Putting Thoughts and Emotions in a Letter with Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden Stamp

I am one of those people who is not a frequent letter-sender. I had no pen pal when I was young and sending letters became passé when I grew up. In fact, I can't recall sending a letter during the years when me and my girlfriend, who is now My Beloved Wife, were in a long distance relationship. We just communicated through SMS during that time when Nokia 3310 is the king of phones.

Thinking about it now made me realize that I should've send her a letter or two during those LDR years. Our SMS message were gone now when our old phones conked out. The letter would've last longer and will be a tangible artifact of our memories.

The only time that I used the post office is when I sent a letter and gift to my girlfriend while I was in Thailand.

I was talking about the old-fashioned letter writing because I finally watched the end of the story of Violet Evergarden.

For those who don't know her, Violet is a doll and her job is to put into written words the feelings and thoughts of her client.

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden was once child soldier and was treated as a mere tool of war. All of that changed when she met Gilbert Bougainvillea, who is the person she fondly called "Major". Gilbert is first person who cared for Violet. He taught her how to read, how to appreciate the beautiful things - in short, Gilbert taught her how to be human.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck during the last military mission of Violet and Gilbert. Violet lost her two arms while Gilbert “died”. The major managed to say "I love you" to Violet before he “perished”.

Violet woke up in a hospital armless and without the man she looks up to. She was given two mechanical arms and Claudia Hodgins, who is Gilbert's friend and owner of a postal company, took her under his wings.

Violet regained her purpose in life by becoming a doll, which is a professional who writes letters using a typewriter. Her job is to put into written words the feelings and thoughts of her clients.

Letter in Violet Evergarden

What I enjoyed in the anime is how Violet slowly recovered through the letters that she wrote and the relationship that she forged with her clients and the people around her.

From a girl who doesn't know how to read and write, Violet blossomed into a famous doll who wrote letters for a princess, playwright, opera singer and many more. She who hated herself because of what she did during the war was loved by many.

I said earlier that I finally watched the movie of Violet Evergarden and it brought tears to my eyes. The tearjerker part is the death of her Violet's client Ulysse, who is a child/teen with a grave illness. Violet helped her put into the letters her thoughts and feelings. The letter can only be given to her parents and brother when she died.

Death of Ulysse in Violet Evergarden

I am really a softie whenever I see a death of a child in anime or any show. I guess this is the side effect of being a father.

Violet Evergarden is one of those animes that warmed my heart. I was a fan and I even watched the series and additional episodes. This is why I was also saddened to watch the final movie with a scene that shows the world moving on technologically with the sending of letters becoming obsolete and the dolls becoming irrelevant. I don't know why this anime caught my heart. Maybe I identify with Violet as she struggled through a new life. I felt that Violet is my co-sojourner in this world of crosses.

"I love you" - Violet Evergarden

Of the many anime that I watched in 2021, I can say that Violet Evergarden takes the top spot.


End of the Month Round-up: January 2022

January did not want to go away without a fight. So, before giving its last gasp, January threw these to me in its last few days:

1. Deadly deadline of many documents. I spent the work hours reviewing this and that documents. I even took home some paperworks that I had to finish before I hit the sack. I guess what I said in the past is coming true: "I will not take home any work unless I am a Level 2 Boss".

2. A Level 1 Boss under my command suddenly disappeared - very much just like Aang when the Fire Nation attacked. He just didn't show up! He said he had health problems. I had no choice then but to deal with his work load and supervise his minions.

3. I am forced to attend two online meetings simultaneously. One meeting goes to the left ear while the other one goes to the right. My brain was confused and made my head ache.

4. A fellow Level 2 Boss messed up and then I was tasked to deal with his mess. His mess is urgent and my Level 4 Boss couldn't stop badgering me because he's frightened of the Level 5 Boss (Mr. Always Urgent). I cleaned up the mess thanks to my Level 1 Boss underling (a.k.a. Ms. Sunshine) and her Team Reliable. However, I had to forgo another good night's sleep.

5. My head ached on the last day of the month because I had to attend an online meeting that started at 9 AM and ended beyond 5 PM.

Despite the above listed woes, January is actually not that mean to me. The truth is that I had an easy first week, when  I managed to do some spring cleaning. And it went downhill from there.

In other news...

I read an article from Esquire about the demolition of Rizal Park Children Playground by the National Museum. It was a sad news because my kids truly enjoyed playing in that playground. Akala ko makakabalik pa kami.

Here is an interesting post about the Battle of Bataan in World War 2  and Battle of Legazpi during the Filipino-American War that I read in FB.

January is also the month when I experienced being denied entry to a church because I did not had my vaccination card. It is amazing that the fear of the virus paralyzed the hearts of some church people.

Facebook post on "No Vax. No Entry"

The election fever is increasing as the month of May. One of the leading candidates, the son of former president, decided to avoid public scrutiny of his platforms and plans for the country. He chickened out from debates and forums. So I wrote a post about his chickening acts.

Interesting Read

The Reluctance of Males to become Men: Failure to Launch - this article talks about the reason why some males refuse to grow up. The answer is that these males don't see any meaning in their life and do not believe of any higher purpose or eternal destination.

Images of the Month

Holy Week Procession in the Philippines during the Spanish Period (from Luis Sorando Muzas)

Holy Week Procession in the Philippines during the Spanish Period (from Luis Sorando Muzas)

Holy Week Procession in the Philippines during the Spanish Period (from Luis Sorando Muzas)
Holy Week procession in the Philippines during the Spanish Period (source: Luis Sorando Muzás)

Quote of the Month

The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.

- Ian Kershaw

Anime of the Month

Slime Diaries

The Slime Diaries

This is a hilarious take on the isekai series The Slime Diaries. I started watching this anime since I'm done watching the existing episodes of Slime Isekai. The manga is also slow in sending out new chapters.

Funny take on the day to day life in the Nation of Monsters. The citizens of Tempest always find a way to celebrate a public feast every episode.


A Visit to the Cows of Marikina Heights' Evolution Park

Blog Title Card - A visit to Evolution Park of Marikina Heights

Some years ago, before the pandemic, my parents brought us to a public park that has statues of cows. My Little Ones, Samuel and Samantha were happy "playing" with the cows.

So, during our Christmas visit to my parents, we decided to bring our three Little Ones, once again, to the cows of Marikina Heights.

Our youngest child was overjoyed upon seeing the "cows". He immediately ran up to them while saying "moo moo moo".

Playing with the Cows of Marikina Heights

There are plenty of cows in this part of Marikina.

Cows of Marikina Heights

The cow statues recall Marikina's past as a hacienda of the rich and influential Tuason Family during the Spanish Period. Marikina Heights, the barangay where the park is located, was once a ranch where the Tuasons pastured cows, goats, carabaos, and horses.

Milking the Cow of Marikina Heights

The highlight of the park is the statue of a lady milking a cow. It marked Marikina's past as a major player in the dairy industry. In fact, the city's Marikina Dairy Industries was the first to introduce condensed milk in the Philippine market in 1967.

The park is located beside a creek along Champagnat Avenue. This park is named Evolution Park, which I found unusual because I cannot find the park's connection with "evolution".

My little ones enjoyed "playing" with the cows and riding on them. Our bunso is the most happy because it is as if he was interacting with real cows.

Playing with the Cow of Marikina Heights

Near the cow statues are the public exercise equipment like the monkey bars and static bikes.

Evolution Park of Marikina Heights

These are not meant for kids but our Little Ones enjoyed them nonetheless.

The real playground is located a few steps away at the Marikina Hardin ng Bayan. This was where our kids enjoyed the slides.

We didn't stay long at the playground because it was very crowded. There were so many kids competing for the slides and swings. It was quite risky in this time of pandemic. I think the Marikina City government should add more slides and swings or make more playgrounds in other parts of the city.

As a history buff, what piqued my interest in Marikina's Evolution Park is the monument dedicated to the PEFTOK soldiers.

PEFTOK Memorial in Marikina Heights

PEFTOK, which is the acronym for Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea, are the Filipino soldiers who fought in the Korean Peninsula to stop the advance of communist forces to South Korea.

PEFTOK Plaque in Marikina Heights

The PEFTOK Monument was erected through the efforts of PEFTOK Veterans, the City Government of Marikina, and other organizations on June 25, 2005 - exactly 55 years since the start of the Korean War. The monument was placed to commemorate the officers and men of PEFTOK and to memorialize their bravery in their defense of the democracy of South Korea.

The monument was placed in Marikina City because it was the training ground of the PEFTOK soldiers before they were sent to Korea.

The monument bears the flags of the nations that joined the fight against the communists in the Korean Peninsula. Some of the nations I recognized are South Korea, Greece, India, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, France and the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

PEFTOK Memorial in Marikina Heights

The monument also featured the following the following Combat Battalion Teams (BCT) of PEKTOK:

1. 14th BCT (Avengers)

14th Battalion Combat Team PEFTOK Plaque in Marikina Heights

2. 2nd BCT (Peacemakers)

2nd Battalion Combat Team PEFTOK Plaque in Marikina Heights

3. 19th BCT (Bloodhounds)

19th Battalion Combat Team PEFTOK Plaque in Marikina Heights

4. 20th BCT (We Lead)

20th Battalion Combat Team PEFTOK Plaque in Marikina Heights

5. 10th BCT (Steady On)

10th Battalion Combat Team PEFTOK Plaque in Marikina Heights

There are interesting historical tidbits written on the monument. One is that President Fidel Ramos, then a first lieutenant, also fought in the Korean War.

The PEFTOK soldiers, particularly the 10th BCT, became legendary during the Battle of Yultong where 900 PEFTOK soldiers fought around 2,000 to 5,000 Chinese and North Korean soldiers.

Filipino soldiers of 10th BCT at Yultong Hill during the Korean War
Soldiers of 10th BCT at Yultong Hill (source: Wikipedia)

The Battle of Yultong started in the evening of April 22, 1951. The 10th BCT is guarding Yultong Hill with the soldiers of USA, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Belgium, and UK. During the intense fight, the soldiers of other countries retreated while the 10th BCT stood their ground. In the end, the 10th BCT defeated the commie horde and prevented them from going further to South Korea.

Aside from the PEFTOK, Evolution Park also features the flags of the Philippine Revolution.

The Evolution Park is one of the reasons why I considered moving to Marikina. This city has public parks and open space. The residents are disciplined. Their streets are clean.

I Love Marikina Heights

This pales in comparison to the city in the supposedly more provincial Laguna, where I currently reside. This city lacks a public park, save for the concreted plaza at the poblacion. The nearest open space from our house is a private cemetery. The wide open spaces are owned by the Ayalas. The residents are burara and dugyot. The streets are dirty. Heck, even the city highway has few decent sidewalks.

I digress...but what I really want is a city with a decent public park and Marikina is a model for that.

My Little Ones enjoyed their short visit to the cows of Evolution Park. It reminded me of the fun I had, when I was little, running in wide open spaces in our province. We were free to run around, fly a kite, and do many things. Now my kids had to make do with a small space in our subdivision.

As for me, I enjoyed learning more about the history of gallant Filipino soldiers who fought in Korea and their Marikina connection. This blog post was actually meant to be about the cow statues of Marikina but ended up as another blog post about Philippine history.

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1. Information about the Battle of Yultong came from Remembering the Battle of Yultong: A Great Victory (Philippine Army website) and Wikipedia.

2. Information about the dairy industry in Marikina came from the National Dairy Authority.


Philippine Politics: On Cowardly and Lazy Presidential Candidates

Cowardly Presidential Candidate

During college (4th Year), First day sa Physics Class (Relativity & Quantum Mechanics), nagsalita yung terror prof: "Yung gusto lumipat ng prof jan ay punta kayo dito sa harap at pirmahan ko change matriculation form nyo."

May tatlong estudyante ang pumunta sa kanya.

Pagkapirma ng change mat form, sabi ng prof (sounding like inahing manok): "buk buk buk".

I am reminded of this scene whenever I hear that that presidential candidate skipped another public engagement.

He did not attend the convention of MSME

He did not attend a COMELEC hearing (sakit-sakitan)

He did not attend a TV interview (bias daw kasi yung host)

Attending conventions and TV interviews is not mandatory for any candidate but it gives us a glimpse on what that candidate will do when he get that electoral post. When the going gets tough, you will not see him. He will just surround himself with yes men. He will not listen to any criticism, valid or not.

Ngayong kampanya na dapat masigasig sya sa panunuyo ay ayaw na magpakita at iwas nang iwas. Paano pa kaya kapag naupo? Magpapakita pa kaya siya?

Well "buk buk buk".

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Takbo Takbo Lang

This candidate said he couldn't attend the Presidential Forum of the KBP. The reason is conflict of schedule. Ayun pala he is just doing a taping/shooting of a interview/cooking show with the "dilawan" Korina Sanchez.