Monday, June 30, 2008

June Ends Here

My birthday month will be ending in a few minutes and I have a few items on my list to check.

- Resign. Check!
- Have my teeth cleaned and filled. Check!
- Get a haircut. Check!
- Get a new job…Still working on it.
- Submit my Kwentong Peyups. Umm pwede pa ba?
- Contribute in My Favorite Movie. Will work on it soon.
- Have my eyes checked. Check! (Yet the floater irritates me more!)
- Read Twisted 8. I’m currently on page 14.
- Break someone’s heart (nye!). Check! (But believe me it’s last thing I want on my conscience. That’s why I don’t find it “nakakatuwa” at all.)
- Turn 28. Check! As if I had a choice.
- Count my blessings. Check!
- Have my hair curled. Cancel. I got a haircut instead.
- Ride a plane and fly. Check!
- Do something special for the PBK people. I’ll still try to do something about it.
- Get lost in a foreign city. Well, that will be easy…
- Once and for all, explain why “battik.” Check!
- Eat not-your-regular-kinds-of-food. Check! (I’d like to thank my sponsors, Ate Win and Kuya Wah for that.)
- Get an extra Project: Brave Kids dog tag. My budget didn’t allow that.
- Play bowling. Check!
- Gather my friends—berks, mare and officemates. Check!
- Stay with my Ate and her family. Check.
- Pack my life in a bag. Check! (My "life" weighed around a total of 34 kilos! And it took 3 bags!)
- Embark on an adventure. Check!
- Have my eyes refracted and get a new pair of eyeglasses. Check!
- Say “Hi!” to LeeSun. Check!
- Settle my credit card accounts. Now those will soon be over. Halleluiah!
- Keep a tiny notebook with no lines in it. Check!
- Get sufficient sleep. I think I can check this now.
- Get an online job. I hope to check this soon.
- Get more blog readers. Nyay, is that within my powers?

***This is not at all my bucket list. Perhaps I’ll prepare one of that nature soon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Label Lessons

This morning, we grabbed a hearty breakfast at the fastfood center of Giant Hypermarket. (Which branch? Don’t ask.)

We had (blank_to be filled in later. I forgot the name.) luncheon platter. Within the platter are generous servings of flat noodles, a sunny side-up egg, and two sausages. Then Kuya Wah got us refreshments, fresh orange shake for ate and me, and avocado shake for himself.

Suddenly I missed my local fruit shakes, specifically the Philippine green mangoes. I’m a fan of fruit shakes. I figured, they are better than any Starbucks frappe or a grande Zagu.

One time, I copied the very educational text around my Fruitas cup. I am fond of reading labels. Maybe because they are short and colorful. By reading labels we could learn a thing or two.

Allow me to share the lesson from my Frutas label.

Fruits and what they do us:

1. Strawberry – Good refreshing cleanser for the whole body.

2. Orange – Clean up digestive system.

3. Melon – Gentle laxative that stimulates action on the kidneys.

4. Watermelon – Stimulates the appetite while cleansing the bladder and kidneys.

5. Apple – Helps relieve indigestion, keeps cholesterol stable and suppresses the appetite.

6. Banana – An excellent aid in digestion.

7. Mango – Gives energy, vitality and promotes healthy skin.

8. Papaya – Energy booster that stimulates the appetite and cleanses the internal organs.

9. Pineapple – Aids in the digestion of protein.

10. Grape – Excellent metabolism stimulator.

So there, take your pick!

* * *

At the supermarket, I saw some giant Taiwanese mangoes. They don’t look nearly as enticing as our own mangoes. They are so big and have irregular shapes. My sister says their taste don’t even match to the Pinoy manga.

I’m so glad Shom showered me with her bags full of freshly-picked mangoes! I'm sure I wouldn't be craving for mangoes for the next few months.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why Battik?

battik's etymology - came from tye d., the blogger's shortened name. keeping the rhyme, d can stand for "die".

put together, “tye die” is an obvious anagram for “tie dye”. and how else does one add an indigenous flavor to the art of randomly decorating an otherwise bland canvas? Battik! (Note the extra T.)

i am battik. i am an array of random colors and shapes and patterns. i can be as interesting as they come. my canvas is my life. and each day, I discover something new, something to add to my colors, my shapes and my patterns.

in my workshop i attempt to simplify life's complications by taking it one day at a time. and there I see the beauty of my canvas.


A Portrait of an Afghanistan Baby

I’m in Singapore, an idealistic country close to utopia. But here I found probably one of the most chilling things I’d ever see in my lifetime.

My sister and her family were taking me around Singapore to bask in the beauty of this nation. We were taking pictures around Boat Quay, and despite the construction going on, even of the Merlion.

Singapore is currently being groomed for several events and one of those is the National Day Parade to be held on 9 August 2008 at the Marina Bay. In preparation for this event, Singaporeans are running through their program. We were lucky enough to witness a glimpse of their air show.

Jet fighter after another jet fighter came flying by, in flying V formations, from different directions, while two even formed a heart with the smoke they emitted. I was so absorbed with the aerial exhibition, I didn’t notice how my niece was reacting to it.

The jets, military jets, were making too much noise, little Yzee was trembling with fear. At the sight of her, I saw flashes of what-could-be-portraits-of-Afghan-babies. I swear I could have cried if I didn’t stop myself.

You see, babies, they may have no idea what destruction a jet fighter can make and yet its sound haunts them. Babies know nothing about war and yet some of them die because of it. They are just innocent, innocent casualties.

While we were having a good time at the Boat Quay, an Afghan baby may be cringing at the arms of its mommy, quivering due to extreme fear because their place is under attack by jet fighters or tanks or what-have-you. I saw that baby’s face through my niece.

And I felt the pang of fear. I realized how certain things couldn’t be fair.

Worse, I couldn’t do anything about it.

Yzee will surely be fine. Her mummy assured her that no will harm her. Her daddy gave her a hug to further calm her.

But the Afghan baby? It will be lucky if it survives the attack. It will be extra blessed if its mom or dad survives with it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I am Legend

Do you remember the movie with Will Smith and a dog? It’s called I am Legend.

Well, somehow I’ve been feeling a lot like Will Smith’s character there. But instead of a dog, I have my sister’s semi-extended family who keep me company. Specifically speaking, I have 3 sane adult females, 1 equally sane adult male, and a cute 8-month old to interact with on a daily basis. But being used to going out especially on weekdays, having that few people to hang out with falls a few notches below normal.

Since not a lot of people talk Filipino here, you can actually babble in public without being understood. And since the way I see it, individuality prevails in this land, no one would really care what you are up to. Or at least what you are saying.

Thus leading me to something similar to the predicament of Will Smith’s character: With my dawgs on the side (I’m really sorry for calling you “my dawgs”! I figured it’s better than “dogs.”), I feel somewhat alone.

The people here are not nearly vampires, unlike in the movie I’ve been referring to. But just like the vampires, they have their own thing going on. I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider. Perhaps if someone bites me, I’d turn into the likes of them which wouldn’t be nearly as bad.

But tonight my sister and her husband brought me to this Zion—now I’m alluding to another different movie, think Matrix—where people like us are found. And the race is flourishing.

Among the pool of locals—Chinese, Malays and Indians—live the Pinoys. And, apparently, the community is growing. In the first party I crashed (with permission—so it’s not actually crashing), there are at least 3 kids to comprise the new generation of Pinoys who I think were all born here. And another one is about to be born soon.

It’s fascinating to see a whole new generation bloom.

Perhaps I am no legend. Those babies are.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Today I Killed a Singaporean Mosquito

The poor Singaporean mosquito made a mistake of flying inside my room. That’s how it met its tragic death.

I have strong defensive reflexes against mosquitoes. I kill them in a clap. And then it sinks in and I shriek. I can’t stand seeing mosquito blood (or is it its victim’s blood?) on my hands. Often times I freak out. Then rubbing alcohol takes it all away. Part of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Following the kill, I moved on to a more creepy activity: watching Barney.

There’s something about that purple dinosaur that creeps me out. And the children around Barney, singing and dancing, and who couldn’t be perkier, do not help. I worry that my niece enjoys his show too much. Although it has come to my attention that it was through Barney that Yzee learned how to clap her hands, stomp her feet and shout “hurray!” if and when she is happy. So I’ll let Barney be.

Still I continue to wonder how he is related to Grimace.

The day passed by mostly spent sending away my resume to who-knows-who. My identity may soon be compromised now that strangers know my particulars, from my birthday down to my employment history. If I want a strong wave of paranoia to take over me, remind me of my resumes and the number of times I clicked SEND.

I needed a break within my break, so I went with Yzee and her caretaker. We strolled around the block, and another, and maybe another, until we reached a playground filled with Singaporean kids. As soon as Yzee saw her friend, a Chinese-looking baby one month older than her, Yzee flashed her warmest smile coupled by her signature demure wave.

The kid’s name is Marissa May. As it turns out, the kid’s a girl. Out of curiosity I waited for the foreign baby to make a sound. I haven’t seen a pure-bread Chinese baby before. I wasn’t sure what sort of sounds they are capable of. Unlike the eyes of children in our family which are most often characterized by the words “round” and “bright”, Marissa May’s eyes were tiny slits with black dots inside. It is, in a weird Chinese way, cute.

A lot of things out here are like Marissa May to me. They are foreign yet refreshing. And in some weird kind of way—be that Chinese, Singaporean, or Pinoy—they do have their fair share of cuteness.

* * *

Something interesting: I got the image of Grimace from this site:

You may want to check it out for some Ronald MacDonald Trivia.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sa Ulo ng Isang Pinay Turista (Part 2)

Dumating na nga ang unang araw ng paglalakwatsa ko sa foreign soil which I may start calling home for quite a time.

Ang magic tool sa pagbabyahe rito ay yung EZ Link card. I-tatap mo sya sa electronic device sa door ng bus when you enter and exit the ride. Doon nake-credit yung pamasahe mo. At dahil all about order, convenience and OC-ness ang bansang ito, di na kailangan ng separate card para sa mga MRT dito. Pwede ring gamitin ang EZ Link card sa mga tren, syempre, tap in and out pa rin ang gawi.

Sumakay kami ng isang bus patungo sa MRT station, then nag-MRT kami. Maya-maya pa, lumipat kami ng ibang train to get to another lane. Goal yata naming makarating sa Habour Front—wherever that is. May naririnig pa akong Vivo City. Obviously lost na naman ako. Kasi naman, what would one expect from a geographically challenged individual? E kung sa Pinas nga natatanga ako sa mga streets and avenues, dito pa kaya kung saan pag-popronounce pa lang ng mga pangalan ng lugar e obstacle na?

Anyhoo, napadpad kami sa isang mall na di ko mawari kung sadyang maliit ba o OA lang sa pagkapuno ng tao. Umakyat kami sa top floor. Then pumila to get tickets, err, card pala that we will use to board the monorail that will lead us to Sentosa. Ang Sentosa ay isang primary tourist destination dito na isang island na theme park na namumukadkad sa beach (Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, and Tanjong Beach). Whew!

Powerless ang EZ Link card namin sa Sentosa. Perhaps it’s safe to say na may sarili silang mundo doon. At yung card nilang ini-issue para makarating sa Sentosa which is worth 3 SGD e good for the day na. Ang gara nga nung card dahil card board lang siya and yet, may naka-embed na microchip inside! Hi-tech!

Manonood sana kami ng award-winning (naks!) Songs of the Sea. Isa siyang “nightly extravaganza” (I am quoting from its brochure) which brings a “mesmerizing show with a live cast and dramatic effects like pyrotechnics, water jets, brilliant lasers, special computer imaging, stunning flame bursts and captivating music.” 8 SGD ang entrance fee per person dito. At nakakatawang basahin yung reminder nila sa brochure about admission. It goes: Purchase your tickets to avoid disappointment! Tickets may be sold out early, especially on weekends and public holidays.

At ayun na nga, naubusan kami ng seats for the 7:30 PM show. Mayroong 8:30 show pa pero pass na kami kasi may kasama kaming baby. Kawawa naman pag inabot kami ng masyadong late.

So naglakad-lakad na lang kami ng kaunti until we reached a part of Siloso Beach. Mega wade kami sa coast. Mabuti na lang at naka-tsinelas lang ako. Since laki kami sa siyudad, bihira kaming makakita ng dagat. You may say that atat kami sa tubig alat at sa sand, the type na hindi hinahalo sa semento. Bwehehe.

Amazing ha? Hindi kailangang mag-excursionista mode to get to the beach.


Hindi na kami nagtagal sa Sentosa. Medyo bitin pero oks lang. Nagugutom na rin naman ako. We went back to the mall where we came from. At doon, kumain sa isang Thai Restaurant.

Kunwari na lang nasa Thailand ako. Hehe.

In fairness, nakakaloka talaga ang dami ng tao sa mall! Nag-grocery pa kami kaya mas maraming mixed race pa ang nakita ko. May Chinese, Malay, Indian, Pinoy, and, dig this, blondes na di nag-Iingles!

Past nine na yata kami nakasakay ng taxi. Compulsory ang pagsuot ng mga tao rito ng seatbelt. Kahit sa backseat ka, no choice ka but to buckle up. Ang kakaiba rin dito e right-hand drive ang mga sasakyan kaya kung shushunga-shunga ka, magugulat ka na nakandong ka na pala sa driver whereas akala mo sa front passenger seat ka uupo.

Knock out na ako pag-uwi ko. Ilang araw na kasi puyat at napagod din sa pag-iikot.

The next day, habang binbagyo at nanalasa si Frank sa Pinas, nag-uuulan naman dito. Hapon na nang makaalis kami para mag-simba. One bus ride lang mula sa bahay namin yung church. Hindi ko alam kung ilang bus stops. Busy kasi ako mag-sightseeing, I lost track of the number of stops we had.

Nag-elevator kami to get to the church proper. Saan ka pa? At ang lamig sa loob ng church. Sa EDSA shrine, lalo pag Linggo, good luck sa iyo sa pagpepenitensya sa init!

In fairness, malaki ang simbahan at napuno ito. Marami rin palang Katoliko rito! True to its being a hi-tech country, hindi naka-project from an acetate sheet yung mga lyrics ng songs ng mass. Naka-Powerpoint siya or something. Oo nga naman, ano? Bakit ba di natin naisip yon? And while, there at it, pati mga readings ay naka-project din sa dalawang sides ng stage, I mean, altar.

Maganda ang sound system ng simbahan. Hindi yung tipong pumuputok putok yung mic habang nagsasalita yung pari na engrossed sa kanyang misa. If there’s anything, ang ganda ng quality ng sound system nila.

Wiwing-wiwi na akong pagkatapos ng misa. Na-turn off lang ako sa washroom nila dahil yung tissue roll ba naman e kailangang maglusot ng coin para mag-dispense. Ang damot!

We hailed a cab and went to the East Coast where my sister and her husband treated me to Singapore’s specialty which happens to be one of my favorites, chili crab! According to my research, Chili Crab is Singapore’s unofficial national dish.

Syempre doon na kami sa highly recommended resto called Jumbo Seafood which is located at the East Coast Seafood Centre. Busy ang restaurant na iyon and packed with people. Ka-partner nung chili crab yung Chinese buns na isasawsaw mo sa sauce ng chili crab. I didn’t care much about the buns. Talagang loyal ako sa crabs! Naging busy tuloy ako sa pag crack at himay noon. Masarap din yung inorder naming shrimp with cereal and yung baby pusit. Naku po! Inupakan ko na ang mga lamang dagat. Kaya yata ayaw ko silang makasabay lumangoy sa beach. Guilty kasi ako na pinagkakakain ko na yung mga kamag-anak nila! Medyo naisnab ko yung sweet and sour pork, or was it beef? Seafood person kasi talaga ako.

Needless to say, I was full to the brim when we left Jumbo Restaurant. Naglakadlakad na muna kami around the seafood centre strip para magpababa ng kinain. The place reminded me of Subic. Yung serenity ng place, simple festive mood ng restaurants, at yung amoy ng dagat sa tabi.

We called it a night after the stroll and headed back home.

And there ended my first weekend in Singapore. Ang unang lakwatsa ko sa mundo ng mga chekwang British-britishan!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Case of the Conspiring Cosmos

If we will all learn to stop and look around us, we will realize how clever the universe is, how it talks to us, and how unsubtle it can get.

Jessica Zafra calls this phenomenon, “synchronicity.” When the things happening around you seem to be working in a unified theme, that’s synchronicity!

Take my life for example.

From my so-called big leap springs a series of doubts and fears, but through the signs inconspicuously lying around everywhere, I know I am on the right path.

The morning before I left the country, I discovered how the term “too late” really means. That once you postpone acting on your gut feel, a last minute bold move will never redeem your procrastination which translate to idleness, if not cowardice. Sometimes, having too much time spoils us, making us complacent when we should have been proactive especially when we are aiming for certain goals in our lives.

This then leads me to sign number 2. What were the odds that the in-flight movie, the film I had to watch for the three hours that I was stuck on the plane was The Bucket List? The Bucket List is a movie about two men who, at their age, you’d think would have maximized their days. But as it turns out, they have yet to live their lives. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play the lead roles, the characters who, after finding out that they are terminally ill, cram their life’s to-do’s in whatever little time they have left on earth. Aside from trying to make its audience cry, the film attempts to serve as a wake-up call to everyone, to learn to live while they are still alive.

The first restaurant I dined in on my first day in Singapore is ironically a Thai restaurant called, Thai Express. After browsing through their menu, I ended up reading its back cover. There I found the word sa-nook. According to the text, sa-nook which is often heard in Thai conversations means “live life to the fullest.”

I dared not say “pass” to the invitation to hear mass outside my country. And in a place where religion is the major thing I had in common with the rest of the crowd, my senses and ability to concentrate throughout the entire Eucharistic celebration were exceptionally heightened. There I got my fourth sign.

“What are you most afraid of?” asked the priest to open his homily. He then emphasized how our fears take away our lives, how much of our lives are lost when we live in fear. If only we have faith in the mighty being and perhaps in ourselves can we be free of our fears and get the most out of our lives.

Therefore, considering the less than subtle hints I’ve been “receiving” for the past days, the theme of my life as of the moment is what Mr. Keating, played by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, refers to as carpe diem. It is almost synonymous to the Thai’s sa-nook. Carpe diem is the Latin literal translation of “seize the day”. And since by now, I am getting a solid grasp of the cosmos’ message, I’m hoping to do my best in seizing my days.

I know there will be a possibility that things out here would not turn out as the next success story I would have liked to boast about, but what the hell?

I took the plunge, didn't I?

At least I would not rot wondering how things would have turned out if I flew out here.

And so to the conspiring cosmos, this I have to say, “I hear ya! I hear ya.”

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Playtime With Yzee

The night I arrived, Baby Yzee, my most precious pamangkin, roused from sleep when I peeked inside her room. I thought she would cry because her sleep was suddenly interrupted. But I was wrong.

With no hesitations, baby Yzee smiled at me, said "Hi!", pointed to her heard and belly button, and even showed me her tongue! I didn't think she would be friendly and sweet to me especially because it's been two months since she last saw me in person. But the girl showed me her new tricks as if saying, "look, tita, I can do these now!"

If there is a group of people whom I fear would reject me, that would be kids, specifically babies. But Yzee, she made me realize that my fear has no place wherever she is around.

I roused from sleep the next day after Yzee, along with her mom, peeked inside my room. A smiling pretty little girl interrupted my sleep but I didn't mind.

I have always looked forward to longer playtimes with that charming little girl named Yzee.

Bonding with Yzee...



And more playtime to come!

Sa Ulo ng Isang Pinay Turista (Part 1)

In my opinion, hindi magiging effective ang entry na ito kung sa purong English ko sya isusulat kaya naman, Taglish mode muna ako ngayon.

Kung may salitang magdedescribe sa aking pag-fly patungo sa Singapore, yun na siguro ang salitang “surreal.” Minsan, lalo na noong malapit ko nang lisanin ang Pinas, napa-isip rin ako kung ano ba ang nakain ko’t nagpakuha ako ng ticket sa ate ko at nagdesisyong iwang saglit kung anuman ang meron ako sa aking bayan.

“I’m bored” may not quite cover my decision to fly pero it’s part of my answer. Gusto ko rin syempre kumita nga mas malaki-laki—yun e kung pwede sana…sabi ko kasi sa kapatid ko, pangarap kong yumaman someday and when I do, magpapakulot ako at mag-Iingles madalas kagaya ni Marimar, err, Bella Aldama! Aww!

Matapos ang regular na countdown ng utol ko, dumating din ang araw ng aking flight. The day before lang ako nag-pack. Kasi naman ginagamit ko pa ang mga gamit ko at di ko sila magagamit kung nakasiksik na sila sa isang maleta. In any case, nailigpit ko naman halos lahat bago ako umalis.

Promdi ang dating ko sa airport. Kahit na ilang beses na nag-run through sa akin ng steps before boarding ang ate at mommy ko, lost pa rin ako. Overwhelmed kasi ako sa mga nangyayari sa akin. In fairness, ganoon pala ang nasa beyond ng gate ng airport. Noon kasi hanggang waiting area lang ako.

I wanted to embark on the adventure alone, as in magmumunimuni ako sa area kung saan maghihintay ako ng boarding announcement at mag-eemote mag-isa sa plane kung saan dudungaw ako sa bintana at magtatanga. Kaya lang persistent ang nanay ko. Hinanapan niya ako ng ka-tag-team sa byahe. Eventually natanggap ko rin naman ang inimpose na buddy ng nanay ko. At least may taga-direct sa akin kung ano na nga ba ang next kong gagawin.

Sa eroplano, medyo kabado ako dahil baka mamaya masuka ako sa byahe. Hindi kasi ako fan ng pagbabyahe. Nakakahiya namang magkalat sa eroplano lalo na kung wala kang katulong magpulot ng mga kalat mo.

Contrary to my fear, naging smooth ang flight ko. Take off pa lang, solb na ako. Di ko na nga kinailangan iminom ng mala-Bonamine na gamot (face-out na ang Bonamine kaya yung generic brand ang nabili ko). Di rin ako napraning na baka mag-crash kami kahit na worried ako na yung maong pants na suot ko e masyadong mabigat especially pag naka-submerge ako sa tubig—me pagka morbid kasi ako mag-isip minsan.

Sa window seat ako pumwesto. Gabi ang flight ko, chances are, wala akong makikita sa bintana but what the heck! Maysa-gamugamo naman ako kaya high na akong makita yung mga ilaw ng Maynila from a falcon’s point-of-view.

Habang nasa gitna ako ng pag-gorge ng aking dinner sa plane—we had chicken, side salad, rice, bun, and jello cheesecake (ang weird!) plus orange juice—bigla kaming naka-experience ng some kinda turbulence. I had to hold on to my cup of juice kasi baka tumapon. Sticky yon! Pag silip ko sa bintana, nakita kong kumikidlat sa labas. Creepy! Tanaw ko kasi yung right wing ng plane. E before, nakanood ako ng movie kung saan may monster na nakaupo sa wing ng plane nila. Yung view ko sa window ko, ganoon yung eksena sa movie na napanood ko, syempre minus the monster. I remember the monster eating the plane’s engine kaya nag-crash sila. Buti na lang at walang monster sa plane namin!

Soon pinatay na ang lights sa plane namin, option mo na lang if you want to turn on your light which is more of a tiny spotlight. Ok sya, nabawasan ang light pollution. Luminaw tuloy ang view sa labas. Ang ganda, pare! Feeling ko, napagitnaan ako ng stars sa itaas and clouds sa ibaba. The sight was definitely one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life!

At that point, medyo na-teary-eyed ako. Naisip ko, naku, maeenjoy ni Nichi ito! Baka nga sabay kaming mag, “whoa,” sa tuwing lumiliko yung plane. Emotional ito pero I have to say, akala ko noon, sabay kami ni Nichi na makakapunta sa Singapore kaso ayun, nauna na siya! Although na-sad ako, I found real comfort in the thought na since nawala si Nichi, a part of him lives inside me kaya kung anuman yung saya and awe na naeexperience ko sa bawat araw na buhay ako, I share those moments with him.

Maya-maya pa, inannounce na ng pilot namin na magla-land na kami in a few minutes. Nagsimula ko nang matanaw ang mga ilaw ng mga barko sa ports ng Singapore. Doon pa lang nag-sink in sa akin ang mga pinaggagagawa ko. Shucks! This is it. I really am several miles away from home!

Paglapat ng mga gulong ng plane namin sa airport, nagsimula na tumibok nang malakas ang puso ko. And for a moment there, I think I experienced cold feet. Parang gusto kong sabihin sa driver, “Manong, balik ninyo na lang po ako sa amin.”

But then nanaig yung thirst ko for adventure kaya hayun at lumabas ako ng plane kasabay ng lahat ng tao sa eroplano. And once nakapasok na ako sa gate ng airport, naalala ko na naman na nasa ibang bansa na ako. Kasi kahit medyo may hawig sa akin yung mga taong sumasalubong, iba naman ang salita nila. Major effort nga ako to understand the immigration guy who asked me where I’m staying in Singapore. Aba’t nakichika pa kung married na ba daw ang sister ko!

Halos mga two seconds (O.A. pero parang 2 seconds lang talaga ang pagitan) after I stepped out of the claim-your-baggage-here area ng Singapore airport, may narinig na akong sumisigaw ng pangalan ko—actually di siya sigaw na sigaw. More of, pabulong na sigaw. Ayun na nga si Ate at si Kuya Wah, handa na akong dalhin sa bahay nila.

Siguro may alas dose na ng madaling araw nang makarating ako sa bagong home ng ate ko at ng pamilya niya. It is located among the rows and rows of buildings that look exactly like it. It will surely take time for me to find my way to the correct unit.

Actually, there are a lot of things in my life now which will surely take a lot of getting used to.

(To be continued.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

The 20-Years-in-the-Making Plane Ride

The last time I got on a plane, I was around eight years old. Other than having a closer look at the clouds, our two-hour flight was pretty much traumatic for me. The change in air pressure hurt my ears pretty badly and maybe the change in altitude gave me a hard time breathing.

I don’t know. Can an eight-year-old be hypochondriac?

I was afraid history would repeat itself twenty years after. The only difference is, I wouldn’t have my mom beside me to tell me to stay calm because my ears are going to be fine eventually, or my dad to assure me that I won’t die of suffocation. This time, I got to fly alone for around three hours.

Well, I’m not exactly alone because my mom found me company—a lady who’s flying to Singapore, too. Boy, my mom is good! Five minutes after we stepped on the Centennial 2 terminal, she already found someone to entrust her daughter with. As it turned out, the lady wasn’t bad company at all. She almost acted like my mom, only younger.

Who would have thought boarding a plane will be more complicated than merely getting a passport and a ticket, and parking your butt on a comfy seat? Well, actually my mom and sister talked me through the semi-tedious procedure several days before my flight, but real life proved to be more..umm…ahh..real.

So how does one get out of the country?

First you enter the airport bearing your passport and ticket. Don’t forget your bags which undergo the first metal detector test and, I think, X-ray. Next you pay the terminal fee worth Php750.00. Some people who get their tickets from travel agencies pay the terminal fee prior to the day of the trip. If that is the case, you don’t have to dish out extra Pinoy cash at the airport.

You may check in your luggage after your first payment. Remember to check your ticket with regard your luggage’s weight limit. I’m not entirely sure of the standard limit but my ticket said 20 kilos for the checked-in luggage and 7 kilos for the hand-carried bag. Keeping with the limit will save you several US dollars which you’re better off allotting for your shopping. Make sure you transfer all liquids in your hand-carried bags—alcohol, hand sanitizers, eye lubricant, perfume, etc.—to your checked-in luggage. At this stop, you will also have your chance to choose your seat. If you want a free view of the clouds, choose the window seat; if you pee a lot, better choose the aisle seat. Before leaving the check-in counter, you may get a boarding pass which you’re supposed to fill out before presenting yourself to the immigration people.

With a few kilos less, you then proceed to the tourism window to pay the international tax which is around Php 1,620.00 (or was it Php 1,720.00?). You then stand before the immigration people bearing your plane ticket and passport, and have yourself questioned or grilled—depending on the mood of the one with authority who is sitting behind the glass window. Try to be pleasant. That way, the immigration lady/guy wouldn’t give you a hard time. If everything goes well, you will be allowed to go through the last security check.

On the final security check, you will again have your hand carried bags scanned, along with your shoes and belts —yes, you’ll have to take them off (but I didn’t take off my belt). Once you’re cleared, you may sit and wait until someone announces that passengers for your flight (take note of your flight number) may board the plane. When that happens, exit the correct gate that leads to your plane. Find your seat, relax, buckle up and enjoy the flight.

Getting in another country is way easier. You just have to get off the plane, say “Hi” to the foreign immigration guy/girl, get your luggage, hail a taxi then leave the airport. Easy.

Flying is like going on a thrill ride—a Ferris wheel, if the flight goes smoothly, a roller coaster, if there’s turbulence along the way. I’m not really a carnival ride kind of person but I honestly enjoyed my flight from take off to landing—turbulence included as well as aerial turns.

This time, I didn’t have troubles breathing and my ears, well let’s say I got a good tip from my mom to combat that bump.

I genuinely had a great time, I wouldn’t mind flying again…and again…and again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Goodbyes

In less than 24 hours, I will be off to Singapore to embark on a new adventure.

That’s how I choose to see it. It’s not a case of me leaving anyone or anything.

Partly it’s because I’m not too big on saying “goodbye”. I’m better at saying “see you later.” And after I’ve said my goodbye to my little brother, which really should have also been a “see you later,” I don’t think any other situation will be apt for a bye-bye. Nothing can be a real deal goodbye more than the goodbye I gave Nichi. (By the way, I did say my version of see you later to Nichi. I told him once, “see you in the next life, brother.” I said it the way Desmond of the TV series “Lost” does it. After all, Nichi and I are “Lost” fans. He is my “Lost” marathon partner. Boy, did I miss him when I breezed through “Lost’s” 4th season!)

That aside, I wish to look at my decision to fly elsewhere not as some melodramatic attempt to escape my life in the Philippines. I don’t think that beginning a journey with the burden of running away from something is a good idea. I want to start with an optimistic slate.

As much as it would sound romantic that I had to fly several miles to find my one true love, I don’t think that’s the case. I’m not even out to search for my ultra dream job.

For starters, the love thing—I think it’s a case of que sera, sera. What will be, will be. I can move in a cave and get married the next day if it really is meant to happen. But that’s how sappy I can get where love is concerned. Although my creative lobe, allows me to concoct sure hit romantic storylines, I think real life works differently. I’ve seen it. Believe me.

Meanwhile, the job thing, I don’t think I have major problems in that department aside from the earnings part of course. The thought that I could earn more somewhere else have always been enticing but the fun times I have at work (naks! And I now say it’s fun) kept me hooked for a long bit of time. I would be lying if I wouldn’t admit that money, or lack thereof, do bug me when I have my bills to pay and when I look far ahead in my future. But so far, I’ve learned to live with my more than 9.6 hours (not counting break times) in the office, my occasional 8 hour (inclusive of breaks) geeky gigs on weekends and my what-used-to-be-an-eternity-of-lesson-planning-for-a-one-hour-and-forty-five-minute-class.

I just feel that the time has come for me to throw myself out there, at the ocean of uncertainty where I wouldn’t have any other choice but to learn to swim. Again.

It’s a matter of trying to do this now rather than regret later, when I’m all wrinkly. Perhaps the possibility that I’ll earn more in foreign shores, all the better to sustain life in the inang bayan (where life gets tough as those in power—you can go literal on that…as in electrical power—continue to fatten their wallets and bellies), is a major plus which I simply can’t say “pass” to. But then again, I wouldn’t mind if end up doing what I usually do here when I get to the land that will witness my upcoming misadventures.

I may exploit how sort of broken we are at home and use it as reason for my flight. But I digress. I am not that of a coward to runaway from grief, especially when I know that it’s not only me who’s sad and sort of damaged. If there’s anything, I honestly feel bad for choosing not to see my brothers for a while when I should be there for them (to entertain and nag them—hehe) and for leaving my parents with only two kids remaining. I imagine that our home will be extra quiet without me there. I just wish quiet won’t equate to emptiness.

The morning of my birthday, I went to visit Nichi. I figured, if I go see him, he’ll be able to greet me. I was contemplating on a good speech for him on my way from the flower shop to his “pad”. I was holding a bouquet of white daisies when I tried to sneak inside the church where I had to pass to get to the ossuary. A wedding was about to start so I tried to make my presence as discrete as possible. When I was taking my first few steps at the left side of the church, Verdi’s Aida (Am I saying the correct opera? [Blogger's note: my dad just informed me I may be referring to the wrong opera! haha. I should have paid attention to Ms. Bandelaria more.]) began playing to mark the wedding march, I looked down to the flowers I was holding in front of me and, in my silence, freaked out. The situation was a mockery to me, my jeans and slippers, the flowers I bought for Nichi and my inability to get a boy of my own, but it made me laugh. Somehow, I felt that everything will be all right as long as I don’t take everything too seriously.

I didn’t have to explain to Nichi what I came to tell him. That he ought to know that I’m temporarily leaving not because I am going to try to forget him and what happened to him because, really, forgetting him is one of the last things I’d do.

In the grander picture, I’m not leaving my life in the Philippines, which despite some bumps, is pretty much comfortable and safe. My life is where I am and where I’ll be. And my heart goes with it. It’s the first thing that I’m packing inside my luggage. Now there really is no point in saying goodbye to the ones I love when I’m bringing them with me, tucked cozily inside my heart.

Perhaps all I am left to do is to buckle up and enjoy my ride which is scheduled to start in less than 24 hours!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Of Haircuts and Bang-he

There’s no doubt about it. I was going to have my hair cut before the week ended.

It is somewhat monumental, the most previous haircut I got which was last year where very little was left of my locks. My sister and I had our hairs cut right after having our brother cremated. I wanted to get rid of my hair totally but I figured that won’t do me any good so I settled for the very short do.

It’s been almost 11 months since I last visited a beauty parlor. My hair has been screaming for some pampering for that long.

I literally felt the need for some trimming. It may not have been too obvious but my hair has actually grown. I had been having a hard time managing it. The most obvious solution I could think of was to get rid of a few inches, maybe four or five.

I have this argument that, since I seldom spend for my hair, I might as well go all out with it. Well, not really all out, but I wasn’t planning to go cheap.

And so I headed to the David’s Salon branch nearest our home. I just I had to walk 5-7 minutes and I was there. My sister and I fondly refer to it as “Torre ni David” to allude to a certain part of the litany old people recite after praying the rosary and to describe how one would have to take two steep flights of stairs to get inside the salon proper.

I think it was during the weekend when I was able to watch some parts of an interview with the real David of David’s Salon. (I once called him their mascot.) He’s from England, I think. And just like our very own Ricky Reyes, he also started sweeping the floor of a salon, his uncle’s salon. That’s how and where he received the scissors’ calling.

The branch nearest our home isn’t the most impressive David’s Salon branch but I opted to go there anyway because of the head and back massage they render their costumers who are up for haircuts. I’ve been to other David’s Salon Branches and I didn’t get any free massage.

Also, the staff in “Torre ni David” are not irritatingly friendly. They know how to respect their customer’s peace without being snobbish.

I waited for the stylist to attend to my hair not knowing what look I was aiming for. I decided to grab some of their magazines (they’re really old—dating back to 2005) and browse for a possible cut. Quite amazingly, my finger pointed to…dandan-dan-dan...Nicole Richie!

Photo by Lisa O Connor/ZUMA Press. (�) Copyright 2005 by Lisa O Connor
Photo taken from:

It’s the bob cut—well, it was supposed to be a bit longer than the usual bob—with, hold on to your butts, bangs!

I think the stylist got too carried away and cut more than she should. My hair is way shorter than what you see Nicole is sporting in the picture above.

The stylist almost forgot the bangs. I had to remind her about it. But I specifically instructed her to keep my bangs long. I wouldn’t want to wrestle with super short bangs on a daily basis. And that’s what she did.

Now I have to commit to the bangs. As of the moment, I have them pinned in place: away from my face.

Back in college, in the midst of brainstorming for a project where we were asked to come up with an advertisement for a certain beauty product, my friend hastily jotted down how we envisioned our model. In her paper, she wrote what-we-deciphered-as, “bang-he.” We could hardly tell what in the world bang-he was. We wondered if it even was an English word. Later we realized, after much pondering, that the bang-he she wrote actually was “bangle.”

But now we use “bang-he” as an interjection. A meaningless expression. A vent for exasperation. Sometimes, a curse.

And so here goes, bang-he!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

28 and Counting

I'm 28! (The thick-rimmed glasses punctuates my age. hehe)

For my birthday entry this year, I’ve decided to count my blessings…

1. I’m alive and almost healthy (at least asthma-free but with one extra floater in one eye).
2. I’m 15-20 lbs overweight, not a good thing but it only means I have food to eat and apparently I’ve been eating a lot.
3. My savings account is not zero. At least not technically. And I am doing well at settling my credit card bills. Yahoo!

4. Just as I wanted when I was younger, I pulled off juggling three jobs for almost a year. I had a day job, I’ve become a teacher and I proofread for a national paper. However, I woke up today relatively jobless but that’s another story.
5. I’ve published 2 Youngblood articles and 1 comment at Cosmopolitan. Plus I have co-edited a book. (It’s not really a book that circulated outside the school but I’m just as proud.)

6. With one less brother-turned angel, my family is well. And I have also welcomed a brother-in-law and later, a beautiful niece.

7. I have friends who I know I can count on through thick or thin, laughter and tears, jologs mode or shala times.

8. I have an ample collection of shoes, socks, T-shirts, skirts (yes, skirts), sunglasses, etc.
9. My flair for writing hasn’t ebbed. At least I haven’t been facing writer’s block that will ultimately force me to go on a writing hiatus. Ergo, my blog is alive and almost healthy. Just like me.

10. I haven’t stopped learning new things everyday.
11. I have been able to buy the books I like to read and/or stare at. And the ones I am collecting are all signed by the author!

12. I’ve appeared on TV at around 4 times. Haha!

13. I know how to commute all by myself. I can even travel to as far as Sta. Cruz, Laguna with me and my bag. And soon I’ll be traveling overseas alone.
14. I know I’ve mentioned this in number 4 but I wish to emphasize on it now: I got a shot at teaching kids for a year—as in inside a real classroom with real students and with real grades involved.

15. I’ve been to GMA and back. At least I had the chance to live the Kapuso experience.

16. The Philippine Daily Inquirer head office has become my part-time home. That is, every so often on Saturdays.
17. I’ve met a whole lot of new people via the internet at a time when my family and I needed help so badly. One Pinoy Doctor based in the US, one music lover in London (?), groups of Pinoys in Canada and the US, friends of friends, families of friends—to name a few.
18. I won a 2-burner gas stove, Php 500 cash, electric fan, swiss knife, Php 2000 gift cheque, and a lamp at different raffles.
19. I’ve mastered Divisoria (well, almost) and have bonded with the place, its people and its merchandise.
20. I’ve watched the movies and TV shows I loved to watch.
21. I’ve learned to use Photoshop and Illustrator, for real.
22. I’ve partly been the person behind some of the greeting cards we see in the country.
23. I’ve gone to the beach, not a lot of times, but at least I’ve experienced the sand beneath my feet.

24. I’ve tried living alone, cleaning everything from my closet to my bathroom, not having to worry about who’d wait up for me at night or what anyone would say about my so-called meals.
25. I graduated from UP, not excatly after four years but it's UP. (Repeat refrain: Quality education takes time!)

26. I was able to afford a facial. I wish to afford one again.
27. Despite occasional threats, my sanity seems intact.
28. I’m geared up for a new adventure ahead and open for a whole lot of blessings to come!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Eye

They’re called Vitreous Floaters. Those things that pollute the vision of their sufferers.

I am a sufferer. I have one tiny thread floating inside my right eye.

Aside from being distracting, the floater causes me no other problems. But a recent visit to a different ophthalmologist from whom I gathered a second opinion killed my hopes of getting rid of the irritating floater.

The doctor said that based on experience, floaters don’t go away. He prescribed me a drug which may help but he clearly stated that taking the medicine does not guarantee that I’ll be floater-free.

However, he reassured me that I will be fine, that I don’t have to worry. It’s not like I’m hemorrhaging somewhere inside my eyes. To further relieve me from my bugaboo, he said that he, too, has a floater in his eye. Ok, that helped.

I looked around and tried to read for myself what these floaters are all about. And here’s the summary of the information I’ve gathered:

Vitreous floaters result from the clumping of some parts of the vitreous body, the gel-like stuff that composes the hollow sphere at the back of our eyes. They are more common than we think. They happen mostly to people aged 40-50 or to young ones who happen to be myopic. (Darn, my myopia!)

A person with floaters may see a strand of fiber or specks or even tiny clouds moving along with their field of vision. The floaters tend to be more visible under certain lighting conditions and, in my case, I see it whenever I am staring at a white surface.

There’s no non-invasive treatment for floaters except for a laser procedure. There’s that thing called vitrectomy but it may lead to retina detachment which is not at all good; a detached retina causes blindness. Generally, floaters pose no health hazards to its sufferers. But to some, floaters tend to block their vision almost totally.

A healthy lifestyle and good nutrition may save people from these so-called floaters.

Sometimes, the only way to live with these pesky floaters is to not mind them at all and to imagine that when you open your eyes, everything’s perfect, no spots, just sunshine.

Read more about floaters on:

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Head in the Clouds

I saw the heavens today and I remembered how I used to adore the clouds. They are one of the most beautiful among God’s creations! I recall how I wished I could hug them. How my sister and brother and I planned to open the plane’s widow just to grasp a piece of the clouds.

Sandra Cisneros, in her House on Mango Street, devoted at least two chapters on clouds. And those white cottons in the sky deserved the space and words allotted to them.

Whoever said that we should learn to stop and smell the flowers should have also advised that we take the time look up to the clouds.

Think about how satisfying and refreshing it is to stare at the clouds every once in a while.

The clouds promise possibilities. They stretch our imagination farther than we realize. They remind us of the calm after the storm. They tell us that big things are possible if we put our minds and even our hearts to it. They somehow represent a grander Being who looks down upon us, guiding us, protecting us.

And if only for that, we can thank the heavens for the clouds it flaunts.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Da Boy Dies Today

It was Ma who broke us the news that actor Rudy Fernandez, a.k.a. Da Boy, died today.

It’s really none of my business if he dies or not but apparently I care more than I should. Actually, it’s difficult not to care when the news is at my tail even when I’m doing some serious proofreading work.

The thing is, people die all the time, thus the boom in the funeral service business. And I wouldn’t have to go very far to know that printing obituaries is lucrative, too. Then there are the doctors who, after witnessing too much deaths, are desensitized from the whole grieving ordeal. Just imagine how many deaths it took for them to get numb.

I’m no longer sure if it was Sigmund Freud who said that there are two things that draws human beings which, despite their efforts, they cannot getaway from: sex and death. Both phenomena will haunt them wherever they may go. I am sure, however, that it was Brad Pitt’s character in Meet Joe Black who said that if there were two things man cannot run away from, those would be death and taxes. In our country some people do get away from their taxes, but surely not death.

And Da Boy’s demise proves that. His fame and power could not buy him immunity from mortality. And the spotlight magnifies that fact ten times over.

Da Boy’s death may be masked as a glamorous one, thanks to his star status and million-peso coffin. (I don’t dig the super expensive casket, though. The money might as well have been used to feed a thousand malnourished children.) But the pain it may cause his bereaved family is just as normal and real as it usually is to most of us.

Looking at the people whom Da Boy left, I couldn’t help but relive the pain and disorientation that they must be going through. A tiny voice inside my head was ordering me to throw something at the television just to save me from the drama and trauma, but it wasn’t my TV so I had to restrain myself.

The scenes were all too familiar, I hated it!

You are reduced to choose your ailing loved-one’s “release” in place of a longer time of torture. You’d think you’ll be fine. You’d think. Not until you realize what you’ve lost. Whom you’ve lost. And then you see yourself standing in front of your loved-one’s remains, knees trembling and too weak to keep you upright, tears generously flowing down from your tear ducts as if they will never dry up, emotions a mess. And so are you.

Then you will realize that there is nothing fine at losing someone, especially to death. You only have to find a good in it, no matter how impossible it maybe, if only to make the pain worth all the trouble.

Moving on is a challenge. And based on experience, it really does take time.

You can’t have your loved-one cremated on a weekend only for you to go back to your normal life the day that follows. Moving on is more complex than appearing fine to everyone. Plastering a smile on your face while having a black pin do your grieving for you is not in any way a sign of strength. In the same manner, not being able to cry doesn’t mean you’re over mourning. Suppressing your tears is just as self-destructive as drowning your sorrow with booze.

I’m not sure if there is a correct way of picking up oneself after a tragedy. But I know that alienating yourself from the collective whose presence may be of help to you is not a good idea. Also, thinking that you’re the only one who’s lost a loved-one is plain stupid. Because death leaves a void to everyone’s lives, everyone who has no choice but to continue living with one less person in their lives.

I’m no expert at this. To tell the truth, I am formulating my theories on a daily basis. I’ve been learning something new about death and life for the past 10 months or so. And it ain’t easy.

Yes, Da Boy dies today. My brother died over 10 months ago. Who knows who’ll go tomorrow?

And although death is a part of life, it will surely take a lot to convince Da Boy’s family, me and, perhaps, you that someway, somehow things will get better.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Neighbors from Hell

I would have gone for a more subtle title but my head is throbbing from lack of decent sleep plus I ended up swiping in late for work this morning so forgive me for bitching.

I’m not asking much really. Just peace and quiet every once in a while or at least at around midnight.

Is that too much to ask?

Apparently quiet is scarce when the neighbors from hell are on the loose.

Last night, unlike most days, we were spared from shrieks and wails from a kid gone wild, and screams and roars from a woman gone crazy. Which was good.

But then, they were in a festive mood, celebratory to be exact. They pumped up the volume of their sound system which filled the air with rock metal gibberish. Hardcore metal and rock is trash to my ears. But I waived my human right to decent music just because someone is celebrating his birthday. I wouldn’t want to be the one to poop the party. (Thinking about it now, I might as well have pooped on their party.)

Being the pacifist I hope to be, I zipped my mouth and found a way to sleep amidst the noise and the party voices which successfully penetrated our walls and shut windows. I had to sleep with a pillow on my head which I hate especially since I tend to panic when my airways are constricted.

I have barely completed a sleep cycle when a loud slam or boom instantly got me on my feet. It was too weak to be a gunshot but I feared bullets will start ricocheting through our walls instead of the trashy music which hardly sent me off to slumber.

And the more-than-a-thud went off again and again and again. If I were anymore afraid, I’d be peeing in my pants.

Good thing I didn’t.

The alleged gunshot sound came from someone slamming the car parked just outside our gate with, oh I don’t know, his hand?

I won’t go into details about what the brawl was all about. I didn’t have to gawk to figure it out. After all, it was too loud to miss. But here’s the gist: some people got drunk thereby causing an unfortunate end to the party.

I somehow wish they got drunk earlier. That way, they wouldn’t have to keep me up until past 12 only to wake me up at around 3AM.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

R U +639064579912 ?

By now, I’ve got a strong feeling that my cellphone number is written, not only at the door of a public toilet, but also at the back of a bus seat. Now that promises a bigger audience!

What are the chances that one gets weird texts at least once a month? I get one set of weird texts on almost a monthly basis now. That’s how frequently I receive messages that are, umm, ahh, entertaining to some degree yet equally time consuming. And the thing is, I save my TEXTERS’ numbers—note that TEXTER is in plural. No number bugs me at two different times.

The number I used in my title, +639064579912, which found its spot in my phonebook under the name, “Raketeer,” is my most recent visitor. Here goes Raketeer’s text:

hon d2 ka nalang reply or call asap mahalaga sasabihen ko sayo send ka load 150pesos last txt na e2

Let’s deconstruct. All letters were typed in the lower case. Texter must be in a relaxed state while texting or he may be too much in a hurry to switch cases. Hey, texter even waived the use of proper punctuations and correct spacing between words! The sense of urgency is alarming especially with the use of “call,” “asap,” “mahalaga,” and “last txt na e2.”

But what gave the scam away? Contrary to what it may seem, it’s not the “hon.” It’s the “150pesos.” I would have considered the text a wrongly sent message but the amount of money it asked for was pretty much suspicious. No person in a hurry to make contact on the phone would ask that much load. It’s stench is beyond fishy.

Lucky for me I had the means to reply. I had this to say to Raketeer:

“Hon,” ang tindi ng raket mo ha! 150 pesos?! tsk tsk. kaya d umaasenso ang Pilipinas! Lakas naman ng loob mo mag-cellphone!
I may have gone jologs with my reply, but you have got to admit, I hit my point well.

* * *

Going through my phonebook now, I see two more of my texters’ numbers:

Bmytxtm8 : +639167954465
Da who ang epal n 2: +639277536093
If you know any of them, I suggest you inform them that they’re being punished for bugging me. And if you happen to be one of them, well, now the world can be your textmate. No medium can pull a bigger audience than the World Wide Web, right?

It beats any public toilet door or bus seat for that matter.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Longest Day

Today I have once again proven that the longest days are the ones spent in the outside world, far from a constricting office table.

It’s sticky hot outside, uncomfortable, and polluted. But that’s a small price to pay for freedom.

Yes, I was free for a day, thanks to birthday leaves! I remember spending last year’s BL with Nichi—helping out in having him discharged from the hospital. For 2006 I spent my BL watching Superman’s return. Meanwhile the first birthday leave I ever had which was in 2005, that I spent in my usual self-imposed house arrest where I must have sat and stared.

Today, almost 2 weeks away from my birthday, I packed an activity-filled birthday leave.

First on my to-do list was to drop by the school to get important papers. Unfortunately no one was there to attend to my concern. My contact person failed to tell me when I called her last week that they were scheduled to have their recollection the same day I set to visit them. Argh…

I proceeded to my next stop: A dental prophylaxis. There I discovered three teeth that needed filling. Noted to self to ask mom’s help in finding a dentist-friend to fill my teeth instead of the dentist provided by my health card.

I got inside a bus and headed to my asthma doctor who declared that my lungs are doing fine.

Basta wag ka muna magnigarilyo,” the doctor said.

Opo naman, hindi muna,” I replied.

If doc only knew, it’s the least of his worries.

Soon I dropped by the bank to consult the experts how feasible my Paypal plan is. As it turned out, it’s not. While walking, I drafted plan B: formulate another plan.

I made a quick stop for lunch and, along the way, searched rubber temple tips for my old eyeglasses. For Php 78 I may be able to use my old pair of prescription spectacles without the discomfort.

When I was trying to accomplish the 6th item on my list, the sun’s heat was at its finest which was great timing for me. I just had to subject myself to all its glory. I had to bear the heat while I was on my way to claiming the honorarium for my Youngblood article which came out last December. (Yes, everyone, you get paid when your work gets published!)

Then I visited my part-time boss and officemates to say “hi,” shook hands with my even higher part-time boss, and then got what I came there for. (At least this one worked well, unlike the school.)

Later, I met mom and went to the clinic where the dentist-friend who’s supposed to fix my teeth was supposed to be. His schedule was full. My appointment was set 17 days from now.

I said goodbye to my mom and was in a hurry to fulfill my next mission: to purchase some TDK blank DVDs…the only brand our writer recognizes. Snob!

By the time I was targeting my next to-do item, I was too exhausted to do it. I segued to watching “Caregiver” with my mom and brother, who conveniently were a few escalators away. But before entering the theater, we grabbed an early dinner first and waited for the showing time inside a bookstore where I got torn whether I’d buy Neil Gaiman’s “The Day I swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish” or not. It pained me to let the book go. It really did.

I was ready to call it a day and sit on a moving vehicle that’ll bring me home but scarcity of a ride prompted us to get some refreshments instead. We killed time in the proces. Soon enough we found ourselves a ride.

To complete the day, I decided to write this entry.

And so it ends.