Rest in Peace, Karen Kaye

(Note: this post was originally written on September 19, 2015)

Yesterday morning, my newsfeed got flooded with a photo of a young girl with the hashtag #JusticeforKarenKayeMontebon. I got curious so I followed the thread and checked the news outlets. What I found out was heartbreaking.

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Karen Kaye Montebon was a freshman college student of the University of San Carlos-Cebu. She was raped and killed in their home in Lapu-Lapu City. Her dad found her when he came home in the afternoon. She has bruises on her body and she was lying on the floor with a cord tied to her neck.

Nobody yet knows who killed her. Nobody knows who ended her life and her dreams in a brutal and senseless way. But we all know whoever did it was an animal. A cruel, cold-hearted, depraved animal because no person on their right mind could do such a thing to another human being.

I do not know her personally and before yesterday, I didn’t know she existed yet what happened to her resonated not only to me but to a lot of people. Our homes are the one place in this world where we are supposedly safe and happy and if something like this could happen in the safety of our homes, where else can we be safe?

If a stranger like me feels sadness and pain reading the reports, I can only imagine how heartbreaking this is for those people who knew her, loved her, took care of her. I can only imagine how painful it is for the friends she laughed with, cry with and shared memories with. I can only imagine how heartbreaking this is for her family who has been with her since the day she was born. I cannot imagine how traumatic this must be for her dad who found her. No parent deserves to see that.

When that animal ended her life, it ended her dreams and that of her family. When that animal strangled her, it ended what would have been a bright future. Now her family and friends are left with what I can only imagine as a big void in their lives.

Gone too soon...(photo grabbed from Justice for Karen Kaye Montebon Facebook Page
Gone too soon…(photo grabbed from Justice for Karen Kaye Montebon Facebook Page)

Karen Kaye, I am a stranger yet I hope you are in a better place now. You did not deserve what you went through. I am sorry your life had to end so soon. I am sorry for how cruel the world is and how it ended your dreams and your hopes. I am sorry that your family had to go through this, no family deserves to go through this. I can only hope that you get the justice that you deserve. I can only pray that your family get through this painful loss. I hope you find peace in the arms of our Creator.

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When All You Can Do Is Be Brave

I write this as I sit alone at the hospital waiting area not really knowing what to feel. I see people around me, going about their business or sleepily waiting as I am.

I’m thinking, are they as scared as I am? Are they here for someone? I wonder what they are thinking as they stare straight at the wall. I wonder if they realize that we are all comrades in this, silently waiting for whatever it is that we are waiting for.

I sit here trying to take my mind off the tests that I have to go through. Hoping that whatever it is that we are trying to rule out will be ruled out. I would welcome a diagnosis of “just your imagination” because that would sound so much better than being told that your life is going to change.

I don’t know if I should really be taking this seriously or not. If this is just one of those moments when your overactive imagination is leaping 10 steps ahead of you. I hope so. But I can’t help but think, what if it is not? What if it is something serious and I didn’t pay attention to it for a long time? Well, this is why I’m sitting here staring at all this people right?

I am optimistic about this mainly because of my doctor. He did explain to me that we are simply doing these tests to rule out other possible diseases and what I have is probably just hormone related. I am rooting for that one. The alternative is just unthinkable. I prefer to be told that I am just imagining this and this is nothing. I really hope it is nothing.

I am optimistic partly because I do not feel sick at all. Aside from the bruises that doesn’t even hurt and the weight loss that seemed to be normal for me, I feel great. I even plan to hike tomorrow. No dizziness. No fainting spells. I don’t feel pain in any part of my body. I feel good.

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And if it is not. Well, I guess I’ll have to cross the bridge when I get there.

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*I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. Proofreading via mobile is a challenge for me.*

Why do you travel?

Do you know why, despite visiting so many places in the country, I keep going back to my first solo trip to Baguio? Because that was the only time I ever got to experience the place. I was all alone so I was free to roam around and walk to my heart’s content. I saw the tourist spots, had some awkward photos, did the required photo op with the St. Bernard and did the usual touristy things. I did all that and I also did so much more. I experienced Baguio and fell in love with the place.

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I have so many reasons why I travel. Most people think it’s only to see places and take pictures. I love taking photos and sharing them to everyone who cares (and doesn’t) but it is more than that.

I don’t travel just so I can post photos in instagram. I travel to learn.

The Philippines is an ideal place to travel mainly because of how diverse the experience is. You can go to so many places that speaks the same languages and yet the experience is different. We are a nation of so many cultures, languages, traditions, and beliefs. There is so much to learn.

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For me, the best travels are those where I learned the most. I fell in love with Sagada not only because, for an outdoor enthusiast, it is a haven for me but mainly because of so many things I learned. Their stories, traditions, beliefs are so different from ours and it fascinated me so much I would like to go back and stay longer.

I don’t travel so I can tell people I’ve been there. I travel because traveling opens my eyes to a world different and yet familiar to me. I travel because it broadens my perspective and gives me a deeper understanding of people and a respect for everyone’s differences.

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I travel because it gives me a lot of reason to love life. Everyone I meet in my travels taught me fascinating stories ( some, too personal I don’t understand why they’re telling me about it) and life lessons I will never forget.

The world is my classroom and everyone I meet is my teacher.

This is why I travel. What about you? Why do you travel?

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*I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. Proofreading via mobile is a challenge for me.*