Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I have no idea why I even started writing january drowning. Maybe a part of me believes that I might be too late in this world, but in some other dimension the possibility still exists.

Friday, August 26, 2005

january drowning

Have you ever felt as if the sea is watching you?

That while standing at the shoreline with your gaze transfixed on the glittering surface of the water, somewhere farther beyond what your eyes can see --- the sea is watching.

That while you sob or you laugh, while you sing or you whisper softly, somewhere below --- the sea is listening.

That while you hurt, at the very heart of it somewhere -- the sea is crying.

She does. This is what I have learned. This I'm sure is truth.


At the shores of San Pablo, the sand is dark like ground coffee and it is peppered with broken pieces of shells and corals.

Sometimes, I squish the sand between my toes. Once,I noticed my feet are pale against the dark ground.


I was only ten when I first discovered the cove behind the large boulder at the end of the beach. I was trying to hide from my Nana Josie. I didn't care about getting my pink Barbie shoes wet. I didn't want to go to the hospital.

The hospital was where people die. The hospital is where my Mama lies dying.

I was running and crying. I couldn't really see where I was going. I slipped on the wet rocks, hit my head on the boulder. I did not faint, but my head was bleeding. The world was swirling.

I must have sat there for an hour. Maybe two hours. The tears kept falling, and so did the blood. The sea water salty as it was, must've become saltier. It might have even tasted a bit like iron. A bit like my blood.

Then a small dark figure slid down the boulder and there he was. My private despair was witnessed. The figure was that of a boy, and when he saw me he looked as if he believed me to be a ghost. I looked at him with just the barest tinge of boredom. I saw he was bare chested and his skin was like chocolate. His eyes were clear and wide. With surprise perhaps. A tinge of fright. I suddenly realized what a horrible sight I must look. I became aware of the blood dripping from my head. I got scared.

I fainted then.

That was how I met Noel.


He was thirteen. He barely knew what to do when he saw me faint.

I can only remember what he said he'd done after I've fainted. He said he tried to carry me back to the nearest house. Except that, he never made it, since Nana Josie was frantically searching the shoreline and saw him carrying me first. She thought Noel harmed me. Ha, Noel, to harm anyone. Well, it was a mistake. He saved me. I'm not sure if I was in any real trouble. But he saved me from more than just being bleeding to death. I think he also saved me from ... something else.

Something inside myself.


I don't remember the games we played anymore. Except for one. Did we ever play Hide and Seek? We must have, at one point. But what I remember is that we played House, and we made the cove our home. At that age, we knew people got married but we probably didn't know why. To us, the whole breadth and depth of our relationship was that he should make sure that the baby wasn't crying and I should make sure there was food on the table. Mostly seaweeds. And rocks.

And when we got tired of that, we just jump into the sea for a swim.

I remember the sea then. It cradled us softly as we played in her navel. It was like being in the arms of your Mother.


Mama recovered. She came back home after staying in the hospital for six months.

When she got back home, she told me not to see Noel again. It wasn't fitting, she said. I must stay at home and play with my stupid cousin Clarice. She bought me dolls. I never did touch those. I never played them ever since.


Sometimes, I saw Noel playing with other kids on a nearby street, playing rowdy games. I never got to join them. I was always inside the car on my way to piano practice or flute lessons, both of which I have forgotten to play.

Always, he would stop and wave at me, at the car, at anyone who could see him. Because Clarice was always with me, I never waved back.

It was one of those days when I turned away from him when suddenly a sad, haunting sound came from the car radio. The driver was playing music from an orchestra. It was my first time to hear the violin. It sounded exactly the way I felt.

It sounded like two children's hearts breaking.

I stopped playing the piano and the flute. I demanded to learn to play the violin instead.


I was sixteen, and I was drowning in angst. It was then when I knew I had to go back to the Sea. To drown away the anger and the sadness I never really understood. I slipped away from the house at midnight. Not knowing any other private, safe place, I went back to the cove.

Not realizing that inside me I kind of knew, Noel would be there as well.


He goes there a lot, he said. He never really forgot the place. Unlike me, he said.

Reproached, I was ready to turn around again and run.

"No, Jan, please, stay."

A plea, in his voice that always had that lilt as all others in our province does. I sat down, facing him.

He asked me why I was suddenly there after so many years. I told him I had stuff to deal with. ANd he told me he did too but never explained further.

"I want to swim." I said. He just nodded and stood up. He reached for my hand and we waded into the dark water.


We were back in the solace of the Sea. Underneath, you cannot hear anything but the water.
Underneath, it sounded a lot like there was wailing. It sounded like my way of playing the violin.

We both were fighting not to surface. I think we both wanted to stay down there with the eerie music.

When we finally had to gasp for breath, we swam in place facing each other. Not speaking. Both of us had tears in our eyes.


Rising from the Sea is a cold lonely experience. It's as if you're detaching yourself from the womb of the Earth.

Chattering and freezing, we retreated to the cove. Still cold, we held each other for warmth. So near, we let everything go and kissed.

And Noel said, "Let's play House."

to be continued...

january drowning


I would've gladly ran away with him. I think, back then, I was actually prepared to say yes immediately if only he asked.

But I didn't know the weight he was carrying on his shoulders was heavier than most, and he was grounded by the sheer responsibility of it. He had no ability for flight at all.
He started his story by asking for my forgiveness. And for the first time, he told me what I probably knew already but only had to hear.

He told me that the sea has more than once drowned him. He fell in so deep there was no surfacing from it. He loved me then, when the Sea led him to me. And ever since, he loved me still.

But he also knew we were continents apart (if only he knew how wrong he was!), he had to deny what he believed with all the strength of his soul. He had to live some kind of life, and he tried.
But paths aren't always true to the intention, and they lie crooked and they double cross. He ended up lost.

I have no idea who Anna was. But he told me she's pregnant and he's the father. They're getting married in September.


He had to stay. I had to leave.

It felt like I was walking away from the Sea. It felt cold, and it felt heavy. But I had to live some semblance of a life just as he did, and it was then I learned to get by every day by pretending.
Pretending I wasn't alone. Pretending I was awake. Pretending I wasn't just a half-lifer, with it's best part torn away by the past.


Years later, I was to be married to a man named Moses. He grew up in the city, and he had never known the Sea. Oh, he knows about beaches and sun tan and jet skis. But he doesn't understand the waters he frolicks on. His incapacity to grasp my yearning for the real Sea was such that he did not understand why i didn't want to be married in a tourist-y beach side.

"It'll be romantic, Arie. You're just a sucker for that, aren't you" he asked once.

"No. Let's get married inside a stone church." I answered. The bleaker, the better.


I never made it to the Church.


This is what happened.

While sipping bad coffee in a pretentious coffee shop in the middle of a noisy city, Clarice chanced upon me. She shrieked her congratulations on my upcoming marriage. "It's next month, right?" Through gritted teeth I told her yes, I'm sorry I wasn't able to send an invitation, but would she like to come?

Her face beamed up and she gave a shrilly, "Yes, of course!" Then as gossipy cousins are wont to do, she invited herself to my table, as what she thinks is a favor for me, just to update me about what's going on in San Pedro.

She regaled me about who's marrying who, who's pregnant without marrying anyone, and who ended up in jail for three months.

As an afterthought, she added "And have you heard about your old friend, Noel? That playmate of yours who I was only a poor substitute for?"


Her face crumpled in mock sadness. "Ah, bless his soul."


The boulder in the cove had been quarried away. Where our hiding place used to be, there is a big, white gash where the miners dug up the limestone for cement factories.

There is no safe place anymore.

SO I climbed up to one of the higher points, just to see how the sea has changed.
Oh. It has changed vastly. My heart felt pinched.

Noel became a marine biologist fro the local state university. He was divorced. Anna, as it turns out, left him five years earlier to work in Japan. She found a rich Japanese guy and married him. And one day, on a standard topography mapping assignment, his scuba gear went awry. His daughter was waiting for him at the shore. He never surfaced.

Noel beat me to the Sea.


I was tired of thinking. Tired of the Half-Life.

I just jumped.

I barely made a splash. I sank deeper, fighting buoyancy with all my might. At the heart of the sea, it almost felt as if the years were washed away from me. Th waters reached out to me, englufed me, covered me whole. It took away one breath and replaced it with the spirit of something else.

And just before my limbs stopped struggling, I realized it was the better part of me returned.


I surfaced.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ala Eh

Why haven't I noticed before that Batangenyos are actually pretty hot?

Well, maybe because I haven't met any one like that in Brgy. As-is being limited as I was to the Elementary School where the motherly principal and unmarried teachers reign supreme. But with this new project trying to assess if Artificial Reefs are viable in the area, I'm working with freaking scuba divers with super buff bods. Well, okay, so not all of them. The Head of the Frogmen of the Coastal Guards looks more like a mini-Erap. Maybe, just one of them. With the loveliest chocolate brown skin. Not handsome, but with shoulders like that, who needs a pretty face? AH.

*Olivia drools. *

But I'm not finished yet. There's this other guy. Hehe, shorter than I am (surprise!), and he's good-looking. The same chocolate brown skin. Ultra bright smile. He reminds me of someone I know. Maybe somebody I even liked before, I just can't remember who. The tragedy though is that he's already married. With a kid to boot.

Drat. Late again. Story of my life.

ANyway, I think it's not the "prettiness" of the face that made me call them hot. Not even the super buff bods. (Because since when did I care about being buff?) It's the way they speak, with that adorable lilt (Irish people of the Philippines). And they always speak with confidence. It can almost be mistaken for arrogance. But if you look a bit more carefully, you can see it's just because they're guileless. So cool.

Of course, since I won't be diving anytime soon, I'd probably be out of their radar.

So dive, you say. But I can't because I have a very real fear of wet suits. Or more specifically, how I would look wearing one. Oh my god, I'd look like a paddling Buddha in Black.

So now, I'll just look. And dream about their chocolate skins.

How utterly staid is that? Argh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fabulous Free Fun

Book in Hand: Atlantis Rising pa rin
Song in Mind: Two Become One by Spice Girls (like, can you believe how old this song is?)
Word in Mouth: Wow! Buti na lang!



I'm in Fabulous Batangas City.

Uhm yeah.

Okay, so nothing's really fab here so far from my comfy bed. But I have to be here because of work, and I will take any excuse to travel. Even if it is sodding work. Anyway, it'll be pretty interesting since I get to freaking "suyod" every coastal barangay from Bauan pier to Manghinao in Bauan tomorrow. It doesn't matter how tiring it will be though, I have one damn good reason to smile. I get to stay in a swanky hotel way beyond my means because WE GOT A FREAKING DISCOUNT from one of our usual partners in Batangas.

The moment I entered the door, it smelt like money. And the freaking goodie freebies they provide are so unbelievably lootish. I vow to keep bagging them so they will have to replace it every day and I will get four or five by the time I go back to Manila. The best thing about it though, as in the very, very amazing thing about all of it is that, we are just two minutes away from SM Batangas. Hehe. Which is like any other SM in the face of the country. But I am rejoicing because I get to surf the web, and they have Booksale here, and I can even opt to watch a movie if I was that desperate to watch Vhong Navarro make a complete and utter fool of himself (as he always does) in that D'Anothers movie.

I should really unlearn this OC-vibe I'm getting from by immediate environment in the office. I mean, in college, we were frigging free spirits. None of this planning the day by the frigging second. I should just let things loose a bit, let God lead the way, and none of my infernal meddling which has a tendency to blow up on my face.

Hay. So Happeee. (as Gayb would put it). I think I will have a friggin good night.

So, anyway. I don't intend to end my blog here yet. I have good music in the background, I can write for hours. Oh, if only I was in college again, I would've started another story. But well, the one story I want to write is so damnably hard to put down.

I've just noticed that none of my other blog sites have been updated since I created them. How staid is that? (staid being a word I invented when I was younger -- means uncool).

Lemme see if I can remedy a part of the problem tonight.


Hey, if you guys are looking for funnyblogs to read, check this one out:

It's hilarious.

So there ya are. Happee Livi signing out. For the meantime. As I have to search the net about what's up with the Katie Holmes - Tom Cruise May-December romance. And see how my beloved Prince William is doing and if he's got a job yet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tales of the City 2

Book in Hand: Atlantis Rising by Brad Steiger
Song in Mind: Sleeps With Butterflies by Tori Amos

The best thing about leaving the house early in the morning is that I get to smell what our neighbors are cooking for breakfast. Seriously, now that our car’s aircon has broken down and we have to travel windows down, I get to appreciate the distinct smells of pritong tuyo and bagoong whenever we pass by the clump of houses near our place. Hmmm… sarap. I don’t eat breakfast, or rather, I don’t get to eat breakfast because I can’t bring myself to wake up early enough to have time to do that. But I appreciate the smell of food, whatever time of the day it is.

Hah. Shoot. I want tuyo and kamatis with toyo.


We don’t use the car everyday anymore because we’re kind of scrimping on gas. But the days that we do take the car are days I get to extend my sleep inside it. Guiltily, I admit I still don’t know how to drive and Daddy still drives for us (I know, I know! I should be doing something about that!). Anyway, I sleep curled up in the backseat (Kasya pa ako). Thing is, no matter how deep my sleep is, I always know when we’re inside the office grounds because I always, ALWAYS get this suffocating feeling. I wish it was just psychological (my work chokes me to death, I don’t feel free inside the office, blah, blah), I mean, I can do something about that. But this feels like I’m being held down by hands and they won’t let me move. Parang bangungot. But the consistency of it happening right when we enter the parking lot is unnerving. Anyway, I know enough that they are just children. I heard them twittering. Ghosts, of course. There was that one time though when this man dressed in black did appear from inside the building and walked towards me. I know these things because I can open my eyes and I can hear stuff, I just can’t move.

I just tell myself that someday, when I’m not in PBSP anymore, at least I can tell my kids that I used to work in a haunted place. It’ll sound so cool then. But now that I’m currently living through it, sheesh, I’ll take Professor Moody’s advice for “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!”


Is it a good thing if every time you look at a mirror you surprise yourself with how you look? That keeps happening to me. Just last night, I was riding the bus and I was looking out of the window and I saw my reflection. I was baffled, “Is that Me?” And I remembered that it keeps happening to me. It’s as if I believe I am someone else and I look like something else. Weird thing is, my face never really changes. And I’ve always been a fat kid. So why the dissonance?


I can’t get my mind off having breakfast. Maybe I will get some.

Ha. You know what?

I will!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Looking for Dr. Geller

Book in Hand: War of the Worlds by HG Wells
Song in Mind: Same ground by Kitchie Nadal

War of the Worlds
IS fantastic.

The song Same Ground
IS addictive.

Ross Geller
IS fictional. But epitomizes the kind of guy I want to be with.

Of course, late bloomer that I am, I just realized it now. Thing is, he probably does not exist. Not the same smart, sweet, funny and a bit neurotic guy he was on Friends. I've known smart guys who are a bit lacking in the "sweet and thoughtful" factor. I've known sweet guys who just doesn't have the right edge and just end up completely saccharine. I've known neurotic guys... and well, they're neurotic, period.

This is probably not healthy, but oh well. Live life dangerously. Hyukhyuk. :)

- = - = - = - = - = - = -

Anyway, I have been thinking about getting a scholarship for my Masteral Degree. Thing is, I still am a little vague on what degree I want. I do believe it'll be a good career move to study a specialization in Social Development. But at the same time, I want something new and exciting. I really am buggered.

On another note, Andrea started working already last Monday. She works at SGV now. And she looks like she's having fun there-- in the sense that she's not doing anything yet. I kind of envy her for working in Makati, because she's ever so nearer Powerbooks Live. But other than that, I guess, Makati is kind of far. And populous. And too upscale for me. I guess, I could leave that to her and Leah. I'm kind of okay with Manila's smelly streets for now. And the total absence of cute guys anywhere. sigh.You see, I keep having to say this over and over so that I'd end up believing it. It's just basic psychology. ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Seasonal O.C.


Who me?

Not characteristically. Although I guess there is a tiny sliver of a tendency for me to become one. It is often drowned out by my stronger urge to just wing it, but sometimes, the sliver expands and elongates until it compels me to act... ACT....NOW.

Went on an OC streak last night and cleaned my office desk. By that I meant spent three hours and a half filing (yuccch), organizing, throwing away things I don't need anymore. I just wanted to get rid of the clutter because it's clouding my mind. The end result was an amazingly clean desk. I still have to organize some of the remaining loose files in my incoming and outgoing tray, but that's like what? A half hour's work and I've slated tomorrow night for that. I'm so relieved all the mess is gone. Even if work still bites, I can actually breathe so much easier now.

I've also been noticing I write slower now, with an urge to perfect the curves of my handwriting. Me. Who could scribble a note on a piece of paper and have it pass off as a doctor's prescription. Something's up, and I like it. :)

Return of the Native

My realm is childhood, that is what i know. When the world worries me, I see it as my right to go back to the past and reminisce those more innocent times. This evening, I caught myself going back twice. First trigger was when I saw a guy entering a hovel along Quezon Avenue (going to Q Circle right after the autoduct) and he's framed by the yellow light of an incandescent bulb. It reminded me of my grandparents' house in Camp Olivas, Pampanga. I think it was the light that brought me back. ANd the fact that the house was surrounded by a clump of trees.

Second trigger was Work. More specifically thinking about what I still had to do for Work. I'm quite challenged these days by a new project for one of our Member Companies. It's an Artificial Reef project in Bauan, Batangas. It's the first time I'm going to be hands-on on a Coastal Resource Management type of project. Exciting and exhausting at the same time. So, I was thinking about that (it wasn't at all unpleasant) and I remembered back in high school I thought my work will never take me far from home. When I was 14, i loved listening to talkative deejays on the radio because I love responding to their questions. Those were the days before text, and what was "in" was the beeper. That particular day, i was seated outside the house, half-way through my novel for the month. The deejay asked us listeners what we'd like to do for a job and I beeped in that I'd like to be a writer. That way I get to stay home and work at the same time. I remember the radio host responded by saying, "Well, good for you." He said it so half-heartedly as if he never quite believed it. I took a bit of offense at that and I think I may have even muttered, "Well, yeah, I'll show you." But then now, I realize I was young and I had no idea what i was talking about.

Ah, childhood. The one place I can always return to and always feel better afterwards. :)


MUST LOVE DOGS (Just to see if the book I read is in any way related to it... and oh yeah.. I heart John Cusack)
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (Just to see the fantasyland and how Depp manages to pull it of this time yet again)
CRASH (Sandra B. in it. The movie discusses basic social issues. Hmmm.. good "Nuf for me. )
ARAHAN (It's Korean and it looks fun... rhyming not intended)
IF ONLY (Ewan ko, maganda daw... Kala ko talaga hindi, so I want to watch to validate. Yaw ko kasi si J Love and Paul Nichols looks so sleazy to me)


This Wekeend I want to attend a Storytelling Workshop. It's only for P500 and it might do me some good in the creative department. Dunno. Must finalize plans soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Trip to Recto

I've been told that Recto is a haven for bookworms, for the simple fact that the whole avenue is practically lined with second hand bookstores. For so long, I've considered it as uncharted territory. It's ironic that I work so close to the area and yet I've never even found the time to take a quick peek around. So, yesterday, armed with P500 and psyched to walk the whole afternoon, if need be, I went on a field trip!

I went to La Salle first to submit the grades for C1, as an excuse to go out. (An excuse for myself, because without another purpose, I would've chickened out of the whole thing). Then, at around 11:00, I rode an FX, got down at Morayta, and walked to Recto Avenue.

Boy, they weren't kidding! The streets ARE lined with bookstores. They sell books at the sidewalk! Tambak-tambak lang sila doon. Of course, most of the books are so old that the pages are browned to the spine and in great danger of crumbling to dust. It doesn't matter to me. :) At the first stop I made, I found a copy of A Man Rides Through by Stephen Donaldson with its front cover torn off. Bad condition and all, it just cost me 30 bucks. And to think that I've been searching for that particular volume for three years now. Kind of worth it. After that, I made sure I entered every respectable (and maybe, sometimes, not-so-respectable) book selling place I can find. But even with that piligrimage, i was only able to buy just one other book. A very cheesy copy of War of the Worlds for P100. The woman who sold it to me looked at me as if I was crazy. She asked me if I was buying the book because of the movie. I sheepishly answered yes, because in my world it's embarassing to admit that you saw the movie first before you read the book (it just isn't that way with real geeks!). It felt like she didn't really want me to buy the book, i think "nanghihinayang" siya for me. She even said, "Pero siyempre, mas maganda yung movie, diba?" She hesitated a bit, looking at me as if I might change my mind. So I simply answered that I just wanted to check how true to the book was the screenplay. A nearby book vendor, a man this time, said, "Yung movie ni Tom Cruise? Walang picture dyan si Tom Cruise..."

Uh, yeah... I kinda figured that out, man. I mean, he wasn't even born yet when the book came out, I think. Tayo talagang mga Pinoy. Kailangan may picture muna yung libro bago basahin. At kailangan guwapo o maganda yung picture ng bida. I guess, you can't really erase that. It's too embedded in our psychology. :)

I'm happy to report that i also bought a very practical and very cheap umbrella (probably good for two months, hehe), and two mixed CDs of artists I was really dying to hear (okay, okay, pirata na kung pirata). All that for P400! I even had a hundred bucks spare to buy an internet card. Galing! Went home very happeee...

But I guess, the question is, would I be going back soon? Mmmmm...mebbe not. My feet were so sore! And Last night, pinulikat ako! Shucks. I think, I just really wanted to count it as an adventure already DONE. Something I can do once at least in this lifetime. Maybe next time. When I need a fake diploma, or buy old theses papers, or have my wedding invitiation printed, or in need of a quick CD-fix. :)


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Back in grade school, I was already a big an of the TV show. But it's only lately I've really been understanding the show, and getting all the jokes, and even relating to the characters. SO I guess, that's what brought on this FRIENDS Fever I've caught. The last few weeks, I've been trying to catch as many episodes on Star and ETC. But I can't always have control over my time, and I usually end up not watching it. It's really, really something out of the WOW, when Ian lent me his DVD copy of Seasopn 9 and 10.

I love that show! And I wanted to grind to dust our fake DVD player when it decided that it was too tired to go through the other 8 CDs, and just gave up on me. I haven't even watched the Finale yet! Waah! But hey, I can still have the CDs til Thursday and maybe, a miracle will happen. Oh please, veritable, noble fake DVD player... just , just, o just let me watch the last CD.


Back to the Prince of Stories

Okay, so I'm signing off now. I look forward to falling asleep. I have a rendevous with the Prince of Stories. Dreams are the best thing since, well, the Creation of Time, I suppose. :)

Tomorrow's another week of work. But that's okay. We still have tonight. :0

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Smile Na Lang

I dreamt about work last night. Hay, of all the things to dream naman…

Sometimes all I really want is to break away. I’m not really sure why I’m feeling so lousy at work. I do try my best. I’ve been pepping myself up deliberately, with cheerleader-type determination. I take it as my fault that I just can’t seem to break a silver lining. Geezuz, I must not be cheery enough… But if I force a bigger smile on my face, I’d split my head in two. :) I don’t seem to be growing stronger in this environment nga lang. Oh well, smile na lang. Kahit na I’m going, hehe, my favorite term, nucking futs.

It’s another day. Wish me luck. I can hear my seven hundred imaginary cheerleaders screaming at me to pump it up! Bejeez, I might need to add a couple of hundred more voices in there...


Wednesday, August 10, 2005


This is what I could be.

I cannot erase the mistakes I’ve made in the past, but I can learn from them. Better.
I can take the tears I’ve shed the past months, the past years, and transform them into a brightly shining sea. Better.
I can take the hurt I felt when I loved and was not loved back and use it to remind myself that I have been to that place where love was a comfort and a protection from the harshness of reality. Better.
I can remember the pain of the healing wound and use it as a reminder for more caution the next time, but not too much that I imprison myself in a dreary cell just so to run from love. Better.
I can put all my angst about the hardships of life in clay and use it to construct a woman that is a fiber stronger than most. Better.
I can do away with whines and gripes about work and use it as a refining fire to sharpen the tools in my shed. Better.
I can slink away from the heavy cloaks of Despair, the clutches of a life-snuffing hell, and choose a path to the realm of the Prince of Dreams. Better.
I am living a life more precious than silver, the witch-metal which accepts all and can-be-all. Metamorphosis is a word often heard from juveniles, but it is no less true when said a few years afterwards when one is still searching. The truth is that we exist to struggle so as to break free from our molds. I accept this now. Better.

This is all I could be.

I will be, I am... Better.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


What makes a good book? And do good books make good movies?

These issues have always arisen from movie adaptations of famous works of literature. Classical works have always translated well into film, since they cater to a specific audience and are usually done more in the spirit of artistic and creative exercise than commercial venture. In the Fantasy genre, the Lord of the Rings translated very well on the big screen. It's almost the same case with the screen adaptation of the Harry Potter series. They were done with taste, credence and a certain amount of respect for the orginal version of the book they were trying to capitalize on. Now, the Earthsea Cycle to me is an exceptional feat in the genre, and it belongs up there right beside LOTR. For those who haven't read the Cycle yet, let me just describe it as a book written by Ursula Le Guin, where wizards and dragons, sorceresses and princes are caught in a cycle of searching and finding.

The story starts with young Ged in the Prequel Wizard of Earthsea. It is followed by the books entitled The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Dragonfly (a novelette) and the Other Wind. The first time I read Wizard of Earthsea, I was breathless. It had such a consistency and it had so much --- depth --- It was a marvel. I loved the idea of owning and accepting the darkness within -- it being the only way for you to truly conquer and destroy it. The priestess Tenar in The Tombs of Atuan was the epitome of innocence and strength, to my perception. It's one heck of a powerful story.

Now, Hallmark did a tv-movie adaptation which they entitled Earthsea. You won't believe how long I've waited for it to show on the Hallmark Channel. I scanned the tv guide practically everyday just so to make sure I would not miss it. Today, you can imagine my ecstacy to find out I can watch both Part 1 and 2 this very night. I knew there was a bit of controversy regarding the adaptation. It seems Ms. Le Guin has disowned the screen version. Something about it disagreed with her. That only made me more curious to watch it. Oh, that i wish I never did.

I have never watched a book-based film that had been as atrocious. I read somewhere that Hallmark Channel director Mr. Lieberman admitted the story was loosely based on the novels, and they took certain liberties to "movie-fy" the plot. I think, it was so loose, it was absolutely wretched. Why call it Earthsea at all if you aren't going to follow the logic and the sequence of the story? They took two separate books that's supposed to have stories that took place one after the other, wove half-baked tales to make them appear as if they were contiguous and inserted so many inconsistencies enough to render them illogical. The two main characters, young Ged and young Tenar even kisses each other at the movie end... something that never happened in the first two books. Tenar was already a widow and in her mid-life years when she and Ged decided to allow Fate to take over and they took each other as companions and lovers. And the acting wasn't topnotch.

I watched the film with the expectation to see my well-loved book come to life but ended up being sorely disappointed. That adaptation is a violation to the book. I don't think I can emphasize that enough.

Please, do read the Earthsea cycle. But don't watch the TV-Movie. Wait for the big screen adaptation where it may actually be about the book.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Back when I was taking Psych 155 (Abnormal Psychology) in UP, our professor told us to NEVER EVER dare to diagnose oneself. She says we will probably end up claiming we are all psychotic schizophrenics with manic depressive tendencies. I guess what she meant was we all have quirks which we think are faults; we have a tendency to over-relate things and its relevance to our lives. The value of the shrink is her/his ability to distance himself from the client and to objectively assess the more applicable abnormal psychology afflicting them.

I hold on dear to that logic just so I can say I'm not a schizo manic-depressive with suicidal tendencies. I mean, I can't be that crazy, right? Wait, better not answer that, not even in your mind. I'm just wondering about this because my workmate was griping today about a friend of his who he believes is mentally imbalanced. He let me read the girl's ranting and I got a little scared because she sounded like me when I go on my existentialist crap mood. If my workmate reads this blog, he'd probably call me manic-depressive too. But heck, I took 15 units of Psych (it's practically my minor --- pagbigyan nyo na ko when I say this) and I aced each and everyone of them. And I think I'm probably not. Maybe, I just think too much. On all the silly things. And I go on perfectly unpredictable loops. With reasonable, intermittent amounts of time in between. I mean, maybe. :)

Sheesh, whatever.

Since I'm already on this self-punishing mood, I might as well greet Norman happy birthday as well. :) I don't think I've ever admitted it to him (or to myself for that matter), but he probably provided the fodder for my drive to excel back in college. Me, who claims I don't like competition --- All this time I really was silently and mentally trying to match his achievements. Magaling siya sa Math (as in sobra, over, ultimate)? Eh di ako magiging magaling sa English (because I'm really hopeless with math). President siya? O sige, VP mo ako.. University Scholar siya? Eh di UNiversity scholar din dapat ako. :) Wacky, noh? I don't think he noticed. To me naman, it was also some kind of friendly competition. Actually, mejo flattery to him pa nga siya, kasi I wanted to be of the same "make" as he is. Shux. Bola na to. Pero ok lang. As if he reads this blog. He wouldn't because he thinks I'm silly and what I say are just silly things. (bleh!) I'm good conversation when you just want to be totally whacked out and you just don't want to think about anything important. But his logical world probably doesn't allow that, so there. Hehehe...:) In college, he was my bestest guy friend though. I'm not sure if that can drastically change in the short span of four years, since we still see each other almost monthly. I don't get to share my secrets to him anymore. But do any of us quarter-lifers do that still? I mean really confide in anyone else outside the family (heart and soul)? I'm starting to think we just talk to ourselves until we become nucking futs. But I digress.

SO Norman, I hope you had a great birthday today. That probably translates to lots of new books, chocolates and people asking you Harry Potter Trivia everywhere you went. :) You're such a geek. And that's probably why we'd be friends for a long, long time.

Teka Lang...

Hmm... I might have been a bit misunderstood... :)

The "flowering surprise" entry wasn't in any way meant to be romantic. The way I can define it was that... well, i was pleasantly surprised then it became a stronger, more pleasant surprise to see JP again. Parang ganito:

"Si Jayps ba yun?"
"Uy, siya nga!"
"Ano ginagawa niya dito? Ang galing!"
"Teka, batiin ko... kung matatapos lang ang cellphone call ng boss ko." (I was talking to my supervisor when I saw him)

Then we talked and I left smiling, reminiscent of the good old days.

Ganun ba ga. Ganun lang.

And anyway, I know him well enough to know that he's taken and he adores the girl he's with. Hehe... to the utter chagrin of some of my girl friends. :)

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I met an old college buddy today, after four years of not seeing him.

Weird. It felt like that corny prose, "A flowering surprise..."

I never understood that phrase until today. It wasn't as if we were very close, but we knew each other well enough. We did have a couple of good laughs and good memories to bring about a smile whenever it is remembered. That could have brought about the pleasant feeling when I saw him like a friendly ghost from the past. :) Another thing I suddenly understood was why he was so damn popular back in those days. Geez, he was cute then and girls giggle a lot around him. But I guess, now, he's just plain handsome. When we talked, he was still the same funny, sweet guy na mejo makulit. Now, it's a bit tempered though. A bit mellowed down. All grown up? I never thought I'd see the day. :)

On another note, I saw something incredible on the way home tonight. We were passing in front of UST in Espana and I saw a woman slumped down on the middle of the freaking avenue. She looked a bit crazed and in great danger of being ran over because she simply couldn't be seen above the car dashboard. Standing behind her was this guy, this student, who looked like he was convincing her to stand and go somewhere safer. He was tall and he was wearing white (probably taking up Nursing). He had something slung back on his right shoulder and in the glare of the headlights around them, he almost looked like an angel standing over the despaired.

I don't know if he managed to steer the woman off the road. I wish I could've stayed. For one second, I had the wild impulse to ask Daddy to stop the car so I can help. More than the concern for the woman, I was also extremely amazed with the guy.

Kin. That's the first word that flashed in my mind. Doesn't make much sense.

Oh, that guy was just so decent. If some weird, twisted time comes in some upside downplace and someone demands me to choose one person out of a multitude of strangers to marry, on pain of losing my life, I'll choose him. Whoever he was. For that one act of kindness he showed.

A Parade of Days

Find below an excerpt from my diary back when I was ten years old. Just for the sake of preserving the memory, I have edited nothing. Find it as I have written it in 1992.

Day: Thursday
Date: Feb. 20.92
Time: 2:30 p.m.

Dear Diary,

Me gusto akong itanong bakit ba sunod-sunod ang araw at parang me hinihintay minsan parang walang hinihintay parang walang lugar, walang sinusunod. Gusto ko sanang itanong at malaman ang sagot.


Obviously, these were the days before I became better acquainted with punctuation marks. :) . For the life of me, I can't remember what brought about this question back then. Was it just like today?

Just five minutes ago, I heard Mummy mutter "Hay, Salamat po Diyos Ko, tapos na naman ang linggo...." And I realized that to her, life is measured by the week. More specifically, by the number of Tuesdays and Thursdays that passes by (note: she only teach classes on those days). A fleeting thought jarred me enough to ask, "Waiting for what?"

Pasko ba ang hinihintay ni Mummy? Yun ba ang hinihintay ko?
Eh ang Pasko, matatapos din. After a while January na naman. Ano naman ang hihintayin? Pasko ulit?

At ilang Pasko pa ba bago marating yung araw na hihintay ko talaga? Ano ba yung araw na yun?

If I were a better Christian, I'd say, the day I am with my Creator. But before that, would there be a time on this Earth when I can say I have reached the End of the Parade of Days?

And thinking that, I remembered Olivia-Ten-years-Ago and it amazes me that I'm still asking the same question. After thirteen years.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

This Grace

It's like a burning sun at the center of your very soul. It serves as miracle fuel to last you through that critical second where failure is almost upon you.

When tears threaten to fall, harder than the Niagara, it's the words that comfort you. The warmth of it extends until it becomes a rope you could grab on to -- a lifeline for the meantime.

At the darkest point of your day, when the light is eclipsed by despair, it is an illumination of hope. It reminds us that the sham and drudgery of the world is but temporal, and our capacity for beauty is divine.

This is the Soul that I know. It is the Grace that I seek to remain in. My whole life is for this Fire of a thousand stars. This Cosmic matter that is me. The god inside me that tries everyday to reflect the God who made me.

And thus, we are acosted. Thus, we are tried, stretched from end to end -- painful existence awaits our years ahead. But intermediary to the woe are the Moments of Grace which sustains us. Through this we manage to keep existing. And beyond that, to keep on living. Smiling and resolute through the storm.