My Churvaness

i heard it first from my daughter una as she described her loss in a pet society game an EPIC FAIL.  i asked her what she exactly meant and all i could get was an exasperated retort of “how can you not know it”.  clearly a variant of the phrase epic failure or more accurately failure of epic proportions and began to realize how the phrase seems to me the latest fad among hyperboles.

my second encounter of the phrase was in facebook.  there was a buzz about “Pilipinas kay ganda. (kay gandah (adj): so beautiful!)”.  friends called the plagiarized “new” brand name for Philippine tourism (incidentally also a porn site) as such – an EPIC FAIL.  the aptness did it. finally, i caught the drift.

so in line with the times and in an attempt to be hip, i ask what are my epic fails and what is my most epic fail thus far.  not having the will to finish my masters.  not submitting an application for a negotiated scholarship in the US.  failing to enroll in a marine biology course at UP.  not yet learning to cook traditional pinoy family recipes.  not having coffee with friends often enough.  not putting my thoughts in written form often enough.  missing una’s dance number in the latest school dancefest.  holding back when i need to say i love you to my parents, my sisters, to my …., or i’m sorry or forgive me.

but having jotted down my epic fails, there is a logical question that begs an answer. are epic fails reversible and/or forgivable? are there second chances for epic fails?

president noynoy recently asked the DOT to pull out the “new” brand name of Philippine tourism. i guess (or more appropriately, i hope) that the “Pilipinas kay ganda” epic fail has been reversed. as for my personal epic fails, i hope i am am given the same chances as well.






a little over a year ago was when i last posted on this blog.  my list of excuses include losing the wordpress password, being busy at work, starting new projects in the office, obsessing on plants vs zombies, being tired and sleepy, being irritable, being happy, blah, blah, blah…  and just as i often ask for second, third, fourth (and so on) chances, let me belt out “let me try again”, with due respect to Frank Sinatra.

another chance to more consistently blog, however, is not the only “try” i want to do again.  let me run down, way ahead of the coming new year, a to do list.  capturing my thoughts on canvass in oil.  communing with marine life by diving.  having my name on print. lazy overstretched lunch with friends.  out of town drive trips with my daughter.  getting lost in quiapo,  divisoria and dapitan.  read as if it is all that matters. laugh like crazy. dance.

why is it that day to day duties and obligations tend to get in the way of soul nurturing activities.  is there a way to marry day to day living with these necessary transformative breaks.  how does one address this seeming disjoint. finding the resolve to make time maybe the key.  the artist’s way by julia cameron suggests reserving an hour a day for such. finding that moment and making it your own. capturing that time and seizing it.

let me find my resolve.

no i am not a big fan of the TV series.  can’t quite catch its drift.  really the title of the post has to do with why i have not been able to write in this blog for i think almost two months.  i lost my password. until a week ago a friend, also a blogger, suggested that i request wordpress to reset my password. so finally i am back.

lost too is what i currently feel in terms of the major headlines in the Philippine dailies.  it’s election season too soon. when i have not been able to find the time, the will and the patience to register as a voter.  as i keep telling my friends, the first and only time i voted was when Jovy Salonga ran for president. since then i have been content with driving family members, who are all registered voters, to the polling precinct and lurking around the school grounds during election day.  when everyone was required to re-register in 1998 i was then living in an apartment in cubao. my housemates and i preferred to play majhong than to lift our butts, fall in line and list our names as elligible voters for the Philippine elections.

lost i am as well as a registered voter.  my friend marian coquia-regidor has convinced me that registering as a voter for the upcoming elections is a civic must.  i did agree, through facebook, to do so.  however, i must admit, i have not done so.  and i am searching my mind and my heart for a compelling reason to wake up early, line up in city hall, face bureaucratic inefficiency, test my patience and fight it out with the comelec registration station.

so i ask myself the proverbial question: why? because the election do not really change things for our country. becuase it is always the same bunch of politically entrenched interests foisting themselves as service and people oriented leaders.  becuase winning in the Philippine election has very little to do with how many votes for you but more for who supports you, the interests you represent, how strong you are and how much money you have.  because, because, because.

perhaps it is time that i lower my expectations when it comes to the election.  that i should not expect it to radically change the course of our country’s growth and development.  that the work for reform, for change, for improving lives does not lie on this event alone nor on the people you elect on election day.  that the act of writing down names in a ballot (or in next year’s case in shading the appropriate names) is not our ulitmate nor our only civic duty.  that registering as voter should not just be a license to vote but it should be a commitment as well.  a commitment to work for  a better Philippines on a day to day basis in whatever field we are despite and inspite of who does get declared as winners of the elections.

computers were not commonly available in Filipino households as i was growing up.  even electronic games were limited to atari and nintendo.  there were no such thing as the internet during those days.  that was some 25 years ago. i remember spending my saturday mornings watching cartoons in channel 9. and then playing endlessly with cousins and friends on the street.

just last week, however, it dawned on me how far we have gone in terms of technology – in terms of communication and inter connectivity.  my sister and her family who lives in hawaii was able to spend one whole sunday with our family who resides here in manila.  from 9 am to almost 6 pm we were online video conferencing through ym. it was truly amazing.

we exchanged stories using voice chat. we toured her house through the video camera. we saw her flailing herb garden. we introduced to each other our pets. she heard and saw my other sister and daughter sing with the videoke. we played interactive games with her son. her eldest was able to show us his favorite book – the original version of alice in wonderland. we exchanged photos, videos and audibles. now we are exchanging gifts through online stores who provide international delivery. and planning a get together here in manila thru email and chat. whew.

it is simply amazing. how technology can bring us closer. how the world can seem smaller, more intimate, more caring. and yet i can not help thinking about the flipside of what technology brings particularly for those who are not able to access a computer and the internet, for those who have yet to learn to use a computer, for those who have yet to learn to read and write.

while we (at least for some of us) have indeed gone far, sad to say that there are many many more people who are being left behind.

“Churva” was first introduced to my vocabulary by a bunch of gay college friends from the University of the Philippines in Diliman.  At that time, i was taking several subjects for my masters in economics and was dabbling still with campus politics.  I was fortunate to be part of a political party/alliance which had at that time as a member Babaylan, the first ever gay and lesbian organization in campus.  Being exposed almost daily to openly gay individuals had its profound effects on the awareness and acceptance of everyone regarding gender preferences, gender equality…  It became most evident when everyone, including hardy frat boys, began talking in swardspeak – gay lingo.

Among the first words everyone learned and used regularly was “churva”, derived from chuva, chuvs, chen-chen, chenelyn, jennylyn, (and many other variations).  The word refers to a persons view, perspective, thoughts and ideas.  The word is neutral to any kind of judgement. What you have to say is neither judged as good nor bad, it simply one person’s outlook. And everyone’s churva was welcomed.

The most accurate translation of the term I can think of is — one’s story to tell.  The word, however, has an implied connotation of truthfulness and honesty although embellishments for dramatic purposes are allowed.  Churvas cannot be based on lies or else you will be labelled as hanna, hanna barbera or hanna montana which means the stories you tell are fiction or without basis.

This obviously is the reason for the title of my blog.  My stories, my views, my thoughts, my words, my churvaness.


Churva Boxes

Others’ Churva

rudie on an epic fail
Nen on churva, the word
Beckie on churva, the word

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