life began in June 2010, and is the Philippines’ first community-based yoga program for persons living with HIV, as well as others who support them and the cause and want to experience the beauty of yoga. To date, the community has grown to over 300, as Yoga for Life continues to reach more people and build a community of advocates who, through yoga, share their energies towards living positively and living well.

So come and join us as we touch lives through yoga!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Still Breathing

It's been a while since I updated this blog. I really can't say this was because I was busy. Well, I was, but that isn't really an excuse.

There's just too much things happening and too many things on my mind.

Stress level alert!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Between a Rock and Into the Fire

Okey, so I have my idioms all mixed up. But that is how my life at work is right now - all mixed up!

First, I am working towards a promotion. I may be way over my head with this one, though. Turns out the opening was for a more senior position than what I applied for. Although my boss did promise to short-list me, still it's a long shot but I am crossing my fingers. And I am definitely not counting my chickens until they're hatched.

Second, my fellow officers and myself are working towards letting go of one of our staff. We're burning the midnight oil going through the motions - documentation, performance reviews, etc. Still, the devil is in the details. It's about a behavior we have observed in the past but one that we all kept aside hoping it won't harm anyone - out of sight, out of mind. Boy, were we wrong! And now upper management has given the go signal to give the person the pink slip because the behavior is already hurting operations.

Third, I found out something this afternoon that may well be another monster rearing it's ugly head. Although I can't act directly on the situation, having a knowledge of the events that happened, albeit from a second-party source, and doing nothing about it may well be construed as complicity. Therein lies the rub. To squeal or not to squeal, that is the question.

Ay, caramba!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Close to Normal

I hate crying in public - don't get me wrong, it has nothing to do with machismo or anything, but crying is so messy.

Anyway, that was not the point...

Was able to catch Atlantis Production's Next to Normal.

Powerful cast - Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Felix Rivera, Bea Garcia, Jett Pangan and Markki Stroem - who's voices and emotions came across clearly, gave me goose bumps.

The song that hit me most - and led to a tiny tsunami to gush forth from my eyes - was "Maybe". Some of the lines are as follows:

I don’t need a life that’s normal
That’s way too far away
But something next to normal
Would be okay
Yeah, something next to normal
That’s the thing I’d like to try
Close enough to normal
To get by

That's what I am living right now - something next to normal. Normal is too far away.

But next to normal is ok with me, close enough to normal to get by...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I was saddened to hear about the news of the Fil-Aussie artist who was held at the airport and reportedly "banned" from entering the country because of his HIV status.

Though I was in a hurry to get to work this morning and rushing through my breakfast, I had to stop and listen intently on what was being discussed on TV.

Dr. Belimac mentioned the word "ignorant" sometime during the discussion and I couldn't help but completely agree with him. Although his word was not directed to one person or institution - it was more of a general description about the level of awareness of laws covering PLWHA.

Still, I felt a small knot in my belly listening to the story.

We are not completely out of the dark yet.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crossing the Bridge

I thought it was going to be difficult - telling my bestfriend about my HIV status. I did it this morning, at Banchetto, over bottled water, with the smell of pork barbecue wafting through the air.

Nobody knows about my HIV status other than my immediate family and my company's HR Director. I never felt the need to disclose to any of my friends or co-workers. I am living a productive, contented life. I have my family for emotional support and my ARV meds and treatment hub doctors for medical support.

So why tell my bestfriend?

I honestly do not know the answer.

We have been friends since we were little girls (hehehe) - classmates from grade school through high school. He went green in college. I went maroon. We saw little of each other during college and kept in touch occasionally (this was way back when cellphones were non-existent - for the common tao, at least).

A few years after graduation, he left for Singapore. I'd see him when I go to SG or whenever he comes back home for a vacation.

When we do see each other, we'd be spending hours together laughing about remembered shared funny moments in our lives, talking about non-essential stuff we've been through the times we were not together and dropping little tidbits of personal matters here and there.

He came back earlier this year to pursue his passion for culinary arts. He is taking a one year certification course in, well, cooking something and baking something.

I knew right away that I had to tell him.

That opportunity came this morning.

And it was easy.

People were all around us so I had to use my phone and wrote "I am HIV+" and showed him.

He hugged me - two straight acting gay guys hugging in public - I wish I could have seen us!

We talked about it more in the next hour or so.

I don't intend to tell any of my other friends about my status. I don't need to.

I have my bestfriend by my side.

And he is enough.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finding my Quiet Space

I was finally able to take a much needed vacation last week. We had a two-day off late last week because of the Chinese New Year and I took that chance to fulfill a long-time dream - that of visiting Ilocos, specifically Vigan in Ilocos Sur and Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte.

After more than 10 hours of travel by bus and another 30 minutes of travel by trike to the resort, I was greeted by the cold salty wind coming from the sea. Tired from the travel, I fought the temptation to hit the beach that early (I checked in at around 9am) and tried to get some sleep.

By lunch time, my inner mermaid got the better of me and I decided to check out the water. It was soooo cold! Imagine, I was on the beach from 12 noon to around 3 in the afternoon, with my jacket on! I couldn't even dip my feet in the water.

The wind was strong and waves after waves washed ashore - crest after crest of long waves, frothing and foaming.

I decided to walk along the beach because I saw that the area had a very long coastline.

At one portion of the coastline, I found this quiet little piece of the sea, protected from the waves by the rocks and corals.

Within this quiet area were pools filled with algae, small fish darting through holes in the rocks, white ghost crabs, tiny starfishes and every little creature taking advantage of the lull in the turbulent sea.

I envied these creatures. They have found their quiet space where they can rest, regain their strength and face the troubled lives they were meant to live in the open seas with renewed spirits.

Although I came out of that vacation equipped with the knowledge that the new year was going to be a good one, I still would want to have a constant place to crawl into where I can lick my wounds, heal and come out stronger and wiser.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January is Almost Over

Ang bilis - isang buwan na ang lumipas sa 2011!

And February is just around the corner.

Really excited about February, though. Ang daming naka-plano:

- a well-deserved back-packing 4-day vacation alone way up north
- another musical to look forward to watching
- re-visiting an annual festival somewhere in Central Luzon with friends
- possibly a trip abroad for training

It's going to be a crazy month, definitely, with Valentine's day fast approaching (segue lang).

A friend of mine in FB said sana yung February 14 na lang ang wala sa kalendaro kapag hindi leap year, para every four years na lang sine-celebrate ang Valentine's day.

With a full admission of my bitterness, nag-like ako sa post nya!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Meet Up

Met some pozzies early last week over coffee.

It was my first time to meet with pozzies in a public setting. I was actually ambushed into it but it turned out fun.

We were at the coffee place for well over three hours but it didn't feel that long. As I said it was fun - just sharing stories, seeing these people cracking jokes and exchanging wise-cracks at the expense of one another. Hearing about stories of other pozzies from their treatment hub.

I don't really socialize with other pozzies from my hub. Not that I do not want to. It's just that I feel like they have a different world from mine. Also, when I go to my treatment hub to get my refill of meds, I usually stay in one corner, observing the other pozzies and waiting for my turn. If I see someone I know, I'd give a nod and a smile and that's it.

But these guys from the other treatment hub were so much fun to be with. Maybe because it was ok to slip once in a while about your status without fear of discrimation or not being understood. As I said, it was my first time to socialize with fellow pozzies, so I had reservations. But after a while, I felt at home in their company. I felt normal!

I am glad that I came that evening. Sometimes, it pays to tread the path less taken, to see things with new a set of eyes. I am hoping to see them again one of these days.