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Bisaya Bloggers » a day in the life

Jan 31 2008

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Well, hate it. But life’s fleeting. The first white hair in like eons and a few inches there. Jeez, hepi berfdey to me. Meanwhile, the life train chug-chugs, signaling for the next station. Gotta get on it.

Jan 05 2008

It’s a shitty, fcuked up world after all.

1 hour and 14 minutes says the timer of my computer in this thriving internet cafe in our kanto. I’m in this renovated expanded room of theirs secluded from the gaming room which noise has been increasingly intolerable. Thank God for the improvement, it certainly fits well with the New Year.

Shit, it is 2008! This has got to be one of the most boring Saturdays in my entire life, not that I take note of all those gloomy Saturdays. Or maybe because I just feel like shit today and I wanted to do something else than stare at the crumbling ceiling of ours that I swear would crush us any moment all the people in the upstairs rooms stomp their feet all together. (Wait, it is really 2008, right?) I wasn’t intending to write an entry and since the last time I wrote and kept on returning to my home page and seeing it like that, surprisingly, I didn’t give a fuck whether I get back to writing. Which is seriously pathetic. And sick. Whatever happened to the therapeutic claims.

I was watching Season 1 episodes of Six Feet Under this morning, and fuck, what a slap of reality in my tiresome feeling-identification game. It was Nate who nailed it. After failing the funeral services licensure exam, Nate, the eldest of the Fishers, wails that he doesn’t know what to do with his life anymore, that he isn’t sure whether going back to take care of the business his father left them was really right. I am not 100 percent sure whether I’m in that uncertainty stage because I am not sure whether I don’t really have the choices or that I am just trying to act stupid and chickenshit by not opening myself to these choices. Hell, they’re even fucking impossible when I come to think of it. But what the heck, the choices aren’t the problem, it’s the chooser. Now, fucking choose or stay miserable and feel shitty as you always did.

This isn’t a perfect world and we got to live with that and we got to live with the fact that we have to keep reminding ourselves of that, but like the short-time mortician of the Fishers who shortly replaced talented Federico, in describing the Fisher home, «this is depressing». Here’s to 365 days of attempt at direction, fulfillment, patience, dedication, perseverance, persistence and happiness.

Jeez, Happy New Year to you.

Dec 13 2007

WTF?!?! [PAL version]

If this was charged to experience, I paid bucks.

The plane back to Davao was huge. I’m sure I have not ridden anything like it. Not once. 40K, there goes my seat. Wow, I thought, this is a huge aircraft.

I got hold of Jonathan Safran Foer and read away. This is going to be a great flight. I’m sure it would be cloudy, which is always a sight I like to behold. The safety instructions card indicates the plane is Boeing 747. I felt weirded out.

Fifteen minutes or so after, the pilot apologizes for the delay of the departure. He said they’re still waiting for some passengers. Stupid, I thought, thinking about the late passengers and the discomfiture they’re causing to the early birds.

No wait. I’m dead sure it was just about 4pm. How come they’re late. The plane should leave 430, it’s still 30 minutes early. Ok, I think they’re just trying to be cute. Are there VVIPs in the aircraft?

I read. More minutes ticked.

Another announcement from the pilot. He says with finality that really, this is the final boarding on the flight to Mactan International Airport Cebu. Hahaha, the pilot’s got to be kidding, right. Is he drunk? It’s a bad joke, come to think of it.

I laughed in my mind. Imagine, if I landed in Cebu, I would finally see Aina and Roan. But then I can’t text them because my bat is empty.

«Sir, excuse me, tama ho ba yung narinig ko? Mactan, Cebu ho itong flight na ‘to?» I asked feeling like an idiot, but asked anyway.

«Sa’n ka pala?» «Davao, ho.» «Naku, pa-Cebu ito.» The man sitted next to the empty chair beside me frantically called the attention of the steward.

«May naiwan dito, Davao daw flight niya, baka maiwan ng flight ‘to.»What the fuck. This isn’t happening.

«Sir, dali po kayo baka maiwan na talaga kayo, sunod po kayo sa’kin,»

the steward, trying to be concerned. I tried my best to explain that I entered the correct gate. The plane switched gates. I didn’t know. Perhaps I was still outside, had they made an announcement. But what the fuck, I tried to calm myself because I was goddamn sure it wasn’t my fault.

«Naku Sir, kakalipad lang ho nito,» the pretty stewardess said, in a voice, which I thought was trying to mock me and my stupidity. The other steward said, «Sir, baba na lang po kayo sa runway, baka tinatawag na po yung pangalan niyo.» This is an aircraft full of fucking jokers.

Is he serious? Now he is really embarassing me. I didn’t have lunch and breakfast was eons ago and I swear I could’ve passed out at that moment. I felt dizzy but I ran like I’ve never ran before. I can see a plane closing its doors and the tube slowly pulling away. Could it be it? Am I doomed? Am I stuck in this jungle full of demeaning looks?

It was not. I am saved. It’s a good thing I don’t like to sleep in airplanes.

Nov 12 2007

Direct me if I’m wrong.

Participating in a film directing workshop (The Mindanao Film Directing Workshop) with the enfant terrible of the Philippine independent cinema Nick Deocampo, will probably be one of the most important highlights of my self-absorbed cinephilia. He called me to give a brief background of Stephen Frears’ The Queen (I raised my hand when he asked who saw the film thinking that a lot would have seen it. I was the only one who showed hand) and told me to analyze the dialectics of the poster. I felt my knees weaken.

This was already last month, and since the outpouring of events that ensued after it was so overwhelming, here it is.

I still don’t have words, though. Mr. Deocampo is amazing. And his Nora Aunor histrionics are beyond compare. Perhaps I can film it. Soon.

Mr. Nick and his tummy. That tiebox hanging in the middle is a makeshift frame constructed to stage a scene.

Ibang leveling na photography ni Mark Limbaga (hehehe). Thanks sa photos, Mark. Nick is supposed to be playing Cherie Gil here and that iced tea should be splattered in her famous one-liner.

Oct 30 2007

The bus ride was a bitch for the godfather.

I left for Malaybalay, Bukidnon early morning of Sunday as I promised to my former colleague that I’ll be the ninong of her firstborn son, Leobert John. I was excited of course because it would mean seeing the marvelous landscape of Bukidnon after almost a year of not passing through the Davao-Bukidnon-Cagayan route.

I woke up at 5am with the hope that I’ll be able to catch a non-stop aircon bus that would just take about 4 hours. There was no non-stop aircon until 10 am so I have to make do with the estimated 5 hours ETA with 4 stops. The sky was overcast and it rained. It rained so hard the moment the bus left but I didn’t gripe on it. What really flared me up to point I almost jammed the horn was because the driver and ticket dispatcher/collector didn’t come back until an hour after the ETD. They probably played tong-its or fucked each other twice in the filthy CR or god-knows-wherever.

I missed riding the bus actually so I was looking forward to it despite the 2-hour delay that I thought I will cause during the whole christening proceeding. Good thing the mass was late. I saw the San Isidro church of Malaybalay about twice but I never really got in. Inside it was a sight to behold. Just like the churches in Butuan, Agusan and Dapitan, it feels ancient and golden. Bukidnon also has the Transfiguration Church situated amidst the vast plains and mountain ranges. I wish I had a camera and I wished it wasn’t raining. I didn’t capture its architecture from the outside which resembles a massive black pyramid from the outside.

So the priest got on with the head-rinsing ritual and the whole rhetoric of godfather responsibilities. It suddenly occured to me that it was the first time I sat through a whole baptism considering that I am already ninong to about 4 children, all from high school classmates.

I ate like a pig or rather I ate the pig — lechon that is. I did not have breakfast during the entire bus ride which was made excruciatingly long by people who seem to think they own the fucking bus by staying in the CR for too long, marauding the market and not buying anything, marauding some more before finally deciding to go back while the rest of the passengers are clutching their bags hoping to give them a beating.

Night was cold in Malaybalay which was great — one thing I love about the place. When you walk at daytime, you know ultraviolet rays are penetrating your skin but you don’t feel jumping into a tub of ice water because of heat. While listening to the crickets, I decided that I would not pass up the chance to bask in the spring water resort the next morning to travel another hellish 5 hours just to get my index finger inked and vote unknown people in the barangay elections.

Oct 30 2007

hiatus

Jeezers. I can’t even remember the last time I posted. It must’ve been almost a month. Work really gets in the way with blogging. Tsk. Tsk. He. He. I feel that the stress has siphoned the thoughts that I have piled up since a lot of major things have transpired. But yes, I’m still thinking. I think I need to dilute the void I have created in this space and make way for some sinking in. Whatever that is.

Sep 28 2007

Traysibot diaries

While I have previously indicated my delight over riding on an empty or even a near-empty jeepney, I have sometimes come to detest riding a tricycle (in Davao we usually refer to it as traysibot), another ingenious Pinoy mode of transportation that have earned some notoriety in the daily hurly-burly of Juan dela Cruz. Undoubtedly, it has created its special niche (along with the jeepney) in contemporary Pinoy pop culture. Few months ago, news reported a road accident in Manila involving a tricycle which crossed a highway.

The common picture we have of a tricycle is usually the one which has the motorcycle in the middle with two wheels on both sides of the attached part (which I think is quite illogical because then you would have four wheels and thus it should be called quadri-cycle). However, the attached part of a traysibot, or in the layman Pinoy machinist’s term is called the sidecar, only needs one wheel to be completely mounted.

My trips to some Mindanao cities have also introduced me to some charming versions of the tricycle. In Cagayan de Oro, it’s motorela (sounds like the mobile phone brand). While I’ve seen motorelas in limited routes in CDO, the tricycles in Butuan and Zamboanga graze the city streets like the jeepney and they

look pretty much the same in assembly . In Butuan, however, you can easily identify them because they’re all colored orange and they have humongous ID numbers painted in black.

In Davao, traysibots are common in subdivisions, villages or housing compounds because the size allow them to navigate the narrow streets. However, they are prohibited in highways because aside from the added congestion the whole anatomy of the poor thing can become an eyesore especially if metal parts are already rusting and clunking and it looks like an overblown version of a dilapidated toy tarak-tarak. Riding in the traysibot is another hell of an experience. The motor, depending on its age can really test the ultimate decibel levels, so answering your phone or talking to your traysibot-mate is close to impossible. And depending on the age of the entire thing, the moment you step off, you have your insides all shaken up.

But despite the occasional unpleasant experience, every nuance of the tricycle or traysibot experience is truly and distinctly Filipino.

I actually own one now. Not really own because it’s still a liability. I practically loaned the whole thing. I got the motorcycle for a 5,000++ downpayment with no hassles of registration because they the company took charge of it. When interviewed by the agent, you’re supposedly to tell every reason why you’re going to purchase one except use it for business like jamming up a sidecar and make it a traysibot.

So I lied. And perhaps I believe it’s a known secret that just gets passed off as a perfunctory response. Which explains why a lot of people consider it as an easy way to earn fast daily income. Something that pays my siblings’ daily meager allowance. Something to buy a kilo of rice for or a bundle of firewood for cooking.The motorcycle is not really for my own use because I’ve never driven anything in my life. I still have some phobia left from falling off twice while riding and getting whacked by a coconut palm because I didn’t wear a helmet.So this whole traysibot business is up, but it hasn’t been running for the past days because there were no available drivers (who usually thrive on boundaries) who are usually just our neighbors.

Given that it’s really mine, I think I have to start learning to own the thing. This might be the career path that has unconsciously eluded me. O, sakay namo!

Sep 17 2007

First Day High

Jeez. The first-day jitters. I just have to blog this because it’s historical. Well at least for silly me. As if to throw a big welcome bash for me, almost the entire Mindanao was debilitated with power. Something wrong with the power grid or transmission line in Bukidnon. Great. It’s as if I sucked out all the energy into my own vacuum.

«Guys, this is Jay, our new (enter sounds of computers shutting down and generator buzzing).»

«Uh, hi.»

Sep 15 2007

A bureaucratic week

The past week I’ve literally jostled myself from different points in the city, or at least in the downtown area. Name every clearance one has to accomplish in transferring work, I labored through all of it. Perhaps I’m yakking because I never went through this bureaucratic shit when I applied for the job which I just left yesterday.

I never had the patience queueing up. When I got to the NBI processing center in one of the malls (this is first thing when the mall opened), people just attacked the information guy like he was Dao Meng Su. Uh-oh, I said to myself I’m never gonna bust myself through this so I went to process another one of the clearances.

This is also the first time I subjected myself to a medical clearance. Just when I thought that life can’t get anymore shittier than mine, I realize that some people go through shit everyday of their life. And I mean a lot of shit. Some soft in consistency.

Aug 31 2007

The Staple Wire Allegory

My work requires a lot of staple wires. I wish I could just plaster them into the mouths of those who I want to shut up but all I can manage is to stack the removed ones from copious papers into a makeshift container from a transparent sign pen case. I have carefully gathered them in such a way that the wires make up half of the container. The other half is filled with paper clips.

I can remember the first time I decided to make a big deal of stacking it up just for the heck of it. Kidding, I told myself that if I am able to fill up half of the rectangular case, I would decide to get married and have kids. The container is now filled to its brim but it can still accommodate more staple wires. I find it cute everytime I pull up a few wires and the whole thing clings on it like falling people off a cliff. It’s like a magnet with no magnetic force. I thought of it as just a mere kiddy diversion. The kind of thing I find wonder and amazement despite its utter lack of sensibility and point. Kind of Wes Bentley in American Beauty filming an empty cellophane or paper bag being blown away by wind because he is just filled with wonder. And nobody knew where he’s getting at and nobody gave a fuck.

Today is supposed to be my last day in the office. August 31 is the date I set in my resignation lettter. They say I can extend for a few days to a week, but that’s not the point. Struck with that eccentric sudden blow of amazement, I now realize what the filling up of staple wires mean. I now know what those staple wires are. It’s weird but I know everybody does not get that kind of epiphany everyday. From a bunch of stacked-up staple wires at that. Crazy town here I come.

Aug 20 2007

Shock-style

Lemme start by giving words of wisdom from the proverbial spam messages, which as the frequency suggests, spammers get a lot of friggin money out of pestering people with out of this world sexed up phrases. Here’s one from someone named Jewel M. Wesley: When I tried to give him oral sex, I practically choked. How do I do it without gagging? Please help! It’s a valid question indeed (even underscored by the urgency of its las two words) but by golly, did it freaked the bejesus out of my sober and boring day. There goes your daily dose of comic relief Jay.

So anyway, I wanted to tell you about the Sukang Pinakurat which I’ve been gobbling (no, not in that kind of amount) these past days. I’m so obsessed with it that I practically smother every piece of food I intake with it piniritong isda, beef loaf, even tinapa, which I rid out of the sauce, and even scrambled egg just this morning. (No, this is not how it looks like but definitely by the looks of it, you know already how the searing spice would feel in your palate.) Forget the treadmill, this is the only exercise which can make you lose copious amount of sweat just by sitting and gobbling up food. Thanks to Mr. Reinardon, proprietor of the original sukang pinakurat in Iligan, who guested as one of the speakers in our recently concluded 6th Mindanao Food Congress. And while it is a food congress, the event doesn’t have much edible food and cooking sessions to beat also. It’s more agriculture-focused and food as a product of agriculture. Because I was assigned as the program manager, I haven’t had the chance to go around the exhibit for some food samples.

Mr. Reinardon generously distributed bottles sukang pinakurat to the audience and us (promotions of course) during the last day. And yes, the concoction of powdered and sliced chili in vinegar is way better than digesting the opening and closing keynote speeches of Senator Angara and DA Secretary Yap.

Aug 06 2007

A ratty encounter: Tales from this Godforsaken Whatever

Sunday has become the day of introspection for me, not that it’s something OC-ly calendared on a friggin’ monthly or weekly planner because that would be ridiculous. While I’m not a church-goer and family days are things of the past from the point of view of the impoverished, I always find myself unwillingly immersed in this so-called introspection or even just mere thought-gallivanting when I do my laundry (read: handwashing). Of course, it’s not something that’s done on purpose because really now that would be totally outrageous. The dormancy and the surrounding dead air is the perfect atmosphere for plunging into a state of wanton thinking — just that, when I get tired of watching tricycles, vendors of fish, mais, ice cream (the dirty and the seemingly unlucrative retail vendors of known brands) and nonsense stuff like five-peso destructible toys, or when fantasizing about Aubrey Miles in several postitions in three different episodes of Xerex feels like an overplayed CD.

Last Sunday was kind of gloomy and I had the feeling that it will take another day for the clothes to dry out. It was muddy everywhere and the cemented part of the very small frontyard was just as filthy. I was alone since none of our neighbor co-renters did their washing that day. While I was doing my thing, a large rat snuck out of the largest pipe that lead to the canal and made its way near the faucet opposite me. The rat, which was now nibbling leftover rice grains thrown out of dishwashing and running directionless in the pool of murky water, was about three normal steps away from me. I cringed but not of fear and usual repugnance to this filthy rodents (aside from cockroaches) but in a serious moment of obervation. I could’ve easily brushed my hand off to shoo the rodent away, the size equalled to that of the kitten we used to nurse (that thanks to our retarded neighbor who whacked it to death is now rotting in the dark recesses of the sewers).

I watched the rat like it was some kind of episode on Discovery channel about house pests and their eating behaviors, my hands now rested on my knees like the observer that I am. And then it stopped and looked at me with those little black vermin eyes as if to say «so what now»? And then I remembered that film Willard, about a loner who develops a twisted friendship with rodents. Then the rodent-infested thought was replaced by the face of Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello in The Departed when he was mimicking a rat like he was born to do it. After the rat returned to the pipehole and vanished from my sight, I was trying to put the encounter into some metaphysical level (wtf???) like it was some kind of premonition or an omen. Oh, now I get it. The vermin was trying to say na mahirap pa ako sa daga, and that it was just his lucky day because he had a meal without being shooed by a human being (who happens to have Zemmiphobia), which could impress to him that their species have attained a .00001 niche upgrade in terms of dominating a much higher-ranking species. Oh, jeez wtf.

Jul 30 2007

The Boss

I picked up the phone after three missed calls. It was unregistered and I have an immediate withdrawal syndrome for unnamed callers. When I answered an enigmatic hello, the guy from the other line shouted «Bossing!«, a Tagalog derivative of boss or someone who usually leads and dominates the pack. It was Angelo, one of my high school classmates. I should’ve guessed it. The spur-of-moment semi-reunion was actually happening in real time and that I should be there. I’m the bossing anyway, despite the fact that I cannot shell out 43 pesos for the taxi and would have to text Frances, another close classmate of mine who promised to pay the fare, to save my face.

(Diversion: The realities of an overworked low-wage-earner loser is a case that should be documented already by Amnesty International. Imagine the psychological effects of seclusion and deprivation of proletariat ramblers like me due to perforated-pocket syndrome. Double whammy. I bet there are bazillions of undocumented (unsung, in a rather ‘lyrical’ melodramatic sense) out there that could rival the ever-increasing statistics of political prisoners and media slayings.)

Trying to dislodge the bossing irony, while sipping a pretentious mocha-on-the-rocks surrounded by noisy class A people and faux pas bourgeoise, I am again transported to that memory in high school, where the bossing etymology is rooted.

I was the only male cadet officer during the fourth year PMT heydays when commando-crawling in both rocky and muddy grounds and eating lamaw-like buffet gives a stupid adrenaline rush. Sir Sonny, our beloved commandant was not around during our pointless training month, and was replaced by the dominatrix Sir Emilia (his alternate name). If clinching the credits to sustain the honors thus the scholarship was not in question, I could easily have quit along with five of my guy classmates who shared to me they just couldn’t stomach the pointless stupid training with the bitch. The other five called themselves «the quitters» and emerging as Alpha Co. Commander and only thorn among the brave roses, I was tagged their bossing.

It would have been a different ball game had I quit, had I proven a different point, had I disappointed expectations. My reasons may not have been as valid but later gaining the respect and confidence of the rest of the guys is priceless even if I had endured burnt arms in the searing pavement and the nauseating, puke-inducing stench while submerged in the canal. Gawd, I really could have done away with it, no? Oh, fuckit.

Jul 11 2007

Washday Sunday: Tales from this Godforsaken Whatever

There is never a week that I don’t get my hands chemically-burned by commercial detergents. I’ve tried different variants of different brands but I end up with sore fingers, which usually takes about five days for the blisters to dry up. The stingy feel, especially when run by and soaked in water, lasts for about a day.

When life was still easy and little bit convenient, we had the washing machine. Every middle class family probably owns this piece of appliance that I think is semi-useless save perhaps for the all-too-good promise of convenience and the economic inevitability of purchasing power brought about by the occasional increase in income. Some who can afford to have manang labandera doing the laundry for them, choose to have the dependable hands of humanity rather than the regurgitating wheel that spins and loops your clothes.

So while I still bask in the far-off reality of a laundromat in some big-shot city like NYC, Indian-sitting with a book in hand and an iPod in my ears, or the perverted thought of a quickie sex with some hot chick atop the frenzied machines on a lazy and gloomy morning, I have to make do with the refuge of the shade on a makeshift small bench on a scorching Sunday morning, with pestering flies like tiny black helicopters hovering over the liquefied suds beside my feet, the doggie stench of Scooby, drifting off to thoughts that would make me forget I’m ruining my precious fingers.

Jul 04 2007

Jaycloptron, activating.

Alter-ego Scott Summers right there, going through serious galactic transformation. Really, wouldn’t it be ultra-cool if Jayclops could morph himself into a sleek blue Chevy Camaro and still emit his trademark optic laser via headlights. Maybe I’m really one of the Bots who’s taking refuge among the stars. I can hear Optimus Prime sending the message via hardcoded undecipherable signals. Pardon my childish meandering, but that some megatronic hangover right there. Transformers really packs some neat shit and explodes in your face that you can’t help but cheer (though discreetly, thanks to the already annoyed lady beside me) like an eight-year old kid and not feel guilty about it. Oh and it’s Sha-ya La-Beau. «I gotcha boy!,» ensures Optimus, with quirky me hanging on to Allspark and dear life. Sweet. So here’s my little eight-year-old take on what I think is the most enjoyable summer blockbies so far.

Jun 25 2007

Expire.

The whole week mentally, emotionally and physically drained me. Let’s just say I’m mapping out a path which I dunno where to begin and what to place. You find time to be with you old chums and bask in noise and perfunctory chatter (even when it was 48 years ago that you last seen each other) and try to forget the mental and emotional rigors elevated by your too much contemplation but you can’t escape the Lost-in-Translation-loneliness-in-a-crowd. It’s that type of thing. Times like these you want to imagine yourself in a tranquil place like Canibad where you can do all the thinking you want. I wish I can just have Hiro’s teleporting capabilities.

Jun 09 2007

The death of Kitty

Coming home the other night, I received a sad news. Kitty was found murdered with assailant still unknown. Kitty, who until her death remained unnamed, was found by my 6- and 4-year old half-brothers in a nearby house about two weeks ago abandoned and whimpering. The curious youngsters that they were, they brought it to our shabby room where it freely gallivanted. Despite its shrill voice especially when it impatiently asks for food, everybody didn’t seem to mind. And then the news. Some sick fuck of a neighbor whacked the poor kitten to death and threw it in the rats-infested canal. My brothers were not to be stopped from wailing. These cruel people should be repeatedly whipped and thrown to the dungeon of lions where the beasts can have a grand time shredding them to pieces.

Jun 06 2007

Viagra invasion

My morning routine of email checking won’t be complete without Viagra, and multitudes of it. Nope, not that there’s really anything orgasmic about checking emails and nope I don’t need it, my pole still stands mightily proud every morning even without my gentle coaxing of it (*evil maniacal laughs*). One of the first things I do when I sit in my chair and begin the day at work is to check my account in our own email server which is also housed in the office. Unlike Yahoo and Gmail which has the ability to filter spam, though not 100%, our MIS cannot figure a way how to stop the influx of these nuisance. Every morning an average of 10 floods my inbox and totalling to another 10 within the day.

Which explains obscene spam subjects like Viagra, or Growing Erection. Or weird ones like Increased Metabolism, Physical Performance, Exquisite Replica, 4ever Young, even Chopard watches. Also, the list wouldn’t be complete without the names of fuckin’ people who probably don’t even exist. This morning really did it. From: Fuck Hard, Subject: Oral Medications. Jeezers.

May 28 2007

A series of unfortunate events.

There is really a dire need to bathe this friggin’ office with holy water. Exorcise its demons whatever. For this month alone, two of my colleagues have already been hospitalized. Last Saturday was the burial of another colleague’s father, who also spent an excruciating week in the hospital. Later that afternoon, we got a text from the sister of another colleague who was currently in the emergency room for what possibly might be meningitis or encephalitis. I’m getting a little worried. Help me pray.

May 21 2007

The Substitute Boyfriend

Last Friday, my colleague wanted her hair dyed. Since her boyfriend was in Manila, she BEGGED me to come along with her with a coffee in exchange for my precious companionship. While waiting for a ride to the salon, I was singing Greenday’s Basket Case. Because it seemed forever to wait for the ride, and because it proved to be fun as well, we did different versions of Basket Case — from operatic to heavy metal. It didn’t stop there; and the taxi driver turned up the volume of his stereo.

Seemed like I wasn’t done with the waiting. If it weren’t for a book and some magazines, the smell of hair products could have suffocated me to death. I grabbed this recent UNO magazine which featured Anne Curtis on the cover. As you can see, I’m a big Anne fan. I confess that I went to this mall tour of hers to get a picture of her and all, but just when I was on the verge of rubbing shoulders with her, the bodyguard of sorts carefully pulled her away from the screaming crowd. I could have forgive her saying, «the people here in Davao are really warming!», but that was just a sorry day for me.

So I was leafing through the pages of the magazine, or rather I was repeatedly leafing through her poses and wiping my drool over the glossy pages, when I came across this article on how too much polishing your pole can cause hormonal imbalance (jeezers. Talk about growing breasts soon) and long-term psychological effects of memory loss and constant ‘pagkatulala’. So that’s why I kept misplacing things lately or that I caught myself staring aimlessly at the monitor. Nah, but that couldn’t be. I haven’t even held a boobie, much less suffer the chronic effects of pole-polishing. One attendant incessantly offered me an iced tea and tuna sandwich, which turned out to be free, which explained the exorbitant salon fee. Wait, is it just me or the tuna sandwich smelled fishy. Hehehe. My finger stinks.

May 01 2007

Spidey and the morons.

The most ridiculous thing to happen today, May 1, Labor Day, aside from the low wages and the burgeoning labor conditions (quite a parody that we still consider this day to be something more than a friggin’ holiday), is the fact the almost all cinemas in the metro have been invaded by Peter Parker and his minions, or rather profiteers backlashed the inevitable losers, which when placed side by side with Mr. Spidey, would be lucky enough to draw a single soul. Ok, I get it that people are itching for the third Spidey installment for ages, and that you don’t actually need a survey to measure the excitement because you can feel it pulsate as the showing date nears, but whatever happened to choice? Other than Spider-man 3, the only thing showing in Davao theaters is that lousy pito-pito movie of Renee Summer called Paraiso.

Don’t get me wrong though. I want to watch Spiderman but not with the entire Davao population trooping to every theater possible. I hate the idea of watching a movie with the theater full of fuckin’ noisy people. Besides, I haven’t gone to a single theater for what seemed like ages and practically coz I don’t have anything to shell out for Spidey’s web-slinging shenanigans.

So, see you later superhero.

Apr 25 2007

snippets on a rainy day

Woke up with a head-cracking headache this morning. Colds and fever got the better of me last night. Drugged myself with Neozep, lagundi capsules and vitamin C and slobbered my chest and back with Vicks. Decided my situation will get worse if I stay in bed. The cheerleader contestant outnumbered the other two with the most number of Greek gods named in the final rounds of GKNB. Took a half-bath after. My temples throbbed as if to say that I’m such a stupid smartass. Went to work. Rain drummed the roofs the moment I sat down in my chair. It was friggin hot when I got down the jeep. I am hearing like Al Gore right now lecturing me on climate change.

Worked on the paper I should’ve finished the other day. Forget to fax something to Manila. 5 minutes. Put the headphones on. There’s nothing like Todd Rundgren’s It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference or James Morrisson’s You Give Me Something with the faint drip-drip-drip of raindrops. Feel like my headache’s gone now. Last gulp of tea.

Todd Rundgren | It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference
James Morrisson | You Give Me Something
Lee Ryan | When I Think Of You
Tori Amos | Sleeping with Butterflies
Damien Rice | Cannonball
Dashboard Confessional | Nightswimming
Chris Rice | When Did You Fall
Paolo Nutini | Last Request
Dishwalla | Every Little Thing
Jamie Cullum | All at Sea
Coldplay | A Rush of Blood to the Head
NeYo | Sexy Love
Mike Doughty | Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well

Robin Thicke | Lost Without UAnna Nalick | Breathe

Apr 12 2007

TU

TU as in Tang-ina U!

Now I have a reason not to vote for the staTUs quo that is the Team Unity. You know they have this monstrous tarp which features all the senatoriables in their slate which practically parades their attention-grabbing faces for everybody to ogle at, not to mention make fun of. Was it GMA who said that the polls are going to be machinery vs. popularity? Huh, talk about machinery. Something smells tilapia in here. ‘Hello Garci?’ But that’s stating the obvious.

When I came home from dinner last night, this moronic tarp with the TU bets was hanged just outside our place, in the corner where I usually ride the traysikad on the way to work. We live in this run-down wooden structure in near-collapse with five other families, which is the second lot before this corner, so its very obvious from even a mere peep in the windows. In this corner I’m talking about, they attached the moronic tarp to the two adjacent camachile trees with one-meter wide in distance. Between these two trees is a wooden plank, where I like to sit and do most of my thinking or un-thinking, where I make sense of the nonsense, where I animate inanimate things. Thanks to this moronic tarp which practically made it impossible for me to do that less I look like a decapitated body or a resident lunatic, I have to wait after the stupid polls to sit on that philosophical wooden plank again.

Apr 10 2007

Going back, after 15 yrs.

I was 7 years old the last time I went to Manay, Davao Oriental — the birthplace of my mother. That was when she was still alive.

Last Thursday, at the crack of dawn, the quarter moon and the necklace of stars still hanging in the sky, I trekked the trail towards the still-dark compound of nipa huts of our relatives together with my cousins, aunts and uncles and 2 siblings. We left Davao aboard a run-down rented van at 12 midnight and arrived at a dangerous bend 5 hours later which required us to walk kilometers. The crickets were still noisy and faint lights of gas lamps from the windows of few nipa houses were still lit.

Our visit was a surprise considering that there are no cellphones or that signals won’t reach that part of the area. Kuya Dodot, my uncle who took care of us shortly when we were kids and after Mama died, was the first to meet us on his motorbike while he was on the way up. Although there was no sun and our faces weren’t visible yet, he knew it was me and immediately grabbed my tummy and hugged me as if I was the kid whom he used to carry on his back. We immediately met with Lolo Gabin and Lola Sitang, Mama’s second father and mother, whose faces I don’t even remember the slightest. After our cousin Macky called us their ‘surprise’, lolo and lola stood there speechless and lolo just hugged me and kissed me in the neck as if I was the grandson he’d left on the wharf as he sent me to some unknown place. It was weird and all, being welcomed that way. But it was authentic and an honest feeling of being loved and a sense of belongingness one cannot fully contain at the moment.

Of course we talked about a lot of stuff and we were introduced to some of the other far relatives who came also to pay a visit. It turned out that it was lola’s birthday.

When I was able to make a clear view of everything, I stood outside the newly-built shed and did a 360. The grounds were surrounded by hills and coconut trees were everywhere. There were coco shells and husks piled up on some of the place. I later learned that this is really where they get their livelihood; the common term is copras, a harvesting done every 3 months, according to Kuya Dodong.

Kuya Dodong was one of lolo and lola’s sons. He was also the one who accompanied me all the way while the entire group crossed streams and trekked the mountain trails. I couldn’t even estimate the number of kilometers we hiked but I’m sure we crossed about 5 streams which are actually one but separated only by land masses. There was this waist-deep stream with a strong current that broke our line and send one of us hurling towards the bend.

He pointed one stream which drowned lola, Mama’s original mother. It was sort of scary and all. Then we trekked some more encountering a few more relatives and stepping on cow and horse dung on the way. We climbed a steep and rocky hill and down towards a magnificent waterfall. We found another fall on the lower end as we climbed down. The smaller one is kind of a hidden fall and the place is usually infested by snakes. We were lucky we didn’t encounter one that time.

Coming on a long way back, I didn’t realize I cut myself twice on my right foot. I walked barefoot on some parts where sharp stones and sticks could have done my feet good. While we were talking along the trek, what struck me most though is not the scorching heat of the sun, but by the generosity of Kuya Dodong who has lent me his sturdy slippers, because I kept breaking mine, while his feet endured cuts itself and the heat of big sun-exposed stones, and the simple life that they have managed to get through.

We spent the next day in White Sand Beach, which pretty much explains. I drank a lot of tuba, emperador and Red Horse that day until I puked and bloated myself with ice water to relieve myself moments before we left, past midnight. We had to leave early because the 3-month old baby of my cousin was convulsing with fever.

I later learned from one of my cousins that lola didn’t show up while the rest of use were leaving because she can’t take the sight of it. The last time my cousins were there, she cried and cried. It was a fulfilling to have reconnected with them though we have to leave right away. Upon boarding the van, lolo said how happy he was to have seen us and that he might as well be contended when he died. I chuckled so as to stop him from thinking such, because I definitely would like to come back soon. Perhaps sooner.

Mar 13 2007

I’m such a stoopid effin moron.

After lunch yesterday I was not myself. Actually, I didn’t even have lunch. I threw a fit and walked out of the office because I was pissed at everything. Before the incendiary mood to blaze up the already-searing hellhole I was in, I decided to belt it out somewhere. Perhaps I should go sleep the whole afternoon, I thought. But descending the stairs, I realized I really didn’t know what to do. I should have gone home but since I was getting stupid already, I didn’t.

I looked up my pockets and decided abruptly to spend the extra 100 pesos to catch 300. That left me with 80 pesos until payday. I guess I could just starve myself with my remaining Quaker Oats stored in the office fridge. That wouldn’t be a problem. But for now I have to watch that movie, I thought. I walked in an almost-full theatre (quite surprisingly on a Monday afternoon) and Leonidas was throwing a fit himself (though not as discreetly as I did). 300 is pure savagery and I felt that rage surge up in me that I suddenly want to slay the unsuspecting audience with my own spear and bludgeon them to death with my shield. For a moment there, I was in the midst of the heroic 300 soldiers of the Battle of Thermopylae.

When the lights turned on the man sitting beside me attempted to start a conversation. «Mga macho sad ilang gipanguha no?» (They got buffed-up guys for actors, no?) «Lagi,» I unenthusiastically said. I tilted my head back and covered my eyes pretending to sleep but he could not be stopped. «Grabe kaayo ang away no?» (What a fight, no?) Now I needed that spear. I pretended to sleep and moments after I felt he stood up. Thank God.

Walking out of the theatre, I still felt stupid. That 70 pesos could have gone to my schooling brother and sister, but no, I spend it to vent my unquenchable rage. I wasted it for a ‘dinner in hell’. Riding the jeep home, I said, I’m such a stoopid effin moron. God knows how many times I repeated that line to myself yesterday.

Feb 13 2007

assholes everywhere

We had the MCTAG Forum 2 last Friday with Mareng Winnie Monsod as the keynote speaker. MCTAG, btw, stands for Mindanao Coalition for Transparent Accountable Governance — a project that has been running for almost 12 months and is just waiting for the terminal report for it to officially close (though there is a separate six-month extension for communications planning). I was again the TAG team’s favorite documentor and listening to Mareng Winnie was a blast. I haven’t seen anybody pull out a stunt out of presenting figures and statistics, and if it weren’t for her, I probably dozed off. The side comments crisps, straight out of the pan, piercing, yet brimming with truthfulness and reality.

She spoke about the theme of the forum Retrospects and Prospects: The 2007 elections and beyond — a very predictable topic given the timeliness of the political atmosphere. Of course she talked about the economy, the recent state of the polity, governance, and how we ought not to defuse our ‘fire in the belly’.

She gave her admiration to the project’s efforts in the coming together of the three sectors (business, LGU, civil society) in a collaborative fashion as this enhances decision making and influencing local governments’ policy directions (I say local because national is way way more difficult in dealing with). This tripartism also raises to consciousness the fact the corrupt assholes don’t just dwell in the government, although they’re likely to grow roots there, but in every sector of society. Indeed, there are assholes everywhere, and as she correctly pointed out, even in the midst of us.

Speaking of assholes — though I won’t dare to elaborate — what timely event that was for me to realize the asshole-ness surrounding me. Indeed, life makes fun out of the coincidences we encounter. But what a spectacle of asshole-ness. What temerity! I can only shake my head in utter disbelief.

Feb 05 2007

weeklong

I am starting to believe that birthdays in the Philippines tend to be longer than anywhere else. It means that there’s a pre- and post-birthday celebration or what-have-yous. As for mine, though the agenda wasn’t really my birthday, there was always a feast up to Saturday, which ended, by the way, in the Lobby Lounge of Marco Polo. I’m beginning to live up to the year of the Pig, really.

—-

Over the week I’ve watched good indies, which I think were great misses in this year’s Oscar race: Paradise Now, a foreign film from Palestine which is a closer examination on the minds of suicide bombers (though this has been nommed last year); Sherrybaby (if it weren’t for a strong Best Actress race, I’m quite sure Maggie Gylenhaal would be in it); Factotum (a great perf from Matt Dillon — again too much of a race in the Best Actor category); and Fateless — an adaptation of a Nobel Prize winning book about a Hungarian boy’s harrowing journey during and after the Nazi occupation in Hungary.

I watched Fateless last night and wondered how this could have been snubbed in the Foreign Language category. The cinematography is breathtaking. The direction of Lajos Koltai is seamless. Though it may be compared to the likes of Schindler’s List or The Pianist, what is brilliant about it is that it never over-reaches on the horrors of the war, though there are occasional bouts of violence — the one experienced by Jews in concentration camps. The last lines (told in voice over) were very moving — it’s an affirmation of hope and acceptance of the past that encapsulates the experience during the Holocaust. Btw, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Daniel Craig in the latter part of the film. Yes, James Bond does a cameo here. photo courtesy of dimitris.glezos.com

Jan 31 2007

bday blurbs

5 things you may want to give me (heartfelt ha…) on my birthday (the week after pwede pa…):

1. The new Loalde light brown polo with the folded sleeves. (Would appreciate it also if may match na black slacks…hehe).

2. Ipod Nano, color apple green.

3. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad or Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller.

4. A TeamManila shirt, yung design is either the The Carinderia Connoisseur or yung Rizal wearing aviator shades.

5. Girbaud wallet.—-

I searched the birthday calendar to see others who have the same birthday as mine. I know for a fact, ka-birthday ko si Justin Timberlake. But was glad to know that Jessica Walter and Portia de Rossi, the two misfits from my all-time fave sitcom Arrested Development, celebrates the same birthday as me. No wonder I love that show. It gives me gas spasms just watching 5 episodes consequently.

Jan 31 2007

on the eve

Last night, the eve of my birthday, I was walking along the sidewalks near our office, heading home, feeling the breeze of the cold wind (which later I found out was the tail-end of a cold front). I got a call from Ate Wowie inviting me to join the dinner with Siriporn, our guest from Thailand. Siri is the Corporate Communications manager of Oracle ASEAN. Earlier in the morning, I finally met her during the press briefing which was attended by Oracle Phils.’ country manager Francis Ong and two of the directors.

I thought it would turn out to be a bad day because I lost my friggin’ worn-out belt. I arrived late and was shocked to see the VIPs in the function room already, all primed up, tousled and looking anxious. They were quite early or should I say I was late. Thank God the media arrived late so the presscon didn’t start until 8:30am. The industry-participated forum followed in the ballroom of Marco Polo. It was a grueling morning. I had a headache by lunch.

The real blast was during the evening when we went out with Siriporn. It is interesting to meet other nationalities because you have a lot to talk about. I learned that her name means ‘good blessing’ in Thai and the Sanskrit version was incredibly short. She was friendly and felt really at home during the dinner and she was so amazed by the food that was ordered (lechon kawali, pinakbet, tinolang manok, kinilaw… indeed very Filipino), that she took pictures of it. She said she’s going to brag about it to her friends. We were driving around when Kuya Dicky asked her videoke bars were popular in Bangkok. Indeed it was, and off the four of us went to a famous KTV. So that’s why she like singing, she didn’t prove disappointing at all as she hit the right notes. We drove her to Marco Polo after our throats got parched, thanked her profusely, promised to exchange emails and bid farewell.

I went home past 12 and thought about Bangkok. How I’d love to be there. I thought of Siriporn’s promise to take us around whenever we come there. How I like it to be now. As in right now. That would be a perfect treat. Just before I went to sleep I got the first text message from a far-away friend greeting me ‘happy birthday!’ Gawd, I’m friggin old. A friend told me 23 is a magic number. Well…

Jan 10 2007

a sidewalk adventure

I wonder what’s really in it for me why I can’t be stopped looking for Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. I’ve searched every possible pirated DVD ‘labyrinths’ in downtown metro but couldn’t find one. When I reckon the vendor have difficulty pronouncing it, I know they don’t have it. I had a blast hearing titles such as Fang’s Nabirin to Pao’s Lovering. Really outrageous. I went the other day at the sidewalk fronting Davao Doctor’s Hospital but still couldn’t find one. I got Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel A Scanner Darkly and The Departed (for lack of a better find). There was The Constant Gardener in the file but wouldn’t play. The teenage vendor promised to produce a copy a week after if I’d come back. I told him I would. I found the critically-raved L’Enfant and Candy (starring Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish) but didn’t like the other films in the compilation .

The fantasy-horror Mexican flick Pan’s tops my searching for two other indies that would shut me up — Half Nelson and The Last King of Scotland. I wonder why I even bothered when I think Del Toro’s previous film Hellboy sucked. Because of these trips to these piracy havens, I observed some trends among the vendors like the similarity of DVDs which may be attributed to the fact that they have the same ‘distributor’. Some of the vendors would ask me, what these films are like or whether they’re oldies or current. I wish I would find those three choices sooner because it would really shut me up and push me to start reading those unfinished books I have in the shelf.

—-

While I was at it, I can’t help but remember Bayani Fernando who recently caught the ire of filmmakers and some personages film industry on his philosophical ruminations on the criteria of filmmaking. The case of course was the recent fracas in the MMFF 2007 Awards night. He said something like if one wants to make films like they think what ought to be quality-driven, one should go to Hollywood. Whoever gave license to these shabby, snotty politicians to meddle into something artistic and way beyond their comprehension. They should stick their noses to where they’re good at.

—-

I watched The Illusionist last night, an adaptation of Steven Milhauser’s short story Eisenheim the Illusionist. Lesson learned: check the audio. It was poor I never thought it was recorded in a moviehouse because the picture was very clear. It was disturbing to hear Russian dubbers in a couple of scenes in the film. It was very weird I felt the hairs standing on the back of my neck.

Jan 09 2007

in different toungues

Before the year ended, I treated my siblings to an eyeful of crocodiles and other fauna in the Crocodile Park here. I didn’t know it was quite that secluded from civilization and the transportation was really difficult. The park was located in some vast land being groomed as some rich people’s subdivision. But it eventually paid off. I particularly liked the tapirs, the lone baby leopard cat, baboons, indian pythons, the crocs of course and the noisy but cute macaques. My two young half-brothers surely had a blast.While I was looking at the macaques who were lodged in their makeshift tree, I saw a father and son nearby. I was ready to spark a conversation with them as they seem to be also mesmerized with the swinging creatures. But I cut off when I can’t seem to understand what they were speaking. I’m quite sure it was Indonesian or Malay, but of course they look Filipino. Instead, I just continued to ogle at the orangutans who were very keen on surprising the onlookers.Last night, a couple sat near me in the jeep I was riding. They were giggly and cuddling each other to the dismay of two old ladies who were also in the jeep. They started to talk in some alien language. I thought it was Korean but then it didn’t turned out to be. The rhythm of their conversation was lost in the rain.MacLuhan’s communication theories delved on the world becoming a ‘global village’, with the aid of the media we are using. Indeed, the medium of communication continues to evolve and innovate itself. But more than that, I think, the concept of a ‘global village’ — a borderless society — is really turning into something literal due to influx of people in different countries. In the Philippines in particular, there seems to be a growing trend of fellow Asian neighbors coming into the country.—While working with the School of Business and Governance, the mother office of the Accountancy division where I was assigned, I met a dozen of Thai professionals — some owners of large companies in Thailand — finishing their master’s or doctorate degree. Though I haven’t really talked to them, I know they were coming to Ateneo every quarter of the year for that purpose. They had this funny names that’s very difficult to pronounce.During my stay in Ateneo, I also observed the increasing number of Korean students — I call it ‘the Korean invasion’. Because of their considerable size, they would sometimes form clusters in the gazebo or in the school canteen. While Koreanovelas are making Filipinos berserk, the real Koreans are slowly creeping in our country.I was always amazed by them that I even considered them as a possible topic for my thesis. But then I thought it would be inclined more in the field of sociology, so I didn’t. I have a friend who adores them (I guess). He tutors them everyday. I can just imagine his patience. One time we were able to hang out with one of his tutees, Jae-yon, who happened to be a cousin of Joo In Sung (Paolo from Memories of Bali) and a neighbor of Sandara Park.

We could really learn a lot from these bunch, you know. To be courageous enough to venture into a hostile territory and being able to mingle with the people and being open to the peculiarities of each other’s culture.

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