Saturday, September 30, 2006

Olivia the Giantess

Yesterday, my dad asked me to buy medicine from a nearby drustore. Sobrang daming tao! It struck me that so many people are getting sick and have come to depend on chemicals to survive. Not feeling so well myself, I just had to analyze how much the human biological make-up has evolved within the short span of a couple of centuries. Our ancestors definitely did not have the moxyfloxacin I was supposed to buy. All these science-y (but althogether silly) sounding drugs were still in their virgin chemical state back then and yet somehow people lived.

In the Bible, it states that people used to live for hundreds of years. But then again, as the Black Death and numerous terrible diseases spread, lives became shorter. For centuries, people used folk healing and a tremuluous faith-based curing system. Today though, modern medicine have saved lives. But why is it that now that we can live healthier, we also get sick more often?

I have reached this critical point in my mental processing when I was ungraciously jostled by the woman standing behind me. She wanted to "make siksik" so that she could get to the front and get her medicines faster. Ahead of us. We who have been standing there for fifteen minutes hoping we could have it done and over with. Ah, wrong move, woman.

I don't explode like other people do. I unfurl.

I don't usually use my breadth and width to get an unfair advantage over the other tiny people of this world. But some micro-organisms do get intrimidita and leave me no choice.

I walk this earth hunched and bunched up to look unassuming. But when I'm angry, I expand.

Yesterday, instead of verbally attacking that woman, I stood up straighter than I have ever did, stretched my shoulders back as if unfurling hidden wings, imagining it rising obliquely from my shoulder blades and swelling upwards two feet higher than my 5'6" frame. I even flapped it, for good effect.

Of course, the wings may be imaginary. But when I leveled my gaze at her, a giant with just a tinge of sardonic pity for such a small, small creature of the dust, she stepped back. Space opened up for me, and there were a couple of inches extra for me to not touch elbows with anybody else along that counter.

After getting the medicines, I left quietly and got back into the car along with my sister and cousin. I sighed and returned to my foldable, relatively smaller human self. Much as I want to be a force to be reckoned with, I admit it wouldn't be practical to live like a giant. Imagine the trouble I'll cause other people when I'm riding the bus. No one would understand.

Olivia the (not-so-gentle) Giantess exists though. And she comes out once in a while to balance out what her wimpy, whiny, push-over alter ego cannot do in the real world.

Demand, Divide, Conquer.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

So Shoot Me

I refuse to believe it.

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After whining over the banality of the recently shown hollwood films, I was taken in -- hook, line and sinker --- by a dime a dozen Pinoy romantic movie.

Maybe it's because I don't watch a lot of Pinoy films--- kaya siguro I found it-- hay, sige na nga: engaging. Pero the movie You Are The One wasn't really bad. The last pinoy romance movie I watched was that Rico Yan - Claudine Barretto team up so many years ago. And that wasn't bad either.

Maybe I should discount that not all romance movies are corny ---- some are actually light and fluffy and charming.

Maybe it's because you start not expecting too much from the movie so that you end up being surprised that you didn't cringe and roll your eyes throughout the whole thing.

Maybe Sam Milby who, measured by any device, cannot truly act but can still charm my boots off should be shot because he's definitely ruining my reputation. And Toni was such an all-around typical Pinoy girl that you can actually empathize with her. To think I don't even like Sam (too pa-cute) and Toni (too OA).

Maybe, truly, finally, I am completely jologs --- more than I've always thought I was --- and kind of happy about it. :)

Kayanin ko kayang manuod ng Sukob?

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Daragang Magayon

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

In Transit

So I got promoted.

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I'm in transition right now from being a project officer into a communications officer. From the operations unit, I am going to be part of the foundation affairs unit. I get to write press releases here. I get to maintain contacts with the media. Maybe It'll also help me expand my wings in other ways. There are some setbacks though. Some people do not believe it was a good move, if only because the unit I'm transferring to has a lousy reputation. For example, one of our directors commented to me last night:

"Bakit ka lilipat sa walang kakuwenta-kuwentang unit?"

I could only reply, "Eh sir, ngayon magkaka-kuwenta na sila."

Jeez, I hope I don't eat my words.

Ture, I am leaving the elite team: operations, shempre. But I get to be a step closer to a dream I am still too scared to want. Hope this works out.

If not, well, I was on my way out anyway.

Wish me luck.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hollywood's Blandest


I wish I also had a remote control much like what Adam Sandler was carrying the whole length of the movie. Just so I could fast forward to the good parts and leave the boring stuff out.

Before you throw a rotten tomato at me (Sandler fans, persevere!), hear me out. The movie was a low-brow, sappy, melodramatic attempt at another low-comic jinks movie. It did not suck completely; I appreciate the effort of blending sci-fi with urbane reality, but that was all it was. One monumental effort that has utterly failed. Then again, maybe this is why Sandler is god to all losers in this universe (and sometimes that includes me too). He s so sappy, so idiotic sometimes, so mediocre, that he believably portrays mere mortals like us.

Nobody really expected Click to be an intelligent film though. SO I guess everyone's happy after all.

The Devil Wears Prada

I thought the movie was superficial, incongruous and pathetic. In short, it’s one damn good movie. The movie is about the fashion world after all, and one that portrays it as deep and sentimental would be lying outright. Their satires about designer clothing, models and the rat race to the top is exhilaratingly accurate.

I was irritated with all the characters most of the time --- yes, even Andrea (Hathaway). Meryl Streep is the saving grace of the movie. Its her name that propelled it as an A-list film after all. Without her, the whole thing would have been a pathetic B-movie.

I hated the book. And I hated the movie more.

It is such a brilliant thing.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Uma Thurman likes her roles impossible. First, Kill Bill. Now, Crazy Superwoman. Can somebody teach her how to choose her roles well? This girl is kamikaze-ing her career with such acuity.

I am so utterly depressed by the dimwittedness of this movie that I am quite unable to describe it in human words anymore.

Ugh. Grung. Herg. Blazzat. Berkzerx. Uwata wutawuta!!!*##!@!

It's coming out in video soon. DON'T RENT IT.

Unoriginal but Heartfelt

I know it seems unoriginal; a hundred people have posted songs as blog entries. But unoriginal as it seems, it is utterly heartfelt.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Remember the good times that we had?
I let them slip away from us when things got bad
How clearly I first saw you smilin’ in the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I’m so tired but I can’t sleep
Standin’ on the edge of something much too deep
It’s funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can’t be heard

But I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I’m so afraid to love you, but more afraid to loose
Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose
Once there was a darkness, deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light

And I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories- Sarah McLachlan

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Amor Imposible

Es un amor imposible.
Pero tengo que mantener creer.
Incluso si signifique que acabo de soñar despierto.

La Soñadora

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Intellectual Snobs

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Oh we are in so much trouble.

This morning, a girl friend texted me this:

"I may not know a lot of things but I am sure of this: I can never be with a man who does not know what the word "profundity" means. Basta."

I don't know what triggered this realization for her, and maybe I don't really want to find out. Thing is, I get her point completely. I may not be as exacting as to disqualify guys who cannot define difficult words point blank like she demands though. I say, one must even beware of guys who use "profundity" in their daily conversations (instead of a winner, you might have found yourself a poser). But the one thing I could not stand is a man who cannot speak in fluent and properly enunciated English. And I don't mean those who exaggerate their pronunciations.

Yes, it's elitist. It's 100% snobbish. There's no helping it though, I get turned off with guys who try too hard to sound good when using English. Oh, man. There's lots of them around. I've wanted to wring the neck of a dozen guys who insist in butchering the foreign language instead of playing it real and speaking in Filipino. Then again there are those who know they are good English-speakers, and this makes them believe they have the right to blab non-stop. What we're looking for here is BALANCE. Walang pag-iinarte.

Mas rerespetuhin ko pa ang tao na kakausapin ako gamit ang tuwid na Filipino kaysa sa isang taong nagpipilit at namimilipit sa paggamit ng Ingles.

Case in point, this guy who was kind enough to want to explain to me the meaning behind the different color cloths that Igorots wear. He explained to me that:

"If the skirt is colored simple, its mean, they are poor. If the cloth is more colorful, its mean, they are rich."

Ang sama sama sama ko.

Oo alam ko, culturally, some dialects are more phonetically challenging to unlearn than others. Naniniwala din naman ako na ang mga tao ay may kanya-kanyang kagalingan. We have athletes, artists, academicians, empaths and diplomats.

But, burn me at the stake with my confession, still, I need to be able to converse coherently with the guy I would choose to be with. He needs to be witty, not just moronically funny. I have to respect his intellect, I cannot bother to explain the basics of why the sky is blue to him.

Hindi lang naman kasi Ingles ang pinag-uusapan dito eh. Pati Math, Science, History, Geography, E.P.A.P.A. at Values na rin.

Ako lang naman ito. Kaya nga siguro, 99% chance, tatandang dalaga ako. :'(

At least, dalawa kami ng friend ko.

Pero, teka, teka nga muna... Ano nga ba ibig sabihin ng profundity?

Hehe... just kidding!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Swimming in September

No worries. If Manila folks were not able to go to the beach last May, the beach has come to visit Manila this September.

Imagine the convenience of just stepping out of your house and immediately soaking your feet in the sewer-enriched waters of a Manila flash flood. Imagine coming home from work and having to wade leisurely to thigh-high water, and all you have to worry about is taking each step carefully so that you won't fall into an open manhole (which Manila is also famous for).

Traffic is at a standstill giving you time to appreciate the natural mystery of Nature and Man's incapacity to actually construct a fitting street drainage system. It's time for us to ponder about the illusory truths about how people throw their garbage, and that floating used baby diaper on the hood of your car is conclusive proof of the lack of any discipline.

How about that very Pinoy habit of hacking at their throats and spitting out pleghm and saliva on the street? That must make the brew more interesting. How about the countless dogs (and sometimes, people) defecating on the streets? That must put some punch and kick in the water. Let's not forget to mention rat's piss which would probably infect any of your open wounds making you the prime candidate for leptospirosis. Still, no worries okay? Because any happy hospital would be very pleased to receive your money as you try to keep yourself alive.

The wonders of swimming in September has many blissful benefits and I, for one, was not able to avoid, I mean, resist the situation. Why don't YOU try it?

Again, don't worry. I'm sure that one of these days, YOU wouldn't have a CHOICE.

Green Day won't you sing again --- Wake me up when September ends.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

People Sketching


Fancy meeting a guy named Hilarious. You'd expect to meet a boy with a funny smile or at least a quirky set of eyebrows. But what if this guy was exactly the opposite of what you expected --- his eyes distant, his smile nowhere near warm and his demeanor always one of constant vigilance?

I don't need to imagine. I've met him.

Poor boy's probably stigmatized by his name. His eyes went glacial the moment we asked about it. In a calculatingly defensive tone, he relayed to us that he was named after his grandfather, Hilario. He stood ramrod straight in his white nurse's uniform, his gleaming white shoes a silent testament to his immovability. He did not share in our amused laughter. He pursed his lips in silent distaste and his eyes were questioning.

It's either he does not know the usual English definition of hilarious or he's wondering why people always have to make a big deal about it.

Either way, he insisted on being called Harry. With military precision, he jotted down his observations regarding the IV tube, his accounting of the syringes and insulin, the heartbeat of my ailing but temporarily amused father. I may have just imagined him clicking his heels the moment he finished his job. But he did not say a word when he took leave of us, he only bowed his head slightly in an effort not to be rude.

Such pride in such an impersonal person with such an unusual name.

I've always known names shape people. A study even showed that the more unusual the name, the larger the possibility of the person becoming a leader, a pioneer, or a star. But in the case of Hilarious, aherm, Harry I mean, he's turning out to be one of the most wounded-looking people I have ever known.

It's so ironic that it isn't funny at all.


I chanced upon Bastian in the garden on my way to the car. He was taking in the freshness of the morning air. It's apparent he just woke up, the cotton pullover he wore was the same pullover he was wearing last night. His hair was spiky in places, made even spikier as he mussed it slowly with his hands. The movement reminded me of an older, world-weary man; I marvelled at how different it looked on him. On him, he looked languid. Relaxed. Young.

We did not speak to greet each other. I nodded and he flashed me that smile. There was just enough wattage in it that I had to stop walking and nod at him again. He turned his head to look at the rising sun and at the thickly forested land surrounding us. I, on the other hand, watched only him --- fascinated at the way he inhaled deeply.

Standing two yards away, I felt my world eclipse into a much smaller one where he and I share the same mountain air. I took in a deep breath then and the chilly newness carried by the breeze jarred my brain into a happy, silent acceptance of this sudden gift. I turned to Bastian and he smiled at me conspiratorially. This morning is a secret we shared and other people would never know.

We still did not speak, and I walked on. I placed my stuff inside the car, did all the motions of preparing for work even if my brain was distracted. My thoughts kept coming back to him and how I want more of the solitude he so briefly shared with me. I want more of his closeness and more of his heavy-wattage smiles.

When I walked back to the garden, he was not there anymore. Swift regret overtook me. I should have stayed. I should have spoken and we could have forged new connections. Too late.

We never got another morning like that.

And yet my heart, altered by the memory of him, the air and everything rugged and pristine, was never content afterwards. It only longs to go back to the garden and to him.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Silent Strength of Stones

Ironic. Days like these, I don't feel young at all. Childhood might as well have been a million years ago.

We're bringing Daddy to the hospital, yet again. He hass contracted a fever and is now hiccuping uncontrollably. The last time this happened, his heart had water in it. Mummy's not feeling well enough to take care of him since she herself had been having difficulty walking and going around with her bad heart.

I didn't know life could be this .... challenging.

Thing is, I suspect this is my fault. During one of those potent nights when I was an adolescent, when no one knows what god might be listening, I remember wishing for a life made un-boring. I was struck with ennui -- the stable, predictable days I've been living wasn't providing me much fodder for real writing.

And just like magic, Daddy quit his job, both parents got sick (which has never quite ended since then), and everything in my life went topsy turvy.

Hmmm... I hear very adult minds out there proclaiming my statements illogical, childish, and overlaced with magical, superstitious thinking. Don't worry, my adult brain says I'm being silly too. But the child that my soul is keeps saying, here's a lesson for being careful what you wish for.

I only ask for one more potent night, to make a wish again. I will not ask to reverse my former wish. A boring life would kill me now if it comes around again. Everyone's got their problems, and I, who unfortunately grew up with the lot of them, must also deal. All I wish for now is the capacity to grow further and to persevere.

All I wish for now is the rock solid fortitude of mountains. The silent strength of stones.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Manong Boie's Advice to Young People

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We rented a local tourist van for the recent trip we took in the Bicol region and his name was Manong Boie (yes, it is spelled like that). 6 towns in 2 days equates to a whole lot of driving . And I know that the longer the travel, the more personal the conversation becomes. I enjoy those dialogues because I learn different perspectives on life. Just take for example the latest gleanings I got from our retired engineer turned tourist guide/ van driver.

H's 62 years old with three children. His youngest is in high school, his oldest is 25 years old and holds a PhD. degree. He's originally from Bulacan, but upon finding the woman he loved, he married her and moved to her hometown in Legaspi City. They raised their family there and through toil and sweat they managed to provide for the eduation of their kids.

He often expressed his amazement about how "on-the-go" we were. He compared us to robots running on compressed and almost bottomless energy. I think he meant that in a good way. It's true that we were able to accomplish a lot of things during that trip; to think we just came fresh from Sagada, Batangas and Manila doing the same exacting tasks, I guess it can quite impress people that we haven't dropped dead yet.

He showed a lot of concern for us though --- concern for our health which we told him our parents do enough of already. More than that though, he also expressed his worry about our personal lives.

Mang Boie's advice was we should not get too deeply committed to our jobs. His remark wasn't sexist in anyway, he did not imply that as women we should not work as hard as men. But he did say that there are things we must keep in mind. In the course of 2 days, I have gathered all of them and I now present them to you as a list. :)

1. Get a Masteral Degree. He was impressed that I graduated from UP, but he adviced that I should not be contented with that. In three or five years, my undergraduate degree would be useless, he said. Update your skills and upgrade yourself, just like computers. After the M.A. aim for a Ph.D. That would get you the respect you need to do what you need to do.

2. Young people do not need to work abroad to make something of themselves. They can make themselves useful right here. It's just that to stay here in the Philippines and make a living, one would have to be a strong woman or man. They have to be smarter, wittier, faster thinking on their feet and more innovative to become successful. The real challenge, he says, is not to brood and toil thousands of miles away from home. The most difficult thing to do is to stay in the country and make a life.

3. He noted that our job entails a lot of hard work and he said he could only imagine the stress we subject ourselves to. His advice is save personal time for ourselves, no matter how difficult it is. The best way to deal with stress is to find a healthy outlet. Some people go to the gym, some people sing in videoke bars, while some just sleep. He told me it's good that I love to read because I can bring my stress-reliever anywhere.

4. Do not be taken up with overused standards of beauty. In the provinces, I stand out like a sore thumb. I'm taller than most people there and larger in width and breadth. Mang Boie said quite frankly that, yes, I am large and people would always notice me whether I like it or not. I must be doing something right though because he said I must never change the way I carry myself. He said the attention I generate can be utilized for better means, like making friends. And since I'm tall enough and big enough to command their attention, I can also command their respect. Big people are natural leaders. It's just that some "chubby" people choose to hide inside themselves because of their fear of scrutiny. And because they let other people impose what being beautiful, and even what being normal, means.

5. Young women with complicated jobs (like ours, he cited), must try their utmost to be married by the age of 25. He told us a lot of boys find it intimidating to approach girls who seem to have it together. And if we do follow his advice to get an MA and a PhD, we'd even be more intimidating. He cited a lot of successful women who have remained single all their lives because they scare potential suitors away. He even went as far as showing us the house of a successful Doktora in Legazpi who is now 48 years old and lives alone in her humongous house with just the maids and a pet dog. That's a bit of a cautionary tale he went to great extents to relay to us. :)

Amongst all his advice, the last one was the only one I have a problem with. I know he spoke as a father and as a man though, and one would be wise not to easily dismiss it as backward thinking. If there are other people who thinks the same way he does, and worst, if they make up a large part of the population, then it's a very clear and present reality. I don't know if this struck me because it's yet another box I don't fit into. I'll be turning 25 in January and --- well, people who know me would know I've a long way to go before I marry. To marry would mean to actually bind oneself to someone for the rest of my life. I have no problem with the binding thing, my problem is the someone to be bound to. Hehe. :D If I find the guy before Jauary, I have no problem about getting married. It's just that I cannot see myself finding a lesser alterative just to fit other people's perceptual impositions.

These advices I'll keep in mind, filed away as "Alternative Perspective." It's useful once in a while because it gives you a frequency you can tune into when trying to figure out human behavior and thinking.

Don't worry, Mang Boie, I won't forget what you told me. And thank you for sharing what you've learned through your 62 years on earth to us. We may not always take all of your advice as truth, but it is a piece of puzzle that joins up with other personal truths. In the end, I'll have a complete picture of how life really is and your words would be part of it.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

How Does Freedom Feel Like?

Terrifying. A little exciting. But definitely scary.

The worst monsters of our imagination have always been those unfamiliar to us. But just like a non-swimmer dipping in her toes in what she knows is a deep ocean, the need to move on is compulsory.

I'm about to leave something I've grown accustomed to for some years now; I'm launching myself in an ocean of uncertainty. As always though, one swims on in that desperate hope to reach the shore of the land she dreams of reaching --- someday.

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Wish me bon voyage?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Geek on Wheels

Just got back from a strenuous Bicol trip where we visited 6 towns in 2 days. One good thing that happened though is that I got to watch Mayon Volcano erupt from a very safe vantage point (Daraga Church). I also got to visit the Cagsawa Ruins and the Philippine Centennial Tree (arguably the oldest tree in the country).

But what I'm really all pink about is the fact that I got the Pics from Sagada / Banawe already! Wheeee! Here's a teaser:

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The fields are green....

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the river's swift....

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but most of all....

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the pics are sweet!!

For the rest of the pics, please visit my Sagada site: or click on the link at the right side of this blog.