Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ang Silindro ni Tye

Na-adik na kami ni Migs sa pag-figure out how to bring harmony in our harmonicas. We each have chosen 2 pieces na pag-aaralan naming tugtugin. So bale goal naming matuto at maging magaling, at least sa dalawang songs na pinili namin.

So ito yung isa ko.



Siyempre, “Hey Jude.” The other one, I’ll disclose if and only if I’ll learn to play it well.

Pakana ni Nichi na career-in ang harmonica. Fina-follow up pa niya sa akin noon nang ilang beses ang pag-search sa net for instructions how to play the said instrument. Ngayon si Migs naman ang pursigido.

In fairness, there is promise sa attempt namin this time around.

Sana makarating kay Nichi yung tutog namin. Dedicated sa kanya yung second piece ko.

By the way, sa mga hindi nakakaalam, "silindro" ang Tagalog sa "harmonica."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hulog ng langit ang hellish MRT

Ang dumi ng MRT natin! I had to restrain myself from getting a basang bahasan at punasan ang darkspots ng MRT. Mayroon pang handprint sa mataas na part ng ceiling just above one of the doors. Gaano kaya kadumi ang kamay ng matangkad na taong humawak doon?

Pero hulog ng langit para sa akin ang MRT. Kahit, these days, mala-impyerno ang pagsakay dito—that is, kung rush hour. Minsan kinakapa ko ang mukha kong kung intact pa as soon as I squeeze my way out of the train. Baka kasi napalitan or naipit sa loob kasama ng malaking bahagi ng populasyon ng Pilipinas.

Minsan naman chinechek ko ang boobs ko. Baka kasi umimpis at naging one or two bra-sizes smaller. I swear, may isang instance na sa sobrang sikip ng train at sa sobrang contortion na kinailangan kong gawin para makalabas before the door closed, na-unhook ang bra ko. Or then again, baka nasa likod ko lang si Joey Tribbiani. Hehe. Still, I believe hindi imposibleng from cup B, maging flat-chested ka sa sobrang siksikan sa loob ng MRT.

Pero hindi ko ma-imagine ang EDSA kung walang MRT. Baka never kong nadayo ang North Ave o Taft.

Ang MRT ang comfort blanket ko when it comes to commuting kahit pa hindi comfortable sa pagsakay dito. As long as natatanaw ko ang MRT, alam kong makakauwi ako.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kwentong Ninoy

Kahapon sa NAIA Terminal 3, hinatid namin ang kapatid ko na lilipad papuntang SG. Naaliw kaming mag-iina sa pag-explore ng bagong terminal at pati na rin sa picture-an. Hanggang sa na-i-spot-an namin ang mga Ninoy flags (?).

Ako: Ay, si Ninoy! Pa-picture ako!
Ma: Bakit nandito si Ninoy?
Ako: Umm…dahil Ninoy Aquino International Airport ito?!?
Ma: Oo nga, ano?

Walang punchline. Gusto ko lang i-set ang mood ng photo ko with Ninoy.



Ahh, this is better than having a five hundred-peso bill in my pocket!

Incidentally, wala nga akong limang daan sa bulsa; maski sa wallet wala!

Mabuhay ang dukha!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Pros and Those who Refuse

I have a thing about not getting what I want. When I was a kid, I threw tantrums. I was a part-time brat. These days I turn into a bitch. But I try to moderate my evil side and I have come to realize that, most of the time, bitching doesn’t help so I just spontaneously combust.

Then again I can always write instead of bursting into angry flames. So here I go.

Four days ago, I had one of Yzee’s birthday treats done by supposed “experts.” They ended up disappointing me with their very poor outputs which I received today. I cannot go into detail on the exact outputs because I wouldn’t want to spoil Yzee’s birthday surprise. But I shall share my thoughts in general.

I could have done better than the job delivered by the “experts.” And I don’t even have an experience with regard their craft. That’s what I told them while I did my best not to snarl at them. They tried to defend their poorly executed work by presenting this excuse, “Namatayan kasi kami. Wala pa nga kaming tulog.

I get the feeling that they wanted me to feel guilty for expecting them to do their job amidst their loss. I’m not sure if I should. After all when I gave them the job, no one was dead yet. If they did their task as soon as we closed our deal, then there wouldn’t have been any problems. Or they could have tried reaching me so that I would be able to pass the job on someone else who’s in a better disposition to satisfy my need. But then again, I am not cold-hearted. I can understand how death can get in the way of work. Although I still believe that it cannot be used as an excuse for screwing up. Yet somehow I can forgive them.

The case could have ended there. But the “experts” had to say, “Bakit hindi ninyo sinabi na dadalhin pala sa Singapore? E di sana ginanito natin [suggesting a procedure that ensured better quality outputs, with or without anyone dead].”

Ayan na naman! They pressed my button. They seemed to imply that special procedures only apply for those things we export. No wonder we, residents of this country, always have to settle with second rate produce! Grrr!

This, I am aware, everyone must know by now but let me say it anyway: We should always pour in our best in the things we do. Regardless if it is for special clients, or for foreigners, or for expats, we sign our names and plaster our faces on every work we complete. That thought alone should drive us to leave positive imprints on our creations. And if circumstances get in the way of our doing our job, we cannot use it as an excuse for presenting poor outputs. We can apologize but it is still our responsibility to start from the beginning, if we have to, just to deliver what is expected of us. Real life is not a classroom where you can tell the teacher, “the dog ate it,” when your homework looks like hell. In this world, once you deliver half-baked work, prepare to be ashamed of yourself. But redeem your soul by doing better next time, and the time after that, and the next time after the next time after that, and so on.

These principles define the wide line between the pros and those who refuse to be as professional as they should.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Diwa has Landed on Philippine Shores

Finally, hindi na surreal na balik Pinas na nga ako. For some reason, ngayon lang nakauwi ang diwa ko. Anubayun? Delayed flight siya?

Super feel ko na ngayon na nandito na nga ako sa kanlungan ng aking inang bayan. Super, as in lumilipad with cape and all.

Next order of business is to get a job because quite frankly, NGINIG ang financial status ko ngayon, thus explaining why I left via PAL and came home boarding a Cebu Pacific aircraft. Which isn’t bad at all. I appreciate the two different experiences. Perhaps I’ll write about that next time.

So Purita Mirasol ako to the max ngayon. Kaya kahit kating-kati na akong bumili ng Parker pen kahapon—did you know that they go for Php290 each these days?—tiis na lang ang lola ninyo. Refill lang yata ng PANDA ballpen ang carry kong bilhin ngayon.

Why the sudden interest on a Parker pen you ask? Namiss ko kasi ang Parker pen ko na bigla na lamang naglaho ilang taon na ang nakalilipas. Samantalang yung cheapangga kong 3-in-1 ball pen na witness ng last semester ko nung college e alive and kicking pa rin. Talagang the valued-ones have a way of conveniently getting lost, ano? Kainis. Regalo pa naman sa akin ng ate ko yon. Natuwa ako when I got it kahit na may notion ako na Parker pen ang nireregalo sa taong di mo talaga alam ang gusto or doon sa mga di mo ka-close.

E bakit ko nga ba naisip ang Parker pen ko? Kasi time for looking for a job na naman ngayon. Kasakasama ko yung na-lost kong Parker pen when I was job hunting after college. Also, let’s not forget to mention na may fixation ako sa ball pen. Na sa tuwing may bagong so-called chapter sa buhay ko, I celebrate it by getting a new pen. Feeling ko, panahon na para sa isang Parker pen. Kasi seryoso na ito. Who knows? Baka yon na ang gamitin kong pang sign ng marriage contract someday? Charot!

Hahaha! (Give me a minute to recover.)

There.

Mabalik ako. So andito na nga ako ulit sa Pinas. Actually naka-3 trips to Megamall na ako and 1 sa Glorietta. Enough na yon para makaikot ulit and realize how different we are from the country I previously visited.

I’d hate to say na ANG PANGIT NG PILIPINAS, the way most balik bayans blurt it out like a proud fart. Yes, madumi nang more than slight. And the air, yikes, you can actually see the air you inhale. Nakakapraning! At since walang patumanggan ang ulan ngayon, baha ang kalye. The word “puddle” is not apt to call the depressions sa major kalye na nagiging foot bath after several inches of rain. (Tatlong footwear ko ang nanganganib na masira ngayon.) Hindi ko ma-okray ang Pilipinas ng ganun ganoon na lang kasi HOME ko ‘to.

Nung nasa Singapore ako, muntik ko nang pitasin isa-isa ang buhok ko sa frustration every time na-i-co-compare ko ang Pinas sa Sg. Kasi naman, kung tutuusin, mas mayaman ang lupa natin kesa sa kanila. Mas malawak. Mas gifted with natural resources! Yung Singapore kailangan nilang mag-effort gumawa ng sarili nilang beach para lang mapaganda ang lugar nila. The rest, if not all of their tourist attractions, gawa lang ng mga hired hands nila. Nagkakandaloka sila sa pag-maintain ng mga pinaggagagawa nila, samantalang tayo, eto, binigyan na ng Diyos pero chuva lang! Abusuhin while kaya! Bahala na bukas.

What’s wrong with us?

Tapos isa pang factor yung pamilya. Doon nauubos na yung locals nila. Ayaw kasing mag-anak dahil mahirap nga naman ang buhay especially kung kailangan mong magtrabaho in order to live. E dito sa atin, hala, sige! Parang inuutot na lang ng ibang nanay ang sanggol. Deadma kung papaano na sila bubuhayin at palalakihin. Ang ending, yung mga batang gusgusin ang bumubuhay sa pamilya at sa laspag nilang magulang. Nakakainit ng ulo!

Kaya nung nandoon ako, napansin ko kung gaano ka-relaks yung mga nanay at tatay doon na may hawak na anak. Malamang kasi ready talaga sila sa pinasok nila kaya di stressful ang pag-maintain ng ensemble nila. Di gaya dito. Pamilya = problema. Parang ang nasa isip ng mga magulang, “saan ko kaya kukunin ang kakainin namin bukas.” Pero parang di sumasagi sa isip nila yung, “shet, tama na kaya itong 9 na anak ko? Makapag-family planning na kaya?”

Dapat yung mga kontra sa family planning pinag-iimersion sa mga slums kung saan 13 na anak plus nanay at tatay ang nakatira sa isang 2-square-meter barung barong. Dapat pinapakilala sa kanila yung mga batang kailangang mamalimos o magbenta ng kung anuman dahil sa kahirapan.

Sa Singapore, disiplinado sila dahil takot sila sa corporal punishment na handang ipataw ng gobyerno nila sa kanila. Isipin mo na lang papaluin ka ng cane sa pwet hanggang matuklap na ang skin mo. E yung thought pa lang nga na hahampasin ako ng sinturon ng tatay ko, e nagpapalpitate na ako! Dito kasi sa atin walang kinakatakutan ang mga tao kaya madalas bara-bara lang. Kasi naman, by virtue of following our leaders, e talagang kapalan na lang ng balat ito. Pare-pareho na lang tayong corrupt and stinky.

And here I was resenting comments which imply na gago tayong mga Pinoy. Example, nung nasa Singapore ako, may mamang puti na bumaba sa bus. Tamang tama naman na nalaglag ang cellphone niya. Kaya kami na nakakita, na puro Pinoy, we tried to get his attention. So ayun pinulot nung mama yung cellphone niya. Tapos may biglang nag-comment among us, “kung sa Pinas yan, di na niya makukuha ang cellphone niya.”

Gusto kong sabihin kasabay ng matinding flip ng hair, “kung sa Pinas yan, makukuha pa rin niya yung cellphone niya dahil nandoon tayo! Hmp!” I mean given the same situation, ibahin lang ang setting, gawing Pinas, definitely tatawagin pa rin namin si GEORGE to pick up his cellphone. Di ba?

Another story, we were picking the best cooler sa isang sari-sari hardware sa Singapore. So silip silip sa bawat item na nakadisplay. Tama ba namang tumambang sa amin ang umaalingasaw na amoy nung isang cooler? Kasi may nabubulok na food sa loob. Some “genius” placed his left over/trash inside one of the coolers kaya ayun, rotting na siya. Nang ikinwento namin ito sa isang Pinoy ang sabi niya, “Pinoy siguro ang gumawa noon.”

Ikaw ba naman, Pinoy, gagawin mo yon? Hindi ko maiisip or masa-suggest na Pinoy ang gumawa noon at a whim dahil hindi ko maisip na gagawin ko yon. Pero hindi naman natin masisisi entirely ang mga Pilipinong di na ma-identify ang sarili nila bilang Pinoy, kahit pa under the classification ng matinong Pinoy.

Kahapon lang naglalakad ako, muntik ko nang habulin yung mag-jowa sa harapan ko. Kasi itong girl bigla ba naman itinapon sa semento yung balat ng Chippy niya! Tatawagin ko sana para ipapulot ko ang kalat niya. Takot lang ako sa gulo but I swear I am inches away from doing that someday. Di ko magets kung paano naaatim ng mga taong magtapon ng basura sa kalye. E ang laki kaya noon? Obvious na obvious siya. Kayang kaya noon mambara ng kanal.

A good thing about Singapore is secure yung bansa, hindi lang building, bansa. Pwede kang makipagchikahan sa cellphone habang naglalakad sa kalsada dahil wala namang magtatakang humablot nito. Pag ginawa mo yon dito sa Pinas, tatanga-tanga ka. You deserve to be mugged.

Inabot ako ng midnight sa kalye ng Singapore pero di ko naramdaman yung takot na may haharang sa akin. Mabuti na lang dahil pag nagkaganoon, ang isisigaw ko, “tulong!” E good luck kung may makaintindi sa akin. Dito sa Pinas, kahit in broad daylight pwede kang pagtulungan ng kung anumang latest gang, regardless kung last money mo na yung nasa bulsa mo. Parang laging nasa panganib ang buhay natin dito.

In fact ang araw araw natin e parang episode ng Surivivor. At dahil sa mga challenges na pinagdadaanan natin, sisiw na lang ang ilang bagay. Di kagaya sa Singapore. I can’t imagine how much panic there would be if mag-brown out or if they open their faucets, one day, and water doesn’t come out. Siguro magkakanda loka sila. Tayo, pinagtibay na ng contaminated tap water natin ang mga sikmura natin kaya hindi tayo maselan. Hard core tayo!

Pero ayun na nga ang hinanakit ko. Sana hindi natin i-take for granted yung blessings natin, sana hindi natin i-abuse. Sana rin may sense of foresight tayo. Kasi hindi lang naman yung today ang nagmamatter. Whether buhay pa tayo bukas or not, may taong matitira bukas at kailangan nila ng place to live in. At since hindi tayo pampered dito sa bayan natin, it’s time to be practical. Wag na mag-anak kung papabayaan mo lang naman ang mga anak mo. May sense naman di ba?

So balik Pinas na nga ako. And reality is kicking in. Still, ayaw kong mag-give up sa bayan ko. Kahit pa nadestino ako for good sa ibang bansa, mahuhurt pa rin ako sa bawat negative chika about my people and my country. Kasi malaking bahagi ng pagkatao ko ang bayan ko. So much so na ang hindi ko pagkakalat sa kalye e hindi dahil takot akong makulong or mamahagupit. Hindi ko maatim gawing basurahan ang bansa ko dahil mahal ko ito.

At kailangan ko na ring magtrabaho dahil I refuse to be an added burden sa lipunan. Kahit hindi nakakayaman ang suswelduhin ko dito, malaki pa rin ang magagawa ng tax ko sa bayan.

And I am saying all these with my diwa intact. Consider this the whole of me talking.

In the Event that I Get Run Over by a Bus

I just received my last set of photos from Singapore and I find one especially useful. In fact, with that latest picture, I am torn between another existing photo.

What the hell am I talking about? Well, I thought I have already chosen the picture which the people I will leave behind will blow up in the event that I get run over by a bus; eaten by cancer; or mugged, raped and killed. (The possibilities are limitless, really.)

As it turns out, I now have an option two. But just the same, since I have no lawyer who’d take note of my last will and testament (?), I’ll put my preference on record via my blog.

If I go, I want these pictures beside my corpse.





They will surely capture the moment.

And please, keep my grade school grad pic where no one will find them. No one wants to see a cadaver to blush!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Going Bananas in My Pajamas

It’s two o’ clock in the afternoon and I am inside my pajamas. No, I am not fresh out of bed. In fact I’ve been up for five hours and I just took a bath. I found no reason to be in a set of street clothes when I will be in my room all day.

But don’t think I’m slacking. To tell the truth, I am busy. I’ve been racking my brains off and squeezing out whatever creative juice left in my system to produce my biggest print venture of all times. Translation: I am trying my darn best to creatively cover a 2 ft x 4 ft birthday tarp for my niece.

Exciting? Yes, it is. But at times like these, confidence helps. It’s pretty hard placing a design element in a certain space when you know you are no real artist to decide that such design element belongs to that space. Get it?

So I am working with my instincts as my tool. And since my taste level is put to the test, I cannot help but feel insecure.

But I am more excited than insecure so what the heck? Carry on with the project, right?

See I am going bananas in my pajamas! And if you think Sharapova is a loud player, you should see me in front of a PC. How I make animated sounds at the wrong press of keys. How I cheer, “you can do it” to our old PC while it slowly processes my work. How my mom thinks I am talking to her whereas I’m not.

Then again, I can’t wait to see the actual tarp with my design on it. (But I cannot very well post my design here until my niece’s big day. I would hate to preempt the occasion.)

You see, bananas work for me. And for all its worth, I’m glad to have something to be preoccupied with.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gaano Ka-Pinoy ang Pamilya Ninyo?

Dalawa and tita kong ang pangalan ay "Baby." Tito ko naman sina Boy at Junior. Kapatid ko si Bunsoy (pero hindi siya ang bunso namin). Ate ko si Win-win at kapatid ko si Mic-mic.

Pinoy na Pinoy ang pamilya ko sa pangalan pa lang. Kung baga, galing ako sa old school picture of a Filipino family.

Tradisyonal nga kung maituturing. Minsan nakakasakal din. Hindi dahil mahigpit ang mga rules. Marahil dahil madalas baliko ang mga panuntunan.

Ito na lang ang halimbawa. Advocate ng pambababae ang lolo ko. Swerte daw, sabi niya. Kesa naman ibenta niya pati kaluluwa niya para lang makapagsugal. O kaya naman e manggulo dahil lango siya sa alak. O makasakit ng iba dahil high sa droga. Tingin niya lesser of all evils ang babae kaya naman yun lang ang bisyong minaintain niya. Sumalangit nawa si Tatay. Pero sana hindi niya sinabi sa akin yon. Nakalimutan yata niya na babae ako at pwede akong mabiktima ng lalaking may credo na tulad nang sa kanya.

Hanggang ngayon katawa-tawa, kung hindi man kaawaawa, sa ilan kong kamag-anak ang mga matatandang dalaga sa aming pamilya. Mas mapanlibak ang kanilang ngiti sa mga walang jowa kesa sa mga teenage moms na siyam na ang anak and counting. Ewan ko ba kung ano ang problema sa pagiging old maid. Kesa naman yung nag-anak ng sangkatutak. Marami pa ang damay sa misery, not that miserable ang maging old maid. (Well, I hope it's not.)

Nakakalungkot kasi meron pa rin sa mga kapamilya ko ang naniniwala na maiiaahon ng babaeng anak sa kahirapan ang pamilya kapag nag-asawa siya ng mayaman. Keber kung matanda. Mas OK nga daw kasi madaling madedo. Dahil sa mga ganoong comments, narerealize ko na romantic pa pala ako. Kasi naniniwala ako sa lab. Na if and only if true love exists, there is hope for marriage. At least for me. Sabi ko nga, romantic.

Swerte na lang ako dahil yung mga magulang ko, they took a step at making our family more modern than others. Pinromote nila ang democracy. Kung baga, may boses ang bawat miyembro at free kang i-share ito. Pero since ito lang ang first step sa pagiging liberal, hindi pa napeperpekto ang sistema namin. May glitches pa rin. Iba rin kasi yung ipo-process mo na yung mga freely na sinabi sa iyo. Mahirap din minsan makinig sa mga sinasabi sa iyo, lalo na kung totoo. Di madali. But I'm optimistic that we'll get there.

Ang general rule lang naman sa amin e magpakatino ka. Gawin mo ang gusto mo pero be responsible. Ganoon. Kaya medyo nakakatakot pumalpak. At least for me. Hinanakit ko yung mga walang pakundangang magkamali. Ako kasi praning kaya overly cautious. Yung mga bira ng bira without learning from previous mistakes, ang sarap pitpitin ng stick ang kamay.

Mahigpit ang pagkakatali namin sa aming pamilya. Good thing kasi masaya at yung mga pinagdaanan namin e nagkakaroon ng saysay. Matapos ang lahat hindi madaling magkawatak watak. Bad thing kasi, when abused, parang curse ang matali forever. Lalo kung hindi equal ang drive ninyo to make things better when life seems bleak.

Pinanganak ako sa piling ng Pinoy na pamilya. Oks naman siya. Flawed but I'd take what was given to me. Challenge na lang ang pag improve ng kung ano ang meron. Plus, learning experience ang sins ng forefathers and foremothers. At least by seeing what went wrong with them, I know I'd do better with my life.

Pinoy na Pinoy ang pamilya ko. Puno kasi ng drama, action at comedy. Familia Zaragoza ang effect. Minsan may conspiracy pa. At op course, meron ding kantahan. Kaloka!

Kayo, gaano ka-Pinoy ang pamilya ninyo?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Battik's Workshop made it to the 2008 Philippine Blog Awards - PersonalBlog Category

My gash! I can't believe my workshop made it. There are around 90 blogs vying for the PERSONAL BLOG CATEGORY, meaning I have 1 out of around 90 chance of winning. No biggie! I am just glad to see my blog in the list of official nominees for tomorrow's event.

Wait, tomorrow's event?!? I wanna go! (Fairy godmother, please wave your wand, dress me up and make me a carriage.) Could this be the reason why I had to be here? I wonder.

To my fellow nominees, good luck to all of us. :-)

***from PBA site:

Here is the list of eligible blogs for the Personal Blog Category:


100% Batangueno
A.BBA: Adbentyurs ng Bikolanong Baklang Aktibista
andrecalixtoonline “No Rocket Science”
Ang Pansitan ni Ate Sienna
Atheista
Bakla Ako, May Reklamo? (I’m Gay, Got a Problem With That?)
Battik’s Workshop
Behind Wonderland
Between Bites
Bikoy.net
Blog Ex Machina
Blogalag
Blogwerx
Blue Pencil Chronicles
Bus Ride Adventures
Confessions of a Pinoy Blogger
Coping Mechanisms: Lifestyles of the Bitch and Aimless
DITZ-REVOLUTION.NET by Helga Weber | Filipina blogger and web designer
Doctor Magnus
Dogs Are Us!
Dream Big [Icepink10]
Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t I?
Exploits of a City Dweller
Filipino Web and Graphics Designer
Following the Yellow Brick Road
fritzified.com
fruityoaty
FunnySexy
Ginger Brew
Guhit Galaw
Gunita sa Lupalop ng Pagtunganga
i am bulitas, therefore i blog
I am Super!
Indistinguishable Gibberish
Intiendes
Is my life~! 期待�八�的天空
It’s all about the Homesick Pinay
It’s True! It’s True!
Just Another Game
Just Typing Out Loud
Kape’t Yosi
kianah.com
Kwentong Barbero .Com: See the World Thru My Eyes
La Bigueña
Learn Lessons with SELaplana
Life with Ria
Life’s Existence
Mandaya Moore-Orlis (Ang Bayot sa Bukid - May Hyphen na Ngayon
Manilenya
Maruism
McBilly dot com
melissa marasigan official blog site
MEMOIRS OF KLITORIKA
mico santos’s Joie De Vivre
Misterhubs
My Boring Life… Now A Blog!
My Charmed Life
newivory
not your word press blog
Okasaneko Chronicles
pamatay homesick
Past Lives
Pinoy Potter’s Chronicles
PINOYWORLD
Prodinterios
Putak
Random Detoxification
Rants and Raves
Rising Internet Star
Rowjielogy
s i m o n o n g
scare reyes’ yufielbi 10
Sinjin’s House
Sino si osyr?
Sui Generis
Super Dok
Suzaku Lace
Sweet Serenity
Tanggera: Alcohol, Art, Love and Everything Else Intoxicating
Tennis and Conversation
The Ambivalence Of It All
The Chicken Mafia
The D Spot
the diary of a supergirl wannabe!
The Diary of Joni & Anya: The Melbourne Affair
The Journal of the Jester-in-Exile
the marocharim experiment
The Whereabouts
The Written World
TheHeLLYouCare
Tingog.com
VAKS and the CITY
Webslave’s portal
Webster Twelb Writes
your royal rockness
zdiaz.com - Money management, make cash online, SEO, business, law, faith, & our day to day adventures

Friday, September 19, 2008

Braving Pinas Again

I spent most of the day out. Looking around, Pinas doesn't look any different. Much.

Except that the minimum jeepney fare is Php8.50 and an FX ride from Pasig to Megamall or vice versa is Php 23.00. MRT rates, I believe, did not change. Text messages are still worth Php 1.oo for every message sent locally.

I was heading to Pasong Tamo extension. You cannot find it in the map these days because Pasong Tamo is presently called, "Chino Roces." I learned that the hard way years ago. I was standing somewhere along Chino Roces holding an old map which says I was in Pasong Tamo. The street sign beside me was screaming, "Chino Roces." Confusing. I thought I was lost when I really wasn't.

This time, I had a hunch where I was supposed to be. Where Pasong Tamo Extension is. But I had to ask manong guard, whose uniform I missed (Wala noon sa SG!) , where Pasong Tamo extension was.

He was so sure of the directions he gave me. As it turned out, he pointed me to the opposite way. Serves me right for not trusting my gut feel! With my shoes from hell, I retraced the path I took plus covered extra blocks to reach my destination. Although I am in no position to complain, can I just say I hate people who give the wrong directions. I'd accept, "I don't know" any time. Just don't lead me the wrong way.

I hit the 10 AM mark. Had a chitchat with a doctor. It was no consult. Some sort of official. Somehow I mentioned, I am maintaining a blog. He asked for the URL, typed it on his PC, and browsed on my site while I stared at him helplessly.

He clicked a rather personal entry. One of those rant pieces where I was speaking partly in gay language. "That article is really informal. I am embarrassed now." I said. The doctor said he'd check it out again when I'm gone. Then he closed his web browser window. Nyaha! The earth did not swallow me alive. Too bad.

First order of business after the previous episode is to get a cheese burger from Jollibee. Cheese burger meal was a bit anti-climactic. I missed the inviting aroma of a Jollibee TLC cheese burger, but not the taste. The anticipation was hardly rewarded.

But I did get and give hugs to my berks who went out of their way to welcome me back. Even before I bought my return ticket and boarded my plane, I was already asking for a group hug. Believe it or not, I need that from time to time. Actually, I thrive on hugs. I am a closet hugger. I may seem to repel human contact most of the time, but hugs work for me.

Later, Goy joined us. She, just like me, has just come back from her island. As we immersed ourselves in stories about our past adventures, a portion of the Glorietta Activity center morphed into LB's Hum steps. It was comforting. To be sitting on the steps and be devoid of poise. To be in the company of people who get my quirks, who bask in my high's and low's with a hearty ha-ha.

Got my first Starbucks grande choco chip frappe after more than 3 months. I am not necessarily a Starbucks fan. I just wanted to celebrate the power of my Peso. I couldn't very well afford a decent frappe in SG. In Pinas, I can, even without a job.

The day had to end. I jammed myself inside the MRT along with half of Metro Manila's female population. Good thing Pinoys don't stink as badly as others. Or am I just so used to the Pinoy stench?

The sun had already set when I got to the jeepney terminal. It was raining. The queue was a curse. The starters were barking at each other, as if a rumble will ensue any moment. The bleesed jeepney came. People fend for themselves, to take shelter in the dry jeeney seats. The man in charge collected our fare and made some funny remarks.

A few minutes later, I alighted my ride. Then I looked to my left before crossing the street. Walked a few meters before a kid-neighbor noticed me and asked where I had been. All the while, I thought I was invisible in this neighborhood.

Knocked at our door. "Wala kaming yelo," my brother said before letting me in.

I am definitely home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's nice to be back

Imagine me saying it the way Robin Padilla would.

Honestly, I wasn't too psyched on going home yet. My mind was set on October 6. I was looking forward to becoming one of the welcome committee members for my younger brother when he gets to Singapore, participating in Yzee's first birthday, undergoing a few more interviews in Singaporean companies that eventually wouldn't take me in, and flying home with my brother and taking crazy pictures in the plane.

For those reasons and some I'd rather not mention, I was a bit sentimental on my trip back home. I felt like I've become a premature cast away, being sent off even before my time.

On the other hand, I was excited to come home. To see the rest of my family, to reunite with my friends, to go back to Megamall's welcoming arms (naks!--which I did today. hehe), to send text messages for one peso only, to spend using the currency I am more familiar with (I swear, foreign coins can be confusing!), and to look to my left first when crossing the street.

Then there's the job thing. Three weeks ago, I was already picturing myself carrying out the job I have always wanted for myself, here in the land where I was born. I was itching to find out if I will have the chance to do it all again, now that I am starting with a clean slate. A part of me cheers whenever the thought of working for a Filipino company crosses my mind. Chances are, it wouldn't make me rich (I'm talking based on experience) but what the heck is money for if I'm happy anyway? Right?

To tell the truth, I feel like it's after college all over again. The possibilities are just twinkling yet at an arm's reach.

Yesterday, as soon as the wheels of our plane touched the ground, the lady sitting behind me said, "Pilipinas, binalikan din kita." Then she proceeded on singing, "Ang bayan kong Pilipinas"--at least the first stanza.

I realized, I'm lucky, I wouldn't have to miss the Philippines as badly as people like her did. After all, I've only been gone 89 days.

So with a semi-crushed spirit of a frustrated tour guide/Ate, a stage Tita and punong abala, and an OFW wannabe, I'd still say, "It's nice to be back."

At the Immigration form of sorts which I had to accomplish before alighting the plane, beside the "Purpose for coming to the Philippines" blank, I wrote, "I'm coming home!"

I would have added a smiling face but I figured that the exclamation mark would do.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Tribe Has Spoken, Please Leave the Island

I have -officially been voted off the island and I am coming home. I am composing this piece at the free internet station at the Singapore terminal.

As of the moment I have 11 minutes 46 seconds to finish my exit speech.

Singapore was good while it lasted. On the apparent level, it is clear that I didn't get what I came here for. I did not win the jackpot. But who knows? There may be something I must have been looking for which I did find, only I don't realize it yet.

I am thankful for what my Singapore experience has brought me, what it has taught me, what it made me see.

I am thinking that a chance like this wouldn't happen to me again anytime soon. And I am glad that, in whatever way I could afford, I've maximized my stay here, savored everything I can, see as far down the horizon my vision would reach, floaters and all.

Big thanks to Ate Win , Kuya Wah, Yzee, Nina and Ate Tata for being nice to me all throughout my stay.

Salamat! Salamat.

My time has come to come home. I've packed my knives and I am leaving the runway.

The galactic bell has rung. Boarding time! (Pinas, here I come.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spilling out UP

Fresh from an all-girls Catholic school a good 10 years ago, I braved my new world, called UPLB, with fingers crossed. I had little idea what to expect until a few buzzes which managed to reach me. One said that the facilities in UP are trapped in the Jurassic era. Another warned me that classes like math and science are being taught in straight Filipino so I should prepare to fail simply due to language constraints. One claimed that the professors are weird; they would either drive me crazy or convert me to their kind. Then another prophesized that my classmates would be composed of frat men, sorority girls and naïve students with tampipi as their bags.

I wish I could be UP’s representative in debunking the “myths” that came piling up before me the moment I received my student number. But the thing is, I can only give you testimonials that will support these said “myths.”

The University of the Philippines, given that it is under the government’s claws, can only afford so much in offering its students the latest technology that supplements a class. We’re lucky we had some overhead projectors, TV sets and video players in UPLB despite budget cut-downs from the government. We all learned to maximize what we had, and to improvise when needed. Once, two of my classmates brought their own TV set and VCD player just so we could push through with our film showing since all of our few AVRs were booked.

The bit about failing classes taught in Filipino is a little extreme. I take it as a hasty excuse at failing. But the speaking in Filipino part is true. As much as we were expected to be fluent in English, UP made sure that its students were well-anchored to our roots, our language. Some of my math, science and even Philosophy classes indeed used Filipino as the language of instruction. Doing so sort of lifted our language to a higher level. From using it by instinct like we do when conversing with our peers, I got to use Filipino in a more structured and formal light. It prepared me in using the vernacular professionally. Plus, I find it awkward mastering a second language when I fumble with my own native tongue.

Now the UP professors and instructors are another case. Imagine how much passion it requires to work with salaries which are surely lower compared with the pay these brilliant UP teachers may get if they teach at private universities. I’d like to believe that our UP faculty do their job mostly out of love. They are geniuses who so easily get absorbed in their field and their hunger for knowledge and beyond. Sometimes, their enthusiasm are so contagious, I cannot help but dig them by heart. In some cases, though, too much of their passion drive students nuts. But isn’t that how we remember our mentors. How they tormented us so that we can be the best persons we can be.

It is true that in a UP classroom, you get to sit with frat men, sorority girls, and, if I may use the term, promdis. Most of the time, these group of people are just victims of common stereotypes. And just like UP, they people are more than what they seem. If there’s anything, some of them have become my friends, and I learned to respect individuality and regional accents through them.

Since UP is huge, the students are more diverse than some realize. I’ve even had classmates from yet “other” general classifications: the Goths, the preachers, the go-getters, the slackers, the coños, the jologs, the tibaks (slang for “aktibista”), the what-you’re-from-UP-? type, the nerds, the socialites, and the ordinary ones—to name a few. Becoming buddies with them is a continuous string of surprises. You’d be astonished at what you’ll discover once you get to know these people personally and eventually peek inside the boxes society labeled for them.

They surely made my UP experience richer. Prior to graduating, I was able to mingle with a cross-section of the real world right inside of my UPLB classroom. It was more than just an eye-opener. It was a blessing.

After I was able to see through whatever preconceived notion outsiders had on UP, it became easy for me to build a life in that new world I found myself in 10 years ago. It was a humbling place that taught me to survive because spoon-feeding doesn’t work in a world where things don’t come easy. UP had its distinct way of reminding me to think of my country among other things. It gave me the chance to fly under the wings of some of the best scholars in our land. Most of all, UP allowed me to meet real people from whom I learned little and big things—from commuting all the way to Malacañang, laying out a print ad in a snap, knowing the chemical composition of a stick of Gudang Garam, to eating at the most sulit spots just to get by with a few pesos inside my pocket.

UP had shown me, in more ways than one, how there always is a real side to what we think we know. My campus had been generous in educating me, not just by simply bombarding me with scholarly texts while I’m pinned inside a four-walled classroom, but by showing me how the world could be and might be. And that our world doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, yet we can work around its flaws to get to where we want to go and become who we want to be. When we do, the rewards prove to be extra sweet.

I know that the circumstances we have to face in our lifetime, the labels we have to live with or disprove, they are life’s attempts to mold us. But the important thing I learned in UP is the possibility of spilling out of those molds, rather than be restricted by them. To peel off labels, when needed, in order to grow and survive without compromising ourselves.

I will forever be honored to have been shaped by UP. And in so being I am confident that I have taken a form which is rather my own.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My First and Last Saturdays at Sentosa

My first Saturday here, Ate Win and the rest of the family brought me to Sentosa. We didn’t stay long, after wading at the Siloso beach and missing the Songs of the Sea show. We all thought we’d save exploring the park when Soy and the rest of Kuya Wah’s family were. We would have had a one time, big time trip by then.



But circumstances changed, hence my last Saturday at Sentosa. I’ll let the pictures I took tell the day’s story.

Instead of taking the monorail like we did before, we now hopped on a cable car.



Cable car passes through one of those imperfect triangular holes.



Look down below!



Among others, these are two grounds to fall unto. Hehe.





The Imbiah Lookout is the drop off point of the cable car ride. This part of Sentosa has eight attractions that are at a walking distance from each other: Cable car, Carlsberg Sky Tower, The Merlion, Images of Singapore, Luge and Skyride, Cineblast, 4D Magix, and Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom.







Yzee looking pretty while waiting for the bus that will take us to the Dolphin Lagoon.



Dolphin!



A Sentosa intersection.



Hotdog King daw siya. Kabarkada kaya niya si Burger King?



Pagala-galang ibon.



Few snippets inside the Underwater World

Yellow sea horse.



Crustacean version of Grey’s Anatomy.



Mga nakadali kay Dory na sinave ni “Jellyman.”



A kababayan has become a household name.



The tram ride which brought us from the Underwater world to Siloso Beach for the Songs of the Sea Show.



Stage for Songs of the Sea.



I loved the lights on the floor.



Trip to Palawan.



Empty bus. Kami lang ang sakay. When we got off, the driver said something like, “Salamat sa pagsakay.” Pinoy pala siya!



This probably is my last view of Sentosa. (Or is this Vivo City already?)



I really did enjoy Sentosa more this time around. I’d like to thank Ate Win and Kuya Wah for making the last-minute tour possible.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Air Out There and More

Tinapos ko na ang invitation ni Yzee. Inapprove naman nina Ate Win at Kuya Wah. I’m glad because natuwa sila sa nagawa ko. Now, the invitations are out. They are serving their purpose. Good to know.



Finally, I’ve ended my Kwentong Peyups which I started 6 August. Pero yung conclusion niya I wrote eight months earlier. While the first draft to this piece na nakalahati ko na not later than June this year, I totally scrapped out. It seemed na wala siyang future and it was depressing. I am just glad I salvaged the August version. Kakasend ko lang sa kanya sa people concerned. I am hoping it serves its purpose, too. Para naman I will make my mark sa centennial year celebration ng UP. Good luck sa akin. (I may post my Kwentong Peyups here next time.)

I have a couple more of my self-commissioned articles (and maybe stories) which I hope to finish soon. Kahit siguro sa first week ko ulit sa Pinas. You realize that I’m airing these here so that I could commit myself to these projects. You see, the problem with writing on your own free will is setting the deadline which your free will will willingly beat.

Naisip ko, since I’ve accomplished 2 things sa first half ng day, I deserved strolling around to take another good look at Singapore. So I set off to see more of this country and take in as much of it as I can.

I let my happy feet take me wherever it willed. And I ended up heading towards Esplanade – Theaters on the Bay. I won’t be watching any plays here after all. Siguro dapat i-try ko muna sa Meralco theater or sa CCP. Kung baga, try your own muna.

I found my way up the theater and out the rooftop. Rewarding siya because, bukod sa mahangin, it was peaceful up there. Pwede kang magmunimuni. Para siyang likod ng main lib ng UPLB. Complete with people reading at couples na nag-uulayaw. Actually, may library talaga just below kaya same feel talaga.

What else did I see?

The Durian roof which isn’t so high when you’re actually standing on the rooftop.



The Esplanade Bridge, the Fullerton Hotel with several other buildings behind it, and the Merlion Park. Look closely and you’ll see that this time, the big Merlion is spewing out water. It was under renovation when I arrived almost three months ago. I wanted to go there today but it started to drizzle and it was quite a long walk from the Esplanade to there and back. I aborted the idea. Perhaps I’ll reschedule seeing it before I leave.



Mandarin Oriental, the Singapore Flyer, and a portion of the circuit and, I think, a pit stop which will be used for the SG Grand Prix. They say that the F1 Race here, which will be held three days after I leave, will be the world’s first night race. You may notice the scaffolding along the road which holds really bright night lights. Neat!



The outdoor theater at the Esplanade grounds and the other of the island undergoing construction.



Then of course there’s me.



One thing I discovered about myself when I came here is that I am not afraid of heights. I can stand at the top of a tall building and I won’t hesitate to look down. I guess it’s because I’m not afraid to fall. Well, perhaps I am afraid of hitting the ground and breaking my bones, but I am not afraid to feel the wind on my face while the earth pulls me close to its heart.

Two more photos inside the Esplanade: the wall filled with masks and opposite it, the library.





Inside the Esplanade Mall, which smelled good, refreshingly good, several white paper lanterns hung at the ceilings. They looked nice.



Meanwhile outside, red lanterns decorated some posts.



Later, I met my sister and spent some time with her in the middle of the five Suntec towers as we stared at the so-called Fountain of Wealth until the sun finally set.




Then Ate and Kuya Wah treated me to a Pepper Lunch dinner.



We walked around, ate ice cream, went back to the Fountain of Wealth, and read our “future” based on our Chinese Zodiac. Mine sucked. Basically it said I won’t have a promising career for the rest of the year. Parang gusto ko yatang sabihing, "kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan???" And the winning two lines go: “This is a good year to retreat from your endless struggle in career to spend time with your family. Have a kid if you want.”

A kid? Ayoko nga.

Again the cosmos, has its way of making me the butt of its jokes. Ang panalo doon, maski ako natatawa na. As I’ve said, nasasanay na ako.

We didn’t proceed to Clarke Quay, as originally planned. It’s not like the place would cheer me up. Call me boring but for some reason, I’m not built for gimik spots like Clarke Quay, or maybe even Malate. If there’s anything, places like those depress me. It just amplifies how I feel different than others, how in some way I feel like something in me doesn’t belong. Basta napapa-emote ako. Hindi ko maexplain.

We didn’t go anywhere new yet time flew too quickly. But I didn’t notice it. Until it was time to go home.

And then on the way to the City Hall MRT station, I saw this macho-man mannequin which didn’t look manly at all. Natawa ako.



In fairness, kahit hindi ako in the best of moods, may natitira pa rin naman akong sense of humor kahit papaano.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do I dare and do I dare?

(Intentionally posted late to ensure limited readership.)

No matter how I sugarcoat the recent turn out on my attempt to leap, a part of me will always know that I failed. No matter how I may feel the urge to curse people for rejecting me without giving me the chance to prove myself, what I can do, and how good I can be, I will always blame myself for not making it. No matter how a part of me is excited to come home, another part of me grieves for not being able to get what I came here for.

It has always been who I am. The person who beats herself up too much for both little and big things that have gone wrong. I am not keen on seriously pointing fingers especially when I know that I am the one responsible. Maybe as a joke, I do, but at the end of the day, I blame me. I know that for sure by now.

And I know that I promised a good friend that I will only give myself a day or two to be sad but I’ll let this low point slip.

I dared to put myself in this situation, took a leap, and gambled on what-could-have-been-something-good. But my efforts were obviously not enough. I really can’t help but feel unrewarded, not too mention think of myself as a dumbass. Now I’m daring myself to apologize to those whom I have disappointed.


My brothers, especially Soy, to whom I uncommittingly promised better things.

My sister who (hindi naman sa nagfefeeling kailangan niya ako but) may have looked forward to a relative live close by her.

My parents for failing at giving them the chance to be proud of me.

Yzee for missing her first birthday and failing to share the skills I could have easily contributed to add fun to her birthday. (This factor makes leaving extra hard for me.)

My SG family who welcomed me, took me in and trusted me.

The people who sent me off and had strong hopes that I would breeze through my job hunting adventure.

Those who cheered for me and believed in me and thought I really was THAT good.

Other OFW wannabes for being a living proof that not everyone makes it.

Myself for doing it again. For coming out short. For sitting on the wall and setting myself up for one of my great falls.

I dare and I dared. I’m guessing another bold action won’t hurt.

I will still dare pick myself up after this. After all, life goes on. And although I may allow myself to fail occasionally, losing, for me, is entirely a different matter. That I won't allow to happen.

( We can all scream, "Go, team Monica!" now.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bringing Order in my Chaos

With a load of shattered dreams in my head, I needed to prod the left hemisphere of my brain to work and come up with the closest-to-brilliant-first-birthday-invitation-I-could-whip-up for my niece.

At least now I am too busy to sulk. Well, my eyes and fingers are.

I have somehow been the invitation-maker of the family. We all have to put my years of working at a greeting card company to use. So from my sister’s wedding invites to her baby’s baptism’s invites, I took over the invitation department.

What’s different this time around? I am not using a mouse, let alone a stylus. I am reduced to a touch pad. (The mouse ate lent me seems busted. It proved to be relatively easier to stretch the fingers of my left hand and hold several keys, including the counterpart of a mouse’s left click all at once while my other hand scrolls around the pad.)

What else? I am supposed to pull things off using Adobe Photoshop alone. I badly need Illustrator for some tricks. So I downloaded a trial version of Illustrator. I got the most recent variety (CS3). I ended up sort-of flabbergasted at the new environment. I could only ogle at the new interface. Thanks to Kate, I found out how to go about Photoshop. At least may bago akong natutunan. And I did the invitation with Photoshop alone.

For a change, I didn’t apply anywhere today. I just did the first option for Yzee’s invitation. (I shall not post it just yet because it might spoil the suspense. I wouldn't want to blow Ate's surprise.) I hope to come up with a better one tomorrow.

Just in case today’s order doesn’t pass.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Brighter Side of Life

Para kaming nalugi ng Ate ko nang isnabin kami ng kababaihan ng immigration dito kahapon. Nag-“taho” pa naman kami! Actually, hindi naman sila nagtaray or anything. It’s just that hinarang nila ang aming supposed appeal, even before we were given the chance to explain. Hindi man lang kami inisyuhan ng number sa queue para naman makachika man lang namin ang officers.

Therefore, ano pa nga ba ang magagawa ko kung hindi umuwi, earlier than the day I originally prepared myself to go home.

Nakakapanghina lang yung mga implikasyon ng pangyayaring ito. Si Ate naman nagawa pang mag-moment, “Paano na yan? Wala ka sa birthday ni Yzee. Wala na akong partner in crime.”

Guho ang mga pangarap. (What’s new? E tema naman ng buhay ko yan. Konti na lang sanay na ako.)

“Bakit ka natatawa?” tinanong tuloy ako ni Ate.

“E kesa naman umiyak ako.” Pero sa totoo, mahirap matawa noong mga sandaling yon. Actually even until now. “Brighter side of life tayo. You’re not helping.”

Talaga namang hindi ko kayang kontrolin and universe na napapansin kong talaga namang type na type akong i-crush. Masaya ba? Masaya bang i-mock ako at ang mga attempt kong i-prove ang sarili ko? Sana kung hindi ako favorite ng universe, wag naman niya akong pag-initan. Please lang.

Pero brighter side tayo, di ba? I would hate to give the universe the pleasure of seeing me wallow in my most recent failure (I’m doing away with the “misadventure” euphemism.) kaya heto’t hahalukayin ko ang beauty of the situation.

1. Uuwi na ako! Yey. Makakanood na ako ulit ng mas maraming GMA shows at real time na ang Project Runaway Philippines. (Di ko na pagtatyagaan ang puny screen ng Youtube—pixelized kasi pag full-screen.) Makakapag-Megamall na ako ulit. (How jologs am I?) Sa Pilipinas na ako ulit magpapaka-taong grasa.

2. Yung mga nagsabing mamimiss nila ako at sinabihan kong mamimiss ko sila, well magkakasama na naman tayo sa isang island kaya forget na ang miss-miss.

3. I’ll be home for Christmas. Hindi ko mamiss ang Pasko sa Pinas! Wala lang nga akong pera pero madali namang magsabi ng, “patawad” sa mga nangangaroling.

4. In line with #4, pwede ako ulit makigulo sa Christmas party ng mga bata sa PCMC. Mga ilang days pa lang ako dito, napanaginipan ko ba naman na Christmas party na daw ng mga kids tapos hindi ako prepared in anyway. Nyak!

5. Nakabakasyon ako ng 90 days. Para sa isang katulad ko, chance of a lifetime na ito. Yes, matapos kong mamatayan ng kapatid, mabugbog sa semi-depression, mag-voluntary subsob sa tatlong trabaho, at hikain na nga sa stress, nakarelaks din. Syempre sa kaka-relaks, tumaba ako. What do you expect the 90 days will do to me?

6. Nakapasyal naman ako. Sa Singapore pa! Dami ko ring napuntahan at kayang puntahan nang mag-isa. Ang dami ko ring bagong nakain. (Salamat sa aking mga sponsors!) Wala akong sangkatutak na picture at nabili pero oks lang. At least pag-uwi ko, hindi ako masasabihan ng, “anong ginawa mo doon, nagpa-peek-tyur?” (hehehe.)

7. Narealize ko na, shet, gusto ko talagang magtrabaho. Hindi ako tambay material. At nahasa na ako sa pag-aapply at pag-iinterview. Unfortunately, hindi mabenta ang beauty ko dito. So shet ulit. (Pardon the profanity.)

8. Naalala ko na ang mga “chocolate” ko. Since clean slate ako, pwede ko nang i-pursue ulit ang mga dati ko nang gustong gawin. (Wag lang ako uunahan ng universe sa mga targets ko. Shet sya.) At pwede ko nang gawan ng paraan ang pagsikat ko sa Pilipinas. (Wiiish ko laangg!)

9. Hindi man ako matuloy maging emcee sa first birthday ng pamangkin ko at di man ako makapag-juggle, among other things (top secret kasi ang pakulo), nakalaro ko naman siya for three months. Oks na yon. Tapos, pwede ko pang asikasuhin ang iba pa niyang birthday gimiks sa Pinas para ipadala dito.

10. Sasakay ako ulit ng airplane. Ang saya. Talaga.

Sabi ng utol ko, dapat daw sinigaw ko sa immigration, "I did not kill anybody!!!" Ay di kaya sa Changi Prison din ang bagsak ko kung nag-amok ako? Wag lang akong matuluyang ma-Flor Contemplacion. Que horor!

By the way, hindi ko na rin pala kering mag-tour guide sa utol ko na yon dito. Another shet. Looking forward pa naman ako sa possible wacky pictures namin. And here I was pondering na hindi ko man lang sya malilibre dito dahil nga ala pa rin akong work. Yun pala di talaga kami makakapasyal dito together. Hopefully, makatambay pa rin kami ng matagal sa Pinas together. Kami at si Migs. In fairness, na miss ko ang aming occasional slacking sa isang kwarto. Buhay na wala lang pero, given the situation, ay masaya na rin.

Medyo surreal ang pangyayari at ang aking sort of defeat. Kahit ako, kinailangang mag-pause at sabihin ang madalas sabihin sa channel 2, "Verum est: Totoo ba ito?"

So ito ang first of five stages. Ang denial wrapped with a sweet dose of bitterness.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Be Careful what you Pray for

Last night I clasped my hands and prayed, harder than I normally do.

I prayed for my immediate future, for things to be clearer to me, for things to work the way they should be. I prayed that I be saved from limbo, from the anticipation of things to come, if indeed they will come.

I pleaded for things to work out. I enumerated my intentions and explained that they are good, so I really would very much appreciate it if things worked out they way they are expected to, given the situation.

I prayed for a sign. A sign for a promising future. One that will be in harmony with my intentions.

Today I got my answer. My in-your-face-answer.

I have been somewhat absolved from limbo, but not the way I hoped to be. Things are clearer and are probably going the way they should be. Not necessarily the way I pictured them, but what can I do?

I prayed a lot of things last night. But I forgot to pray for one thing. I didn’t ask to be granted sufficient courage to accept the answers to the prayers I prayed for.

Quite frankly, I wasn’t ready for this.

I could have used the 20 more days I tried asking for.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I’ve Been to Paradise but I’ve Never Been to Mint

This afternoon, I tagged along Ate Win at her search for party paraphernalia for little Yzee’s coming first birthday.

We went to a place called Bras Basah Complex. You get to it by alighting at the City Hall MRT station, then by walking away from Raffles City—that is, facing the SMRT Headquarters and with Raffles City behind you, head to your right. That will be North Bridge road. Walk past Chjimes and the Raffles Hotel. You are then soon to spot Bras Basah Complex, a building that resembles the old Greenhills, only this has a Chinese theme.

Bras Basah Complex houses at least three arts and crafts stores which are more of paradise to me. Sure their prices are way expensive compared to ours but they sell several thingamajigs, not found in our country, the kind that brings arts and crafts supplies junkies, like myself, to a high.

Outside Bras Basah Complex there is a sign that points to Mint Museum of Toys. I wasn’t able to go there. It wasn’t in the day’s itinerary.


Actually, Bras Basah Complex was good enough for me. I would have liked to buy myself something from there but it wasn’t in my budget.

Stand Up to Cancer

“This is where the end of Cancer Begins.”



I cannot help but feel nostalgic over this PSA (Public Service Announcement) that had been playing at the Entertainment Channel. When I woke up today, I was able to catch the latter part of the Stand up to Cancer fundraiser show. I felt just as nostalgic. It isn’t difficult to understand why.

The first death in the family I was ever aware of was the death of my dad’s nanay. She had cancer. I think it’s the same one Former President, Cory Aquino, has, colon cancer. Nanay Isay was 78 years old when she died.

The most recent death I had to deal with can also be blamed on cancer. Cancer of the blood. Leukemia. My brother, the victim, the casualty, was only 13.

Cancer shows no mercy. It isn’t exclusive to old, worn-out bodies. It doesn’t claim only those who are devoid of zest for life.

Is cancer nature’s way of eliminating people to make sure we don’t overcrowd our planet? That I would not know.

But I know this, it sucks to lose someone over cancer. I especially hate feeling powerless, not being able to save the one you love from the frigging tortures of cancer. But things happen, even if we’d rather that they don’t.

The crusade to fight cancer, one similar to Stand up for Cancer, is somehow our chance to get back at cancer. To give justice to our loved-ones who lost their lives because of it. To make sure no one we know will have to suffer the same way they did.

I’m glad celebrities are using their fame for causes like this. It makes their pretty faces and glistening smiles worth something bigger and better.

I can’t do much from where I am right now. But I am, in my own way, standing up.

Because this just might be the where the end of cancer begins.

I'm all for that. (To hell with I am Legend's premise!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Have Two Zits

The left and the right.

The first one rests in between my eyebrows, just at the top part of my nose bridge. The one to its right hides behind the right nose pad of my eyeglasses.

I hate zits! They don’t look nice and they hurt, especially if you scratch them by mistake.

Some people seem to be zit-free all their life. They’re lucky! Not everyone gets to have a pristine face.

Zits visit my face every once in a while, by two’s or three’s or was there a set of four? They especially like my nose—the tip of my nose to make me look like a witch or the parts touched by my eyeglasses—nose bridge and temples. I think my eyeglasses sometimes irritate my skin.

One time, I got this humongous zit. I knew it would distract my students if I would stand in front of them when a red circle is screaming on my face. I opted to forgo my contacts and wear my eyeglasses instead. That way, I had a valid excuse to cover my zit.

One student asked, “Miss, why are you wearing eyeglasses?”

I wanted to reply, “All the better to see you with.”

But I restrained myself. It must have been the zit talking.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So what’s for breakfast?

Half a glass of coffee-flavored milk—to wake up my sleepy brain without messing up with my heart nor my stomach, a slice of chocolate cake—to make me smile, and, my constant companion, The Straits Times Classified Ads—to hopefully land me a decent job.




Some comments on The Straits Times:


Their sheets are more colorful than ours. The publishers of this paper invest on more of their pages than we usually do back home. Well, they should. After all, each issue costs S$ 0.80 (Php 27.00). If there’s anything, their Saturday issue, the one with a thousand job openings and ads, may well weigh up to one pound if not heavier. You’d think that by now they're using special ink, one that doesn’t stain the hands as much as our papers do, but apparently they remained traditionally messy in that aspect.

However, the articles found in The Straits Times are not as pressing as those found in our papers but we cannot blame them. This country is so peaceful, nothing seems to happen. International news even outnumber the local ones. Kind of makes you appreciate the action-packed daily dose of news we get in the Philippines, huh? And don’t even get me started on their showbiz chikka—that is, if there is a showbiz bit for the day to begin with.

Reading the paper here makes one realize how laid back this country is, how pampered their citizens are (recurrent news often cover the issue on baby bonus and other means to encourage child-bearing among citizens—nauubos na yata ang lahi nila!), how hooked on technology locals can be (the ads and techie news say it all), and how health-conscious people around here are. Compared with the contents of our broadsheets, theirs seem Zen.

Turn to the opinions page and you'll see that although their writers go critical about political and social issues, their voices seem to always sound safe. There may be two reasons for this: one, press freedom around here is not as lax as ours and, two, there is not much reason to fume about the indiscretions of their government. There really is no need to rant. Our Pinoy columnists should feel blessed because most likely, they wouldn’t run out of intellectually stimulating topics to analyze, criticize, attack or lecture on.

But then, The Straits Times ought to do better at their editing. I mean, hey, I wasn’t happy reading the word “Filippino” the first time; it had to happen again. Occasional typographical errors are distracting, even for a non-grammar Nazi. The Philippine Daily Inquirer Classifieds and Obituaries section presents more perfect pages. (Eherm!) Maybe The Straits Times should hire more efficient proofreaders. I don’t know, me perhaps?

Haha.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My God, I’m Everywhere!

I was walking along Orchard Road where certain streets are closed because of on-going construction. I could not help but mutter to myself, “What’s wrong with this country? Why is it perennially under construction?” When I looked up, I almost peed on my pants out of shock. I saw this:



“What the f***!? Who leaked my photo and what is it doing there???”

* * *

It’s the same feeling I got when a close friend of mine texted me to tell me to check out the latest cover of Vogue.



Needless to say, I was blown away.

* * *

It’s not like having my face published is very slim. A few years ago, my family were astonished to discover that my brothers made it to the cover of a newspaper in Minnesota.



The publishers must have thought that the involvement of such young minds to politics is a milestone to human kind.

* * *

Meanwhile, on a street in London, this picture came out:




I heard that they were celebrating Bridesmaids' day.

* * *

At another part of the globe, a tarpaulin with my siblings and I are being put down.



I guess, our faces have served their purpose.

* * *

In one different street, though, my solo posters are starting to wither.



But I assure everyone that Oblation’s influence on me is more than intact.

* * *

On the other hand, my Intramurous billboard with my friends is going strong in one almost deserted road I'd rather not name.



* * *

Then there’s the other one at the subway.



Just like the Intramuros billboard, this one’s supposed to promote Philippine tourism among the younger crowd.

* * *

I can still remember the prank pulled by this dude years ago wherein he posted an almost life-sized tarpaulin of me and the rest of the stage managers for a play.



* * *

After everything, I am still not too psyched at the thought that my face is everywhere. I was pretty much panicking when I lost an envelope of freshly-printed photos of me. A source told me that the lost pictures were seen in the hands of a man who was drinking in a bar.



Perhaps after seeing my pictures, the man thought he was thirsty, too!

* * *

I didn’t mind, however, the photo of my family which was put up in a mall. I don’t think anyone will recognize me in that shot, anyway.



* * *

The same goes with an office picture which became part of a recent contemporary art exhibit.



It’s not like, in a normal day, I'd look like the way I looked in photo above.

* * *

I should stop this now. Or else I’ll being seeing me so much, I’d overdose myself.



* * *

So here is the punchline: Charing!

If you believed any of my stories above, well then you are crazier than I am. Somehow, that will be comforting to know!

Today’s venture is a product of sheer boredom and the addicting PhotoFunia phenomenon. You should try it. It’s fun.

For posterity’s sake, I made this one for my late brother/star, Nichi: