Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Countdown Begins

In fourteen days, the partner leaves for Canada. He will stay there for three months to attend the job training required at work. "Three months is just a blink of an eye," he always tells me. "I'd be back, long before you start counting."

I remember a time when I used to discourage him from switching jobs. It was a subtle move for I was unsure  how things would shape up.  The agreement between him and his new employer still had a lot of ironing to do, and besides, we were not certain how the transition from office to home-based work would affect his performance. But more than anything else, it was his possible deployment overseas that worried me.  

Long distance relationship was out of my vocabulary.

I was able to overcome these hesitations, eventually, and began to see how the partner enjoys his present company. Not only is he able to sneak out without the knowledge of his bosses, he can do his tasks at his own pace. For this reason, I began to see the rewards of his career move. Even when the day he met the travel agent came, I was convinced of his direction.

Until he told me that his schedule of departure was finally announced.

I was on my way home after watching Harry Potter with the partner when he sent me the text message. The news was like a brush of cold air on my face and a jab on my chest. It took me some time before I was able to absorb the turn of events.

But leaving the country for training will happen eventually and I should be there to support him. No matter how I boldly pronounced in the past that I won't settle for anything remote, distant, or even overseas arrangement, the attachment is already there. Love proves much stronger especially when you're already nine months together.       

The partner has already entrusted my care to the group, while my plans to change my sleeping pattern to reflect his is already under way. Despite his continuous prodding that I should go out even when he's not around, I haven't made up my mind yet. It's not easy to set sail on your own when you have depended on someone's rudder all the time.

As I end this month's final blog entry, I begin to see myself not as a satellite orbiting a world anymore. Not with that mindset. Instead,  I see us as two worlds drawn together by our own gravity. But now that my binary planet has to make his own journey around our sun, I will have to stay in alignment. There's no letting go, no planetship to chase the beloved. Because once we have completed our individual journeys, we would find ourselves back in our sweet spot.

image from the movie, another earth

For now, it is our sun's gravity that would pull us close. Memories intact, the star ensures our cosmic union stays unbroken.     

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Wall

To be honest, I haven't recovered yet from the mental shock I received two weeks ago. As to what it is, I'd leave the events a mystery until the dust finally settles. I've learned from it and have accepted my failures as they are.  I also vow not to let others suffer the same fate, guilt, or even humiliation and leave the poor person without an inch of faith in himself.  Meanwhile, I left this message on my Facebook wall to remind myself, and those who will get to read it that sometimes, kind words inspire people to do great things beyond everyone's expectations:

Many people tend to forget that sometimes, excellence comes when there are those who trust you, encourage you, make you feel that you can move mountains and sincerely appreciate your efforts. One thing I've learned lately is to praise people, make them feel that their accomplishments are big - not minding if its really small or ordinary - so that they'd always have faith in what they can achieve.

The world is full of hatred and deception. I too have stumbled many times over. But it doesn't matter, it is what makes us human. What's important is that despite hitting the ground, face-first, we are able to stand up and walk closer towards the right path.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Been writing children's stories for Bentusi since last year. So far, this is my most rewarding project with her. And since I'm allowed to pick names for my characters, I decided to use my partner's name hoping it gets published too, and be read by children everywhere.

This is for you Baabaa.

In a fruits basket were several different fruits. They were freshly bought from the supermarket to help JC have a more balanced diet

JC the Notthewimpykid hasn't eaten fresh fruits in months. Thinking that he could get away with little bits of beans and carrots on his plate, he thought he could enjoy the sweetened snacks that look and taste like real fruits.

While waiting to be peeled and eaten, the fruits began talking among themselves.

“I wonder who among us will be JC's favorite,” the banana asks.

“Well, I might be sour and my seeds taste bitter when accidentally eaten, but JC sees me every time he drinks juice.“ The orange muses. “Besides, I'm rich in fibers and vitamin C. These will help him fight those viruses.”

“I can make JC's wounds heal faster!” The pineapple's voice booms. “A boy as active as him in sports and outdoor activities needs me!”

“He needs my minerals too!” It was the banana's turn to speak. “Not only I am soft to chew, I prevent JC from having muscle cramps, especially when he plays all day!”

The apple, feeling a bit shy after remembering the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs refused to talk. Instead, it was the mango who spoke on her behalf.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” The mango cuts the conversation. “My friend, the apple is very nutritious!”

“Tell us what you got,” the orange asks.

“Yes, we're eager to learn.” the banana follows.

“Well, I make bones stronger and prevent children's asthma from happening,” tells the apple. The other fruits were amazed.

Feeling better about her qualities, it was the apple's turn to introduce her friend, the mango. While she knows that they are needed to keep JC healthy, the mango has nutritional benefits that could aid the boy in school.

“My best friend, the mango can help JC concentrate better in school.” the other fruits turned to the apple to hear more. “His vitamin B will improve his memory while keeping his cells active.”

Upon learning that the fruits will be eaten anyway, they stopped thinking who among them will be the boy's favorite. They waited in the fruits basket to be digested. Every night after dinner, one of them disappeared.

First was the banana, peeled and eaten as a whole. The next day, JC never felt tired playing tag after school.

Next was the pineapple, made into chunks and eaten as dessert. Soon JC’s cuts and bruises from playing tag healed.

Then came the orange’s turn. JC missed eating its bitter seeds and he was shielded from colds and coughs.

Finally there were two fruits in the basket, the mango and the apple. Both of them have been friends the whole week and it’s time to go.

“I hope my seed gets planted.” The mango said.

“I wish so too,” the apple confided. “Mine will never grow in this climate.”

“Don’t worry my friend. You will always be known as the first fruit in the alphabet.” The apple blushed, turning her skin redder.

Like the other fruits that were eaten before, the apple became JC’s snack. As for the mango, his sweet flesh was scooped out using a spoon just before the exams. Since the Notthewimpykid prepared for the tests, the mango did its job of helping the boy remember the things he studied.

The fruits basket was replenished a week later and they were all eaten as well. The story didn’t end there however. In JC’s little backyard, a new plant sprouted on the ground. It had light green leaves, and had the scent of one of the fruits in the fruits basket.

“Hello!” The tiny stem said.

It was the mango.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Y' Media

Minsan ay sumusuko rin pala ang utak. Sa halip na ganahan magsulat, ang focus ay madaling mawala sumaglit lang ang mga bagay na gumugulo sa aking diwa. Minsan naman ay nasa gitna ka na ng iyong rumination, (habang nagblo-blog) pero dahil sa isang maling salita, sa maling placement ng idea, at sa kagustuhan mong i-flesh out ang mga detalye habang nagse-self edit nang hindi pa tapos ang iyong entry, biglang nawawalang parang bula ang mga nais mong sabihin.

Gaya ngayon, ang dami-dami kong gusto isulat, ngunit magsisimula pa lang ako't bigla kong maiisip, "puro sulat na lang, wala naman akong natatapos."  Just the same, heto at nag-aattempt pa rin ako ulit. Baka naman matapos kong mag word-vomit ay may patutunguhan rin ang entry na Y' Media.  The problem lies not with the idea. There's always something to write. The challenge is how to lay down your thoughts the way you would like it to be read.

Sa ilang sandali na lang ay tapos na ang shift. I didn't know my accomplishments at work, pero siguro naman, praising my team for doing a good job should be enough. I was able to finish two articles for Bentusi and earned extra money for it, pero hindi pa rin ako satisfied. Maybe because when she mentioned the new editor was super strict, may bigla akong naalala.

Traumatized pa rin ako matapos ang mga kaganapan nung isang linggo.

Schedule ng gym ko today, pero parang tinatamad akong mag-work out. I still need to finish several raketship articles para may extra pera, pero trip ko ang matulog. I have to accompany mom to check her pension details tomorrow pero dahil sa hapon iyon mangyayari, parang nakakatamad rin lumakad.

Nasanay kasi akong si Baabaa ang kasama ko tuwing palubog ang araw.

I'd try not to sugarcoat this entry. Hope it doesn't come out as a rant. I ate oatmeal for the nth time for dinner but I stay flab pa rin. I added my colleague sa Twitter account after learning he reads my timeline. I hope this exposure would demystify me at work. I was invited to a no-holds barred meeting when I return on Thursday but I don't know how to deliver my piece.

It's 2 minutes before 10. I have nothing more to say and I'm quite satisfied with this entry. Maybe just a little rest, a clarity walk while listening to club music going to Eclipse, a sumptuous meal of Kowloon Siopao, which I expect when I get home tonight. An hour's workout  and a little recollection of good things that happened to me today and I would be okay.

Lately, I'm seeing my personal life as a clutter. Perhaps, a change of outlook would return things in order.


When I look at the picture, I see a circle. A hastily drawn ellipse using a paintbrush and a black ink. One look and you can spot the imperfections. The arc distorts as the curve approaches the base, its roundness broken by a small gap at the bottom. While our eyes are trained to see enclosed round objects, this one is open for anything to fill the hollow center.


The enlightened ones have a name for this - enso - the circle of enlightenment. Followers of zen philosophy see the circle as a vast space that lacks nothing and nothing in excess. It alludes to the beginning and end of things and the continuity of life and existence.

Enso means so many things to different people. I may not be a Buddhist, much less, a zen believer but the broken circle has this sublimity that instantly caught my attention. Using Microsoft Paint to create the blue strokes at the center, I found meaning in my own enso. It has become something only I could truly appreciate.  

I will leave the interpretation to others in hopes that they too may find epiphany. What I saw as I contemplate for its meaning are worlds, man-made cosmic objects and even daybreak moments. Meanwhile, the pictograph will become my favicon. It is to remind myself of everything this personal space stands for and why this place should never be neglected.

Even when at times it seem the increasingly longer dry spells leave me wordless.

Friday, July 22, 2011

President FPJ

"Da King for President"

It was the banner in my dad's tabloid the day Fernando Poe Jr. ran for public office. It had the blessings of my father, as well as my teacher, Lito Zulueta. It was a gamble. Gloria was at the height of power, and being a tabloid known for its images of young ladies in varying state of nakedness, the display of political allegiance might get us the wrong attention.

Seldom do I take charge of the editorial department. Usually, I leave it to my dad to decide on the paper's direction.  But since my dad was a Poe supporter and I was beginning to turn against the current president, the timing of my intervention was most welcome. I've even came up with the perfect headline to mark the occasion.

Permission was granted without much discussion and the paper showed its shade of color. For standing with the opposition candidate, it sold like hotcakes the next day and the sales we posted was among the highest that summer.

The tabloid covered the campaign trail of FPJ during the entire election season. We were the only major paper foolish enough to pin our hopes with the veteran actor. Poe, in return acknowledged our support. The access we got was more exclusive and personal than the big media covering his campaign.

Cash strapped, even his posters ran out sometimes. This is why we didn't get any money or advertisement even from his candidates. What we had was his goodwill, as well as the best-kept stories about the man everyone thought was tight-lipped and withdrawn from the spotlight. I was even told our photographers and reporters always get to shake the hands of  Da King when his sorties arrive at their beat.

They were even treated as part of his extended family.

In a world where talk is cheap and money is everything, we stood by FPJ's side and tried to earn what little we get from his supporters. What took us by surprise was the brisk sales of the paper. Whenever we ran a news article about Da King. No matter how trivial it was, the  masa simply bought it.

The rest will be left for history to judge.

As we all know, FPJ was defeated by over a million votes. And for the first time, the nation heard the legend spoke - in Davao - to raise his bitter objections after he was cheated in the elections. His plea fell on deaf ears as his rival was proclaimed the winner.  Soon, he disappeared from the spotlight and in one year, Da King will pass away after his nerve was ruptured while packing unmarked relief goods bound for Quezon.

In death, the lingering questions about his defeat would remain unanswered. Many will even forget as they went on with their lives.

Until today.

Back then, I saw things in a business perspective. While not really an FPJ supporter, (I was too lazy to register, I ended up being a non-voter)  I was part of his machinery. People close to me looked down at him as someone better off as an actor. They say an uneducated, inexperienced person has no business in politics.

To which I somehow agreed.  For this reason, they never knew who I really worked for.

But what the people really don't know is that FPJ was a man of principle. My dad once said he declined cash donations especially when he knows it was tainted with favors.  He was too proud to play politics even when the need arises. He even declined interviews and even kept a mum about his accomplishments for reasons only he knew.

And for that he paid the ultimate price.

At a hindsight, I still wonder what would have been if Da King became the President. What would the things he say during his SONAs. How will the economy fare in the hands of a president who never had experience running a bureaucracy? Would the country see less perversities like the one we had seen in the last six years? Would he free his buddy, the man accused of plunder, as everyone predicted he plans to do? What would the gamble make of our business?

Would the windfall allow my dad to recover and not die a pauper?

While these thoughts defy imagination, speculations abound as to what really took place. Were the votes padded in Mindanao in favor of one candidate?  Did massive cheating stole what is rightfully for Da King?  We would never know the answers unless the government of PNoy commits itself to finding the truth.  But as for someone who still believes there is justice in this world - whether divine or earthly - everyone will have to account for their past actions.

There is no escape

And though Da King never saw the day he sits as the head of Malacanang, for someone whose kindness and humility has touched so many lives, his bid to power must never be forgotten. My hope is for the government to recognize Fernando Poe as the man, who went out of his stage character to become more lifelike, and stood up for all of us to see the light.

A friend of mine, a musician personally testified to the simplicity of the man.  In the 1970s, he recounted, FPJ bought a recording studio from Jose Mari Gonzalez to bail him out of dire straits, but didn't quite know what to do with it.  So he got musicians to run the place, my friend among them.  On occasion, he said, FPJ would drop by at night, beer in hand, and say, "Erap (he called everybody erap), pwede ba kong umistambay dito?"  Of course he didn't mind, my friend recalled laughing, it was his place. FPJ, my friend said, would look over his shoulders -- my friend would be making arrangements and preparing accompaniments to songs in a musical variety show -- which made him a little nervous.  After a couple of hours, FPJ would shake his head and say, "That is all very complicated to me, you guys are geniuses." Then he would take his leave, "Mauna na ko, erap," and sneak out quietly.

Conrado De Quiros
Touch of Class
There's the Rub

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Classroom

Before prose, poetry was my companion.

Poem Book Six
The Dark Side of Light
Junior Year, Arts and Letters, 2001

With undulating voice
he speaks in a podium
of unsustained secrecy.
By word of mouth,
all rumours about the
innocent blackboard
travels at the speed of light,
carried by chalkdust into
endless space,
becoming tiny bits of
remembrance scattered
yet linked together by
a bond stronger than
the nuts and bolts
that hold the chairs together.
In a room
whose four walls
speak of partings,
of unshakable bondage
that is meant to shatter
The crucifix hangs dearly
to the wooden wall
as every vibration produced
resonates an earthly tone
that reminds us of changeable things,

that reminds us of fleeting moments
never to happen again.

I was at the University of Santo Tomas this afternoon to get my transcript of records. Little has changed inside the Main Building: The 30-inch flat screen TV where we used to watch the UAAP Games stays suspended in the ceiling.  The wooden imperial staircase going to the museum and the second floor keeps its luster despite the hundreds of footsteps treading its centuries-old planks and the classrooms, though modest by standards are still fed by chilly winds from the AC units.

It's like I never left at all. 

Meanwhile, glancing at the kids as they go on with their carefree lives remind me that once, I too enjoyed their bliss.

Hope that in my time, I was able to drink my fill.  For a moment in their presence earlier, my soul was parched.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baby Lenin Moments

Just last week:

"Alam mo ba yang si Baby Lenin, nakikitawag sayo nung tinatawag kita."

My mom said.

"Sabi ko, 'Jaaaay!  Jaaaaaaay!' Siya naman 'Eeeehhhh,  Eeeeeeeehhhhh'"

Just before he goes to sleep, tonight.

"Ano nga ulit pangalan ko?"

"Eehh?"  My 8-month old nephew seems doubtful of his answer. Just the same, the acknowledgement has put a smile on my face.

Many parents claim that their first born's first words are either Mama, Papa or Lola.  

For Lenin, its different. His parents insists on being called Nanay and Tatay and the two-syllable sound might be too complex for a baby. Meanwhile, with the boy getting used to being carried around - in my arms, being tossed in the air - to his delight, and even being lullabied to sleep when he was a bit younger, his first word was not his parents. 

Blessed with a one-syllable name. 



Monday, July 18, 2011

Ten Thousand Five Hundred

That's the number of words I have to come up for my office sideline.

Blame it  for my past slacking, but the deliverables I failed to turn over last week all had to be submitted in one drop. Spread out in 21 articles, the 10,500 words would  have to cover topics about romance, dating and online relationship. I had to become a love coach without sounding much like the authors who wrote about  the same subject on the Internet.

I was under pressure to produce the necessary copies, that's why I had to stop writing new entries. The slacking had almost cost me this project and admitting my incompetence rubbed salt to my wounded ego. You see, in almost a year I've been working with Bentusi, these things never happened. Either the instructions were not clear, or my manager failed to make me realize the urgency of this project.

Given a chance to correct my errors, I wasted no time in writing my first draft. The letter containing the official instructions was sent last Tuesday.  The manager said that everything must be done by Monday at 8 pm. In order to catch up and beat the deadline, I had to break my comfort zone.  I had to give up my free time and lend my sleep to dreaming about dating websites and relationship epic fails.

From 1,000 words a day in Bentusi's time, I have now to write 4 articles containing no less than 2,000 words. I would start in the afternoon and end my writing stint at past midnight. The repetitive nature of my job was so sickening,  sometimes I feel my words coming out of assembly lines rather than mind-crafted, when it takes form here in my blog.

Close to the pangs of disillusionment, I wonder, is this what SEO is all about?  

Between the puerile rantings and the hollow silence that comes after quick-revising an article, I lurched forward to complete my task. Slowly I was getting there - sometimes with only the partner to cheer me up. Having a one-track mind helped me focus despite the occasional down moments when the end seems so far and the work continues to pile up.

After all, there's a floor to look after aside from doing this project.

One by one, the items get crossed out from the list. An article done brings me closer to my goal. Subverting the feeling of fatigue, the temptation of procrastination,  the corruption of plagiarism, only one thing stuck in my head:


It was three hours before the deadline when I began writing my last article. Lack of sleep, a cluttered head and a dazed spirit may have slowed me down, but the drive was there to finish what I started. Fifteen minutes before 8 and it was over. Without the fanfare announcing a victor, a simple acknowledgement of completion from the one who instructed the task, lacking all ceremonies for a feat broken,

A million cheers burst inside my chest.

Meanwhile, the room where the final article was penned remains hollow and empty, as it has become nowadays.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dead Star's Light (A Repost)

"All of this has happened before and it will happen again..."

Leoben Conoy
Flesh and Bone
Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined)

March 8, 2005

Welcome to the Jomanian Order.

I started working in my dad's company yesterday. It was, after all my responsibility to do so after he died last month. To be honest with you guys, my decision to start yesterday was the most confusing decision I've done in recent years. Half of me says I just want them to be on their own, yet the rest of me says I should stand there to lead those who have remained and have been loyal to the company.

The whole time, I was asking myself if I have been a leader before - or should I say, have I been a good leader before. As far as I know, I've been a nice president back in college, if not an effective one. I simply ruled through a pseudo-federal system where I consult the barkada leaders of our class whenever there is a major decision to make.

You see, I've never really wanted power. I hate being in authority since I've always believed that it's better to have a majority vote rather than overrule everything. At some points, I may have been percieved as someone who has no backbone, who has no balls to show and worst of all, a great escapist. That's what hinders me today, that's why as much as possible, I don't want to commit myself in taking over my father's tattered empire.

On the other hand, people enjoy my leadership because they enjoy the voice I have given them during consultations. I tend to lift up people rather than pull them down to the ground through intrigues and rumor circulating. As far as I know, I've never had enemies whenever I find myself in the top position. Up there, the view is sometimes nauseating.

That is why I always choose to be the second-in-command... always. In groups and in organizations, the job I've always enjoyed a lot was propping up the leaders. Being only the second allows you to have the privacy, protection and security while having a slice of power. Besides, I simply liked being the follower. What I really hated is being on the forefront of everything.


By this time, people are starting to look up to me, while I, am already integrating myself to adapt to their system - to change it the way I see fit, and practice my overwhelming desire to have tranquility and order while being in my workplace.

I can already see the overwhelming problems that are about to hack us into pieces, and the worst part of all is that I'm still looking for someone who would at least guarantee me of my own security.


That's why I don't understand why people would crave for power, when in fact its much better having just a full security of your own. In my life, I never really wanted responsibility - yet time and again, responsibilities simply follow me.

Sometimes, I just simply wanted to believe that it's my fate to become a leader rather than a follower. No matter how I wanted to have a s1e being on my own, it seems like my fate follows my footsteps.

I don't know what future holds for us, especially now that I feel my life is slowly being integrated back to what was, my role in the company ever since.

I know, I have a lot of shortcomings and weaknesses.

I just hope that I could make things work even through my small advantages.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Escort

I was told two weeks ahead to clear up my Sunday schedule. Mom has been invited to a lunch date by her college friends.  

The weekend was hers. I have nothing else to do anyway.

So off we go to Greenbelt despite not getting enough sleep the night before. An insomnia attack left me wakeful until 5 this morning. Only the promise of a sumptuous meal held my crankiness at bay.

Meeting place is at Contis. Baabaa's birthday treat last December is still fresh in my head.

And here I am, returning, this time to rub elbows with mom's life-long companions.

I can't remember the dish I ordered. Was it Chicken Ballotine or was it the Roulade? Never mind.  The serving was small - like in most high-end restaurants - but it was enough to make the wigglers inside my  tummy very happy.

The meat aftertaste was watered down by bottomless lemonade. And as for dessert, mom received  a box of carrot cake from her friend who is Jacklyn Jose and Cherry Pie Picache's talent manager.

Having a showbiz insider around allows you to have a glimpse behind the intrigues surrounding the local celebrities.

And while most things I've heard were good words - especially for Coco Martin, (who is not only charming but thoughtful as well)  hints were dropped as to why Andi Eigenmann got pregnant or why Maricel Soriano started slapping her maids.

Of course I'm not allowed to share what I've heard, but suffice to say, these people are humans too. Behind the characters they portray on television is a real person with frustrations and dreams.

Feeling  a bit restless and out of place, I decided to take a stroll and check if the Datablitz store at Greenbelt 1 has the Sims 3 add-on pack I've been looking.

Browsing the display racks, I found it.

Fast Lane Stuff.  Check.

I bought the add-on without thinking how it would affect my budget for the next weeks. I'm hoping to snatch some writing projects from Bentusi, but with my attention now focus here after neglecting this blog last month, I doubt if the extra funds will come.  

Returning to Contis, I was hoping the lunch date was about to wrap up. They were, after an hour of reminiscing the old days while keeping tabs of the people not present at the table.

When the bill came, the most well-off  (who is actually my Ninong, whose property is being rented by a gay dance club in Cubao) paid for all the food. This is what I love about these lunch dates with my mom's friends.

Someone will always shoulder the bill. Lol.

But instead of calling it a day, the party decided to move to a cozy coffee shop to continue swapping stories. By then I knew that I'd be spending the rest of the day at Greenbelt - alone, and desperate to come up with my own activity to keep me from getting bored. Meanwhile, mom and her friends can enjoy their coffeetalk elsewhere.

I'm just a companion after all.

But I really wanted to go home. To install in my hard drive the new add-on - or better yet - get some sleep. The next trip to slumberville will be at seven in the morning the next day.

As the elders staggered from one coffee shop to another, I was subtly discouraging them not to go any further.

"Naku nagpunta po kami ni Mama sa Starbucks!"

It was the killjoy in me speaking. After we left the restaurant, Mom and I went ahead to find a toilet for the disabled. The rest had to make a detour at Gourdo's to check the kitchenware offered at discount prices. On our way back, we passed by the coffee shops and they were packed with people.

"Puno na po sa loob."  

Manipulation aside, the feelings of guilt were overwhelming my selfish motives. Yes, I was sleepy. I was itching to play my new game. I could even say that I'm beginning to show my temper knowing that my time is not mine anymore .

But here they are, a group of  senior citizens hobbling from one place to another. Never giving up until they find a coffee shop with a table that could sit around 7 people. Racing against time, beating ahead of the closing days just to enjoy every chance to be together - and reinforcing timeless bonds that stayed solid throughout the ages.

And there I was, stupid enough to take that moment away from my mom.  With reason restored, I backed off.

The slow procession from one end of Greenbelt to another paid off. They found a table at Cafe Breton.  It was a small table - enough - for six people to squeeze their chairs and huddle together. Since we are seven, one must let go.

I volunteered without being asked.

So my mom was left with her friends, while I set course to Pasay Road where the side vendors sell their cigarettes. After finishing a stick, (thank God for nicotine) I crossed the street again and walked towards Greenbelt 5.  It's time to occupy one of the toilet seats on the top floor, for the food I've eaten were ready to come out. When my tummy got better, it was my head that started spinning, I lurched back to Cafe Breton to check on the elders - hoping they've changed their mind.

What I saw were merry folks with still so much catching up to do.

Resigning to the fact that we will be staying way past 4 pm. I left their table to look for a resting spot outside the coffee shop. I settled into one of the slightly wet tables near the arbour. Plugging my earbuds, Jam 88.3's acoustic music lulled me to sleep.

And then it happened. My eyes did shut down. Ignoring the people who might catch me off-guard, I spent a good hour dozing off in my chair. In my dreams, all I could see was my mom laughing - pleased that I gave in to her request to stay, despite my earlier suggestion to go home and leave everyone behind.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Baconator

Ilang araw na tuloy tuloy ang buhos ng ulan. Para sa isang pamilya na isang beses isang linggo kung maglaba, sobrang disadvantage ito, lalo na sa akin na pang-isang lingguhan lang ang mga damit. Hindi rin nakakatulong ang patuloy na paglobo ng bayaw ko. Kaunting lapad pa ng bewang at masusuot na niya ang mga T-shirt, pants at briefs ko.

Nitong mga nakaraang araw ay kapansin-pansin na nabawasan ako ng underwear. Ito ba ay sinungkit, inamoy at pinagpantasyahan ng kapitbahay?


Ito ba ay aksidenteng napasama sa mga damit ni brother-in-law at tinatamad lang ibalik sa akin?


Hindi kaya sa ilang ulit na ginawa kong basahan at pamunas ng tamod ang mga bacon  (mga briefs na gutay-gutay na ang garter) sabay shoot nito sa basura ay kusa na lang akong nabawasan ng mga isusuot?


As far as I know ay may lima akong pang-ilalim. Dagdag pa dito ang dalawang briefs na malapit nang lumawlaw ang garter at tatlong boxers na sinusuot ko rin pag nasa bahay. Sa mga hindi nakakaalam, trip ko ang mag-commando kapag hindi naman lumalabas.  Isang beses na ako nasabihan noon na felix bakat pero hindi ko yun sineryoso.

Feeling ko naman na unnoticeable si putotoy pag tulog ito.

Malugod ko na sanang tatanggapin na sadyang mahirap lang magpatuyo ng damit ngayon, at karamihan sa mga briefs ko ay nasa sampayan pa. Pero nang maghanap ako kanina ng isusuot na panloob, anumang halukay sa mga plantsahin ay wala.

Wala na pala akong briefs.

Katulong ang kasambahay ay naghanap kami ng pakalat-kalat na underwear. Siyempre yung malinis at sa akin. Pero ang mga nakita  namin ay sa brother-in-law ko na. Badtrip, hindi ko naman puwede hiramin. Kaya walang rekla-reklamo ay nagsuot ako ng short pants at tumuloy sa aking lakad.

First time ko mag-commando sa labas.

Looking at may garment complement ay talagang magkukulang ako sa damit. Bukod sa pitong beses akong nasa labas ng bahay ay tuloy ang pamimigay ko ng mga pinaglumaan tuwing magkakaroon ako ng overhaul ng kuwarto. Nandun rin na nakaasa ako sa bigay ng iba sa halip na bumili ng sarili kong masusuot.  Hindi mo rin ako masisisi kasi nakasanayan na.

Sa loob ng mahabang panahon ay mom ko ang bumibili ng briefs sa akin. Wala naman akong reklamo dahil ako naman ang nakalibre. Pero nag-iba na ang panahon. Ngayong sa apo na napupunta ang pera niya, saka ko  narerealize na ang mga bagay na hindi ko pinapansin noon ang siyang kailangang kailangan ko ngayon.

Matapos makipagkuwentuhan kay Pilyo (na mabuti na lang at hindi naging detalyado sa mga adventures niya sa Bangkok)  ay dumiretso ako ng Isetann Recto para maghanap ng underwear.  Hindi na bale na galante ako sa ibang bagay, pero kapag sinumpong talaga ng kakuriputan, kahit Quiapo ay susuyurin ko makatipid lang sa sarili.

Mabuti na lang at walang department store ang Isetann.  Sunod kong naisip ang SM Carriedo na tambakan ng mga overruns galing sa ibang SM.  Timing naman ang dating ko kasi sale sila.  At kapag sale ang usapan, nawawala ang allergy ko sa mga malls.

So pili.. pili.. pili.. pili.. ako ng pili, pero ako talaga ang choosy. Nakakita nga ako ng tatlong pirasong bikini briefs ng SM Executive worth P120 pesos pero hindi ako na-convince.  Meron pa silang lima sa isang set for less than P200 pero tagilid pa rin ang aking final answer. Sa loob-loob ko, di bale ng cheap, wala naman makakapansin. Ang kaso, ayaw ko talagang tantanan ang men's underwear section hanggang may makita akong trip.

Hindi nagtagal at nagsawa rin ako kakapili. Naubusan na rin kasi ako ng choices dahil yung iba ay sobra na sa budget. Subalit bago tuluyang umalis ay may na spot akong kaaya-aya. Una kong napansin ang brand. Baleno. Malaki ang print, tipong may makakapansin kapag naisipan kong mag-low waist  at maikling T-shirt.

"Ayos to," sabi ko sa sarili.

Sa kabila ng piping protesta ng ibang saleslady na nakausap ko (yung mga unang nag-offer sa akin ng mas mamahaling brief) ay nakapili rin ako ng underwear. Dali-dali akong pumila sa cashier at ginamit ang SM Advantage para panggastos sa aking mga binili.

Well I guess it's the name I fell in love with, as well as the decent packaging.  At least I won't be wearing bikini briefs from hell the whole week.  And for P110 pesos a set, I got myself a sound bargain.

Not bad for a first time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bishop Pajero

After all things are said and done, the hard part is asking oneself, where do we anchor our faith now?

President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace

Dear Madam President,

I will be celebrating my 66th birthday on March 8, 2009.

I know this will be a precious day and timely occasion to thank the Lord for giving me another year.

After a prayerful discernment and due considerations to the existing crisis phenomenon today.

I have decided not to hold a birthday party.

Instead, I prefer to make use of my birthday as a day with and for myself, and with God.  Having been declared, awarded and honored from your good office as ‘Peace Champion of Caraga’.  I am grateful to God that He has made me an instrument of His peace, especially here in Mindanao.

I know I can do more to promote and work for peace.

It is in this view that I am asking a favor from your Excellency.

At present, I really need a brand-new car, possibly a 4 x 4, which I can use to reach the far-flung areas of Caraga.

I hope you will never fail to give a brand new car which would serve as your birthday gift to me.

For your information, I have with me a 7-year-old car which is not anymore in good running condition.

Therefore, this needs to be replaced very soon.

I am anticipating your favorable response on this regard.

Thank you very much.

Be assured of my constant support and sincerest prayers to your Excellency.

God bless you.


Most Rev. Juan De Dios Pueblos, D.D.
Bishop of Butuan
P.O. Box 54, 8600 Butuan City

Had it been a flatbed truck - to deliver relief goods and equipment in the flood-prone areas of Butuan.

Or a school, to educate the children of the far-flung villages of Caraga.

Or at least a dozen clinics that will be run by the church, to heal not only the spirit but also the body,

Then it wouldn't be as shameful as this. But for one's personal gains?

Indeed, Mr. Pueblos, you made us realize that even  men in robes are corruptible.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kung Anu-Ano Lang #5.5

Imitation is the best form of flattery
Charles Caleb Colton

Hanubeh! Ako na ang gaya-gaya at walang originality!! Copycat! Sabi nga ni Ate Cherie Gil. Ako rin ang inaakusahan na malalim at mala-intelektwal! Stop me, may kababawan rin ako noh. Choosy lang akiz kung kanino ko bet mag show-off!

Anywei, pinapasok ako ng Patroness noong Sabado kahit na day-off ko.  Kaya naman Martes pa lang ay feel ko na magbakasyon.  Noong aliping sagigilid pa lang ako, madali lang mag deklara ng holiday. Isang text na ganito lang:

"Mami I feel sick. I wont be able to go to work."

At basta walang trabaho o training. Go lang sa pagbabakasyon.

Pero iba na ngayon. Iba talaga pag nafe-feeling ka ng sinyora. Wahahaha.

"Boss, I have a fever since last Friday. I cannot get out of bed and my head hurts really bad. I'm really sorry but I can't go to work..." Echos lang lahat, pero heto yung excuse ko noong last time na tinamad akong mag-work.

After 15 minutes nag reply si boss. Okay lang daw, iche-check na lang niya yung shift ko. Nagtext rin si Mami na pagaling daw ako. Actually, masama rin talaga ang pakiramdam ko at tinulog ko na lang ang lahat.

The next day, nagpakita ako sa trabaho na parang wala lang. Kulang na lang ng shades at maniniwala ang iba na kagagaling ko lang sa airport from my all-expense paid trip to Bora. (na hindi ko pa napupuntahan actually) Back to normal ang buhay, bumenta ang sakit-sakitan at ako pa ang namimigay ng dalawang tableta ng Ascorbic Acid sa mga ahente para hindi sipunin.

Now lets move on to Twitter: ang bagong Grindr ng bayan.

Say ko naman na noon pa lang ay nagiging karnehan na ang aking favorite tambayan. Yun ang dahilan kung bakit nagsuot ako ng damit nang biglang dumating si Baabaa sa buhay ko. For the longest time, feeling ko ay hindi na ako mahaharass, pero huwag ka nining, sisihin natin ang tag-ulan pero talagang napakahigad ng mga boylets dun.

Nth casualty ng aking pagkamaldita: Tawagin natin siya sa pangalang Twitero. Friendly ang binata sa aming DM, pero bet talaga niya manghingi ng facepic. (First sign of trouble?) So pinalitan ko ang aking DP para gawing facepic. Unfair naman kasi, ang guwapo guwapo ng binata. Humingi pa ako niyan ng payo sa aming diyosa ha? Ako lang kasi ang gago, gagawin ko sanang picture ni Soxy Topacio yung DP ko. Sabi ng diyosa na be nice to boys daw so sunod naman ako.

Naisip ko rin kasi na baka puwedeng ipasa yun sa mga Engkantos. May nagsumbong pa naman sa akin na may naghahanap daw ng ka-3sum sa YM?

Sino kaya yun? Sikreto!!  Lolz

So nagtuloy ang chikka pero swear, ako pa ang suplado niyan. Mukha atang na-turn on si totoy kaya lalong nagpursigi. Ako naman kasi si tanga, hindi ko naisingit sa disclaimer na taken na ako at kaya ko lang siya hinahayaan makipagusap kasi wala pa namang landiang nagaganap.

Pero I was so wrong.

Isang malamig na gabi, wala yatang mahanap si lalaki. Nagtanong kung malapit lang daw ba ako sa kanila.  Sabi ko malayo. Taga Bonggao, Tawi-Tawi ako at imposibleng makarating ako ng Antipolo sa loob ng tatlong araw.  Lolz.

Alam ko naman kung saan patungo ang usapan. Ako pa eh ang tanda-tanda ko na. Pero gaya nga ng nasasaad sa aklat ni Bekimon, kapitulo diyes berso dose, "let it come straight from Vice Ganda's mouth." Kaya hayun, nag phone-in question akiz kung bakit niya tinanong.  Heto ang reply ni binata.

"Kung malapit puwede tayo magkita magkant... tahan o maginuman.  Lol"

Shet, loaded ang statement, parang pumupulandit na ano lang. As in! Sa sobrang disappointment, never na ako nagreply. Sayang, andami pa naman na malulungkot na binata na puwede siya ma-refer. Pero ako pa, sa lahat ng mga nagmamaganda ang tinalo niya.

Nakakatanggap pa rin ako ng DM sa kanya hanggang noong isang araw.  Pero gaya ng nakagawian, cross me without my permission and I will cross you out permanently. Better yet, boys shouldn't cross me at all! Ganito rin halos yung kuwento nung isa. Naghahanap lang daw ng kausap sa Globe pero nung sinabi kong hindi available ang number ko, nabasa ko na lang ang mga salitang "sariling sikap" sa timeline. Talk about lonely boys and libidos.

Hayun andami ko pa sanang kuwento na kung anu-anu lang pero humahaba na. Gaya na lang ng mga kabaliwan ko kapag naghahanap ng pansin o kaya naman ang mga comments ko sa Transformers 3 at Super 8. Nandun rin na naiyak ako kasi kinantahan ako ng Para Sa Akin nung isa diyan tapos ang astig-astig nung boses niya, saka rin yung napapabalitang magkakaroon na daw ng kapatid si Baby Lenin, na ang ipapangalan ay Baby Che.

Ano daw?  Ewan!

O siya, balik sa seryoso mode na.  Baboosh!      


Monday, July 4, 2011

The Purging

I was bored the other day. Shift operations were nominal, the agents had reached their quota ahead of time and the SEO project promised by the company hasn't begun yet. Deciding to play with Google, I began by typing my name and waited for the search engine to reveal the results.

My Linked-In account appeared on top of the first page. Good thing, I used a different name with my  Facebook account and a different e-mail to access my letters. After all these years, I am still anonymous on the web. 

Next thing I did was to type the name of my ex-boyfriends to find out their fates. I know already that one is in Dubai, and it seems his mean attitude didn't change. The more recent one had completely disappeared. Perhaps he had finally decided to change his name.

After clicking the search results until it showed several pages, I decided to type another keyword. This time, I'm curious to find out if our publishing business had left its mark on the web.  You see, during its heyday,  Web 2.0 wasn't yet invented. Our newspaper enjoyed brisk sales - propped by textmate invitations and readers' reactions sent through SMS. Though Friendster was already gaining popularity, social media and search engines then were still in its infancy. The present generation of web designers and IT experts (including Baabaa) were still weaning in college.

The results came in:

Legal resolutions
Batas Mauricio
CDO Foodsphere.

I changed the keyword to my dad's name. Google showed a different set of results.

Triskelion Fraternity
Legal Complaints
A Facebook page of another person with the same name.

Desperately searching for answers, I put the name of my dad's mistress. One cannot deny that she was her partner when they started the enterprise.

Six years have passed, and while my wish for the newspaper to continue was granted, the mistress still played a part in our lives. While ties have warmed up and the business changed hands amicably, certain remnants of the past still haunt me. As Google loads to reveal the results, the flashback became more vivid when these words appeared.

Human Trafficking
Bouncing Checks

It's all coming back to me now.

"For a long time, whenever his own printing press would bog down, my printing shop would print his tabloid on credit until his payables reached an astronomical amount and we had to suspend his credit. He would pay us on installment and we would resume printing his paper until we would suspend publication again owing to his growing payables. This cycle would go on for endless months. When he died, he left several millions unpaid. But Sonny was a friend, and I would do whatever I could to help a friend."

All it took was one touching article. One look at our history, written from another point of view to reassess what happened during those summer months.

"...was a good man. He had a soft heart for people in need. Too trusting to a point of being taken advantage of. He would have lunch with me occasionally where he would pour out his heart and problems."

How I wish my father showed us that side of his. Apparently, I carried all his attributes.

"reportedly the owner of a tabloid that she commandeered from the family of its former owner. "

After all these years burying the past, maybe the only way to understand the present is to dig our history once again. God willing, this might be the only way I could let go and hopefully,


Decide what I want for the future.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hanging By A Thread

"Together, they published the tabloid until Sonny died of hypertension. The family of Sonny took over the newspaper but, not knowing anything about the publishing business, the tabloid didn’t last very long. The publication became intermittent until one day I heard Mabilangan finally took over the tabloid."

Dante Ang
The Manila Times, 2010

All it took was just one paragraph to remember how life was in those days.

The Real Masters
Fullmetal Dreams
April 17, 2005

I am humbled by their dedication. Their sacrifice.

I went to the office this afternoon. Ever since I took over the responsibilities of running the business, I try to make it a point to oversee its operations, even though in my heart I still doubt the point of continuing it without any assurance that it would last long.

The economic situation is indeed very grim. Since our market are the masa, we are severely affected by their unwillingness to buy extra things... like newspaper - like tabloids.

So far, things are relatively stable this past two weeks, yet the constant threat of cash deficit forces me to hold on dearly to whatever extra money I have saved. The general manager, who is my aunt already told me that I am the last line of defense of the company whenever we get cash-strapped. But I really don't know if my money would hold on to such assault. After all, I don't earn a single peso in this business.

That is why, I simply prefer to acknowledge myself as the "caretaker" rather than the "boss" of the company. We are in no position to demand to our staff, since we can't pay their full salary anyways. The truth is, seeing them makes me brokenhearted and full of guilt. I can't simply accept the fact that they endure such conditions, with so much sacrifices they surrender just to keep the show running.

I think that is what you call "labor of love." I won't dare sacrifice myself in those conditions, if I am in their shoes.


Lately, I've been thinking whether I should completely integrate myself with the business. After what I saw as an act of sacrifice this evening, after two of our layout artist and the editor stayed until 9 pm to ensure that there will no page that will be left out when they are printed, I've realized that I should be more serious and committed in leading them towards our intended objectives.

In my heart, my only wish is to see them happy and financially satisfied with the company they are working. I wish that we won't have to worry again on where we will get the next 19 thousand whenever we are short of money to buy the newsprint. It doesn't really matter if I earn or not.

I just want my people to be happy and secured with their work.

I will never ask for more.

It's almost seven in the evening and the editorial department is about to put the newspaper to bed. Another night, another cash-flow nightmare. Two months after dad passed away, the newspaper is still running, albeit its existence hangs by a thread.  Having no capital to rely on, no credit line to pull the company from the gutter, no help coming from outside, we survive the days by guts alone.

I would sneak out of the newsroom to fall in line at a nearby ATM Machine. With barely enough money to last me until the next payday, I would withdraw 800 pesos from my account. I would then return with a heavy heart, and wordlessly, divide the money among my 8 employees.

"Cash advance muna ha, pasensya na..."

Being used to hardships even during my father's time, they would go home uncertain whether the company will still be around when they return to work the next day.

Meanwhile, between worries of unpaid loans and holding the family assets together, I spend the night thinking, when wound our misery end.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Human, All Too Human

Kane is a friend and confidant. We met at a blogger's party many years ago. At first, I chose to stay distant because impressions tell that I might get snubbed. It was until he plugged his music player and learned that we have the same fondness for house music that we began talking.

Ties took time to grow, and often, what reached me at first were his dating exploits. But soon, as he get to know more bloggers, while I got invited to house parties hosted by common acquaintances, (where we actually get to bump with each other) I did eventually warm up that soon, I was already selling him my juiciest secrets.

Memories about the parties we graced (and sometimes got ourselves wasted) is something I will always treasure.  More than the deep admiration I have for his writing, it is his openness and down-to-earth character  that makes him so endearing. Since tomorrow (July 3) is his special day, it would be fitting to write something in honor of our Spit Roast author.

My dear Kane, let these three things I've learned from you be my birthday present.

Telling the truth no matter how ugly the reasons are.

Someone left a comment wishing me dead. It was after he read a blog entry of someone I ditched  (in the most cruel manner) where he painted me as the bad guy he can't reach. An earlier written confession had already annoyed me. But it was the deliberate and deceptive "missed text" he sent that made things ugly. The sweeping judgement was uncalled for. Not only was I betrayed once, I was stabbed by those who actually don't know the full story.

To get back at him and his sympathizers, a retaliatory post with a link to the  blog entry was my response.  Words were crafted in a way it would appear as a defense and not an expression of rage. A few days later, Kane and I had a phone conversation about the backbiting and asked why I exposed the ex-admirer by leaving a link to his blogpost.

Without sugarcoating my words I told him the truth.

"Kinamumuhian ko siya."

Coming from someone who carefully picks his words, what I said was downright mean. Kane never asked follow up questions and thanked me for my honesty. Since then, he is one of the few people who I could actually tell everything without  fear of being judged for my actions.  

Perfume and men.

I have always seen my ruggedness as my strength. For this reason, grooming was never a priority, except, when I had to hard-sell myself.  Since I was never into neat-looking guys to begin with, (besides, in places where I used to haunt i.e dance floor, you would almost always end up grungy because of smoke, sweat and alcohol) appearing very manly was enough.

It  was Kane who suggested that I smother myself with perfume just before I party.  "Ayaw mo nun, pagdating mo sa O-Bar lahat ng tao mukhang wasted na pero ikaw eh fresh and clean pa rin?"  I kept his idea for future reference.

Two weeks later at a house party, a long-time blog reader was introduced to me by friends. The punk looked attractive and we instantly clicked. In one of our not-so-intimate conversations, the guy whispered. "Ang bango mo naman."  His compliment had put a smile on my face. Kane's suggestion worked. Mutual attraction led us to stick with each other for the rest of the night.

It turns out the guy was recently taken. I decided not to cross lines in respect to his absent partner.

The makeover of the not-so-fashionable me.

Speaking of ruggedness, I used to think that wearing a fitted black shirt, tight jeans and showing up with a  pumped-up body are enough reasons to get someone's attention. I have no problems loosening up under the influence of alcohol and when it comes to conversations, I know exactly whom to speak

It was in a party exactly a year ago that I decided to raise the bar and square off with the high society.  I knew I would be rubbing elbows with some of the most beautiful men in the city and the people at the ball would surely scan me from head to toe.

So off I went to the Shangri-La Mall to buy a new and expensive shirt. The one I had in mind were not the ones my mom used to buy.  It took me three baths, a dozen sprays of perfume, a drink with the Encantos (for morale boost) and a cab ride all the way from Timog to Harrison Plaza before I could debut with my new look.

The party was euphoric. Saw some teary-eyed guests while reminiscing their best times with the host. I stayed until daybreak to mingle with the crowd. It was crazy. Drinks were overflowing. And while the host locked himself in a room with a date, his inner circle of friends were there to entertain his guests. Though I never scored not even a single kiss at the party, the makeover was a success.

I went home in one piece after refusing to sleep in other people's bed.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Alamat, Still

As for Noynoy, I see him accomplishing little during his term, but he will be loved like his parents were. Accomplishing little will never be an issue, not even a footnote in the grand scheme of things.

What he will bestow to a grateful country is a sense of belonging: an undeniable feeling of pride among its citizens.

Midnight Afterburner
June 29, 2010


We woke up one morning to find the sun brighter than usual.  It was a new dawn - they say - and the will of the people has finally been realized. I bore witness to the inauguration, on television, and while the occasion was rife with pomp and splendor, I could not help but think,

Where do we go from here?

One year later and things were somehow back to normal. The politics is still there, and so is the finger-pointing when things end in failure. For a time, it seems, everyone's hopes had been doused. Accused of non-action, poor leadership and having a house divided, the president appears too weak to own up its problems.

There is also the issue of close friends - in high places, of sports cars becoming the president's toy, of the never ending search for a girlfriend, when it should be the never ending search to end hunger. The government's drive to curb population growth was a breather, a move to save ourselves from extinction.

But it seems, the fight has been forgotten now.

It didn't help that the administration spent most of its time engaging in verbal spat with a dragon up north, or digging up and exposing past sins, and comparing themselves with the government before it. While their claims have substance, and the lows of corruption have reached even the gates of hell, putting those responsible to jail is not enough.

Ending the culture of blatant self-interest should be the lasting legacy of this government.

It will take time to undo our errors and end the widespread apathy, and while at it, there will always be someone who is against how Malacanang conducts itself. Even now, the voices of opposition are becoming louder, and in many ways, those who dared to dream have returned to the pits of cynicism again.

So it is not enough for the administration to trumpet its  hollow accomplishments, but instead concrete plans on how things should be done must be presented - clearly to the people. At a time when everybody has a voice - in the social media, in the streets, and in public forums, it is easy to spot the pressing needs of the republic.

The government must remember that it was voted, with overwhelming majority by the people and without them joining the crusade, the goals it aim to accomplish will never be recognized - not within a decade. It would be easy for someone to rant and complain when that person has never played a part in a nation-building PNoy has envisioned.

And while many of those who voted for the president had already turned against him, I refuse to be disillusioned yet. I still believe in his promise and will continue to support his pronouncements.

If only he would reach out and truly listen to the aspirations and expectations of his bosses. If only he would encourage more people to actually  give time and join his programs - as volunteers;  If only he would - in his boldest dreams - commit and give concrete plans on how to give jobs to the people while making sure the education and health services enjoy a much bigger chunk of the budget,  perhaps, still,

The alamat he ought to be would still come, after his term of office ends.