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Category Archives: PSYCHOLOGY

How I pick ‘Dr. Hannibal Lecter’

“You will not persuade me with appeals to my intellectual vanity.”

— Hannibal Lecter

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 By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– I must have picked the wrong guy when I pointed to a tattooed middle-aged hustler in Manhattan’s Union Square for my opponent recently in a “bullet chess” or blitz chess match.

The guy was a look-alike of Anthony Hopkins when he played Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a character in a series of suspense novels by Thomas Harris and introduced in a 1981 thriller novel Red Dragon as a forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer.

“Dr. Hannibal Lecter” or DHL was only one of the four Union Square mainstays who challenged me for a chess match “for five bucks.”

I would be a hypocrite to deny I chose DHL over the three others after thinking he was a pushover or easy to beat.

 ROUND-TRIP

Jiggz, who invited me earlier to invade Union Square with a promise to pay my round-trip ticket in the subway from Queens, made everyone’s head turn when she stoutly dangled a $20 bill and ribbed DHL: “Twinti bakzs!”

Without hesitation, “Dr. Hannibal Lecter” quickly retorted: “olrayt!”

I chided Jiggz reminding her the hustlers were only chanting “fayb bakzs”. She insisted for “twinti bakzs”, her voice was irritating and intimidating.

When DHL and I were about to begin the hypnotic three-minute Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation blitz, the crowd intensified, cajoled by Jiggz’s wager braggadocio.

Handling the white pieces, I marshaled 1. e4; DHL replied with e5; 2. Nf3-Nc6; 3. Bb5 a6; 4. Bxc6 and so on and so forth.

If the match didn’t get as far as the middlegame, I wouldn’t notice I was heading for the catastrophe.

DHL, who didn’t nix pieces exchanges before five moves, parried my attacks with a masterful display of grit and proficiency as the partisan crowd egged and cheered him.

STRUCTURE

Several moves later, DHL’s deadly knight and bishop ripped apart my weakened pawn structure; security in the king side had been badly shattered.

As defeat became imminent, I raised the white flag and shook DHL’s hand.

Instead of planting his teeth hard on my neck as what Anthony Hopkins did to his victims in the “Silence of the Lambs”, Union Square’s DHL gave me a wink and collected Jiggz’s “twinti bakzs”.

DHL and his fellow chess hustlers had moved from the Washington Square Park–Bobby Fischer’s former territory–to the Union Square in 2013.

Jiggz coaxed DHL to play “wan mor game”. DHL said “yes”, I called it a day while the three other hustlers, DHL’s cheering squad, were waving and pleading for me to also play against them “but only for fayb bakzs.

I said “no mas.”

Twinti bakzs were enough. Twinti fayb bakzs will be too much.

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Posted by on April 8, 2018 in PSYCHOLOGY, SPORTS

 

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Herbert Vego’s pain

“During my days of deepest grief, in all of my shock, sorrow and struggle, I sat at the feet of God. I literally spent hours each day reading God’s word, meditating on scripture and praying. I intentionally spent a significant amount of time being still before God.”

–Rick Warren

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– Only a handful of people know the weight being carried nowadays by our senior media colleague, Mr. Herbert Vego, inside his heart and mind.

I learned about this “weight” buried deep inside Mr. Vego’s heart and mind when I was in New Jersey in January this year.

Some of our friends who have seen Mr. Vego these past weeks, may have noticed something unsual in the way he speaks and the sadness that illuminates in his 68-year-old face.

It is the kind of grief we normally see in the face of a moribund man.

The kind of melancholy that can only be washed away by the Divine Intervention.

-o0o-

Thus the punches Mr. Vego absorbed on the face when he was attacked by barangay captain Sumakwel Nava in the coffeeshop of Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City on March 7 were peanuts compared to the real pain he has been concealing in his heart and mind these past two months.

Mr. Vego would probably be willing to take more of those punches and other physical “punishments” if they could only solve and instantly expunge the real thorn that has been tormenting his heart and mind since January this year.

If you will know what this problem is, you will probably embrace Mr. Vego instead of hurting him physically.

-o0o-

I would like to share this letter to Mr. Herbert Vego entitled “Daddy” by Mindy Pfankuch Pfankuch

Daddy,

You were one of the first I laid eyes on when I came into this world

I didn’t know you at first but you were my daddy and later to become my hero

You were one of the first I loved

I chose you over my pink stuffed bear

I loved how you’d pick my up and hug me I’d feel so secure

You’d lift me with one arm way above your head and play helicopter

As I started to grow you taught me to stand and walk

You’d guide me so carefully so I wouldn’t fall

Once I began to walk on my own you stood close by just in case I fell down

If I did you’d pick me up –

Wipe the tears off my face and kiss my pain away

Once I got older I didn’t need your help walking but I needed your love and time

We’d play basketball, if I couldn’t reach the basket you’d lift me up so I could –

Making me feel like I was number one

You taught me how to shoot a gun and to not be afraid

You always helped me find a car in my price range that I liked

You showed me how to change the oil in my car,

I’m the only one of my friends that knows how, which make me feel smart

You’d do almost anything to see me happy

You always encourage me to try my best, and support me one hundred and ten percent

I’ve come to realize that I’m a lot like you

You help me realize common sense isn’t that common

You also taught me to be witty

I follow in your steps of being a smart aleck

You taught me how to deal with people and how to get what I want

And when ever some one says:

You’re just like your dad I can’t help but smile and be proud

You’re not only my dad but you’re my hero

Dad even though I’m growing up I still need your loving bear hugs,

And encouraging words of wisdom

Don’t forget I will always be your little baby girl

And you will always be my loving father and hero

I love you dad!

Love always Mindy

 

 

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Be kind to a kind husband

“A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.”
— Frank Abagnale

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– I thought it’s happening only in the movies.
Or in squatter colonies of Third World countries.
To my horror and shock, it happened right here in the freest and safest country in the world.
Miratsu is a brutal wife.
She physically assaulted Samoht in public–in front of Samoht’s friends and admirers in a Queens public park.
Miratsu used her physical advantage as a light-heavyweight bully to inflict harm on lightweight Samoht.
Based on my personal knowledge and on eyewitnesses’ account, Miratsu mauled her husband four times in as many surprised “attacks” in the same park.

CHESS

One time at around 7:45 o’clock in the morning while Samoht and I were playing chess in the park, Miratsu arrived unannounced and unnoticed.
Like a drooling mad dog, she came not only to beat up Samoht anew, but also to verbally abuse him.
Samoht only noticed the presence of the lady version of Mike Tyson when she was already a spit away from him.
Miratsu quickly performed sadistic rituals, rolling over the unprepared and terrified Samoht like a Samoan wrestler and whacked both his ears with ala Fernando Poe Jr. combination.
Early morning joggers, park habitues, some of Samoht’s friends saw cruelty unfold but couldn’t stop the beast thinking it’s only the spill over of a domestic rift.
The Punch and Judy Show scene occurred two more times in another time and day on the same spot.
1. Why was Miratsu so cruel? Miratsu was mad at Samoht for repeated curfew violations. Samoht had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was under strict medication.
He wasn’t supposed to stay longer outdoor playing chess in the park. He was supposed to quit smoking, too.

OVERNIGHT

Samoht did not only extend his exposure outside their house, he also spent overnight in the park playing chess. And he smoked non-stop like a chimney.
But, did his “sins” justify the mauling in public? Did it merit a public scandal?
2. Why did Samoht allow or tolerate Miratsu’s violence? Because Samoht was a good husband; a martyr. He was  soft-spoken and a peace advocate, a church deacon, a non-violent and very humble person who didn’t say bad words; a true friend rolled into one.
When he passed away on December 15, Miratsu regretted what she did to Samoht. She lost a good partner in life. And she had no more punching bag.
“At 61, he was not supposed to die early. Because he was a good person and a peaceful man, he was supposed to live longer, right?” Miratsu told me in a funeral home on Sunday night (December 16, 2017).

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Family, HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGY

 

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Scientific age’s 10 sets of premises

“There is nothing that will cure the senses but the soul, and nothing that will cure the soul but the senses” –– OSCAR WILDE

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NEW JERSEY — From Willis Harman’s Global Mind Change, the promise of the 21st century, we learned that there is a set of 10 premises, which, if encountered in a textbook a few decades ago, would hardly have aroused a question. It is humbling to the educated Westerner to realize that to an indeterminable extent, science, like the traditional belief systems of “primitive” cultures, describes a world that is shaped by its built-in assumptions, observes Harman.
The rational set of premises for a scientific age, according to Harman, are the following:
1. The only conceivable ways in which we can acquire knowledge are through our physical senses, and perhaps by some sort of information transmission through the genes. The sole way in which we extend our understanding of the nature of the universe is through empirical science–that is, the exploration of the measurable world through instrumentation that augments our physical senses.
2. All qualitative properties (at least the ones we can talk about scientifically) are ultimately reducible to quantitative ones (for example, color is reduced to wavelength, thought to measurable brain waves, hate and love to the chemical composition of glandular secretions).
3. There is a clear demarcation between the objective world, which can be perceived by anyone, and subjective experience, which is perceived by the individual alone, in the privacy of his/her own mind. Scientific knowledge deals with the former; the latter may be important to the individual, but its exploration does not lead to the same kind of publicly verifiable knowledge.
4. The concept of free will is a prescientific attempt to explain behavior that scientific analysis reveals is due to a combination of forces impinging on the individual from the outside, together with pressures and tensions internal to the organism.
5. What we know as consciousness or awareness of our thoughts and feelings is a secondary phenomenon arising from physical and biochemical processes in the brain.
6. What we know as memory is strictly a matter of stored data in the central nervous system, somewhat analogous to the storage of information in a digital computer.
7. The nature of time being what it is, there is obviously no way in which we can obtain knowledge of future events, other than by rational prediction from known causes and past regularities.
8. Since mental activity is simply a matter of dynamically varying states in the physical organism (primarily in the brain), it is completely impossible for this mental activity to exert any effect directly on the physical world outside the organism.
9. The evolution of the universe and of man has come about through physical causes (such as random mutation, natural selection), and there is no justification for any concept of universal purpose in the evolution, or in the development of consciousness, or in the strivings of the individual.
10. Individual consciousness does not survive the death of the organism; or if there is any meaningful sense in which the individual consciousness persists after the death of the physical body we can neither comprehend it in this life or in any way obtain knowledge about it.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2017 in NATURE, PSYCHOLOGY, SCIENCE

 

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Don’t slap a woman

“Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in.”
— Mary Wollstonecraft

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — It’s not nice for a man to slap a woman. Even in imagination, a man should never hurt a woman emotionally and physically.
If you want to know a man, listen to the language he uses to describe a member of the opposite sex after he has been jilted by the latter.
It’s not pleasant to admit slapping a woman especially if she is a lover or former lover, a wife or former wife.
Especially if you are having or had emotional attachment with her. Especially if you are having or had sexual liaison with her; if you benefited a lot from her concerning your carnal needs and fleshly desires.
She shouldn’t be called a “slut” or “maniac” to justify dumping her like a waste so his macho tormentor can tarry-hoot with the next nymphet.
It’s not good to be a misogynist. Like envy and irrational jealousy, it’s an aberration of the mind.
A woman is a special creation of God. She represents the image of our mother, sister, girlfriend, wife or partner in life.

MARY

We have the Blessed Virgin Mary as the symbol of purity, the epitome of piety and righteousness, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Without a woman, no one could biologically bring us here in this material world.
She labored hard, sacrificed a lot, and carried us in her womb for nine months. She feeds us. She gives us life. She sings for our joy and benefit.
No woman should be ridiculed or put to shame because of her sexual experiences or desires even if she is a criminal or enemy of the most powerful man in the universe.
After all, we are all sinners. In fact, many of us have committed more sins than her.
Magdalene, Cleopatra, Madame Bovary, Lady Chatterley, Princess Diana, Kris Aquino had their own share of infamy in the department of lechery.
They have been slandered and persecuted. But men of antiquity and modern times treated them with respect and adulation because they are women–and because of the great things they contributed for mankind.

LOVE

Like men, women also fall in love with passion. They, too, have emotions. They also fail and get frustrated and hurt. When they fall for men, they give their best; they give it all.
If some of them happen to be naive they become susceptible to exploitation and abuse–and sometimes end up as sex slaves, if not tortured and murdered.
Women in general are loving and decent human beings. God intended to give them a special role in society, and they should enjoy equal rights, privileges, and happiness with men.
Let’s hear it from Barbra Streisand: “I am a woman in love and I do anything to get you into my world and hold you within. It’s a right I defend ever and over again. What do I do?”
To fall in love, to enjoy a satisfying sex life, to live with dignity and respect, to practice freedom of choice, is the right that every woman should fight and defend in a masochistic society governed by some do-gooder and hypocrite congressmen.

 

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What’s your taste?

“All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.” — FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — What is bad taste? How do we differentiate it from good taste? Who determines whether my taste, your taste, their taste is better?
That people differ in their tastes is itself an indisputable fact. It is also true that there is no point in arguing with a man about what he likes or dislikes.
But it is still quite possible to tell a man that he has poor taste and that what he likes is in itself not excellent or beautiful. Here there is plenty of room for argument.
Those who say there is no disputing about tastes usually mean more than they say. In our judgment they are wrong not in what they say but in what they mean. They start from the fact that people differ in taste, in what they like and dislike, and conclude that that is all there is to it.
They conclude, in other words, that in talking about works of art of things of beauty, the only opinions which people can express must take the familiar form of “I don’t know whether it’s beautiful or not, but I know what I like.”

SUBJECTIVE

This conclusion makes beauty entirely subjective or, as the saying goes, entirely a matter of individual taste. People sometimes take the same position about truth and goodness. The truth, they say, is merely what seems true to me. The good is merely what I regard as desirable. They thus reduce truth and goodness to matters of taste about which there can be no argument.
Let us illustrate the mistake they make. If a man says to us, “That object looks red to me,” we would be foolish to argue with him about how it looks. The fact that it looks gray to us has no bearing on how it looks to him.
Nevertheless, we may be able to show him that he is deceived by the reddish glow from a light shining on the object and that, in fact, the object is gray, not red. Even after we have proved this to him by physical tests, the object may still look red to him, but he will be able to recognize the difference between the appearance and the reality.

ILLUSTRATION

This simple illustration shows that while there is no point in arguing about how things look, there is good reason to argue about what things are.
Similarly, if a person insists upon telling us what he likes or dislikes in works of art, he is expressing purely subjective opinions which cannot be disputed. But good critics try to express objective judgments about the excellence or defects of a work itself. They are talking about the object, not about themselves.
Most of us know the difference between good and bad workmanship. If we hire a carpenter to make a table for us and he does a bad job, we point out to him that the table is unsteady or that its legs are too light for the weight of the top. What is true of carpentry is true of all the other arts. Like tables, works of fine art can be well made or poorly made. Well-made things have certain objective qualities which can be recognized by those who know what is involved in good or bad workmanship in the particular field of art.
To recognize excellence in a piece of music, one must have some knowledge of the art of composing music. If a man lacks such knowledge, of course, all he can say is that he likes or dislikes the music. The man who insists that that is all he or anyone else can say is simply confessing his own ignorance about music. He can go expressing his likes and dislikes in music, but he should not, in his ignorance, deny others the right to make objective judgments based on knowledge he does not have.

QUESTION

The question to ask anyone who insists that the beauty in works of art is entirely a matter of personal taste is whether some people have better taste than others. Do some men have good taste and others quite bad taste? Is it possible for a person to improve his taste?
An affirmative answer to these questions amounts to an admission that there are objective standards for making critical judgments about works of art. Having good taste consists in preferring that which is objectively more excellent. Acquiring good taste in some field of art depends on acquiring knowledge about the art and learning to recognize excellence in workmanship.
If there were no objective differences which made works of art more or less beautiful, it would be impossible to say that anyone has good or bad taste or that it is worth making a great effort to improve one’s taste.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGY

 

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‘Nanay patawarin mo po ako’

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” Abraham Lincoln

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Mercidetas is in a hurry to book for a trip to Manila in November 2016 and the cheapest ticket she could get was $453 at China Eastern for a flight via Shianghai.
If she moves her flight to December, Mercidetas will have to shell out $1,439 at Philippine Airlines.
“I need to be home before December. My youngest daughter will deliver her baby before Christmas,” chortles Mercidetas, 56, a mother of three.
Her daugther, Rachel, 17, lives in Carmona, a first class urban municipality in the province of Cavite, Philippines with a population of 97,557, according to the 2015 census.
Mother and daughter haven’t seen each other in person since 2001 when Mercidetas left then two-year-old Rachel to the care of Rosario, Mercidetas’ older sister who was single.
Mercidetas, clerk in the local registry of deeds, left for San Francisco, California on a tourist visa before the 9/11 attack.
She never returned to the Philippines.

CHILDREN

She left her two other children–Rhea, 7, and Dan Robert, 9–in the care of her estranged husband’s parents.
Both Rhea and Dan Robert now have their own families. Rhea, cashier in a grocery store, lives in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Dan Robert, whose expertise in the kitchen was recently featured in a popular TV program in Manila, is cook in a Japanese restaurant in Makati City, Metro Manila.
Mercidetas works as babysitter in Long Island. She admits Rachel is her favorite child “because I nearly lost her when I was only six months pregnant.”
She had a violent altercation with Ramon’s “girlfriend” who kicked her on the stomach during a scuffle.
Mercidetas says “Ramon was not happy” when he learned she was pregnant to Rachel.
“He became paranoid after coming home one night when he saw a carpenter inside our house during a power blackout,” recalls Mercidetas. “He accused me of having an affair with the carpenter.”
Mercidetas theorized Ramon, driver of a prominent politician in Imus, a neighboring municipality, only wanted to justify his infidelity by “falsely” accusing her of committing adulterous acts.

DRIVE-IN

She caught Ramon and his inamorata while coming out from a drive-in motel and attacked them.
Ramon’s girlfriend, younger by about eight years, fought back and Mercidetas landed in the hospital after a violent fracas. “I nearly lost my baby,” she sobs, gnashing her teeth.
Ramon left them and lived with his girlfriend in Quezon province.
“Ate Rosario took care of Rachel when I decided to go to the United States,” Mercidetas narrates. “My heart sank when Ate Rosario died in 2009. I could not fly home because of immigration issues. Rachel was only nine years old then.”
Rosario was a victim of hit and run in the Carmona highway. The car that sideswiped her while on her way home from church sped off.
“When Rachel needed me most, I was not there on her side. I was going insane. I lost my appetite. I lost weight. I had sleepless nights worrying for my youngest daughter. My friends in the Woodside entertained me in the videoke bar and assured me everything was fine for Rachel, who was taken care of by our neighbors before being adopted by Ramon’s sister in Caloocan (city, Metro Manila),” Mercidetas adds amid tears.

FUNDS

She needed to raise funds as babysitter; sometimes she dabbled in house cleaning for a part time job “because I left a big debt in the Philippines.”
Aside from sending money to Rosario for Rachel’s needs, Mercidetas also remitted some cash to Ramon’s parents for her other children.
She also left “a pile of debts” several months before she obtained her visa.
“That’s why I needed to work so I can also sustain the needs of my family even if I am a TNT (tago ng tago),” remarks Mercidetas, who left San Francisco to New York City after two moths in 2001 to hook up with a former classmate, Evangeline, a caregiver in Brooklyn.
Evangeline paid for Mercidetas’ rent for three months in a small bedroom on 69th St. Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside. She transferred to a spacious room when she landed a job as babysitter.
Rachel took up an associate course in computer in Caloocan City where she met Mamerto, an instructor.
“Even if she had no idea how I looked in person except in the photos in our family album, Rachel and I talked over the phone regularly,” adds Mercidetas. “When Skype came, it was heaven for both of us. We cried together because we could look at each other face to face even if it was only in the internet.”

‘MY BABY’

Mercidetas considers Rachel as “still my baby and (she’ll) forever remain as my baby” even if Rachel was already teenager.
Rachel would not anymore resent their distance and flip-flopped in pressing her mom further on circumstances why a mother had to leave her children and could not come home during important family events.
Mercidetas assured her “we will someday be reunited and will no longer be separated in whatever circumstance.”
In return, Rachel promised to be a “good girl” and to finish her studies.
“In the Skype and in the Facebook messenger, we always prayed together for God’s guidance and blessing so that all our wishes would come true,” discloses Mercidetas.
Rachel haven’t heard from her father. Mercidetas says she had to employ “white lies” to divert Rachel’s mind each time questions about her father’s whereabouts tarried in their discussion.
“I just assured her that someday her father will show up and join us. It pains me a lot while saying those white lies because I know it’s already impossible,” Mercidetas laments.
Mercidetas admits her “most shocking” nightmare came in June this year when Rhea, now 22, informed her by long distance that Rachel was pregnant.
To add insult, Mamerto, the man who allegedly impregnated Rachel, is married with four children.
Mamerto resigned from the computer institute owned by the former presidential adviser of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada after Rhea and their relatives confronted him and brought the matter to the attention of school authorities.

STOP

Rachel stopped going to school. “Nakakahiya (shameful)” was how Rhea described Rachel’s predicament when Rhea reported the matter to Mercidetas.
Mercidetas admits she felt like her world has crumbled for being unable to assist her favorite daughter during “the most confusing moments” in her life.
“I blame myself. All her life I was not there to give her advice and guidance while she was growing up. What she lacked was parental guidance. We failed to provide it,” Mercidetas exclaims, clinching her fists.
She cautioned Rhea from admonishing her sister severely and appealed to give Rachel all the moral support and understanding.
“Gusto ko man lang sana mayakap sia. Pati ba naman sa kalagayan nia ngayon wala ako sa piling nia (I wanted to at least embrace her. I should be there beside her now),” Mercidetas sighs.

CALLS

Rachel refused to answer Mercidetas’ calls in the Facebook messenger, Skype and other means of communications. “Naintindihan ko sia. Naghalo ang kanyang hiya at takot. I wanted her to know that I am not mad at her. I wanted her to know that I am giving her my full support basta kausapin lang niya ako,” she sobs further.
Mercidetas did not press the issue. She waited for the moment when Rachel could muster enough strength and courage to talk to her.
One afternoon in July while she was in the Junction Boulevard subway station in Corona, Queens, Mercidetas’ Facebook messenger rang. It was Rachel.
“Nanay patawarin mo po ako (mother please forgive me). I failed you. I did not honor my promise. I am so ashamed.”
Mercidetas replied: “Anak wala kang kasalanan. Mahal na mahal kita pati ang magiging anak mo at magiging apo ko. Hintayin mo ako. Magsasama na tayo muli. (You are not at fault, my child. I love you, your daughter; and also my grandchild. Wait for me. We will be together again.)”