Today marks a special day for someone whom I'm very proud to call my dearest friend and soul sister. We first met at work back in 1998 when I moved to Cebu. Hers was one of the first faces I saw upon being shown to my work area and her presence became more or less a permanent one in my life since then. Allow me to pay tribute to one awesome lady whose friendship I cherish like life itself.
As I wake up on this lovely Wednesday morning, I think of you and how you've made my life so much richer by simply being there. When I first set foot at the SuperCat office, you were one of the first people who welcomed me. With your strong presence and booming voice, I knew instantly that we were going to click. Even then, I envied your strength and confidence...you always seemed to be oozing with it and gosh, it was so natural! Hmmm...I've always wondered how you did it. Deep inside, I knew it was a special gift you had. It wasn't to overshadow other people, rather it was so distinct yet subtle enough to just be something that inspired others to emulate or develop.
You may not know this, but you were that one person whom I looked up to in terms of independent living. As you know, my stint in Cebu was the only time in my life that I had a chance to live on my own. Having had a sheltered life, I had no idea what freedom and independence was like until I met you. I tried to be as fiercely determined as you were at work, as caring and supportive outside of it. Being the eldest among my siblings, I had no one older to call "Ate" and God was indeed so gracious when he gave you to me...I found my real life "Ate".
We sure shared so much heartfelt laughs and even had several "Maalaala Mo Kaya" crying episodes. When I didn't have anyone to watch those Pinoy "takilya" movies with, you gladly offered to come with me. I can still remember how I converted you into a full-pledged Pinoy box office fan. You knew how difficult it was for me to have no family around so you made sure I had one in you. So you can just imagine how my world tumbled down when you decided to leave my side due to some sinister plot created then to destroy our friendship. Of all the friendships I lost, yours was the one that really devastated me.
Like a hurt cub, I retreated into my shell and went my own way. I had that emptiness in me for almost two years and though at the time I already had hubby at my side, he knew there was a part of me that pined for my soul sister...my Ate. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think about how you were and wondered about what was happening to you. But I could only look from afar. It was indeed the Lord's hand at work when he used another soul sister to reunite us. That was in November 2001...a time that will forever be etched in my memory. The minute I saw you, I wanted to hug you to make up for all the time we were apart. I was aghast when I learned the trials you had to go through on your own. I wished I was there to help you and give you support.
But God had a greater plan and His timing was perfect. I was about to leave Cebu then to move to General Santos City and He gave us enough time to catch up with all that have been lost. To say that our friendship became stronger is an understatement...I believe it was fortified, much like a fossil leaving its mark. We knew then that this was a friendship that no intrigue nor evil plot can ever topple down again.
We may not see each other as often as we did before but because of modern technology, it's just as if we're beside each other, chatting away like we used to. Of course, I do miss my movie date buddy and I miss all those times we just go on and on about life, share laughter and tears but I'm glad that we are updated with each other's happenings through the wonders of the internet. I can still call you "bru" and "timang" all I want and that makes me feel like as if we're just neighbors all the time. I chose you to become Ninang to my firstborn because I wanted him to grow up having you in his life. Knowing how much positive influence you've had on me, I simply couldn't deprive my son of the same opportunity, right? As you'd been a great inspiration to me, I want Jarred to always look up to you as I did.
And so, after so many lines and some tears shed while writing this, I simply wanted to let you know how special you are and how thankful I am to God for giving me a great sister and friend like you. There's of course, no better timing than this, your birthday.
Happy, happy birthday my dear friend, kumare, "Ate"....soul sistah...together with my family, we pray that the Lord continue to bless you with good health, joy, success and of course, love. May you never cease to make the world so much more interesting with all your feisty adventures and funny misadventures. We love you and miss you so much!
(the inset photo was taken right after New Year's of 2000...shortly before our brief falling out)