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Archive for October 2011

Read it and weep.

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All of you guys know me as that dude always smiling, always laughing, your resident class clown if you will. And today I’m going to take you to a trip inside my mind and soul. What truly makes Elvin Madamba, Elvin Madamba. You all know me on the surface but I’m going to take you diving with me to depths that no one knows about outside of my immediate family, my girlfriend and close friends. I know this is going to be hard on me to share but to me you guys are family too. I feel that connection, that attachment to you guys and I’m very, very privileged to open up to such wonderful people.

I’m an only child from a middle class household. I grew up in middle of the city and the countryside in the Philippines. I grew up being very close with my aunts, uncles, cousins. I had lots and lots of good friends too. We had the best neighbours, they’re the best trust me. I did well in school. My dad was the president of our residence community. We were regarded as the ‘first family’. I was like a prince! I knew everyone and everyone knew me. I enjoyed their company, they enjoyed mine. So, I knew very well the importance of family and camaraderie. We were quite celebrated, to be honest and this seems like a good picture, doesn’t it? Now, you could see where all my upbeat personality is coming from. However, my mom wasn’t too keen on this. Apparently, my dad has been too busy. She didn’t really like all the attention we were getting. With that, she started drifting away from her priorities. She started talking to strangers. My dad found out about this but he didn’t think much of it. Anyways, fast forward. We arrived inCanadalooking forward to a fresh start, a bright new future, what have you. Everything seemed great again, we were like the family we once were. However, my mom, alone, hasn’t been. She’s never satisfied, always spending money on a lot of unnecessary things, still talking to strangers on the internet. My parents would argue about it but it really wasn’t anything substantial yet. To me, I have gotten accustomed to that. Even with all the problems rising it never seemed anything that can possibly tear our family apart. But then everything changed when just sometime early 2010 rumours started circling around that my mom has a boyfriend from her office. Long story made short. We did learn that my mom was cheating on my dad. To an only son, this was absolutely devastating, I never imagined my mother having the capacity to do such a slanderous act. Even then though, I shrugged it off for the longest time. If you were to see me then, you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong. But believe me, a part of me died. Of course, my dad was devastated as well. My parents are not divorced right now but they are separated. I believe they are doing a trial separation at the moment; my mom trying to reflect and re-examine herself and my dad trying to recover.

With this experience, I grew very much as a person. Sure, I was hurt, but I knew I had to be strong. Though, my grades were slipping even reaching all time lows, I just kept going. My dad had a stroke late last year, I was in tears. I was afraid to lose my dad. But right there and then, the boy became the man. I took the situation gracefully. And people applauded me for that. My dad is recovering from his stroke and recovering from a broken heart as well, but I’ll always be there beside him to help him keep going. Those are the words that I would tell him, “pa, we need to keep going, let the pains of the past be the past”. Also, it’s quite interesting to note that this is the reason why I’m standing here right now. I wanted to make things right, so I joined my social justice and environmental initiative class, then from there I learned about this program. I knew this is what I wanted to do. I learned so much about myself in this experience.

I never held a grudge against my mom, I still love her despite the hurts that she has caused. She would always be my mother. Until this day, I’m still hopeful that we would get back to a normal family. I pray my dad forgive my mom and I pray my mom repent. But truth be said, I’m not really expecting anything anymore, and I’m just trying to live, no day spent wasted. Well, what I guess I’m trying to say is we just need to keep on GRINDing, get ready it’s a new day. As rapha puts it, once you’re on rock bottom, there is nothing but up. Carpe the heck out of this diem. Sieze the day. I don’t want to sound cheesy but, Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it’s breaking, when there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by, if you smile through fear and sorrow, smile and maybe tomorrow, you’ll see the sun shining through for you. Light up your face with gladness, hide every trace of sadness, although a tear may ever be so near. That’s the time you must keep on trying. Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile.


Written by Elvin Madamba

October 27, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Posted in Personal

Elvin’s Memento in Costa Rica – Entry 02

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June 19, 2011

Day 2 of our Costa Rica mission… We went to mass, the parish was absolutely extravagant. It is interesting to know that people here wake up so early compared to Canada. Costa Ricans would wake up 5 in the morning to attend mass. They are some devout Catholics, oh man. And it’s amazing! So, farewell for now Cartago and on to the next destination.

I wish I could wake up at 5 again, meh, something that I wasn’t able to take away from Costa Rica. I remember the church being absolutely elegant though. HOW COME WE DON’T HAVE CHURCHES LIKE THAT HERE? I was falling asleep though, come on, the priest was speaking in Spanish, my Spanish is as primitive as a caveman’s English is.

Costa Rica reminds me of my motherland, the Philippines. From the farms, the cows, the stray dogs and cats. It makes me miss my hometown and seeing the culture here being very similar to mine, it just floors me.

It’s Father’s Day too! Unfortunately, I’m not in Canada to celebrate it but at least I was able to fire off a quick e-mail last night and my dad is always in my thoughts and prayers. I miss my girlfriend and my friends as well but I’m holding on and it’s been an enjoyable excursion right now.

I think this was actually when I decided that I really, really want to visit the Phils. Yeah, I’m thinking of visiting in March, and maybe stay for a month or so? Do some soul searching while having the time of my life, catching up with some old buddies, yeah? Cool.

I remember missing my dad for Father’s Day, I also remember not putting in something in this journal, we were actually on the phone that night. I think I decided not to put it in the journal because it was one of those moments that I know I’ll forever remember anyway. It was a deep and emotional conversation, I remember…


For a while (after our break up), I’ve been battling myself thinking “Did I really love my girlfriend?” Here, it is the answer, I did. I actually did. I mean, you’re miles away and you cannot really miss someone you did not love or cared for, right? Meh, love is subjective and relative, anyway. Some things, are not supposed to be actually defined, it’s just a word that would never really reflect our feelings but would only come close to. In the romantic, sappy sense though, I did love her. I love how she was always there for me in the lowest of my lows and how she would do the simple things to make me happy. She was simple, and that’s what I loved about her, but then again, that was also one of the reasons why I fell out of this so-called love, I guess you could that her simplicity was not enough for my complexity, I was looking for a bit more. Conveniently, someone in Costa Rica provided that persona, no, I’m not gonna name her, you can probably already figure it out. Did I cheat? That depends, yes and no. No, because there was nothing physical, there was no exchange of feelings. Yes, because I left myself vulnerable to developing feelings for someone else.

If you were to ask me, do I miss my ex? Yeah, I do, you think about the times you’ve had with her and actually realize that she was an amazing girlfriend, she just wasn’t the one for me, I guess. Do I even think of getting back with her? No, I do not. I’m sure as hell, she wouldn’t want to anyway after what I put her through.

Actually, funny enough, the very woman I caught feelings for, ends up plateauing and going on a landslide. It was best that I do not go for her and just let the feelings fade away, because I see her more as a friend, a good friend, really. And it just wouldn’t work.

Call it puppy love, because I got dogged out.

My God, we’re gonna go drive up a mountain and go through five ecosystems?! That is insane! I can’t wait to see all the diversity.

I remember this, it was so trippy, the trees were like evolving as we went up in elevation. So, did the fauna, they were changing as the altitude got higher.

Taking pictures of Tom at every site is hilarious and touching at the same time. It just speaks of how close we have gotten as a group.

Unfortunately, Tom was not able to come with us to the trip but we brought his picture with us so we can still take pictures with him. LOL

The races differ as the elevation of the mountain shifts… interesting. Indigenous ancestry perhaps?

Yeah, it was the indigenous ancestry. Costa Rica is surprisingly racially diverse.

Damn, those mono-cultured pineapples are disgusting. All the chemicals that pineapple companies (**** you Dole and Del Monte) spray just runs off to the water system when it rains. Lots and lots of environmental implications…

Cash crops, ’nuff said. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up.

Durika is such an amazing community. They exemplify the things we have learned throughout the semester. They are environmentally conscious from living in a self-sustained community. They eat locally, organically. They use reusable energy and much, much more. They are even a model of social justice from fair trade practices to providing education and opportunities for many.

They actually have everything here. I honestly believe they don’t even need outside resources.

The community is filled with professionals, so they have doctors, dentists, naturopaths, etc. With those professionals they can teach the younger people of the community…

What a tight-knit community they have. It still blows me out of the water, every time I think about it. They literally had everything there, they grew it or they produced it and stuff. They only had what they needed. None of this First World stuff, well maybe the TV and the internet but whatever, lol. Back to basics, sort of. It’s interesting though, these professionals who lives in Durika, up in the mountains, they had a comfortable lifestyle back at the city but they chose to live up in the mountains. Why? No, they’re not hippies, it just gave them a greater satisfaction (more on that later).

The community just amazes me from all the hard work they have put over the years, it is paying off nicely. Definitely, even after a day, I could say I want to go back here.

We just finished dinner, and it was DELICIOUS. Now, Nigel and I are in our cabin, just chilling. It’s kind of freaky without the lights on and the drops of rain on the roof top… But for me, it definitely reminds me of my mom’s hometown in the Philippines. So, it’s kind of like a homecoming for me but this time, more independently.

Yeap, we went all vegetarian down in Costa Rica. It was absolutely delectable, I wish I could recreate their recipes, maybe, eventually. I’ll dabble in to myself turning to vegetarian a few entries later…

OMGOSH! NO LIGHTS?! There was actually none, we had candles while the ladies in the other cabin had lights, whatever, lol. It was nice, I miss the conversations Nigel and I had. More on that later too…

OH RIGHT, pictures.

Written by Elvin Madamba

October 18, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Posted in Costa Rica

Tagged with , ,

Elvin’s Memento in Costa Rica – Entry 01

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Oh man, oh man. Have I not posted on this thing in the longest time? I guess, it’s time to catch you guys all up!

Let’s start from where I left off and I’ll work myself to the present, yeah? Cool.

After myself and the HELP fam ventured into our last volunteer gig together at St. Francis Table, preparations went into our culminating Costa Rica trip (which y’all helped me raise funds for btw, thank you very much!). We obtained all the necessary things we needed and packed it all in one big hiking backpack. And on June 18, off we went…

(So, I’m just gonna quote whatever I wrote in my journal day by day)

 June 18, 2011

It is 10:09 AM. My name is Elvin Anthony Madamba, you’re probably reading this because you just want to know about the experiences I’m supposed to have in Costa Rica.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what to expect. I have learned a lot about it in class. If I had to pick what I’m most looking forward it has to be the rich diversity Costa Rica is known for. Also, I can’t wait to be immersed in the Costa Rican culture, especially the indigenous peoples’.

I’m kind of bittersweet about this trip actually. Bitter because I’m going to miss my friends, and family. I would especially miss my dad and my girlfriend. It is me and my girlfriend, Cindy’s anniversary today. It is unfortunate that I’m not going to be home to celebrate our milestone. I already miss her terribly. When I think about it, it’s only 12 days but we won’t have communication at all. But I truly believe that this will make us even stronger. I’m quite excited to be back home and have a good time with her. And of course, I miss my  dad and my mom too. I’ve never been away from them for this long without communication. I’m hopeful that when I come back that my dad would find new found strength after what has happened to our family. I even almost cried when I was being prayed over by my dad. It was so emotional… And again when I was prayed over by Donita’s parents and Ate Roca. I mean they’re just an awesome bunch! Well, that’s it from me for now. I’ll sign back in a bit…

Okay, I’m on the plane now. I’m sitting at seat 9A, I’m by the window. I could’ve been sitting beside Sofia but the old gentleman said no. Oh well, it’s only a 6 hour flight. I’ll just sleep or something.

OH MY GOD! This is going to be a long ride. All I can ever think about is back home, my dad, Cindy and my friends. It hasn’t sunk in, the fact that I am en route to Costa Rica. I’m emotionally scrambled right now. By the way, “Twilight” sucks. What a cheesy movie. Are we there yet?

Finally, WE’RE HERE! It’s raining but it’s all good. I’m ready for you Costa Rica!

This is just awesome! Driving in Costa Rica. It’s so damn beautiful. We’re in a small bus right now on our way to our hotel. Just met Eugenio, the biologist, ornothologist (The study of birds)? And Patron, THE boss, is driving us.

Man, it pours here in Costa Rica but I am so ecstatic. Just hearing about the activities we’re gonna be doing are awesome. I am at loss for words right now. I’m just STOKED.

Well, that’s kind of awkward… Cindy and I had broken up weeks after I got back, I guess it didn’t make us stronger? Well, feelings change, and it was not her fault at all. Feelings changed, feelings developed. I can’t help it, it’s just a part of life. Oh well, that was such a beautiful memory. I like going back to that first day memory of Costa Rica.


Written by Elvin Madamba

October 17, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Posted in Costa Rica

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