Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where The Wind Blows

These were the things we intend to accomplish before the year ends:

Revive the plants in front of the house and turn a part of the compound into an ornamental garden. Relearn to play the Piano and perform Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and Clint Mansell's Together We Live Forever on a cloudless daybreak. Cut down on food binging. Drink more water. Be more driven to go to the gym and drop the body weight to 160 before summer. Read more books. Watch more intelligent movies. Go green. Save fuel by turning off lights when not used. Go green. Cut down on plastics by carrying few things brought from convenience stores with bare hands. Learn to be bold. Worry less of the consequences of errors that were made. Assume responsibility of the household. Never wait for the utol to make a move. Sing more often. You have the voice. Drink less booze. You still dream of showing off your six packs while dancing on top of the ledge. Get in touch with your spirituality. Who cares if you begin to hear voices one day. Find a better-paying job. You deserve more for your effort. Get a license. Your loved ones may depend on your driving skills someday.

The Great Turnaround
January 2, 2010
Midnight Afterburner

Except for the ones already considered a habit, none of the targets were met. Colorful excuses can gloss over design failure, and there is no one to blame but me.

But looking through the stained glass, certain accomplishments trumpet over the perceived oversights. We will end the year not in dismay but with a glimmer of hope:

Received a passing grade in Spanish Level I. Level II application in Diliman pending. Semester has been credited with a residency status. The race to finish the master's degree continues. Treated his mom to a first class hotel in Tagaytay. First time for the matriarch to sleep in a suite. Sister got married and gave birth to a healthy boy. He became an uncle in less than a year. Ties with relatives from the father's side solidified. Credit goes to the high-profile visits when occasions summon family presence. Bought his first expensive shirt from Memo. It took him 2 months to pay the shirt, which was on credit, but it was what he wanted when the rays of fashion first shone on him. Earnings from writing jobs began to fill the emptying coffers. The Roadgasmic Party was a very lucrative dry run, Project Raketship brought home the bacon. Search engine optimization experiments initiated. Plans for career expansion envisioned. Spirituality remains intact. Signs of growing foreseen.


Finally pierced through the calloused portions of his heart.

Filler Two | KPR

Sa tinagal-tagal kong nagbubuhat ay ngayon lang ako na-tengga ng matagal. Two weeks! That's right, dalawang linggo! Nasira ng matinding karamdaman ang gym routine ko.

Actually, nakakaramdam na rin ako ng fatigue the last time I went to the gym. Siguro dahil masyadong strenuous ang program kaya hindi ko kinaya. Puwede rin na wala na akong motivation kasi... masarap kumain.

I know the consequences of stopping and its one of my fears right now. Ang hirap bumalik. Killer ang pag-establish ng habit.

I brought my gym clothes today. Full battle gear ang nasa loob ng bag ko. I said I would be returning by December 1. Kaso mo, nalaman ko kanina na November 30 pa lang pala.

I still have an hour to decide. Walking distance lang naman ang Eclipse from my workplace. Nagpaluto rin ako ng Tocilog for dinner just in case magutom ako. The drive isn't there anymore, but let's see.

For the meantime, gagawin ko munang inspiration yung picture na ninakaw ko sa G4M dati.

In memory of Cherokee (kung sino man siya)

But one thing is sure. I would prove to that loser who once flayed insults over a drinking session in Angeles City that my bulging tummy was hopeless and I'm grounded to become obese for life, that change is possible. In eight months I would make sure that I would have some major improvements on my body.

Act of Liberation
February 13, 2006
Fullmetal Dreams

I remember it was in Angeles City.  The Outsider (my other tropa) went to a watering hole inside a well-known subdivision.  We sat on a table and the group had their own business. I was musing over a half empty bottle of San Miguel when an acquaintance blurted out,

"Ay nako Joms, kahit anong gawin mo hindi ka na papayat!"  It was an off remark.  A comment I didn't expect since I was not talking to him.

"Talaga?  Sigurado ka sa sinabi mo?!?"

I was pissed off the rest of the night but I can't do nothing. I was a tub of lard weighting over 200 lbs. My ex even threatened to leave me should I not shape up.

My friends didn't notice the mood swing but I vowed to keep my word.

A flashback.  

Now I understand the reason why I kept the photo.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Filler One | Greenbelt

Nakatunganga. Hindi alam ang isusulat. Ito ang kapalit ng ilang araw na pagkakasakit at pagkakaroon ng writer's block. Three more entries to go bago mag-quota. Andami ko sanang isusulat pero gusto ko na mas pinag-isipan ang mga entries. Hindi basta bara-bara lang. Marami rin akong gusto ikuwento pero kinakailangan ang self-censorship.

Ahh basta. Heto na lang.

Ilang beses na akong nagawi sa Greenbelt, pero allergic talaga ako sa lugar na iyon. Either hindi ko masikmura ang presyo ng mga bilihin o sadyang hindi lang ako mahilig magwindow shopping.

Isang linggo, pumunta ako roon ng may kasama. Tamang ikot lang habang iniintay ipalabas yung papanoorin naming movie. Malamig ang simoy ng hangin, kahit weekend ay maraming nagdi-dine in. Habang palakad lakad, kuwento ang aking kasama ng mga pangarap niyang bilhin: walking shorts worth 2K, T-Shirt sa Zara at kung anu-ano pa. Ngiti lang ako, kasi alam kong never ko ma-afford ang mga pangarap niya. Kung afford man, chances are, nauna na sa BDO ang pera sa halip na sa cash register.

But that's not the gist of the story. Hindi na bale na may kasama akong big shot. Kalimutan ko na rin ang  isang Topman shirt na hindi ko naman maisusuot. (dahil hindi na rin ako gumigimik) Maybe the fact that I went there with my significant half was enough reason to treasure the moment and not loathe the place like I used to.

Minsan lang maging favorable ang hangin sa aking circulatory system.  Minsan lang.

Hindi nakakapagtaka na para akong tanga na nakangiti buong time magkasama kami.

The Need To Discriminate

Circa 2001

The screening process goes something like this:

If you catch the founders' attention, they would set you for a one on one meet-up. A representative is sent to see you at an undisclosed location. In those days, friendly eye-balls remain an essential etiquette. SEBs were unheard of. Once the founders discover your lusty intention, your application will be revoked.

Meet-up lasts for an hour or two. It depends entirely on how deep your online ties with the representative. Body language is noted, as well as the applicant's manner of speaking. Any hints of effeminate behavior and the application will be dropped. Once the representative finds you likable, you will be sent for another round of screening. This time, one gets to meet the other members, as well as the founders themselves.

This was what the application form appears like:

contact in the group:
why do you want to join the group:

Everyone wants to belong, especially the ones who just came out of the closet. The feeling of finding a connection with a group who understands you was reason enough to reveal one's identity. In those days, only effeminates were gay and people were all bisexuals. To weed out the rest from the real straight-acting men, the group had to adopt extreme ways of segregation. This didn't go well with the other members.

The purist would dare say the screening was required for the group's protection. Despite their online presence, the members were still hiding from their straight friends and family. They too were afraid that flamboyant and effeminate behavior could spread among the members. An innocent swardspeak could lead to another, and with an effeminate around, the evolution would be hastened.

The group's reputation allowed it to grow beyond its ability to impose. The founding principles were too harsh for the new members to accept. Factions formed as the founders cocooned themselves with the original group. The screening would serve as an excuse for members to pair up. Opposing voices would divide the group apart. The purist were abandoned by members who were more tolerant than the founders.

The cycle went on, and straight-acting groups beyond the shores of IRC would also set themselves apart. It was the fear of becoming the stereotype - of being compared with Diego the pambansang bading and the gay entertainers on tv screens. It was the tukling against the paminta, and while remnants of the great divide still haunts the community today, the people are becoming more open than they used to a decade ago.

Discrimination is human nature tampered with changing attitudes. What is impossible today might be ordinary tomorrow. A century ago, women were denied the right to vote. Their place was at home to do house chores. Blacks were considered subhumans half a century ago. They were segregated like all dark-skinned people were.

Segregation runs against the idea of equality, which is human nature too. As people become enlightened, voices of opposition grow. The tide of openness would be too much to handle, capitulation is imminent. And so as much as there is inequality in the world, hope for a more tolerant society takes root. Same with the gay community, acceptance catches up discrimination.

The only question is, how long could we stomach the cruelties against our kind?

Circa 2009:

"Ate, kamusta na kayo ng jowa mo?"

"Heto, happiness, ikaw, sino boylet mo?"

"Single-singlelan ang beauty ko. Baka ikaw may referral."

"Gaga, hindi ako nagpapasa load no! Saka tagal na kaya namin ng boyfriend ko. Wala na akong kilalang iba."

"Ay ganun! O sha, pupunta ka ba sa birthday ni Marivic?" (Marvin)

"Hindi ko pa sure, ikaw ba?"

"Oo, punta ka na. Yung mga orig na kasama natin sa DM, nandun din daw!"

"Ay talaga! Gandara parks na rin kaya sila?

"Ma! Lets find out!"

"Corrected by, o sha, kitakits!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cabeza De Barangay | Last Part

because some stories deserve an ending.

We never ventured out of the driveway since moving here over a decade ago. The complexities of "driveway politics" kept us grounded within the confines of our apartment. When my dad was still alive, his aggressive posturing kept homeowner relationships in-check. The owner of the first house never dared to encroach into the driveway.

But we knew what was happening outside the compound. An amphetamine market was thriving, akyat-bahays leaped from one house to another, the barangay hall literally served as the second house of the captain, the neighborhood was in disarray. Even the baranagay patrol car was left at the mercy of the elements. I vividly recall seeing wet clothes left to dry inside the vehicle.

These abuses were too glaring not to be noticed. But opposition was too broken to make a unified stand against the leadership.  Think of the past presidency as our neighborhood.  When barangay elections was held three years ago, several small hood groups fielded a candidate to run against the incumbent.

We were not yet acquainted with local politics, but we knew the Kapitana had won. Not even her face was known to us, but it doesn't matter. As long as the barangay patrol car is working, the hood is in good hands.

The sweeping changes happened overnight. Gates were erected in some passageways to limit the access to the barangay at night.  The open portion was heavily guarded by kagawads. This resulted in a drop of robbery incidents at night. Loudspeakers were also installed in strategic corners of the neighborhood. I sometimes walk by these streets hearing announcements mostly benefiting the squatters living in the neighborhood.

I do not know what happens behind the scenes, but such garnishments was enough for people to believe that something is working. It was when the barangay tied-up with my mom's university for social projects that we finally became involved.

In politics, allegiances shift all the time.

The people who used to profess loyalty switch sides depending on one's interests. It is human nature, me thinks, and it breaks not a few industrial-strength bonds. Three years have passed and the Kapitana had lost quite a lot of men. Perhaps it is in her style of leadership. Maybe she doesn't subscribe to patronage politics. We still don't know much about the things happening beyond the driveway, but when she personally asked for our support, we realized that our interests side with those of the Kapitana.

Despite not getting sleep, I went to the precint to cast my vote when the polls opened that morning. Some candidates and their families were lining down the street to send their well-wishes to the voters.

"Huwag niyo po akong kakalimutan," one aspiring councilor said.

"Tanggal ka sa balota ko, kung sino ka man," I said to myself.

Even a distant uncle who lives in the neighborhood gave me his flier.

"Boto mo lahat ito, pero ito tanggalin mo." He crossed out the name of the Barangay Captain.

"Ito ang ilagay mo." He wrote down the barangay captain of another party. Permanent interests indeed.

The day went by unnoticed. I slept. I accompanied my mom to another polling station. I went to the gym with my future baabaa and then returned home to learn the fates of the aspiring leaders.

"Eleven votes lang ang lamang!" One of our neighbors said.

"Yung iba kasi, no-read no-write, nilagay yung pangalan sa pagka-konsehal kesa sa pagka-kapitan kaya natalo."

Congratulations were in order and my mom was among the choruses who sent their good-tidings to the re-elected Kapitana. Several weeks later, I saw her alone, and having a meeting with my mother. They were at the sala discussing future tie-ups between my mom's university and the barangay.

Between official correspondence, the Kapitana shared what really took place during the elections.  Betrayals and shifting loyalties almost tore the party she lead: A councilor peddled his name to two parties, an entire neighborhood dropped their representative who belong to her party to support someone from another street. 

What won her another term was her decision not to leave anyone behind.

"Alam mo ba, yung mga tiga-creek ang talagang nag-solid sa akin," These were the squatters who benefited from her programs. To think that she belongs to the middle class, the bulk of her constituents, her feat was remarkable.

Life went on after elections. A month after votes were cast, rifts began to mend. Mareng Holly resumes managing her sari-sari store. Mareng Ditas meanwhile has returned to church service. As far as I know, their relationship with the flamboyant Barangay Chairman is at all time high.

At the home front, a free medical mission took place a few weeks ago. Heard it was a success. When I passed by the last remaining ungated street last night, I noticed that construction work has once again resumed.

The barangay will be fully enclosed and protected from outsiders before the year ends.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Before the mp3 player was the discman. We were already pirates then and we used to download our music from Napster. When Napster was ordered to shut down, other file sharing sites took over. What we did was download the mp3s online and then burn it in a compact disk. Kapag may out of town trips, kalahati ng contents ng bag ko ay mga audio cds.

Before discman was the walkman. It was the age of the mixtapes. Naabutan ko pa yung makikinig ka ng radyo, tapos irerecord mo yung songs na gusto mo iplayback ng paulit-ulit. It pisses me off when the dj suddenly speaks before the end of the song. Mas lalong buraot kapag nagrerecord ka ng song at tahimik yung buong room, tapos biglang may kakausap sa iyo.

Tracing back the source, everything started with FM stations. Kaya naman nang mauso ang portable audio players, unang na-imbento ang transistor radio. Funny thing is I thought FM stations will become obsolete in a few years. The rise of music videos and mp3 players will beat the hell out of the djs.

Epic fail ang aking prognosis.

I see a lot of people with their ear phones plugged in their ears these days. Noong una akala ko na mp3 players ang sakbit nila. The truth was revealed when Globe gave me a new phone. The phone has built-in FM receiver so I tried to use it one day. Sawa na rin kasi ako sa mp3s sa iPod ko.

I got hooked immediately and I started listening to the stations once again. First on my favorites is U-Radio. Kapag Saturday naman at late ako nag-work out, naka-tune in ako sa Big Fish Radio. Then there was NU-107 but it was replaced by the hell sent Win Radio. (Pinag-iisipan pa ba yan? No Brainer Lolz.)

This entry serves as both a belated prelude to the four great FM stations that I listen to and how my taste in music defines my personality. Pero sa totoo lang, the entry was inspired by a photo I saw in a website a few nights ago.

Tamang wow effect lang.

batteries not included

The photo serves as  a gentle reminder of how far innovation took humanity for music to become more portable.

photocredits:  boredpanda.com

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Programmer

IT spells money. That's what I've been told while taking baby steps to climb my own career ladder. Lately it got me into thinking, what if I explored this science when it was just emerging?

My association with programmable machines is ancient and symbiotic. My first encounter with computers happened long before Microsoft came to these shores. The favorite aunt got me into this summer computer class held in a Chinese School. The next year, she then enrolled me in another summer program offering computer classes at La Salle Greenhills.

homage to the classic

In those days, hard disks and flash drives were unheard of. There was no Internet and Wordstar was still a couple of years away before it was introduced to me. Every file was stored in cumbersome floppy disks. The instructors even forbid to touch the film strip at the middle of the storage device.

"The files will be corrupted," they said.

We learned the inner workings of DOS. We changed its font colors and drew pictures using shapes and images inserted in a prehistoric software. We know nothing about the machine's direct application then. However, my creativity got a boost after drawing images of UFOs attacking a city.

A few years down the road and then I discovered the joys of video games. There was dig-dug and star raiders. It was also during this period when Wordstar and Lotus123 became the staple of computer classes. Slowly I was getting hooked. When a cousin showed me the wonders of playing Civilization I (a strategy game) and Police Quest (an RPG series), my loyalties started to shift from Nintendo to Pentium 486.

Thus began my steady and sustained exposure to computers.

In junior high school, I was already using Microsoft Word when everyone submits their papers produced from a typewriter or Wordstar. I wiled the afternoons away playing the strategy and simulation games I could find. Meanwhile, the kids at school played basketball or video arcade to pass time. When my penchant for visual arts was first stirred while tinkering a DOS program, it flourished under Bryce 3D.

I was ready to expand my horizons by taking up an IT-related major in college. But my mind aspired to learn the fine arts of Capitalism, while my soul would show its true colors when fate decreed that I should be put to arts and letters instead.

The last time I had close encounters with programming software was when Yusuke, my high school buddy, did his Turbo Pascal homework in my computer. I may not have produced my own program, but I did learn the keys to understanding the language.

A decade later, he rakes thousands of dollars in the Lion City.

I recall these memories not to feel bitter at what could have been. Instead, the legacy spanning fifteen years affirms the potentials are always there. The remembering happened by pure accident. Lately, Baabaa goes home very late at night. He makes a living conversing with machines using syntax and algorithms.

Since our early days, I sleep only when my partner tells me he has arrived home (or when I do, I set the alarm clock to buzz every hour.  It was my cue to text him and let him know I'm still around..)

It is when work leaves him sleepless for days that I resent turning my back on my heritage. A partner desires only what is best for his significant other, and much as I would like to spend the whole night cheering him up, learning the language he speaks might have eased his burden better.

IT spells money. That's what I've been told.  Looking back, perhaps, a door remains ajar for me to take a peek and explore.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Team Leader Work Station, 0800 Hours

I remember the first time they broke the news.

It was the summer of 2009. The assistant team leader from the afternoon shift was already 8 months pregnant. The management was looking for a reliever when the Patroness of Giggling Dogs quietly slipped my name in the list of candidates. She would deny this, but I doubt if my immediate officers then would think of picking my name.

The job offer was presented inside the men's bathroom. I recall the Team Leader casually telling me that I've been granted authority to act as a temporary officer. He needs to take his break too, and it would be impossible to look after the shift on his own. The twist was I would not be alone. I will be sharing the responsibility with another colleague they had also chosen.

Training commenced immediately. Preparations took around a month before the assistant team leader filed her maternity leave. Fearing disappointments, especially of the one who put my name in the list, I did my best to deliver effectively. The tour of duty lasted for more than a month and then it was back to being an agent. Overriding my plan to resign, they created a job position I would be handling alone.

Meanwhile, the counterpart who flunked during our tour of duty was returned, permanently, to her previous assignment.

And then left, the first time the company called for exit volunteers.

The reliever duty was the beginning of my ascent in the company. Nowadays, a week would not pass without my presence in the management meetings. I walk alongside my ex-superior officer who remains confined to handling the afternoon shift. From being an agent, to team handler, to trainer and QA, each career ladder lead to another. When Mami Athena was sick, I took responsibility of looking after her account.

Being familiar with various jobs is both a blessing and a curse. A few days ago, I volunteered to do an agent's job. A shift lacking in manpower required an extra hand. An assistant team leader was sick while her team leader was away. In need of a reliever, she requested my presence to look after her shift.

Granted permission, my tour of duty began today. Unlike the tens of agents I managed before, what remains of the floor is a skeletal force dedicated to keep the company afloat. They are the ones who accepted the impossible when the work reduction plan was announced, and deep down, I know, they are breaking apart.

A third of them belongs to my account. Once or twice, I tried to look for sidelines that would boost their chances to earn. I do not know how long they would last, or would we all cross over to the other side.

The next three days will open my eyes to the painful truths about the company. The mood maybe gloomy and the empty stations adds to the pang of hopelessness. But this is how we stand.

Maybe, part of the training I once took includes keeping the morale of those left behind barely above the threshold.

Perhaps, even more than that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The War Within

The body was able to withstand the brunt of the flu virus without the aid of antibiotics. No matter how my mom insisted that I should ask the favorite aunt for prescription, I decided to drown myself in water instead. The idea was to let the body heal itself. I don't want to partake my money to finance the pricey synthetic medication.

Fever had set in and persistent coughs were already hurting my chest. "Kapag nag-chills... or nawalan ng appetite, saka na ako hihingi ng tulong."  Those were my pronounced threshold.  Behind the tough stand was the imminent fear of being rushed to the hospital. Yet, I kept these anxieties hidden so as not to alarm anyone.

So I drunk jugs of water while keeping myself distracted. I installed Sim City 4 on my computer so as to soothe the pain by living a portion of my waking hours in simulation. I nearly overdosed myself with ascorbic acid to build up my resistance. Baabaa chipped in by cheering me up with his lovely sweet nothings.

Every glass of fluid became my army. Waves after waves of it tumbled to water down the phlegm. The big boss, which is the cold weather, was held back by thick clothing. I maybe half-naked but with a blanket to cover my skin, a fighting chance seems like a possibility.

It took me two days to recuperate. At times when it felt I couldn't make it, a silent prayer became my last thought. For when things happen beyond my control and I choose no one to share my burden, I turn to heavens for solace. It may not lead to a full recovery, but at least, the soul is comforted.

Monday kicked-off the new week. With a body still heaving from an illness and a persistent phlegm to spook me in the morning, I went to work proclaiming wellness is at hand.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I know all your graces
someday will flower
In that sweet
In the sweet sunshower

Chris Cornell

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shut Down

It must be the long hours at work, or the bitter cold temperature that the season brings. Isama mo pa diyan yung putol-putol na tulog dahil sa sleeping habits and the day-starvation/night-binging approach when it comes to diet. Isisi mo pa yung laging nakahubad sa bahay, yung malamig na AC sa office and the lack of nutritious food sa plate. Nakalimutan ko pala, patayan rin yung work-out. Ang masama dun, minsan, nagbubuhat ako na walang laman ang tiyan. (except for the Oatmeal Banana which is actually the brunchienda) The last time it struck me, antibiotics came to my defense. Hindi pa ako fully recovered at inabuso ko na naman ang sarili ko. (yeah, nagpapaulan ako!)

The malaise retreated quietly for a month, and then a few days ago, it returned with a vengeance. So ngayon, heto at may sakit na naman ako.

When will I ever learn that the body is like a machine that gets broken more often as you age?

Thursday, November 18, 2010



pwede magtanong? hehe. weight gain kasi yung goal ko, so kain lang ako nang kain. tapos yung program ko sa eclipse, 5x5. di rin ako nagcacardio kasi sabi sakin ng isang coach, wag daw magcardio kasi nasasayang yung nabubuild na muscles since nagpapalaki nga ako.

kaso napapansin ko, yung tyan ko mejo lumalaki napapaisip tuloy ako kung tama bang hindi ako nagcacardio? and i don't feel like the 5x5 program fits me. di ba strength training 'to? i hope someone sheds light on me coz i think i'm getting this all wrong. hehe.


systemofadown: Will get back to you after consulting your concern directly to Blakedaddy.


i try to eat 6 times a day. no fastfood (burger, fries, softdrinks, etc). pero pizza and pasta mejo madalas. so normal lang ba 'to? sabi rin sakin saka na raw ako magtrim down pag malaki-laki na ako.


Ayun naman pala eh. Try eating more vegetables and high fiber food. Didn't see this line, it was Blakedaddy himself who pointed out the problem.

First Contact, April 19, 2010 AP

We have been sharing the same workout thread at hindi ko man lang siya napapansin. It was he who pointed out na magkausap na kami dati pero hanggang forum lang. Ang suplado ko raw. Given that we quoted posts to answer each other's inquiries, I did not cross lines. I chose to keep things formal because we work out at the same gym.

I guess fate has its way of bringing people together. Wala pang effort yan. Just a few days after setting foot in my universe, he found my welcome message in his comment box - the first to recognize his presence. Nothing was ever planned or cooked up for us to get closer. I even avoided a meet-up, and preferred others to do my work.

But you know it the first time you set your eyes on a person. You cannot deny the spark or the possibilities that could grow between you. I do not know who started the fire at wala rin naman ang aamin, but that's it.

The rest is history.

Nahanap rin namin ang isa't isa.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writing For Children

The muses are once again on vacation, and I am in no mood to write a composition. My head is like a primordial soup these days. Ideas slip like a drinking glass held by a well-lubricated hand. But in an effort to share something I learned, let me tell you a story about how my mentorship with Bentusi is evolving lately.

Raket season has begun and I was once again asked to write articles for kids. Unlike the essays I did before, Bentusi sent new sample articles to follow. She did not say whether we should use her writing style or not. The instructions in the email stressed that we should cut our sentences for easy digestion. We should also use small words that can be easily understood by a ten-year old pupil.

Given the specifications, I read Bentusi's article and discovered how much creativity was put into it. It was not your average 4Ws format, instead, a story weaves through the essay. Fables were used, as well as dialogues spoken by imaginary characters. I found the narrative heartwarming, and for a moment, the stories opened a window to a world I had long lost.

Back in the Masters Program, I evaded classes that would require writing for children. I found the practice feeble, and at times, even shallow. What I didn't realize then are the skills needed to drive home a message. How can you describe each variety of Mangoes without sounding too pale and bookish? That was what Bentusi showed me through her writing, and I welcomed her lessons favorably.

I followed Bentusi's footsteps using my own skills as a wordsmith. Putting my heart into my craft, this has become my first creation:

Shadow Play

Mary Anne was doing her homework when the lights went off. A blackout left much of the neighborhood in the dark.

Coming to the rescue is her big sister Olga. With two candles in her hand, she places one on Mary Anne’s study table. The big room is once again alighted.

She could continue doing her homework, but Mary Anne was warned not to read in low light or she will strain her eyes. With nothing to do except to wait for the lights to come back, she looks around to find something to keep herself busy.

Mary Anne walks away from the light source and sees her shadow beginning to shrink. “That’s fascinating!” she said. She walks farther away from the candle and closer to the wall to find her shadow now as tall as her.

She tries doing animal shapes with her hands. First is a bird and then a dog. She even succeeds in shaping her hands to make it look like a rabbit. Mary Anne was having a great time doing shadow play when Olga suddenly passes by the doorway.

“What are you doing sister?” A flash of bright light forces Mary Anne to cover her eyes.

Olga points her big, powerful flashlight at her sister. Mary Anne has to turn her back to block the light. She notices another shadow forming, a big looming shadow against another wall.

Then and there she learns that shadows are formed when an object blocks a source of light. It becomes big and small depending on the distance of an object from the light source. As Mary Anne walks towards the other part of the wall, she sees her two shadows behind her. One is getting smaller, while the other one stays the same.

Just when she was about to touch her other shadow, the lights begin to blink. Power is restored and it’s back for Mary Anne to finish her homework.

I do not know how the article comes across the readers, but underneath the narrative are questions, that were succinctly answered. How do shadows form? How large and small shadows are made? How can one form many shadows?

Aided by Google, these questions were decoded. And while explanations could have been given in linear fashion, I learn that for a message to reach its reader, one must think and act like the reader.


Who would have thought that the training, which I deliberately ignored in school would eventually find me.  The only difference between then and now is seven dollars which will be deposited to my PayPal account at the end of the month.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Rosary | Reincarnation | No Ordinary Morning | Sunsets | Wide Open Spaces | The Sims | Civilization | Discovery Channel | Yuyu Hakusho | Animax | Ultraman | Peppermint | Oregano | Gardening | Little Banawe | Sonic the Hedgehog | Cats | Third Eye | History Channel | Photography | Rule of Threes | Sentimentality | Technicolor Dreams | Sim City | Solitude | Long Walks | Bench Presses | EDT | Collective Soul | Goo Goo Dolls | Rivermaya | Alternative | Faded Jeans | Clubbing | Road Trip | Long Stroll | Wikipedia | Writing | Blog | The Ex-Girlfriend | Kids | Paula Cole | Cranberries | Tropical Gothic | Cosmos | San Miguel Light | Malate | Menthol | Battlestar Galactica | Science Fiction | As Told By Ginger | Spongebob Squarepants | Years of Rice and Salt | Buddha | The Book of Saint Thomas | International Space Station | Trees | Saving Planet Earth | Dystopia | Steam Punk | My Neighbor Totoro | Combatron | Lonely Planet | Gold, Black and Aquinas | 4C5 | Diliman |

Sometimes, you just have to know who you are, where you at, and what you want
and you can always face life without doubts.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Frustration ko talaga ang kumanta.  Noong hindi pa ako tuli at nagagawa ko pa ang mag-soprano ay nakasali pa ako sa choir ng high school namin.  Isang taon rin yun.  Natanggal lang ako nang magsimulang pumiyok na ang boses ko.  May inter-school competition kasi na sasalihan ang school at kesa magkalat ako at matalo kami ay piniling tanggalin na lang ako ng choirmaster sa roster.

Hindi na ako nakabalik sa choir pagkatapos.

Tuwing Pasko ay may reunion ang pamilya namin.  Nagkikita kaming magpipinsan at dahil mga bata pa ay napipilit kami ng mga matatanda na mag-talent show muna. Yun daw ang kundisyon bago ibigay ang pera na galing sa mga kamag-anak namin sa states.  Never akong nagpractice sa talent portion gaya ng mga bata kong pinsan. Sa halip ay pahirapan muna bago ko bitawan ang controller ng Sega tuwing ako ay tatawagin na para magpakita ng talento.

Minsan ay napuwersa nila ako sa harap ng mga tiyuhin at tiyahin. Confident na marunong akong kumanta, nilagay nila ang cassette tape ng paborito kong music artist. Nakalimutan ko na kung ano ang kinanta ko, pero ang comment ni favorite aunt, puwede daw akong pang-third voice.

Hindi na ulit ako kumanta sa harap ng maraming tao simula noon.

Dumaan ang maraming taon at naging tagumpay ako sa pag-iwas sa mga kantahan.  Nalaos na ang walkman at naging obsolete na ang karaoke pero ako ay naging mailap pa rin.  Masuwerte na lang siguro na napasama ako sa mga barkadang tinaguriang mga basag rin ang boses.  Yung unang grupo ay nadala sa pagiging japorms ang pag-iwas sa microphone. Yung ikalawa naman ay piniling mag-sound trip na lang kesa sabayan sa pagkanta ang mga trip nilang mga banda.

Minsan ay napapakanta rin ako ng hindi sinasadya, lalo pa't paniwalang paniwala ako na nag-iisa lang sa paligid. Kapag time na ng chorus at nagkataon namang ako ay bigay na bigay, nariyan si utol para magsabing huwag daw akong umungol na parang kalabaw.

Siyempre, tiklop na naman ako. Wala naman talagang marunong kumakanta sa aming pamilya.

Tanggap ko na sana ang katotohanang malayo sa puso ko ang pagkanta. Pero nang minsang umuwi ako ng bahay na medyo heartbroken, wala akong nagawa kung hindi makipag-duet sa desktop pc. Kaiba sa marami, alternative ang mood music ko tuwing in-love o kaya naman ay sugatan ang puso. Hindi ko alam kung bakit, pero nang gabing iyon, sinira na naman ni utol ang aking moment.

"Kuya ikaw ba yung kumakanta?"

"Oo bakit?" Clinick ko yung stop button ng Windows Media Player. Tiyak na pintas na naman ang abot ko nito.

"Hindi nga? Para kasing hindi ikaw eh."

"Anong ibig mong sabihin?" Ang tagal kasi bago ibagsak ang punchline eh.

"Parang gumanda yata ang boses mo."

Hindi na ako kumanta pagkatapos noon, pero bakas ang ngiti sa aking mukha. Ikaw ba naman ang binigyang papuri ng iyong number 1 critic eh. Hanggang ngayon ay pilit ko pa ring iniisip kung ano yung kinanta ko noong gabing yun. Badtrip kasi limot ko na talaga.

Marahil ang papuring iyon ang dahilan kung bakit pumayag akong samahan si Papa Tagay mag-videoke. First meet-up namin at salamat sa anim na Red Horse ay bangenge kaming dalawa.

Wala talaga akong balak kumanta. Masaya na akong may kainuman sa may Ayala (Boulevard) habang nagkukunwaring straight kasama nung mga Tau Gamma na tambay ng katabing bilyaran. Kaso mo, biglang naihi si Papa Tagay kung kailan i-pla-play na yung next song niya. Hindi ko alam kung nasaan ang pause button at sayang naman kung walang sasalo ng playlist.

"Bahala na," Sabi ko, habang mahigpit na hawak ang microphone na noon ay basa na ng pawis.

Tenenenenen.... Tenenenenen... Tenenenenenen... Ang sarap sa tenga ng intro ng gitara.

So lately, been wondering
Who will be there to take my place
When I'm gone you'll need love to light the shadows on your face
If a great wave shall fall yeah fall upon us all
Then between the sand and stone could you make it on your own.

Hiyawan yung mga waitress at ibang mga customer na umiinom kasabay namin ni Papa Tagay. Ako rin ay hindi makapaniwala na kaya ko palang kumanta. Dala siguro ng sipa ng kabayo kaya nawala ang hiya sa akin. Sa halip ay napalitan ito ng kapal ng mukha na siyang nagbigay lakas-loob para tapusin ko ang buong kanta.

Hindi ko alam kung hanggang saan ang narinig ni Papa Tagay. Pero nakita kong nakangiti ito habang pinapasa ang mic sa susunod na kakanta. Simula noon ay The Calling na ang pambato ko sa playlist. Minsan ay Sponge Cola o kaya naman ay Matchbox 20 na tamang-tama lang sa boses ko.

Mahiyain pa rin ako gaya ng dati, kaya tuwing may Videoke Nights ay madalas na lugi ako sa hatian. Pero asahan mo na sa oras na malasing ako, basta alternative yan ay hindi ako umaatras.

Minsan, napipilitan pa akong kumanta - kahit sa isang sulok - matanggal lang ang pagkahilo kapag ako ay nakakarami na.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


The utol and her family had decided to stay at our in-laws' last week.  The move would give the family a breather from the stresses of the city.  Fresh air at our in-laws' estate would also be a boon to Baby Lenin's health.  They were confident that the in-laws would take care of them.  Mom had her reservations, but their absence meant that she could move freely now that work demands her presence more.

Less than a day after they settled down, the utol complains that Lenin doesn't "poo-poo" like he used to. He cries a lot, especially during the ungodly hours of the morning. We tried to ignore her whining believing it was all part of the adjustment. Motherhood comes in all forms and ideas. Having a bundle of joy could sometimes reanimate undead fears.

As we enjoy our blissful yet hollow existence in the city, utol continues to update the lola about Lenin's condition. She brings good tidings once in a while and tells my mom how she appreciates her for being there. But most of the time, mom serves as her shock absorber, especially when she feels her baby is unwell.

The cycle of frenetic outbursts went on for days. It has already made the favorite aunt upset, and is beginning to wear down my mom only recently.  What made the frenzy truly annoying was the fact that most of her worries require a thin slice of common sense.

"38.5 na ang lagnat ni baby. Sabi ni Ka Noli lagnat laki lang daw yun."

No wonder, headache becomes the Matriarch's favorite companion.

Listening to my superstitious self, I think something unseen has disturbed the baby. His maladies showed up only after they left the house and stayed at our in-laws' place.

"Baka naman na-matanda?"

"Hindi kaya na-maligno?  Sobrang probinsya pa naman kina Ka Noli."

Reason knows the best answer.

And when her griping became too much for my mother, all it took was two sweet text messages to drive her, perhaps, back to the embrace of sanity.

"Gamitin mo judgment mo! Nagkakasakit jan si Lenin at wala kaming magagawa. Naiistress si Mama."

"Bumalik na kayo dito at ipatingin yan sa doktor."

It may sound harsh for the utol, but I cannot stay idle while her selfishness consumes everyone. Between her peace of mind and those of my mom's,

it is my mom I will keep first.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Alarma | The GreatKid Remix

Modified Escalating Density Training. (M-EDT) Tingin ko na yan ang binigay na program sa akin ni Coach Blakedaddy.

Ang goal ng workout ay makarami ng repetition sa tinakdang set of exercises na fitness trainer ang gumagawa. Sa kaso ko, nakasulat sa program na 5 reps ang kailangan mabuo sa bawat set.  Ang buong set na kailangan gawin sa isang exercise ay labing apat. Benchpress pa lang yan. Magaan man ang weights na kailangan kong buhatin, (100 lbs) pero tiyak na si superman lang ang hindi matatagtag pagkatapos ng work-out.

Ang resulta, katumbas ng kalahating rice cooker ang nauubos kong kanin pag-uwi ng bahay.  Hindi pa kasama ang ulam doon. Sabi nga sa akin na kasya daw sa tatlong dukha ang hapunan ko.  Naroon rin yung pakiramdam na parang tinadyakan ka ng sampung kabayo the following day. Lolz!

Rest assured na sana ang goal ko na maging KPR, (Miming alam mo ito!) Pero dahil nga sa ga-baboy kong kumain ay napupunta sa wala ang lahat ng pinaghirapan ko.  Madalas may butal pa.

Anyway, sinubukan kong magtimbang sa weighting scale kanina at laking gulat ko sa naging resulta.  Muntikan tuloy akong mapa-treadmill at mag-sprint ng sampung minuto.

"174?!?!" Hindi ko maitago ang pagkaalarma.

Sa sobrang panic ay dali-dali kong pinuntahan si Blakedaddy na nagsusuplado nang mga oras na iyon.

"Coach! Coach! Ninominate kitang moderator sa Pinoyexchange! Is it possible to get heavier because of muscle build-up?"  Tumingin muna ako sa paligid, baka naroon yung mga alaga nilang Bumbay na big bosses yata sa isang call center.

"Of course!" Mabilis ang kanyang tugon. Oha! Oha! Anlakas ko kay coach!

Kunsabagay, parang ang hirap nga kumilos lately. Para bang gawa sa bakal ang buong katawan ko. ^_^

What's more puzzling is that despite the weight gain, hindi pa naman ako nagfe-feeling suman sa mga Size-M na t-shirt ko. (Teka try ko ulit for verification... Aww kasya pa pero kelangan ko na mag-bra)  Okay pa rin yung mga jeans. (kahit halos magka-UTI na ako sa sikip) pero slight na taba pa at talagang magje-jersey na ako papasok sa work. Huhuhuhu.

I do not know what else to do.  The program could do wonders but it seems to be backfiring at me.  Pasira rin ang shift sa trabaho. Kasi naman Oatmeal lang ang Brunchienda (Breakfast-Lunch-Merienda) ko sabay lamon pagdating ng dinner.  Baguhin ko man ang eating habits pero masarap talaga magluto si Yaya.

So yun lang, nagrarant ako na parang ewan.    Let's see if I could turn around the situation bago ako magemo-emohan in two weeks.

Bye blog!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Are You Still Here?

June 23, 2004
First and Last Sunny Confrontation | Unedited
Fullmetal Dreams

I will never forget this night.

For the first time, I hanged the phone on my dad. I got all fed up with all his strong words to our financial manager. It seems like the crisis has gotten him. My mom think that his decision making and management abilities have already been impaired. God sawa na ako. Hindi ko na kayang marinig ang panglalait niya sa mga taong pinagkakatiwalaan ko pa.

Pasensya na, I was about to write a lighter blogger entry when he called. Shempre ako naman nakakaramdam na maglalabas ng sama ng loob sakin yung tao so bri-nace ko na ang sarili ko. He told me, pumasok ako ng maaga mamaya dahil kami na daw ang magtatake-over ng accounting department. He'll show Ms Delia who's the boss in the company. Hirit ko naman, "wala namang umaagaw sa position mo ah."

I don't want to recollect all the verbal trade-offs we had, but suffice to say, I was very very close to telling him all the resentments I have kept throughout this time. Mahirap na, baka bigla na lang ma-stroke yung kausap ko sa kabilang line, mabuti ba bagsakan ko na lang ng telepono sabay magpretend na nagkaroon ako ng nervous breakdown at nagwawala sa banyo pagtawag ulit.

Of course, I'm not the type of person who'll break down because of a problem. I would rather run away than being swallowed by it. Sa totoo hindi ko alam, hindi ko na alam kung sino ang papakinggan ko. After I slammed the phone, I immediately talked to his sister, which is the production manager to assess the situation.

And I found out that we're indeed in a very grim scenario.

I well understand how deadly our predicament is. I am very well aware that anytime everything would fall. But would it be better that despite the threats and crisis we face everyday, we face it with a peace of mind and a united heart? Problema kasi, mukhang wala nang tiwala tong tatay ko sa Finance Manager. I know by heart that the Finance Manager is doing everything to keep the company afloat. I know that most of the time, she's alone in her fight, kaming dalawa ni papa nagtatago sa kung saang sulok ng kama.

But can you blame me? How can a 22 year old resolve a problem reserve for elders and experienced businessmen? I can do much, but without the money, and the necessary authority to back me, everyone would think that I am just a mere kid. I've seen it before, I attended a dealers meeting and a lot of them we're a bit surprised why the company sent a kid to deal with big people. Ok lang sana sa akin, but when people starts to treat you as a kid, treating you to the point that they compare you to their own kids, diba parang nakaka-engeng rin?

My mom thinks I'm already nursing a tattered soul. Minsan nga naiisip ko, sa sobrang dami kong dapat isipin, madaling-araw na lang ang time ko para maging bata. I mean enjoy the small things that doesn't involve dialogue or compromise, or management or money. Minsan, mismong pagyoyosi na lang eh big break na sakin kasi feeling ko demure pa rin ako kapag naka-marlboro kahit tense na tense na ako.

Pasensya na talaga. I know some anonymous reader would laugh at my predicament, but you know what, sometimes I would really wanted to trade places with people who doesn't have to think big... to worry about everything aside from themselves. Seriously, I envy people who just have to worry about where to get their next money for their gym or watching movies, or buy the latest fashion craze. Inggit na inggit ako sa mga taong hawak nila ang sarili nilang buhay kasi ako hindi ko maafford mag-isip ng ganun. I would always have to think about my mom and my sis, about the business and everyone around it.

I know, I still learn from everything that's happening to me, pero minsan naiisip ko na rin talaga kung saan ba ako patungo. I prepared myself before for an empire in a bed of roses, pero ngayon, even just a moment of tranquility has its price. Our predicament made me think about a lot of things... and envy a lot of people of my age. Buti na lang wala sa isip ko ang mag-asawa kundi paano na ang mama at utol ko.

Minsan, nakakapagod maglakad sa tunnel na hindi mo alam kung kailan makikita ang liwanag. Everyone is telling me to surrender everything, end let my dad suffer his own fate, parang hindi ko rin kaya sumuko. Hindi ko na alam kung paano gagawin at sa totoo lang, ayaw ko nang makisali pa sa gulo. I tried my best to maintain order despite the crisis, but when the head itself is the one destroying the order... then I can't do anything about it.

Andami ko pang gustong sabihin pero kahit utak ko hindi ko na makita kung nasaan. Dapat sana marami akong ikwekwento tungkol sa mga novelties na nangyari sa buhay ko pero laging na-oovershadow ito ng problema ko sa trabaho. Gusto kong humanap ng buhay pero habang naiipit ako sa mga sitwasyon na hindi ko alam kung ano ang gagawin, mas gusto ko pang maging patay.

I am very very tired.

and in my dreams, I just want everything to end.

Present Day
Midnight Afterburner

The call of abandonment is tempting. Looking for a new job is easy. Leads still abound and there are the people-hungry call centers to run to should my ventures fail. Meanwhile, six agents have already resigned since the announcement came two weeks ago. The boss leads the chorus of thank you's and sorry's every time an agent leaves.

"Pasensya na sir, hindi ko talaga gustong umalis pero kailangan ko kumita." The most desperate gets to be the first to jump.

"Kami nga ang dapat mag-sorry, hindi namin gustong ilagay kayo sa ganitong posisyon."

What is happening today reminds me of the scenes that took place a long time ago. The publishing house was in dire straights and people hardly get their salaries. A strong leadership could have somehow steered the boat, but inner strife tore the hierarchy apart.

Things were becoming hopeless. I was doling P700 everyday to support 7 people in one department.

When the situation became too difficult to handle, I ran away to look for a job elsewhere. I left my dad and his loyal subjects to attend to our business. While reasons were valid, fleeing at a time of need is a dishonorable act. It took me six years to realize my mistake and I think I'm still paying for it.

Realizing that I have been given a chance to undo the past, all hints of leaving the company were dropped. I told my superior that I'd be staying even when my salary gets a cut.

Who knows, after passing through this road again with honor and maturity, my sins will be forgiven and I will be allowed to chart my destination, finally,

without the guilt to haunt me.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When The Ladies Go Marching In

Isang umaga.

"Anak ikaw ba yung naglagay ng mga santo sa sahig?"

"Anong santo? Kagigising ko lang noon at nagpupungas ng mata. May hangover pa kasi ako matapos makipag-inuman sa mga ka-tropa buong gabi.

"Bumaba kasi si Ka Noli kanina para umihi tapos nakita niya yung dalawang birhen sa sahig.

Akala niya nung una na iniwan ni Junjun yun kasi may kinatatakutan. Teka, tawagin mo nga si Junjun para siya magkuwento." Si Junjun ang aming lesbian driver.

Makalipas ang ilang minuto ay humarap sa amin si Junjun. Paliwanag niya na may nagtayo daw ng dalawang rebulto ni Birheng Maria sa sahig. Pareho daw itong nakaharap sa kanilang kuwarto (maid's quarters) at animo'y para daw itong nagpruprusisyon.

Akala ni Junjun na si Ka Noli ang may sala. Depensa naman ni mama na paano daw yun magagawa ni bayaw samantalang abala ang mag-asawa na kanilang sanggol. Upang higit na maliwanagan, pinatawag ni ermats si yaya. Hindi pa tinatanong ang kasambahay ay nagkuwento na kaagad ito.

"Nakita ko na yung mga santo nung umihi ako ng 4:30." Bungad ni yaya. "Sabi ko pa nga, 'aba itong si Mugen eh parang Mongoloid, mag-iwan ba naman ng santo sa sahig. Para namang magpapatayan kami ni junjun.'" Lumabas kasi na nag-aaway yung dalawa noong madaling araw.

Napakunot ang noo ko.

"Ikaw ba ang nag-iwan ng santo sa sahig?" Muling tanong sa akin ni ermats.

"Ano naman pakielam ko sa mga santo!" Depensa ko. "Saka kelan ba ako nagtrip sa mga tao rito?"

Ayaw pa sana maniwala ni yaya. Pero dahil kasama namin si Fidra na dating nag-alaga sa akin (bumisita siya para silipin ang aking pamangkin) at isa ring ubod ng hilig sa mga pamahiin, walang nagawa ang nang-aakusa kundi pakinggan ang kanyang panig.

"Tanggapin niyo na lang kasi na may nagmilagro." Sermon ni Fidra na sa mga oras na iyon ay nakaupo sa tabi ni Mudra.

"Kayo na rin ang nagsabi na magbabalibagan sana itong si junjun at yaya kaninang madaling araw kaya hayan, nag-iwan sa inyo ng mensahe ang birhen!"

Doon namin nalaman na para daw sinasapian si yaya noong madaling araw. According to junjun na medyo kinikilabutan na, kung anu-ano daw pananakot ang sinasabi ng kasambahay mapuwersa lang ang driver na i-silent mode ang kanyang phone. Nag-away ang dalawa dahil alas-tres na ay ka-text pa rin ni junjun ang kanyang girlfriend.

Pinakuha ang mga rebultong naglakad sa kusina para suriin. Claim ni Mama na unang hawak pa lang niya sa Our Lady of Loreto ay nanginig daw ang kanyang mga kamay. Lalo pang nagsitayuan ang mga balahibo ng mga naroon nang madiskubre na walang gaps kung saan dating nakalagay ang mga santo sa altar.

"Kung tao ang kumuha niyan, dapat walang nag-ayos sa lalagyan nila..." Paliwanag ni mama na puno ng misteryo ang mukha.

Hanggang sa bahay ni favorite aunt noong kinahapunan ay umabot ang balita. Hindi ito masyadong pinansin dahil na rin sa hindi pagkahilig ng mga tao dun sa mga milagro. Kinagabihan ay usap-usapan pa rin ang mga nangyari. Sabi ni mama na kukunsulta daw siya kay Stargazer na isang psychic at madalas niyang sinusubaybayan sa DZMM.

Aabutin pa ng araw bago tuluyang maka-get over ang mga tao sa amin sa nangyaring himala.

Pero ang hindi nila alam, may nag-iisang saksi kung paano napunta ang mga birhen sa sahig ng kusina.

"Kilala ko ang salarin!" Ito siguro ang intro ng piping saksi.

"Umuwi siya ng madaling araw sakay ng isang taxi. Matapang ang kanyang amoy at kapareho nito yung lumalabas na tubig sa bote na may pulang kabayo. Naabutan ko siya sa labas ng bahay at sa halip na matuwa sa akin ay muntikan pa akong batuhin. Ang ingay ko daw kasi.

Nang pumasok kami sa loob ay dire-diretso itong nagsipilyo ng ngipin at naglinis ng mukha. Akala ko nung una ay hindi niya narinig ang away na nangyayari sa loob ng kuwarto ni Master JJ at Master Y. May umiiyak, may nagsisipa, may nagbabanta. Scary talaga kasi alam ko kung paano mag-away yung dalawa.

Sa halip na pabayaan na lang magbalibagan ay umeksena itong salarin. Nagsermon pa nga siya na mahiya daw yung dalawa kasi may sanggol na natutulog sa kuwarto. Walang gustong mag-give way kaya sa huli, nagdecide ang nagsesermon na matulog na lang sa sala.

Umakyat lang siya sandali. Bitbit na niya ang kumot pagbaba. Nang bubuksan na niya yung electric fan ay hindi ito gumana. Baka ito ay sira at hindi pa napapagawa. Halatang badtrip ang may sala dahil naupo ito sandali. Para bang nag-iisip. Ako naman ay nahiga malapit sa kusina. Inaabangan kung ano ang magiging kilos ng mga tao sa paligid ko.

Tahimik siyang tumayo at pagkatapos ay kumuha ng dalawang rebulto na patayong iniwan sa tapat ko. Actually napagitnaan ako ng dalawang birhen na hindi kinaya ng powers ko kaya ako lumipat. May rug naman sa may pinto palabas kaya dun na lang ako pumuwesto. Goodluck sa buntot diba?

Umakyat ang salarin at hindi na bumaba pa.

Mataas na ang sikat ng araw pero ang mga rebulto ay naiwan pa rin sa sahig.

At sa pagkakaalam ko, walang balibagang naganap."

Status Message

We tried to keep our word
to remain as subtle as possible
when dropping hints of your presence.

But we cannot deny
that you occupy much of our thoughts lately.

So just to let you know
how strong our attachment is,

I love you too

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Home of NU Rock

There in front of me is an empty stretch of a road. The witching hour is no reason to rest our weary souls. The sky is dark and brooding, but paper deliveries had to be made. A city hungers for recycled news, trash cannot wait.

Seated at the passenger seat, I command the dashboard and the FM station. The driver obeys. I am the son of his boss after all. I switch the tuner to 107.5 and catch Eels crooning to the feel-good song Fresh Feeling. Often followed by Jimmy Eat World's Sweetness, the combo leaves our mood electrified.

The station has been a travel companion over the months, and it has been a source of music ever since. The melodic beats are so contagious, the driver tunes in to the same station even in my absence. And in the loneliest and most perilous of our travels, when lamp posts deny their glare and cloudbursts blind our sight, my ears were at least comforted knowing rock music played on.

One receives a royal snub from the bohemians once you admit ignorance of the classics. In a faculty teeming with poets, eccentrics and artists, classics refer to rock music - particularly the alternative genre. These songs seldom play on the radio, only few know its first lines. There was Live, Powderfinger and Dave Matthew's Band. Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day may have gone mainstream, but there were Guster, Our Lady Peace and The Flys to claim the spot.

At a time when mp3s were just becoming a fad, everyone sourced their music from the FM station. Only one plays the classic and entire generations pay attention. We may have lived after the rise and fall of Kurt Cobain and witnessed the tragedy that is Billy Corgan, but with NU on the air, a music legend may appear around the bend.

Bands were in then as it is today. Only faces and music styles have changed. Before the discovery of NU 107, I was already breast fed to Eraserheads, Yano and Joey Ayala. Rivermaya and Smashing Pumpkins were my staple in High School while Vertical Horizon and Collective Soul were my lifeline in College. I was drawn to drums and guitar rifts like a satellite to a planet. And whenever I conjure good memories of my childhood, expect alternative music playing in the background

Age might have clouded the past, and I might not recall how or when I first stumbled and found the home of NU rock. I may fondly remember the faces of kids who say "fuck you" at the mere mention of Aqua (until the release of the song Turn Back Time) or Christina Aguilera, but I have no memory of ever going to a rock event promoted by the station. I may also remember the times I checked the rock station's website to download the song listed as the week's number 1 or follow the artists featured at In the Raw, but never will you catch me supporting the band promoting their album.

You know how kids are. Cheapskate.

Sometimes you wish that nothing ever changes as the hum of the ages make your bones grow weaker. But you can feel the heaviness with each candle blown off your cake or when fresh ideas widen your field of vision. Make no mistake however, for the burden of time reminds that something is bound to end.

The first stirrings came when Vince said that NU will be reformatted and it will follow the trend of the jologs stations. That was several weeks ago. I was incredulous of course, how can an institution be brought down when it has loyal followers? The rock awards was just days away and advertisements keep on coming. Compare that with the underground URadio or Master's Touch and u know who's reaping a profit.

A few days after Discreet Manila's revelation and I found out that NU was not a 24/7 radio station anymore. When the club radio - the other station I listen to - manage to throw a party at 5 in the morning, then the home of NU rock was really in trouble. Finally, there was Lourd de Veyra's eulogy blog. When the man tells it, doubts were cast away.

News spread like a terminal disease and there is no cure. No matter where I turn to, the wall said it all: NU will be playing its last song. Twenty three years of cultivating homegrown music and then, a final bow.

Slowly, I began to collect the dusty remains of my youth. For all those plans of writing about my favorite rock station, I would be penning the words goodbye.

Ito na ang huling El Bimbo

As I begin to count the legacies this station has gifted me, I come to the conclusion that NU shaped much of my history. I may have never attended a concert or a gig - intentionally - but expect my combined alternative mp3s numbering around a thousand. I maybe queer and all, but rock has cast me out of the stereotype. Electronica may have become an anthem these days, but when I wish to go back to what was the best days of my life, NU will always be a part of it.

And now that its over, I cannot help but quietly weep in a corner, for its demise means a permanent loss of an epoch; an age I try to recover after putting order when inner revolutions tore my life apart.

NU 107 will be off the airwaves, and as a fitting send off; the solemnest method to say goodbye, I sneaked out of my room to be at one with those whose lives has been touched by the radio station.

Just as it has always been,

for good or for bad,

beloved are those who cast themselves apart.

DWNU 107.5
October 31, 1987 - November 8, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Flesh and Blood

Thrill clings in the air like smoke from a burning incense. One can almost smell the excitement. After a long wait, the nurse has just announced the utol's transfer to the delivery room.

"Naku wala na pong thirty minutes ito," she advised.

Those who were within earshot became restless. The brother-in-law suddenly disappeared. Mom had a hard time masquerading her anxiety, the in-laws were equally frantic.

They will become at last, certified grandparents.

The couple's visit was supposed to be a routine check-up, but they knew the baby was past overdue. Thirty minutes before noon, the doctor has decided it would be best for my sister to be admitted. D-Day has finally arrived. The brother-in-law immediately called my mom to seek counsel. Mom, in turn spread the news. I was at the office when the announcement came. Short of filing a half-day leave, the plan was scrapped upon learning that it would still take a full work-shift before the baby comes out.

Breathless, I left the building to return to the monasterio and give thanks to the patroness. The pilgrimage was also aimed at seeking some last-minute favors for the infant's safe delivery. However I too, was already smitten by the growing euphoria. Instead of taking the long route to the hospital, I took the short cut even if it meant walking along the crowded streets of Kalentong and Orosa just to get to Maddocs.

Mom was alone in the ward.

"Nasa waiting room na si Ryu. 4 cms. pa lang daw. Sabi ng doktor, mga 8-10 pm pa ang labas nung bata." she briefed

The long wait would be an eternity.

The clock tells its only 4:30.

I passed the time with an i-Pod and a browser-friendly phone to keep me company. The utol's husband was also there, but we seldom speak. That day, I decided to bridge the gap and become a brother to him. I even traded my mp3 player believing the exchange would allay our collective fears. It worked. Not only did I learn that we share the same taste in old-school alternative music, for the first time I realized he is indeed part of the family.

I even chose to stay despite the favorite aunt's invitation for me to rest in her condominium.

The hours swung by without anyone noticing the time. Before we could catch our breath and ready ourselves for the final push, the moment of arrival was already upon us.

Mom returned at past 7 after getting some things at home the couple will need for their stay. The dad-in-law came after six to throw his lot and boost the morale of his beleaguered son. His mom and sisters followed an hour and a half later. Tita Beauty showed up at past 8 with a cousin in tow. Together with the favorite aunt, they were the ones in the side of the family who will be there to share our joy. The couple's female comrade also came to cheer for the husband. She would represent the Left, where my sister and her husband found each other.

With the cast of characters nearly assembled, my mom decided to ask the nurses the condition of my sister.

"Anak, samahan mo muna ako sa chapel. Magdasal tayo," The matriarch pleaded.

The beads drop one after another as prayers were offered to the virgin. In our quiet reflection, I recalled my own coming almost three decades earlier. The cast of characters were also there. The only addition were the children - who would take the reigns from their parents a few years from now.

The infant, who is the first in the family was a unifier even in his time of creation: Two families found a common ground; two sisters set their differences to attend a historic wedding; even the aunt, who was the most upset over the "accident" found greater peace after becoming involved in the preparations. Somehow she knew - everyone knew - the bundle of joy is the sum of their love, attention and care they have given to the children - us.

For we are a dying blood. Two cousins are set to become old maids. One is a suspected non-straight, and I have no plans to give up my preference to fulfill my familial duties. Our lives are geared towards improving our fortunes and not raising families.

It will take a long time before another kid follows the first born. If fate would be as kind to him as to the rest of us, luck shines even before he gives his first cry.

"Nasaan po ang family ni Baby Lenin" Everyone who were drowned in their thoughts suddenly looked at the door.

"Pasok na po tayo sa loob, nililinis na lang po si baby..."
"Ay ang bilis naman,"  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

At the back of my head,  I remember all the wrong moves I did in the past.  This is flesh and blood I will be seeing, my atonement, the closest thing I could ever have after simulating procreation with a guy many times over.

Looking at his face for the first time, my heart speaks, a part of me is reborn.