Friday, April 30, 2010


Given a chance to do it all over again, I will stand in front of the whiteboard and speak with eloquence about the objective. This time, with fewer agents to train, I will give pep talks between discussions to motivate them to do good in their new account. I will drop punchlines to catch their attention and try, as much as possible to have an interactive session about the concepts they need to learn. I will create a relaxing atmosphere where trainees never fear to express their thoughts. I will never pass judgment, nor embarrass when they pick the wrong answer. Learning will depend on their ability to focus - the trainer being a mere provider of things their heads must absorb. I will exude confidence, loosen up while presenting ideas and lead like the training room is my little kingdom. When agents return to their workstations, they may never remember everything. But hopefully, they will keep the essence of my training.

This is my kind of scene.


Two days after the appalling performance with the bigger batch of trainees, I was asked to handle four agents from the graveyard shift. They were singled out after a supervisor missed including their names in the list of agents to be trained. Hours before the training started, my superior officer sent a text message informing me that she is suffering from a bad case of stomachache. Confident that I could manage the batch on my own, I told her to rest and recuperate after working two straight weeks to prepare everyone for the heavy workload coming next month.

The agents came early. I wasted no time to introduce the subject, including the areas of discussion that we have to cover. Before we proceeded to the overview, I told them to focus their thoughts on Madam Auring.

"Forget Joe D' Mango, she will be your character from now on" I candidly said. This mindset setting is required for the job.

The absence of a superior officer had forced me to trust my own approaches in passing knowledge. I cannot deny that reasons for my mental black out last time was the presence of Mami Athena standing next to the whiteboard to observe my performance. You see, when a brilliant officer enters my space, I buckle down from the pressure and begin to question my methods. She saved me last time by admitting to the trainees that it was my first time to handle such a big batch, but when she left to do other things, I recollected my thoughts and continued with the training.

The agents were more receptive this time. Thanks to a colleague friend who also joined the training. Nobody seemed bored and they were more eager to learn than worry about their transfer to the new account. They asked questions when concepts appear difficult to process and laughed whenever the examples I showed were candid and hilarious. The howling of the AC was drowned by the constant chatter, movements between chairs, and by the monotone voice of a lone trainer trying his best not to stutter while delivering his presentation in front of the batch.

Note taking is a good sign of retention. They will learn.

Though the batch spent longer time lounging, all concepts and guidelines of the account were covered during the shift. The superior officer, despite her gastric condition had a cameo appearance as well. She corrected the exercise we did to assess the trainees, and when she felt satisfied with the result, I was relieved.

The training was cut short when our time ran out. The agents gleefully left the room save for one who asked me to have a cigarette break. This trainee, which we personally handpicked for the account is someone I have worked with in the past. We were tag-team agents then. His return to the company boosted the morale of everyone. As we have expected, he remains one of the best performer in the service.

"Thanks nga pala Totoy Baliko..." I confided while smoking near the lobby.

"Para saan, ako nga dapat mag Thank you sa training mo eh. Nakakatawa kaya hindi mahirap ma-intindihan." He said.


Before we left the training room, my superior officer asked.

"Do you really enjoy doing trainings?"

"Oo naman! Although, I get tense sometimes. But what's important is that I get to help you. Right?"

"Tremendously. Since you've learned much from the Management Seminar, and you're able to handle the training naman without my presence,

I'm thinking of passing it over to you."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Middle Management | Boot Camp

Today is my first day-off after a two-week stint at work. Matapos kasi ng training ng new agents last week ay umattend naman ako ng leadership seminar na binigay ng management sa mga officers-in-charge. Dapat ay kasali ako doon sa leadership seminar ng mga team leaders, pero dahil personal na ni-request ng managing director na mag take charge ako sa graveyard shift when its officers were unavailable kaya na-delay ng isang buwan bago ako na-indoctrinate sa mga business practices na ina-apply ngayon sa trabaho.

The adjustment between then and now was very difficult. Maraming beses akong nasabon ng upper management dahil totally opposite ang diskarte ko sa mga tinuro dun sa seminar. You don't look for loopholes. You should never assume things and make excuses for errors. You should back-up your findings with facts. Yung last, na-figure out ko kahit walang training. But the most difficult part was to talk straight. Mahilig kasi akong magsugar coat at mag-beat around the bush kapag nag-eexplain. I should put candor says the superior officer.

Time is wasted.

Nagsimula ang seminar last week. Pati yung weekend rest day ko ay kinuha nito. The seminar was mentally draining. Nung mga first few days eh napagalitan rin ako sa harap ng ibang mga co-trainees. Ang kulit kulit ko daw kasi. Yung mga embarrassment na yun, broke my ego. Mataas na ang pride ko, perfectionist pa ako. So whenever I commit even the slightest of errors at napapagalitan, may lumilipad na resume just so I could pull myself together.

I cannot be mad to the one who puts me to shame. I learn kahit bone-crushing ang approach niya sa akin. I begin to see things in a different perspective and appreciate the value of the business I've held on for five years. Ganun naman talaga. She cannot afford to see me fail. In the first place, she was the one who recommended me for the position.

Life went on kahit exhausting ang buhay sa office. After the 8-hour seminar, takbo kaagad ako sa gym to work out. Nakapag-party pa ako sa O-Bar Ortigas the previous Friday kahit 7 am ang work ko the following day. I met Mister Deja Vu the following day at nag pseudo-date kami. Weekend naman ay binisita ko si ex-Gf sa Fairview at kumita sa isang raket. Monday was gym day. Bonding time ko rin ito sa aking immediate officer na madalas mangsabon sa akin. Tuesday naman ay ginawa ko yung grade sheet ni Mama. May isa akong error na na-commit at nirereverse ko ngayon. These activities are merely there to say I have a life. Pero sobrang nakakapagod pala. Daming times, plakda ako sa kama pagdating ng bahay.

Despite the fatigue, I've learned much from the seminar. Kalimutan natin yung mga business principles na naging points of discussion. Ang mahalaga ay tumatak sa akin yung process, quality, time management at higit sa lahat yung candor na sobrang kailangan ko. Over na ako sa nurturing skills kaya kelangan bawasan ito for others to take me seriously.

And the pay-off was big.

Two days after the seminar was concluded and I could easily tell how my account is doing. I could differentiate the strengths and weaknesses of every agents and I know who to nurture and motivate more. Alam ko rin kung sino ang kailangan ng additional training. I know why our performance slumped this month. One factor, cannot be blamed on us. Kung dati rati eh unsure ako sa mga ginagawa ko, now everything is crystal clear.

One reason why I tend not to focus on seeking employment elsewhere is the responsibility that is being given to me. I could relate with John Stan and Iurico about business practices even when our corporate culture are light years behind. There are downsides though. Simula last March ay bihira lang ako mag-eight hours sa trabaho. Minsan, gigimik na lang ako ay dadaan pa ako sa office just to see if things are doing good. Madalas ay 10 hours ang stay ko sa office. Whether my superior asks it or not, I just couldn't take myself away from the job. Ang daming kailangang gawin.

Kahapon ay nag-dose oras ako sa opisina. Nag evaluate pa kasi ako ng isang agent matapos ang training. I am not satisfied with my performance as a trainer. Hindi ko pa kaya magturo ng maramihang agents. Dagdagan mo pa ng mga inaantok (dahil yung iba ay hindi sanay sa dayshift) at talagang hirap silang ma-process yung materials. To my superior officer, madali lang yun. Habang sinasalo niya ako, I cannot help but wonder, how can I ever be like her.

On my way to the gym, I was so tired, I could not hold on to a single thought. Alam mo yung feeling na laspag yung katawan mo tapos bangenge yung utak mo. Ganun. And for one split second after crossing a road intersection, nagkaroon ako ng moment of rapture: An insight too brief, nakuha mo lang ang essence nito.

Nakita ko kung ano ang nangyayari sa buhay ko.

They say when you're up there, you are alone.

And with great power comes great responsibility.

At 28, I am the youngest to join the middle-management team. I am also the newest among the supervisors.

I like the thought of having power over people.
Pero hindi ko yata gusto ang buhay na ganito.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Calling

Tonight I am rushing a PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow's training. It will be the first time I will use a teaching aid to deliver my discussion.

It's been months since I was assigned to nurture and guide the new agents. Tomorrow it will be the old guards' turn to be retrained. The training will be different this time. First, the attendees are expected to show some reservation to learn the new service. They are already used to their comfort zones. Second, I don't know how high my credibility is to these agents. As far as I know, I still suck up on the floor.

Ten trainees spread across three shifts will show up. It will be the biggest batch I will handle for the account.

They say teaching and nurturing run in the family. It is a craft many relatives practice as their career. My supervisor say that I seem to enjoy the training, when she lets me handle it by myself. The agents under me do well in the service. Data reveals their impressive conversion rates. Tomorrow will be a turning point. Should I succeed in performing my role as a stand-alone trainer; should I be able to control the discussion and not balk at the middle of the presentation.

Should I succeed in getting their attention with my throw-away punchlines and silly examples,

Then perhaps in some other lifetime,

I should open up the possibilities to become an instructor - in a university - for a change.

You maybe wondering why there's a picture of Madam Auring in this entry. Believe it or not, the training revolves around this grand old dame and her apparent "craft" she is known for.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Moms And Presidential Sons

Nanay Curing came out in a wheelchair to face the waiting cameras. Frail and barely able to move, she began to speak in low voice to defend her besieged son. "Kawawa naman po siya. Nagtiis na nga po ako ng hirap, naapi na ako sa palengke pati ba naman ang anak ko?" No one dared to raise a question. Everyone listened as she put into words her maternal defense. "Akala nyo ba di ako nasasaktan dun sa pinagsasabi sa anak ko? Halos ikamatay ko na. Halos ikamatay ko na!" Before she could finish her sentence, the old lady broke down in tears.

The interview was called off. Fearing for the mother's delicate condition, the family huddled to comfort the matriarch. As the elders consoled the sobbing Nanay Curing, other family members spoke to the press and aired their grievances. They accuse the media of unfair coverage. They say what comes out in the news against their brother were all lies. They even claim that other candidates were given more airtime to explain their side, while denying their brother a chance to defend his position.

And as the weary nation watches how the drama unfolded, the timely interview only stirs more questions rather than gain sympathy from the public.


It is human nature to commiserate, especially when a mother shields her child against all forms of pain. Who will not forget the late president embracing her dazed daughter behind the camera. It was caught after a live interview revealed the daughter's illicit affair with another celebrity. The mother spoke no word, while Kris Aquino's "I'm sorry mommy" before hugging her mother was enough to move a nation to tears.

In the case of Nanay Curing, the time to cast the vote is just two weeks away and the big question in the minds of everyone was why let the frail lady speak. Was it merely to gain public sympathy, or was it a publicity stunt aimed to deflect the accusations thrown against her son?

I wish to think the plea was done in good faith. But it only adds a whole new perspective between the V and the L - two very different hand signs, whose symbols starkly distinguish the people they represent. From the old lady, down to the sibling of the presidential candidate, all we saw were unrestrained emotions. They put themselves in a situation where their anger and self-pity were let unchecked. Compare it with the other candidate's three sisters (save for the youngest, who is known for surging TV ratings every time she cries on television) and impressions show who were raised with better upbringing and who are not.

Villar's mother should have never appeared in defense of her son. Not only was it perceived as a desperate attempt to court votes, it shows how helpless Villar has become. The mothers of other presidential candidates could have endorsed, or defended their sons like what Nanay Curing did, but they chose not to. They know what separates the public from the private life, and they understand that it's normal for controversies to explode. As for the beloved ex president whose passing has left a nation soul searching, her son would have never been a candidate today if she is still alive.

They say Nanay Curing spoke to vouch for Villar's integrity. But it doesn't nail the point. Why should a mother defend her son when it should be the son - through crystal clear dealings, untainted leadership, and truthful character - defending the legacy of his mother?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fallacy Of Attachment

We learn that he listens to Bamboo. He can even mimic his voice when he finds himself holding a microphone. Having the same musical taste, we share a common playlist. He knows Spiteri like I do. He may be familiar with Corgan and Rzeznik but he is attracted more the euphony of Rivermaya. He finds great awe being surrounded by trees. If only he knew the depth of my affection to the canopy. A press of the palm of my hands as I pass by a huge trunk reveals my veneration. He said he used to sit by the shore as a kid to watch the sun set. No wonder we saw an ethereal glow on his face as dusk heralds the passing of a day.

At a hindsight, all elements are present: It was a hang out that could have been a romantic date.

Sa ikalawang palapag ng Ministop Home Depot, nakaupo kami sa lamesa habang tahimik na kumakain. Pareho naming gusto ang luto ng fried chicken doon. Bukod kasi sa big piece ito ay iba rin ang timpla ng kanilang breading. Sa malayo ay matatanaw ang kapatagan ng Marikina. Lubog na ang araw at tanging ang kalat-kalat na liwanag na lang ang patuloy na nakikipaglaban sa pagbalot ng dilim. Kami lang ang tao sa ikalawang palapag; Ang manaka-nakang harutan ay nauwi sa masarap ng kuwentuhan. Malalim ang naging palitan namin ng kuro-kuro tungkol sa nalalapit na halalan. Marami siyang na-obserbahan na aking sinang-ayunan. Mula roon ay napunta ang usapan sa buhay buhay. Palibhasa'y dehado kaya't ako ang naparami ng kuwento. Nakilala niya na rin ang ikatlong tinuturing kong grupo.

Mister Deja Vu had fun, he said.

But behind the false appearance of being buddies lies a truth that we had a sleazy history. He was (and might still be) a fuck buddy. In all the ages we slept with strangers, we avoid going out with them out of fear of learning the truth:

That it's hard not to fall knowing you have belatedly found your match.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jacks (Act One)

At dahil usapang maryang palad rin naman ang nauusong entries ngayon, magkuwekuwento ako kung paano nadiskubre ng aking mga kamay na may tumatagas pala sa butas ni tutuy kapag nahahaplos ito ng paulit-ulit.

First year high school ako noon. Supot at walang kaalam-alam sa pagpapaligaya ng sarili. Bagamat nakakabasa na ako ng porn nung elementary, wala akong idea kung paano ginagawa ang pagjajakol. Naririnig ko ito sa ibang mga boys sa klase. Subalit dahil likas sa akin ang pagiging loner at mga kaklaseng mahilig sa Visionaries at Family Computer ang nakakasama ko tuwing recess, puro kuwentong barbero lang ang kaya kong i-share.

Kumbaga ay wala pa akong practical application.

Meron sa bahay na compilation ng Remate noon. Sa mga kids na nagbabasa, ito ay isang tabloid kung saan nakilala ang mga karibal ni Xerex Xaviera. Maraming kuwentong kalibugan doon at kapag napapagisa ako sa master's bedroom, dali dali kong kukunin ang makapal na compilation sa ilalim na kama at babasahin ito hanggang sa ako ay maging semi-hard. Hanggang pakambyo-kambyo lang ang nagagawa ko.

Isang gabi ay naiwan akong mag-isa sa kuwarto. Hindi pa umuuwi si Mama galing sa pagtuturo at si Papa naman ay hatinggabi pa ang dating sa bahay. Tulad ng dati, kinuha ko ang compilation ng Remate sa ilalim ng kama. Binasa kong muli ang mga sex stories doon hanggang this time, ako ay tinigasan na. Nagkataon na nasa tabi lang ng kama ang mga Dragonball trading cards na aking kinokolekta. Nakaisip ako ng idea. Without me knowing the implication of such move, yun na pala ang simula ng pagbabago sa buhay pagkalalaki ko.

Upang ma-enhance ang aking visual experience, kinuha ko ang mga text at pinagmasdan ang litrato nila Son Goku. Gamit ang imahinasyon, pinilit kong i-substitute ang mga characters sa DBZ sa sex stories na kakatapos ko lang basahin. Nakakaturn-on! Lalo na't nakatuon ang aking atensyon sa hubad at maskuladong katawan ni Tien Shinhan. Naiisip kong siya ang bida sa mga erotica sa Remate. Kawawa siguro yung mga babaeng na-turbo ranger niya.

Tanda ko pa, nakadapa ako sa kama habang tigas na tigas si putots. Wala akong salsal na ginawa ngunit hindi mawari ang sarap habang paminsan-minsang kumakadyot sa aking kinadadapaan. Naisipan ko bigla ang kumambyo dahil may paparating na tao sa kuwarto. Akmang aayusin ko ang puwesto ni junior sa loob ng shorts ko nang biglang may nasalat akong malagkit at malabnaw na katas sa ulo nito.

Alam ko kung ano iyon at hangad ko mang isigaw sa buong mundo na ako'y isa nang ganap na binata,

Ngiti lang ang namutawi sa aking inosenteng mga labi.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Bid

Today is one of those ordinary days in my workplace. I arrived at 6 in the morning to attend a briefing with my superior, Mami Athena. Instead of having a briefing with her, I devoted the first hour of my job blog-hopping before the scheduled training at 7. Training began on time. The new agents came early and surprise to say, they're one of the more eager batches I've handled since the responsibility was given to me. Unlike the other instructors, I give breaks as often as possible. This is to allow the trainees to absorb our lessons before diving into a new subject. I also use the breaks as an opportunity to know the new hires outside the training room and give pep talks about the job. They liked the idea and the problem of boredom didn't hamper our progress. Though there are subjects that were left out during today's session, they will be discussed in detail tomorrow.

There are some challenges at work, which, I couldn't write in my blog. Nevertheless, it may affect the morale of the agents. Even I was a little saddened by the drastic changes. I wasn't able to attend the management meeting this afternoon, but I am beginning to sense a collective gloom after the news broke out on the floor. Plans are still being drawn up and hopefully, the lords would come up with a solution soon.

Behind everyone's knowledge is a plot that would free me from my current responsibilities. Yes, Totoy Baliko, I am being pirated by another company. It was Makyokyo who recommended me to his boss. The boss is very eager to hire me, especially after sending him the article about last week's motorcycling event. I will join his editorial team, and the post he is willing to give will catapult me to a very high position. Very enticing, I must say, the compensation alone makes my eyes shimmer.

The problem is, my heart belongs to my workplace. The office is like my second home. And no matter how minuscule the pay is, I am already used to my meager existence.

It was already past 7 pm when I reached the new boss' headquarters in Cainta. Tired and exhausted from this day's grind, I showed up to deliver my decision regarding his proposal. It was a hard sell: His offer, almost a bargain. I considered the distance and the six-day work schedule as the factors behind declining his offer. Makyokyo's interest in returning to his old company - my present workplace - last month also weighted heavy on my decision. After all, I was supposed to be his replacement. He must have some good reasons to abandon the job being offered to me.

The new boss couldn't hide his disappointment after turning down his offer. He said I have the qualities he is seeking for his future Managing Editor. He said I was eager to learn, passionate about the job, and I go the extra mile to deliver what was being required. He was observing my every move during the press event, and after telling him what I should have done to improve my article, his eagerness to draw his cards almost triggered a bidding war inside my head.

"Don't let this opportunity pass." His words kill me.

"You are needed here, just like you are needed there." I couldn't help but show a faint smile after hearing his complements. Especially, after explaining the difficulty of leaving my job.

The meeting ended without a definite resolution. My status stays in stasis. I may have told the new boss that I would rethink about his offer but in reality, I have already made up my decision. The world he offers will bring me to different places. I will get to practice my craft and earn handsomely from my talents.

But I am set to explore other career options; jobs that would make me feel accomplished. The emissaries continue to depart my home port in search of greener pastures elsewhere. It doesn't matter when they would reach their rightful destination. Besides, I am still committed to fulfill my responsibilities and to pay allegiance to a way of living that sustained me for years. If and when I decide to leave, remains uncertain.

But for now, the bid to become an editor and news writer has to end.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


A Repost

"Look at how the moon passes over the silvery landscape. Isn't it amazing?"

"Uh huh... And the chilly breeze makes me want to cuddle someone. Could you move a little closer... I want to feel you."

Leon turned his starry gaze towards his dreamy companion. It's the first time Avicenna spoke in such brazen language ever since their nightly vigil began.

"Fuck you! Get away from me you fag!" Leon gently punched him on the face before wrapping his arms around his neck.

"Damn you Avicenna, seems like our corner spot is turning you on huh? What if someone finds us?"

"Who cares!" Avicenna leans his back against Leon's shoulders. "What's important is that you're here with me."

"It will be a long night you know, and watching this patch of land next to you is the only moment I have before we surrender it back to hell later."

The vast expanse around them appears to enjoy the uneasy calmness as well. It's been months since the large swath of primeval forest, pristine lakes and snow-capped mountains surrounding their fortress basked in such eerie tranquility. Even the nearby city of Lumina shimmers from its subdued lights. A few weeks ago and its searchlights point towards the sky, watching for any Pathallasa fighters appearing on the horizon.

"I wonder when this will all end." Avicenna mumbles.

"If the fighting stops, it's time for us to go home."

"But I don't want that to happen!" Avicenna objects.

Before the stand-off began, Avicenna and Leon lived at the opposite sides of the realm. Avicenna was in his early-twenties: tall, fit, fair-skinned with droopy-sad eyes which enchants anyone caught gazing at them. He was a pre-school teacher before his crèche was burned to the ground by enemy air strikes.

Meanwhile, Leon was a farmer: buff, dark-skinned brute, with boyish face, chiseled jaw and with arms as big as the logs he burns at night. His wooden cottage sits at the edge of a grass-covered cliff overlooking the Epona Sea and the distant volcanic peaks of St. Agnes Island. When war loomed between their country and a neighboring state, they were conscripted by the then Girharde government. Unfortunately, its shaky leadership crumbles within weeks and in its place now heads the military dictator Mabushke. The Mabushke regime is known for its savage methods of quelling opposition. For Leon and Avicenna however, the bestiality of their leaders was never a concern. Their time being the nocturnal guardians of the east watchtower is all that matters to them.

"When this fighting ends, we will return to our old lives. It means you will become a pre-school teacher and I..."

"... Lets live together!" Avicenna suggests while feeling Leon's big chest. "I don't think anyone will question about it. Even the great leader Mabushke is known to keep a harem of fine young ladies in her barracks."

"But she has the power and we're just pawns in her army."

"Who cares!" Avicenna held Leon's right hand tightly. Sweat slowly dribbles from his face as he tilts his head closer to reach Leon's lips.

"Time is of no essence, I just want to be with you forever."

Before their lips lock, a sudden flash of light blinds everything in sight. It was followed by a searing wind-burst that tore both Leon and Avicenna's olive-green muscle shirts to shreds. With their naked bodies exposed, their flesh begins to melt like wax revealing the bones beneath their skin. With both of them weak and unable to speak, they embraced each other as the flames of death licks whatever was left of their being.


Their charred remains were recovered a few months later, together with some 200,000 unsung souls from the Gallente Fortress and the nearby city of Lumina. Whatever remains of their existence were the titanium dog tags chained to one another.

They were the victims of the Khorasan sneak attacks: A sad period in their nation's history, which was authorized and later denied by none other but Mabushke herself. It was said that she allowed the enemy to scorch the most insignificant parts of her country to have a pretext of launching a solar strike against the heartland of those responsible for the carnage.

The sacrifice met its purpose.

A few months after the incursions, peace was sealed between the warring tribes.

Still falling
Breathless and on again
Inside today
Beside me today
A round broken in two
'til your eyes shed into dust
Like two strangers turning into dust

Mazzy Star
Into Dust


Just a few years back and he would insist the anniversary falls on the 21st of May instead of tomorrow.

I would challenge his claim by retelling our first meeting at Robinson's Manila; the long talk along Baywalk while the briny bayside wind wafts under our noses; and how such sudden evening downpour, which forced us to share a broken umbrella along Padre Faura became the cause of it all.

We remember.

Today, without a pang of bitterness.

Tomorrow, after dwelling over a past

we ought to forget.

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Being Domesticated

Ito ang ilan sa mga grocery items na nabili ko sa Savemore Supermarket matapos gamitin ang gift voucher na nakuha ko sa aking raket:

Downy Sunrise Fresh Fabric Conditioner
Ariel Ultramatic with Downy
Joy Dishwashing Liquid
Safeguard Soap
Happee Toothpaste
Del Monte Original Ketchup
Mang Tomas All-Around Sarsa
Quaker Oats Oatmeal
Maggie 3 in 1 Magic Sarap
1 kg. Brown Sugar
1 kg. Refined Sugar
Nestle Coffeemate
Regent Pandan Cake
Irish Spring Soap
Kraft Cheezewhiz
Lily's Peanut Butter

Sinadya ko na hindi bumili ng de-lata o instant noodles dahil si future brother-in-law lang naman ang umuubos tuwing umaga. Never rin kami bumibili ng junkfoods. Madali lang ito nawawala. Ang Regent Pandan Cake ay special request ni mama. Palibhasa'y laging nagugutom tuwing madaling araw, ito daw ang kanyang "midnight snack." Naparami ang kuha ko ng Quaker Oats. Nag-grocery rin kasi si Mama ngayong Abril at hindi pa nagagalaw ang ni isa sa kanyang mga stocks. Tiyak na aabutin ng kalahating taon bago kami bumili ng Oatmeal. Special request ng mga kasambahay ang Downy at Ariel, subalit dahil masyado akong nahumaling kaka-toss ng mga items sa shopping cart, napilitan akong magbawas ng detergent soap at baka mag-over ako sa budget.

Tamang tama lang pala. May isa pang gift voucher na nakatabi sa akin. Baka gamitin ko rin ito sa bahay sa halip na panggastos sa sarili.

Sa anim na bag na inuwi ko, isa lang ang para talaga sa akin - ang Irish Spring Soap. Marami pa akong toiletries na nakatabi sa akin.

Happy naman si ermats. Hindi niya kailangang mag grocery sa susunod na buwan.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Kawasaki Roadgasmic Party

"Kawasaki Motors Philippines entered a new age in leisure biking history after hosting a one-of-a-kind biker’s party held last April 8, 2010. The whole Whitespace Gallery in Makati roared with excitement as five big bikes representing Kawasaki’s finest were showcased at the event."

The lead paragraph requires a different approach. After all, the article is to be published in a magazine. I was asked to show up in preparation for a new assignment - commissioned by a new boss - in a working environment that is all too familiar to me. The sights and sounds were too inviting, it felt like I never left the industry. A decade is not a long time to forget. Possessed with knowledge and experience in the field, I did what was asked, and savored the moment while it lasted.

The event was hosted by Kawasaki, a leading producer of motorcycles in the country. Though little do I know about bikes after giving up the sky, the marque is a name you can trust. It was already past 8 pm when I arrived at the gallery. I was late by an hour after a navigation error revealed a venue located at the border of Taguig. Earlier instructions seem to point the place nearer to Manila. Good thing the program has not yet started and the contact downplayed my behavior. Hard drinks were flowing and even when I was writing my name at the registration booth, one of the alluring lady ushers was already offering a shot glass of The Bar.

"Ah this is the good life," I said to myself.

The party kicks off with DJ Funkavy on the turntable. He spun club remixes while ladies wearing skin tight suits went on stage and jigged their bodies. A trio of gorgeous babes appeared and began singing Pop and RnB tracks. Songs like Pussycat Doll's "When I Grow Up" and Lady Gaga's "Love Game" still reverberates in my ears when I try to remember their performance. After the first set was over, the leotard-clad chicks went down the stage to escort the approaching hostess. Her name is Teench Doval-Santos and she is the Sales and Marketing Senior Manager of the motorcycle brand.

In her sexy bedroom voice, she explained what the event was all about. It was understandable to speak in such submissive language for the event itself glorifies the dominant nature of the rider. I cannot recall what her welcome message was, but the leisure bikes she promised to show were enticing enough. I was glued on the table anticipating the big machines appearing behind the black curtains, while at the back of my head, all I ever wondered was the thought if there are gays who have the passion for such big bikes?

One by one, the bikes were paraded on stage. There was the KSR 110 for novice riders, the KLX 150 which is built for off-road conquest, the Ninja 250R, the best seller in the Kawasaki line. The Ninja is also known for its light handling, good fuel economy and best of all, its streamlined, curvaceous design assures you a hundred pogi points on the road. Finally there was the Vulcan 900 Custom, a big bike which gives you a bigger and badder image when driving this machine.

The bikes themselves were already eye catching, especially the Ninja 250R. But what caught my attention was the unassuming and yet equally handsome Kawasaki ER-6F. Well mga parekoy, lets forget about those 649 cc 8-valve fuel injected twin cylinder engine and Keihin carburetor. Those specs only catch the true enthusiasts. Instead, lets focus on the aesthetic elements of the Ninja and the 6F. Imagine yourself in a party meeting two guys at the same time. Both of them are good looking, but one stands out as the crowd favorite. The other merely has this undeniable charm. Behind the runner's average looks pack a man with a lot of promise. (like maybe he's a very romantic partner or under his pants lies a cobra that's as big as an anaconda) That's what the ER-6F is for me. The bike may have received lesser attention at the party, but I'm assured of fewer competition.

The drivers of each bikes dismounted to introduce themselves. It turns out they were the big bosses of Kawasaki Philippines. After they left the stage, it was the Japanese boss' turn to deliver his message. Still, I wasn't paying attention (for I was looking at the ER-6F all the time.) He mentioned something about Alpha Males and being leaders of the pack. Since neither do I fit both stature, I decided to walk over the bar counter and take more shots of Kamikaze Cocktail.

Other highlights of the event were the short video presentation of the motorcycle brand's largest showroom, as well as the introduction of the more prominent attendees such as Robin Padilla and that ex general from DOTC. There were also games and give-aways to break the ice. Seven jolly guests went home with an iPod touch.

Much as I love to stay longer and mingle with the bikers, (sadly, there were no bloggers invited) my head felt woozy from all the alcohol I drunk. Shortly after my contact has left, I decided to leave the gallery for my long trek going to another booze fest.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stirrings Of A Techno Revolution

It has always been a custom to duplicate every bits and parts of me in a medium other than the hard disk. In a time when floppy drives were used to store data, I had three crates of diskettes whose sole purpose was to serve as repositories for DOS Games I copied from computer shops in Recto. Internet was not yet available and Windows 98 ran on Intel 486 computers. Those were the days when Verbatim was the flash drive of the present and pirated CD-ROMs sold in Brochiere cost three hundred pesos in Virra Mall. I was obsessed with my DOS games - so obsessed I copied them all in case the computers where they were stored suddenly got infected by a Trojan Virus.

When CD-ROMs became in and my personal computer got its first state-of-the art upgrade, (its obsolete parts were replaced by Pentium 2 processor, 1 GB storage disk, a 4x LG CD player and a separate disk burner) the first thing I did is to copy the MP3s from my computer to blank disks I bought in Dapitan. It was the golden age of computer gaming and audio ripping. Much of my forbidden sources were acquired from University Mall in Taft and they were all converted to digital files. The stores where I bought them don't exist anymore.

A decade has passed but I remained stuck with my three-year old desktop computer that needs a badly-needed upgrade. While almost everyone have their own laptop computers, I got my first flash disk only recently. It was a gift from a friend and naming it Avestra, its original purpose was for storage of songs from my hard drive. Its designation as a third-party device for file transfer proves useful when downloading from a broadband-connected computer. The original plans were scrapped. With WiFi revolutionizing humanity's access to the web, I need the flash disk for I remain dependent in dial-up for connection.

Things would have remained static now that my personal funds are being shuffled to varied priorities. I was too confident that my back-up drive would store the ancient documents, pictures and songs even when the disk where the operating system is installed reverts to its Tabula Rasa state. But an insignificant mp3 changed everything. A click over the Windows Media Player icon followed by a press of the delete button and the file should have been deleted. However, the system found the error too late. This evening, the entire contents of the Alternative Songs folder went missing.


Panic was averted only because the hard-to-get songs were already copied in the iPod. It was no reason to remain secured though, after all, I still have to look for a program that would salvage the songs. Instead, the disk failure should serve as a warning.


The songs were all recovered, luckily, after running a disk error program to check the operating system. I learned that the one song from A Perfect Circle; that one corrupted file bound for deletion nearly destroyed my life's work.

As a result, both storage devices now contain all my digital effects. But the signs of doom will never put me to rest. The custom of duplicating me - to the point of redundancy - must live on. Plans should be drawn up to invest in a gadget like this:

I may still rely on desktop computers and dial-up connections to remain online for some time, but having this technological leap: this conscious attempt to guarantee the continued existence of the things that were long preserved

remains essential to my long-term survival.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


At twelve years old, I was one of the lucky boys to own a scooter bike. It was a gift from my dad - that I never asked in the first place. All I know is that he had a friend who was into smuggling goods dumped from Taiwan. He sold motorbikes, and because they were buddies, dad probably got the bike for free and then he passed it on to me.

It was pre-owned 1985 model Honda Sky. I remember it was painted Cerulean and had a lousy basket below its squarish headlight. The engine made terrible sounds and it belched black acrid smoke when I revved its engine. Fearing complaints from neighbors, I decided to have its oil changed after figuring how its combustion works. Operating the machine was easy and since I owned a bicycle when I was a little younger, the tough act of balancing the scooter wasn't new to me.

As a teenager, I never knew what laws are. Dad never said anything except to avoid the cops. So off I went cruising around the neighborhood. A dull love story even grew between me and a pretty chick in high school after paying her a visit one overcast afternoon. All I did was to ask if there were school assignments after classes were suspended due to a weather disturbance. But when news got out - thanks to her mother - our classmates weaved stories until they have reached a groundbreaking plot: That my visit was a pretext for courting her. For the rest of the school year, we were a source of giggles and chuckles inside the classroom. Some kids even garnished extra details to a boring encounter by spreading rumors that I bought flowers the day I paid the chick a visit. Fearing that my careless approach would further smudge our already tensed acquaintanceship, avoiding her was my decision. We never got to be close despite having common friends. Eventually, my feelings bloomed but I was too torpe to even make a move. The other boys courted her instead. The last time I saw her Friendster, she had a photo of her two young boys together with her loving husband. No one among those who courted my classmate in high school ended up with her.

The scooter was never intended as a pang-japorms to attract attention. Despite the short distance of the school to my place, I made it a point to never show up driving the bike to my schoolmates. The bike had a more utilitarian purpose. It shuttled me to my Piano Teacher, Nana Enya every afternoon. I drove it to my barkada's place in Balic-Balic whenever I wish to hang out with him. Sometimes, the scooter was my means of transportation going to the market. I would go there to buy some Yaiba, Ultraman or Ghostfighter trading cards, which I used to collect in those days. Looking back, dad had the best intentions why he gave the bike to me. He never had one when he was a teenager. He was too busy earning his keep to even get the chance to impress a girl.

He gave me a choice, but I chose not to live with his vision.

Instead the bike served a different purpose. It's like driving a Mitsubishi Evo IX to pick up the kids from a nursery school and then dropping the grandmom to shop at a wet market.

Now that I recall how life was during that age, I begin to remember how it feels like driving a scooter at 50kph: The cool, dusky air brushes against your face as you swerve to overtake a gargantuan truck blocking your way; your ears hear again the addictive clicking sound of the hazard lights, as you park the bike to wait for a friend at a nearby palengke. Finally you wonder how on earth did you find the guts to operate a machine that has no registration papers, a plate number and you without a license and a God-given helmet while on a conquest of mastering the road. Given a chance to go back, I would probably think a million times before starting the engine.

But teenagers and adults live two separate lives.

The scooter played its part long enough for me to realize the folly of my actions. What knocked me back to my senses was a tragic accident involving a family friend after his motorbike rammed an L300 van. Witnesses claim the collision was so violent, his 250 pound frame flew off the air, briefly, before landing back to the ground. His lungs were punctured by the impact. It took several men to carry his massive slab to a waiting pick up truck that would rush his failing body to a hospital.

Unfortunately, their efforts came too late.

The scooter was left parked in front of the house after the accident. Enduring the harshest of elements, it was left untouched, together with the sport bike driven by the family friend until it was sold to someone who probably had no idea about its previous owner's fate. Years came by and dad began to inquire about the condition of the scooter. I assured him the bike is still being used - from time to time that is.

It was until dad decided to inspect the bike without my knowledge that the ugly truth was revealed. With the engine oil long dried up, rust and corrosion had already taken over the inner parts of the bike. It wouldn't start, contrary to my claims that it was still running a few weeks before his surprise inspection. My father left without a word after I assertively denied the obvious. He was right. We should have sold the bike the moment I ceased driving it.

I was a college sophomore when I learned that I have already outgrown the sky.

A few weeks after the surprise inspection, the scooter quietly disappeared.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unity In Diversity

Subterranean Thought Parade

…be lost and found,
and lost again,
only to arrive at that one place
where the walls are painted with silence

Lourd De Veyra,

Dumating akong hapo at gutom sa bahay. Sampung oras ba naman ang inilagi ko sa office para matapos ang ibang workload na noon pang isang linggo hinihingi sa akin. Sorry naman, mahina ang kalaban at puwersahan ang bakasyon dahil hindi allowed mag-file ng overtime sa trabaho. Wala rin kasi akong inatupag buong umaga kung hindi tumambay sa online forum at maghanap ng magiging raket pansamantala. Isama mo na rin dun ang 30 minutes na tulog at pagiging sounding board sa isang katrabaho na mas mahalaga ang papel na ginagampanan sa akin sa trabaho.

May bago nga pala akong experiment ngayon. Dapat ay hindi tataas sa P20 pesos ang gastos ko tuwing weekdays. Tamang trip lang pero sa totoo ay sinusubukan ko kung hanggang saan ang limit ng deprivation na kakayanin ng sarili ko. Paghahanda rin ito sa mga "great sacrifices" na inaasahan sa mga darating na buwan. Ang hirap, lalo na at alam mo naman na hindi ka pa gipit sa pera. Pero just in case lang, at least handa na ako. Maipagmamalaki ko na Koboy pa rin ako!

Nasend ko ang mga huling business correspondents pasado alas kuwatro ng hapon. Ibig sabihin ay uwian na. Mainit pa rin sa lansangan pero dahil ginawa ko nang cardio ang maglakad from office to the gym, (which is around 20 minutes walk away) dugyot na ako nang dumating sa gym. Naroon ang lahat ng coaches, pati na si head coach na tuwang tuwa dahil tinago ko ang kanyang identity sa isang stalker sa online forum. Badtrip nga lang at mukhang nagtitipid rin ang gym sa overhead cost nito. Kaya naman kahit jampack sa loob ay naka-off pa rin ang aircon. Buti na lang at wala yung mga Iranian doon.

Matapos ang tatlong sets ng Benchpress, isang max rep ng Box Squats at 32 reps ng Dumbell Rows gamit ang 50 lbs na dumbell ay nakumpleto ko rin ang program. Tagaktak man ang pawis at halos walang kalaman-laman ang tiyan pero hindi pa rin ako lowbat. Puwede pang sumaydlayn ng isang SEB kung kinakailangan hehe. Pero iba ang appointment ko after workout. Isang matalik na kaibigan ang gusto makipagkuwentuhan at dahil free naman ako't siya pa ang dadayo upang makipagtagpo sa akin, nag-set ako ng isang meet-up.

Ugali ko ang maglakad habang nakikipag-kuwentuhan. Asahan mo na wala akong kapaguran diyan at madalas ay mas maganda ang mga nagiging kuwentuhan namin ng kasama ko. Second favorite method ko ito ng pakikipagbalitaan dahil beer lang talaga ang nakakapagpa-open up sa akin. Maraming ang subjects na na-cover, kasama na dun ang tila malas naming buhay pag-ibig. Nalibot rin namin ang buong San Juan na tila parang nagsasagala, pero oks lang, nakapag-vent out rin ako ng mga ilang bagay na hindi ko sinasabi sa lahat.

Pasado alas siyete nang kami ay maghiwalay. Inabot kami ng halos dalawang oras sa paglalakad and it turns out na ang last stop pala namin ay SM Centerpoint. Siyangapala, failed ang experiment. Bukod kasi sa ilang sticks ng sigarilyo na aming binili ay kumain rin ako ng biskwit bago sumugod sa gym. Nagpabili rin si utol ng Chicken Burger sa KFC na mukhang kanyang kinahihiligan. Sabi niya ay babayaran niya ito pagdating ko ng bahay pero nagpasya akong ilibre na lang ang nagdadalang tao.

Naroon sa mama na nakaupo sa sofa nang ako ay tumambad sa may pintuan. Tulog daw ang aking kapatid kaya't nilapag ko na lang ang kanyang pasalubong sa isang coffee table. Habang nagpapahanda ng Sinigang na Baboy na hapunan sa aming kasambahay ay bad news kaagad ang balitang hatid ng aking nanay. Dahil tumaas ang singil ng Meralco at ang mga kapamilya ay tila walang ganang umalis ng bahay, shoot kaagad ng limang libo ang bill ngayong buwan. Pati nga ang kapitbahay na napapabalitang nakiki-tap ng kuryente sa mga bahay-bahay ay naputulan ng linya dahil sa unpaid dues nito. Hindi naman problema kung saan kukunin ang pera, subalit kung sakaling wala kaming savings, Meralco (at pati Malate, Visa at Mastercard) lang ang makikinabang sa sweldo ko. Ito siguro ang dahilan kung bakit hindi na naman ako makatulog ngayon.

It's already past 1 in the morning. Gising pa rin si utol at gising pa rin siguro ang mom namin. Utol is worried dahil masakit daw ang puson niya. She asked me to pray for her child. Ako naman ang guilty ngayon. I was complaining, bitterly, earlier why do she get to have more perks. I guess my mom didn't see it coming neither do I, but deep inside.

Sa mga realms at kingdoms at city states sa puso ko na hindi pa covered ng resentments sa mga nangyari,

I still care.

Siguro ay ito ang dahilan bakit never pa akong naging negastar anuman ang pinagdadaanan namin.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The couple tensely sat on the edge of the lime green sofa. Seated beside them was my mother wearing her most expensive blouse for the occasion. Across the table were the parents of the boy. He will be my mom's son-in-law soon. It was the first time the parents of the children met, and as impression showed, introductions were very cordial. Pleasantries were exchanged. The mother of the future brother-in-law looked so youthful, one is convinced that she must be in her mid-thirties. Truth is, she is in her mid-forties. The father seems to be in his late fifties. We didn't ask. The age gap between the couple is exactly the opposite of our parents. Mom is approaching retirement age and dad passed away six years ago before turning 50.

First order of business was recognition. Would the in-laws able to tolerate us? Would they able to accept the fact that we are not in a strong position to bankroll the couple's expenses and that we may rely on them for medical check-ups? The answer is a resounding yes. The in-laws appear to be floating in cash. After all, the mother is a senior officer in an HMO company, and the father owns a small construction firm in Cavite. At least, half of our worries has already been resolved. Finally there was the question of commitment. My mom asked her future son-in-law.

"Handa mo bang pakisamahan ang anak ko kahit alam natin kung gaano kasungit yan?"

"Opo!" His voice boomed with confidence. I am relieved.

The news about my sister's untimely pregnancy was not completely accepted in the family. The favorite aunt raised fury when she learned about the "accident" a day after mother revealed it to me. On the verge of tears, the aunt expressed her feelings of betrayal after doing so much for my sister. We were dining at Pancake House near the Baywalk that afternoon. My treat. Her words found a sympathetic ear after I realized how deprived I was at times while utol got what she wants.

The favorite aunt's issue was not about having a baby. It's about the utol's lack of foresight in conceiving a new life. Being a doctor, the aunt sees how young, unready couples suffer when their children gets sick. Some of them live through dole outs from their aging parents, and these parents in return, who rely on retirement benefits are being deprived of their money. Knowing how some lolas and lolos carry their children's burden of raising their own kids, the favorite aunt branded the utol as selfish and an ingrate. "She should have known!" The favorite aunt said. She was referring to our mother who would be retiring in two years.

But mom saw everything in a "metaphysical" perspective. Claiming that she prayed for a miracle to pull the sister out of her Leftist leanings, perhaps, having a family would set her priorities straight. This sentiment was also shared by the in-laws, who welcomed the child with joy and optimism. Being in good terms with their future daughter-in-law, they appear more prepared to accept changes than my conservative family does.

But we are catching up.

Looking at the couple: my sister wrapping her arms around her boyfriend's torso, and the boyfriend trying to articulate his plans to the parents like a Presidential candidate sells his platform on television, one is certain that their union was already a done deal. The appearance of the parents were just a gesture of formalities, for both couples were already accepted long before the child came into the picture. Even the pets, who never show up when there are visitors in the house expressed their approval as well. With their bellies lying steady on the floor, the dog and cat never left the living room until the most intricate provisions of the marital union were adopted.

Good fortune appears to favor the couple, for another aunt - on my mother side came by to throw her support to the utol. This aunt is infamous for her tactless remarks and poor relationship with people. The cousins avoid doing business with her, and there is a reason behind their aversion.

Just a few weeks ago, the aunt sent an off remark to a cousin she commissioned to do some artwork for her exhibition. This cousin apparently ignored some requests from the aunt which, irritated her. Hurtful words were sent over SMS involving the parents of my cousin. Somehow, old resentments about an age-old sibling rivalry between aunts seeped through the message and issues that should have never been resurrected was brought back to life. The cousin replied with a text message containing very insolent words, so insolent, those who read it was shocked at her rudeness. The message was forwarded to everyone and the cousin received some strong censure from the favorite aunt herself. This incident triggered a family-wide feud that remains unresolved as of this entry.

Gratitude was what the cousin forgot, and this gratitude, the utol must always remember: In a time when she was drawing some flack for her carelessness, it was the infamous aunt and her two daughters who were the first among my mother's seven siblings to fully accept her motherhood fate.

The Pamamanhikan lasted for several hours and through the course of the conversation, we learned that the boy's parents are as decent as what my sister told us. They were courteous enough to hear our opinions and considerate in understanding our hesitations.

Somehow I felt a pang of jealousy after seeing his parents together. Twenty two years of marriage and still, their bond remains.

It was agreed that the couple will get married. It will be a simple church wedding and the future husband's parents will be in charge of the venue and the reception. Our family, who is still in the process of winning the hearts of the aunts and uncles of the clan will help in anyway it could. Sourcing badly needed funds remain our biggest concern, and the rift created by the infamous aunt might result to some family members not showing up during the wedding day.

The chain of events which began when the utol allowed her boyfriend to sleep in her room has achieved a milestone. Two families will be united not by sheer chance, but by some heavenly conspiracy whose aim is to repeat a history in hopes that it could be corrected:

Mom was an activist and so was my dad. They got married not because of an accident but because they dreamed of the same utopia. I was conceived a year after the couple entered a union. However, they were both unprepared for my coming. Dad became a full-time Leftist when I was about to go to school. His decision forced my mom to raise the family on her own. Dad eventually realized that his children were fast growing up. He strove to get past the rat race and he succeeded. Drunk with power and influence, his life revolved around work - and the seedy characters who pushed him to the top. We remained in the sidelines, and for many many years, even when fame and fortune has already showered the patriarch, we were left to survive with our meager resources. Looking back, it wasn't as bad, for in return, we have learned to adapt. But his actions resulted to lives being broken. Father lived the remainder of his life in the arms of his young mistress and away from the ones he used to call his flesh and blood.

There is a chance the new circle ends in a happier tale.

The utol and her future husband barely have three months to prepare for the wedding. Four months to find means to live independently and Five months before the infant comes out the womb. Their firstborn will be the eldest among the new generation of children in both families.

Taking a cigarette break while talks were still underway, I looked at the sky and wondered about my place in the order of things.

Because if history indeed is just repeating itself,

The past reveals I might not have any place in the future.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


"You've been a very bad boy
a very very
bad, bad boy

- Me to myself

I was moaning in my bed the night before to simulate how it feels like to have a steamy encounter with someone. Trip lang, tagal ko na hindi nakakaungol eh. Lol. At hindi pa dun natatapos yung katarantaduhan ko, I took off my boxers and slept with nothing on. It used to be a habit when the ex still stayed overnight.

I thought that appeasing the Scorpions would cease the urge. Mali pala. Instead, para akong naglalaro ng mataya-taya sa kalye. Unahan na lang kung libog o sobriety ang mangingibabaw sa pakikitungo ko sa iba. Hindi rin nakakatulong yung mga cell numbers na inipon ko last time. Until now nangungulit pa rin sila. Alam ko namang sex lang habol ng mga kausap ko so hinahayaan ko lang.

Hindi naman talaga ako ganung nangangailangan.

Mami Athena sought my presence the next day. She wanted me to accompany her to the bank. Masunurin naman akong bata so sumama ako kahit sobrang init sa labas. While waiting for the bank teller to call her number, biglang may unknown number na tumawag sa phone ko.

Akala ko call from a recruitment department. Yun eh potential booking pala.

"Are you home?" Bungad niya. Ang lamig ng boses! Lalaking lalaki!

"Wala eh. I'm at the bank." Kunwari kilala ko siya. Sa totoo, burado na yung number niya.

"Mga ano oras ka makakarating?"

"2 pm labas ko sa work. Bakit tol?"

"Free place ko ngayon." Subtext. Sex tayo.

"Saan ba place mo saka san tayo kita?" I'm trying to remember who the guy was. Boses pa lang , ready na ako magpalapa. Haha!

"Dito sa may Alegre. Kita tayo sa may Ministop." Hayun. Natandaan ko na, si Mister Big pala!

"Mga 3 pa ako makakarating diyan eh. Until what time free yung place mo?" Interesado na rin ako kahit di ko siya masyado trip. May potential kasi na lamugin niya ako sa kama.

"Kailangang 2 eh nandito ka na, baka bumalik na yung utol ko." Ang kanyang laging excuse na kapatid. Pasira tuloy sa mga balak namin.

In short, malabo ang usapan. I'm not keen on ditching my schedule just to get laid with him. Sa totoo, quickie kasi yung last time. Sobrang walang kuwenta, parang hindi ko naramdaman na nakipag-SEB pala ako. I guess its the reason behind the searching. Bitin pa pero hindi na ganun ka-bitin to return to the chatroom to find a lay.

Sa totoo hindi lang siya ang nag-iinvite. Meron pang isa. Yung nabigyan ko ng number sa O-Bar nung minsang nalasing ako. Nung isang araw pa siya nag-iinvite ng meet-up pero hindi ko rin gaano trip. Masaya na ako sa tease. Tutal, I could hook up with anyone.

Went back to the couch where Mami Athena was seating. She doesn't know anything nor I was keen on telling her what happened - kahit fag hag ko pa siya. With my legs stretched, I tried to hide my boner. Underneath my pants though, I felt moist. Tangina, nag pre-cum ako.


Hindi pa natapos dun ang lahat. For I was bent on teasing Mr. Big until he finally gets dirty with me. Kasalanan niya eh, nanahimik ako, heto siya't naghahamon.

"Loko ka bigla akong nalibugan tuloy. Haha." Diretsahan kung diretsahan sa text.

"2pm pa talaga labas ko eh. Naiisip ko pa lang panu mu ibabaon yan, nagpreprecum ako." Sagot ko sa reply niya na mag-undertime ako sa work.

There and then I learned,

He's not for keeps. Galen remains chastised.

I will probably vent my lust on the dance floor tonight.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bad, Bad Boy

"You've been a very bad girl
a very very
bad, bad girl


Been dancing to this song for two weeks and now is the only time I was able to see its music video. And still, I have to acquire a copy of the remix from O-Bar.

No wonder the guys go crazy when this track gets played in the club. In their heads, they remember the video and the two gay icons gracing this visual delight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dear Tita Miriam Redux

Alam naman namin na ang mga kagaguhan mong banta ay puro kasinungalingan lamang gaya ng sabi mong pagtalon sa eroplano pag nakulong si Papa Erap. At ano ang ginawa mo nang makulong nga si Papa Erap? Di ba humarap ka sa media at diretsahan mong sinabi na ang bantang binitawan mo ay pawang kasinungalingan lamang sabay tawang kala mo'y lukaret na bagong kawala sa mental?

In the brashness of my youth, once I wrote a column trouncing the disreputable Senator over her involvement in the mass uprising after Edsa Dos. Back then, she was deemed a clown by most people and her scathing, ballistic and often ludicrous remarks against the new government were often picked up and placed next to the headlines of most newspapers.

I was 19 then, and the editorial I wrote came out of a tabloid whose selling point were the scantily clad ladies spread out - often in titillating poses - on the front page of the newspaper. It was a rousing summer, I vividly recall, for dad was out of the country and I was left running a national paper infamous for its highly pornographic content.

The upcoming elections fired up the already heated political scene. Being a faithful student of journalistic writing, I was aware of the repercussions should the piece I wrote reaches the lawmaker. The night after it was published, I was confiding my fears to a classmate who would become my first (and last) girlfriend. Text messaging was not yet in. (for we still live in the telebabad age) We spent the whole night talking about the future (about our plans after graduation, or how we would improve our creative output in class when we turn college seniors the following school year) but behind the masked pillow talk, our conversation went around a life-changing possibility if a libel case results in the publishing of the column.

My worries merely dwelt inside my head, and the Senator bitterly lost that elections. The hands of fate turned a few pages of history and the once mortal enemy of The Midget has become her staunchest ally. Tita Miriam regained her seat after three years, but age appears to have sapped her boldness. Her firebrand speeches (about corruption, stupidity, etc.) were heard less, and critics ceased calling her Brenda.

In recent years, she merely was an eccentric figure in the Senate chamber.

Together with that Lesbo chick, Jamby Madrigal.

I don't know much about Miriam Santiago or the bills she authored. One impression I will always keep is her penchant to switch allegiance from one power block to another and her often biting remarks that occasionally appear in local news.

Bentang-benta ang islogan mo ngayong eleksyon ah! "Miriam: tagapagtanggol ng konstitusyon," tsk. Sino nga ba ang hindi mapapaniwala mo dito e halos sa buong panahon humarap ka sa TV ay puro pagpapaikot sa konstitusyon ang ginawa mo. At alam mo ba Tita Miriam, yung Maria Clara outfit mo sa poster e pinagkakaguluhan ng mga bading dun sa may kanto. Balak daw nila gayahin sa darating na sagala pagkatapos ng eleksyon. Kaso nga lang, dun sa Makati, pag nakita ang poster mo, kulang-kulang na masukahan iyon dahil napakaterrible daw ng itsura mo.

I remember the article not because it was written in a crass, immature manner, but because I am already coming into terms with her contributions - not as a lawmaker but a striking icon who never veers far from the headlines. The favorite aunt will always say the Senator has given much to improve the facilities of a government hospital along Taft Avenue and that I can never contest, but to see a Senate session without her colorful presence (including claims of being a Harvard fellow) would be utterly dull and boring. It's like a frenemy (because she stood up for some things I agree as well) has left and my life had just become


So now that I have the right to choose the people to represent me, she will top the list of Senators I will put in my ballot. If in my younger years, all I saw was her ugly, tactless and annoying face, now I begin to appreciate that behind the controversial figure - Tita Miriam will always mirror the state of the nation.

I may not know how the next government will run the country,

but at least I'd be amused knowing someone in the Senate would still go ballistic when a careless government official or a colleague crosses her path.

Hanggang dito na lang Tita Miriam. Ingatan mo sana ang baril mo, baka bigla itong pumutok habang dini-display mo muli sa harap ng media. Ang pagsisinungaling, galing-galingan mo naman sa susunod, para di ka nakakahiya sa tao. Ang masa, huwag na huwag mo sanang kalilimutan.


Ang kabataan

The Hidden Message

A chat conversation
March 30, 2010

[00:58] redthemod: when you do your clubbing entries
[00:58] souljacker: uh huh
[00:58] redthemod: you find very little struggle conjuring the imagery required
[00:58] souljacker: to think
[00:58] souljacker: it pains me to paint the entire picture
[00:58] souljacker: every detail i see
[00:58] souljacker: every drama unfolding
[00:58] Meebo Message: Could not IM buddy
[00:58] redthemod: you easily, explicitly, profess the milieu and moment with such pervading exquisite detail
[00:59] redthemod: the memory is painful
[00:59] redthemod: but the words are incessant
[00:59] souljacker: the tension is always there
[00:59] redthemod: flowing, gushing, like the emotionality of a trance.
[00:59] souljacker: you know the anguish of choosing
[01:00] souljacker: between an attachment that is deceptive
[01:00] souljacker: and something that is permanently fleeting
[01:00] souljacker: in the long line of histories
[01:00] souljacker: and legends
[01:00] souljacker: you learn
[01:00] souljacker: that its hard to discern what is real and what is fake
[01:00] souljacker: finally you choose, the easiest but the saddest exit
[01:00] souljacker: you go home alone.
[01:00] souljacker: believing
[01:00] souljacker: no one will find you anymore

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Choosy Ones

Nagsimula ang lahat sa isang beer bottle toasting. Sabi ko na nga ba na ito ang makabagong istilo ng pakikipaglandian ngayon. Had I known this method of seduction before, mas marami sana akong naikama.

Ang binata ang unang nagtanong. Masyado akong shy para manguna sa usapan.

"Are you alone."

"Yeah." Sagot ko.

"My name is Jude. What's yours?"

"Mark." Yun naman kasi ang Pokpok name ko.

"I think you're hot." Biglang nagningning ang mga mata ko. Shit, kailangan ibagsak ang market value. Hindi ako sanay nasasabihan ng gwapo. Haha.

"I find you hot too." Bulong ko sa kanya na may kasamang ngising demonyo. Sabagay he's not bad looking either. Moreno, matangkad, balingkinitan ang katawan. Yun nga lang, medyo sablay kumilos.

"My place or your place?" Bigla niyang hirit sa akin sabay dakma sa burat ko.

"San ka ba nakatira?"

"Sa Guadalupe. Ikaw?"

"Sa Santa Mesa..." Bago ko pa natapos ang sasabihin ay nakipaglaban na ng halikan ang aking kausap.

Isa sa mga natutunan ko sa clubbing bukod sa pagsasayaw ng nakakalibog ay ang makipaghalikan ng bonggang bongga. Marami ang lousy humalik, ang iba ay bad breath pa. Pero kung alam mo kung saan ang pressure points ng mga labi at paano humalik ng gentle at hindi nangsisibasib, asahan mo na yung dance partner mo ng ala-una ng madaling araw ay kasama mo pa rin hanggang alas kwatro.

"Hey are you half-Chinese?" Sabi ko na nga ba at may nakapansin na naman sa mga mata ko.


"How about Japanese? Korean?" Sumasagi sa isip ko si Soltero at ang kanyang pagkaadik sa...

"Are you a Top or a Bottom?" Asa pa siya. Sa June ko pa balak magpa-urhm ulit.

"You?" Hindi ko sinagot ang kanyang tanong.

"Versa. I can do both." Sana inamin na lang niyang bottom siya. I never trusted "versas" like me. Sarap kayang magpakantot lalo na kapag mahal mo yung tao saka jumbolaki/ga-troso/devastator ang hinaharap niya.

"Top ako tol eh." Hirit ko sa kanya. Sa totoo ay wala naman talaga ako sa mood sumabak sa digmaang pang-kama. Turn off na ako.

"Will you fuck me hard?"

"Yeah I will. Banyo muna ako tol." Sabay walk-out sa kausap kong walang tigil pa rin sa kakapisil sa isnabero kong binatilyo.

Hindi ko alam kung bumabawi sa akin ang pagkakataon dahil sa pagkadepress ko noong hapong iyon pero swear!! bentang benta ako sa dance floor. There are good nights and bad nights, at sa tingin ko, that night was one of the best - yun eh kung pagpapalaki ng ego ang usapan.

Bukod sa kausap ko sa taas ay may isa pang nag-aya sa akin mag-take home. Same style minus the kapaan and halikan. Sabi ko na lang ay may iniintay akong kasama kaya hindi ako makakasama sa kanya. Si boylet number one ay ilang beses pang nagtanong kung seryoso ako sa kanya. Sa unang beses sabi ko na "I decided not to hook-up with anyone." bilang pangontra sa impression na nagpapa-bid ako sa mga tao. Nung ikalawang pagkakataon naman ay sabi kong "Uuwi ako sa boyfriend ko." Eventually napagod rin ang boylet sa kakakulit kaya't nagpalandi na lang ito sa iba.

True to my word, hindi ako nangahas humanap ng kaparis. Sapagkat ang aking mga mata ay nakatuon sa iisang lalaki na sa kasamaang palad ay may kapartner na. Yung kapartner niya ay kamukhang kamukha ni Deja Vu guy. Balbas sarado ito, bumbayin, madungis at ang consensus nga ng mga Engkanto ay exotic. Tingin ko nga ay siya yun at ang dahilan kaya't hindi na ito nagtext nang magsimula ang Holy Week ay nakahanap na ito ng iba. Samantalang ang apple of the eye ko naman ay kalbo, matangos ang ilong, moreno makinis ang mukha at may goatie. Kahit nasa malayong lugar ay naamoy ko ang kanyang pagkalalaki.

Subalit ganun talaga ang buhay. May mga lalaking mas mabuting pinagmamasdan lang - kesa maging alipin ng kanilang alindog. May mga lalaki naman na pantanggal kati lang - kung saan ako ay madalas hinahanay. Ang mga ganitong uri ay nauuwing forgotten. Iba naman daw ang tumikim sa kanila.

Pero natututo na ako.

Naiintindihan ko na bakit hindi lahat ng marketable ay umuuwing may kapareha.

Pasado alas kwatro nang magpasiya akong umalis ng bar. Araw ng pagkabuhay noon at para makatakas sa bahay ay nagpaalam akong aattend ng salubong sa simbahan. Simula Holy Thursday ay wala si utol. Kasama nito ang kanyang future asawa at pansamantalang nagbakasyon sa kanilang future bahay. Sa totoo ay tempted akong magpatulog ng lalaki. Feeling ko maging Hudyo para makakain ng karne pero at the last minute ay nagpapatumpik-tumpik ako ng desisyon. Sa dinami-dami ng pagkakataong umiskor (kasama na dito ang tumalo ng tropang nakitulog at sadyang nangyayakap sa kama) never did I make a move. Sabihin nating choosy ako, pero marahil ay may hinahanap lang akong mas malalim na paniniig.

Umuwing mag-isa si Boylet Number One. Marahil ay hindi niya maatim na ikama yung kanyang bagong kalandian. Si Boylet Number Two naman na nagsabing uuwi na nang magkasalubong kami sa Orosa. Bumalik ito sa loob ng O-Bar at naabutan kong tulala't tila malalim ang iniisip habang nakaupo malapit sa Bar Counter. Samantalang si Apple of the Eye naman ay kasama pa rin ang kanyang boylet na kahawig ni Deja Vu guy. Nang huli ko silang masilayan bago umexit sa dance floor ay may iba ng kaakbay si Deja Vu guy at si Apple of the Eye naman ay may kaakbay na dating kakilala.

Kayo na lang ang humusga kung ano ang naging ending nilang apat.

At gaya ng mga Sabadong lumipas - na sa sobrang dami ay hindi ko na binibilang. Pumara ako ng taxi na maghahatid sa akin pauwi ng bahay. Mag-isa man at hindi sigurado sa aking nais maging katapusan, panatag naman ako na kahit single

- for almost two years,

patuloy pa rin akong nag-iintay.


We return to a time when I used to be a class president.

The rise to power was unexpected. The class was politicized: a party mate who used to be a president of another class urged her ex-classmates to nominate me. Being the elusive and highly mysterious student, I had this air of authority. Perhaps it was the reason why nobody else was nominated aside from me.

The transition to leadership was difficult. During the early months of my Presidency, I committed so many errors which probably annoyed everyone. I had to apologize left and right even for trivial matters such as assignments that were not properly disseminated or changes in schedules that didn't reach everyone. But I've learned from my mistakes and I never failed to reach out. I may have been a weak speaker (like nobody ever listened when I announced new instructions from the teacher) but the message still got through. (through "text advisories" and printed "bulletins" on the cork board)

There were times I had to intervene to the professor in behalf of the class. During finals and midterms, I had to ensure that the groups would get some breathing space before jumping into their next subject requirement. Classmates who frequently disappears in one subject receives advanced warning long before the professor decides to fail the student. Some were even able to do special projects as a last resort before getting a singko. Nobody knew who worked in their behalf. A decade later and it is still a guarded secret.

Of course, I wouldn't accomplish much if I never shared power with my Vice President. His influence over our classmates was far reaching that without his support, I would have been replaced. He saw himself as the cardinal. Even I professed my sins to him. A proud gay even at a very young age, he shaped my perception of the parloristas even up to now.

And so the batch was in harmony especially when a confidant and a highly respected Varsitarian editor was elected to the Society. Even when the entire Student Council was highly entrenched in a bitter political squabble, our major was spared from the infighting. We had our own happy world and I guess our successes should be attributed to the principle of pakikisama.

Nobody gets left behind.

We remember, for it is the same principle I still follow up to now. Agents work better when their leaders reach out. They are driven to perform better when rewards-based motivation is applied. They feel accomplished when being praised for their good work. And most of all, they become loyal when they know you have put your trust in them.

Most of the agents I trained were highly accomplished in their tasks. Records won't deny and their successes used to drive me to perform better.

But now that support is eroding from the higher people I rely for confidence.

I feel that my days are finally numbered.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Abs Project

Saw a gym instructor binging on a large bucket of Nestle Fruit Yogurt last Wednesday. Let's call him Coach Leo and he's one of the most approachable guys at the gym. As he downed the pint-sized yoghurt with several gulps, I could not help but make a comment at how oversized it was.

"Coach ang laki niyan ah!"

"Ah oo, dinner ko na ito. Sulit na sa 100 pesos."

"Talaga? San mo nabili?"

"Diyan sa Puregold." The supermarket is just a street across from Eclipse.

"Ah sige! Masubukan nga."

"Oo mabubusog ka pa."

So I started eating yoghurt last night. It was meant as a complement to my ever-growing appetite. But its ability to satiate my hunger still has to take effect. The complaints of the stomach remains endless and I am growing concerned. As I searched for its nutritional value on the Internet (A small cup of Nesvita 0 Fat Yoghurt costs almost 40 pesos) I found a very interesting study which may prove its value for my money.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity (11 January 2005) also found that the consumption of low fat yoghurt can promote weight loss. In the trial, obese individuals who ate 3 servings of low fat yoghurt a day as part of a low calorie diet lost 22% more weight than the control group who only cut back on calories and did not have extra calcium. They also lost 81% more abdominal fat.

My eyes shimmering with excitement, I think its about time I firm up my abdominals and eliminate this side handles once and for all.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

To the Unborn

He went off the ground, and is now flying in mid-air. He is squeaking and squealing as the other tykes watch him with jealous eyes. He swirls around with my big strong arms as his support. It was like riding an Octopus - in a carnival - except his curved body dips and climbs in an erratic fashion. He gets to be twisted too, like a wrestler does to pacify his opponent and his bent figure becomes a leverage as it see-saws on my shoulders. It was mid-afternoon when I saw him again after mom delivered some notebooks for her charity work. The patch of blue sky speaks of good days, the cool briny air transits along the narrow esqunita where my aunt lives. At seven years old, he was the first among the kids to call me uncle.

But not anymore.

It is an open secret that I love children. I take great pride looking after someone's kid - especially if the kid belongs to a tropa or a chick who once got "involved" with me. My affinity with offsprings extends to single parents as well. At one point, I even lent some cash to a colleague so she could buy milk for her son. During Christmas, I place great care not to miss any gifts to my godchildren. "You will be a kid once" I always say. "Might as well let the inaanaks get presents now than miss the feeling when they grow older."

Once I dreamed having my own family. I really liked to have a son - I could bring to Jollibee or accompany to school or just carry around in my back as we take a stroll in Luneta or Greenbelt or while hanging out with another guy who doesn't mind tagging my kid along. Forget the missus. I never like having a wife. I thought of searching for dads when my Manjam was still up, but most of them are there for their carnal fix. Friends suggest having an adoption, but I don't have money to support another mouth to feed. Besides, I'm not really sure if I will be a good parent. I cannot fix my own life for Christ's sake, how much more with someone I have to look after my whole life?

These thoughts are meant to be forgotten now that fate is assigning new roles to play. Funny how life creates new esquinitas - passages I never thought would exists. For I am bound to carry bigger responsibilities. Roles I may never escape now that the utol has chosen a path none of us believed she would thread at this point in her life.

Utol has a boyfriend.

They have been steady for almost a year.

Our mother is open-minded when it comes to their relationship. The guy even stayed at home and slept in my utol's room whenever it was possible.

We all know what happens when two people stay in one bed. I lived through five years covering up my ex-boyfriend's tracks whenever he stays at home for days at a time. This guilt for past and continuing deeds was what shunned the opposition. It is a fact I bring home boys whenever I get attached. The utol has the same privilege and no matter what I do, contesting her right would only end in futility.

Years from now, some little kid would get off the ground and fly in mid-air, this kid, affirmed by blood and recognized by flesh would squeak and squeal while other tykes watch enviously from a distance. This child would be cared for - more than any other kids I watched over. If higher calling instructs to perform deeds no other guardian would, I have already signed the pact even when no one was around to see.

It will be difficult, I know.

The sacrifices will change how I perceive things.

With the utol still jobless - and reeling from the aftershock; The soon-to-be father squeezing a living from every raket he gets;

With relatives uncertain of dealing with our unpreparedness, and soon-to-be grandparents hopeful that their children will leave the movement to settle down - for good;

I return to that mid-afternoon scene when I found myself wrapping my arms around my aunt's adopted son as he toss and turn around my body; while that patch of blue sky speaks of good days and the cool briny air sifts through the long and lonely passageway where joys and sorrows of a struggling family is a reality.

I will become an uncle, and much as I am caught flatfooted to welcome a new life coming into our home.

Tonight, I formally accept the child's arrival.