Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Compilation of PBSP Ghost Stories

People are used to looking at me as crazy because of my sensitivity to the supernatural and preternatural. I don't always assert my point because I have always believed people have their own right to believe in what they want to. The issue had always been:

Skeptic: There are no ghosts. I've never seen, felt or even sensed one.

The problem is, if you don't have the sensitivity, of course you won't sense it. If your mind is used to thinking in logical circles and neatly boxed-in ideas, you wouldn't even begin to imagine it. But sometimes, in certain overtly unnnatural ways, logical people do experience what we do. I've compiled some of the stories some of my friends / acquiantances relayed to me, usually because they wanted to know if I've gone through something similar.

The Humming Girl

Our admin assistant in my old department does not usually come in early. But that day, she was the first in our office and was quite happy with the prospect of going home early later in the afternoon too. She was humming a general tune almost mindlessly. After a while, she heard something move in the mezzanine area (where my desk is). She thought I was already in the office. Her belief was solidified when the "Olivia" upstairs started humming along with her. She told us she called out my name, but did not receve an answer. She just assumed I had my headphones on. She hummed and then the girl upstairs hummed.

After a while, she had to go to the wash room and called out to "me" again that she'll just be out for a while. Again, no reply. She went out, walked towards the CR and promptly bumped into me who was just done timing in.

When she confirmed that I just walked in from the gate, we went back to the office to check who the humming girl upstairs was. Of course, you guessed it. Nobody's there.

The Reading Ghost

One of our directors in the office has the habit of going to work early. He loved reading his early morning newspaper and reveled in the quiet work room in the wee hours of the morning. One day, he went in earlier than usual and busied himself on his table. That's when he started to hear rustling newspaper in the farthest part of the room. Standing and moving closer to investigate, he was just in time to see ONE page of the newspaper lifted in the air and turned. He gasped.

The newspaper didn't move again.

The Peeker

PBSP has a dorm and we often have outsiders renting a bed for a night or two. One morning, I went into the office and found the guards more excited than usual. Their lackluster "good morning mam" turned into a "mam, may multo sa CR!"

What happened, i was told was, a foreigner visitor was bathing in the girl's bathroom o the second floor. She placed her soap on the floor (for some weird reason). After shampooing, she bent down to get her soap when from outside a hairy arm swiped it away from her hands. She freaked out, grabbed a towel and opened the shower curtains. Nobody was there. She even went as far as go out the CR to apprehend the rude person but the corridor was empty. She washed quickly then ran out of the building to tell the guards.

Crazy? Yes.

Unbelievable. Probably.

But all too real, unfortunately.

How about you? What's your story?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

unloading mind boggles

I just want to post here the other winners of the Blogging Contest. I've read most of them, and they're really quite interesting:

Grand Prize (trip for 2 to Kuala Lumpur) - Anitokid
1st Runner Up (Sanyo digital camera) - Anton Diaz
Winners of a DVD Player
Ganns Dean
Butch Dado
Annabelle Caloschoy

Other Winners of the Nike Sunglasses
Rowena Wendy Lei
Myrna Co
Dine Racoma

Thanks again to Sm Hypermarket. :P

Kainis. Gilda if you're reading this, pahamak ka. :p

When you texted Ian about me blogging about him, I had to explain ad nauseaum. Oh well, my fault. I just really needed to psychoanalyze and ready myself before the tragedy strikes, y'know. Hindi naman siya nagalit, but it was a little embarassing. My face felt like a hot tamale.

See you Friday. We'll dine, wine and then I'll maim you. Hehe. Just kidding. :P

I had this dream last night. It felt weird. The setting was some beach paradise I don't recognize. The main event was when I saw this guy I like and he was down swimming in the waters while I'm sitting some 2.2 meters up on this sheer cliff. Other people (strangers) were sitting beside me and they were all so careful not to fall just as I was.

I wanted to dive into the waters and the only thing stopping me was that I couldn't swim. I was afraid of drowning. But he was calling out to me.

Guess what? I didn't jump.

I woke up with the most horrible feeling in the world.

Just needed to unload today. I left my cp at the office because of my absent-mindedness the whole day. Kasi naman, kung anu-ano iniisip eh. Hirap ng lutang.


I have a new / not new story inside my head. Not new because the main plot was something that came to me a couple of years ago pa. New, because I found a new twist in it.

It's going to be about a Hidden People. They are "normal" functioning members of society, but they don't know that their lineage is a little more preternatural than others. You remember in the Bible when they said some angels took human wives and they were called nephilims? Well, these people have nephilim blood. Now comes a point in time when their hidden "divine" nature was called to life because Metatron needs to know who will fight on the side of Light against the Darkness' last uprising. Central character will be a young man who is the last of the line of a mega-angel and his decision is crucial.

On the other hand, there is this angel, Ophelia who was one of those assigned to guard him and assist him in his soul searching. She's a warrior angel used to watching over kings and such like. Being around people have made her yearn for an earthly life. She falls for the man. And then she'll choose to literally fall from being an angel so that he could aide the man in his new role as leader of the light. (reminiscent of that scene from City of Angels where Nicolas Cage had to fall from a great height to become human).

Parang ganun. Don't know other details yet. Will let you know pag meron na.

Ok. So far yun pa lang. :)


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fat Girl Gets Boy

This, I found out today, is the summary of Hairspray the Movie. Oh, yeah, Tracy gets to dance on TV too which in turn led to the integration of colored people and white people in national broadcasting, I nearly forgot. I wouldn't gush about it, because that's like, pathetic. But I'll tell you this: (what the hell) I loved it. Some people would rather hang themselves from the rafters than watch a musical, but I loved it. I have to admit though as a fat girl myself that some parts were a teeny bitty unrealistic. I had to suspend disbelief numerous times, i.e.:

1. Zac Efron who plays the "Boy" noticed Nikki "Tracy" Blonsky when he saw her wiggling her hips in detention class. I mean, yeah, right. I could wiggle my hips and my nose to boot, fat lot that helped me. (no pun intended)

2. The story would have been more believable if Tracy was in love with the host of the dance show (Corny Collins played by James "I can Also shake my booty like a donkey on fire" Marsden) and then find out she wants Efron instead. That would've been a more realistic situation. Zac was just too cute, too nice, too popular and too sensible ALL at the same time; someone as handsome or popular as that is not believable having his his head not wrapped around his arse. I want to believe guys like that exist, but my imagination fails me.

3. John Travolta as a woman. 'Nuf said.

But it was entertaining and I wanted it so badly to be my life. Hay. if my life was a movie, I should be darn famous and loved by now. But sadly, I don't use Hairspray. So, all I can do is make reviews in a nondescript blog and gush about Zac Efron and hate the fact that he's even younger than my sister. hay....

Killer eyes over ozone killers anytime.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Effing Won!

Victory! For the first time in my life, I actually won a contest open to the public. Yep, my first bit of good news is this: I'm one of the winners of the recently concluded SM Hypermarket Blog Writing Contest! I won meself Nike sunglasses... not the trip to Kuala Lumpur or the digicam (that went to the esteemed Anton and Anitokid), but wahey! Nike is Nike and winning is winning.

Check out the page where it's all made official:

Winners of th SM Hypermarket Blog Writing Contest

Congratulations to the othr winners too!

Now, I just want to know how to claim it. Hmmm, would have to ask. I wonder if I won't look daft wearing my new sunglasses this stormy season? But who cares, right? I effing won it!

Oh, wait, I am completely unprepared but I have a speech written here somewhere...

First of all, I want to thank the Good Lord, and my parents, and my sister, and Aling Marie who was my first yaya, and then Manang Sally, Ms. Manuel my English teacher who taught me how to pronounce Italy (it's "It-ly, not "I-tah-lee") and then, Aling Chona who sold us all the eggs where I got all the protein for my brain, and PC Express for my effing slow but sure computer, I Republic for cheap (and agonizingly slow) internet connection, and the SM Hypermarket Writing Contest judges who deemed my babble worthy of a prize. Thank you! I want to cry! Thank you one, thank you all! I love you Philippines, Mabuhay!

Teehee... I know, I know. I have a long waaaay to go before I make speeches for the Oscars. But we all have to start somewhere. :P

Seriously though, thanks judges!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Flushed and Rushed

When was the last time you came across a phrase about the mysteries of love which you can completely relate to?

I ask because I reread the book The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman and there were a couple of lines there that really struck me. Here's the first one:

"Being in love was like China: you knew it was there, and no doubt it was very interesting, and some people went there, but I never would. I'd spend all my life without ever going to China, but it wouldn't matter, because there was the rest of the world to visit... (but) I thought: I want to go to China."

And on first being aware of love:
"She felt as if she had been handed the key to a great house she hadn't known was there, a house that was somehow inside her, and as she turned the key, she felt other doors opening deep in the darkness, and lights coming on."

Me? I want to go to China and I want to find the house that would feel like home. If I could only be so lucky.

Roll-Call of Days

Anyhow, I have so many things to write about. My last post had been Tuesday after all. :p


I went on-field for STEP-UP, meaning our program for poverty alleviation in the urban poor areas. It's been so long since I got my feet dirty; and disgusting as it was, it was also... dunno... empowering. Was that the word? It felt good to feel my feet firmly planted on the ground and to meet people again from all walks of life. It felt like a re-entry to the world.

It felt like being re-born, actually. If I had camera, I would start by focusing on my muddy feet and then it will pan upwards to my face which is registering a look of sheer staisfaction and then to the cramped streets and makeshift houses, then finally to the faces of the people smiling amidst the squalor. Not aesthetically pleasing, but beautiful and very very real somehow.


I went to Tanauan, Batangas to assess the training needs of a barangay cooperative which a member company helped in the past. We found them needing basic financial management and a review of business management principles. Then I went back to the office to do some paperwork.

There, Ian asked for help in locating a certain document for a project I handled in the past. We found it in under five minutes. He told me, "Life is so much easier now that you're here; I'm glad you're back." Then he hugged me and it somehow cemented my conviction that I made the right choice.


Speaking of Ian, I'm really worried for him. I saw the change in him this past few months. He's looking more exhausted than ever. Today, we talked for a while about this and I can sum it up by saying he's lost his love for his work. That's his explanation for it anyway, verbatim. It also doesn't help that he's got health problems too (just like me) and the fact that he hasn't been promoted yet from MCIP after 3 long years.

Not to be misunderstood though, Ian is a good worker. He communicates well with the communities he deals with (which maybe the most important thing in this job), he works fast, he doesn't leave things hanging. He's intelligent and can stand firm against the most virulent opposer. But there's just nowhere for him to go in PBSP anymore, or so he thinks. His pay is not enough to compensate for the load. And the load, is as always, too much for even a strong pair of shoulders. I know this because I used to be there too. It's just that, he doesn't see any other position which would not exhaust him as MCIP has exhausted him.

I "escaped" to the Communications unit and to what would be equal to a Carribbean vacation in PBSP. But he doesn't see where else he can go. I think, he doesn't want to see. I don't think he can. Being burnt out does that. I want to help him, but I have no idea where to start. My first take was to act all peachy and positive in LRO, as if forcing a little bit of sunshine into the stale air. But we all know I'm no little Miss Sunshine. Sooner or later, I'd slump again to my depressive mode and what then? We'll commit suicide together?

So I ask again, how do I help? And before you even ask, I'm making this my problem because I don't want him to go away. I've mentioned in former posts, he's my only real and original friend left in the whole of PBSP (Raffi, although falling in the category doesn't count coz she's manager, and Gilda and Terteen gone and Eman leaving). But I think I have to prepare for the day he'll tell me he needs to go. If I'm a true friend, I should stand by his decision. Even if it breaks my heart.

Strangers. Someday, PBSP would be full of strangers and I would be more alone than ever. And I can't leave because of the effing debt (both financial and gratitude). I want to serve my 3 years of gratitude for all that the insitution has done when I needed help. But without my friends, I can only imagine Calvary ahead.

Today, Still

I had a meeting with this person who handles trainings too. Ian seem to understand her well enough, and my amazement of his intelligence grew when I realized he was actually understanding this person who might as well speak in Greek for all I understood of what she's saying.

And because I'm arrogant, it really bugged me the whole night. I don't understand why I don't understand her. When I talk with her I feel stuck inside a box, I can't breathe and ergo, can't think. She's a really nice person, she's pretty, I like her. But I drown in her words. She keeps losing me at "hello."

She's very smart and well-trained in diplomacy. Her choice of words proves it. She can call you a mother effing liar and still make it sound diplomatic. Good thing she's really nice so she's not the type to wage war with people. But she always uses too many words. I realized she often goes in circles en conversant. I also realized, I used to be like her. I loved my words so much that I use them all at the same time, flowery and accented, superfluous or not, appropriate or otherwise.

But after a while, I learned that it was much more important to be understood. So now, I'd rather word my sentences like an arrow, using the closest words which would describe it the best. I haven't got brevity down to a pat yet, but I'd like to think I'm getting there. Simpler words are more powerful, I realized. Anybody can understand it. And if you're brain is not too busy translating the words then the meaning goes straight to the heart. Diba?

It was only when Ate Raffi sat with Ian and I that I was assured it wasn't me just being stupid. At her careful guidance, my ideas started to flow again and I was even able to suggest new things.

It was a relief, I tell you.

IN SUMMARY, I guess I don't have to tell you that I have had a full but satisfying week. Oh and yeah, you also got to watch that Kyle XY show on Studio 23 every Wednesday nights. Guy's cute. Although in a weird way. Watch it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Save Room

I heard the song "Save Room" by John Legend while I was in the bus on my way to work. I smiled when I remembered that Bangyay, a good friend in Sagada, thanked me profusely for a cd I mixed for him and his brother. He said he loved all songs and "Save Room" by John Legend was one of his faves.

And because of the traffic, I had nothing better to do so I chose to deconstruct the lyrics of the Legend song. It was only now I realized how apt it was for Bang to like that particular song since he is in the business of managing their family-ran tourist Inn.

See here, the first few lines goes like this:

Say that you'll stay a little
Don't say bye bye tonight (standard innkeeper's prayer)
Say you'll be mine
just a little of bit of love
Is worth a moment of your time

knocking on your door just a little (room service?)
so cold outside tonight (In Sagada? Like hell has frozen over)
let's get the fire burning (the Inn lights a bonfire every night for guests)
I know I'll keep it burning right
If you stay, won't you stay - stay

save room for my love
save room for a moment to be with me
save room for my love
save a little
save a little for me
won't you save a little
save a little for me - ohh

Made me think how hard it is to be in his place. As innkeeper, you meet all this people. What if you do fall in love with somebody but you know fully well she/he would have to go back to wherever she came from? Good thing they are expected to marry within their tribe. But who can ever tell, eh? I just wonder who he was imagining it for?

Wala lang. Naisip ko lang....

Naisip ko lang na kung ako ang kakantahan niya ng Save Room, putik, paglalaanan ko siya ng isang buong palasyo. Ooops.

Forget I said that. Erase and rewind.

I better sleep, this is probably just a piece of undigested meat clogging my brains. G'nyt! :p

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Somber Childhood

Out of a whim, my sister and I perused our old photo albums looking for family pictures. I just noticed that most of my pictures back then showed that was a pain for me to smile. Ella confirmed by saying that I was really like that back then. She called me "serious." Hmmm... so I wasn't the ray of sunshine I thought I was all along then. :P I wonder what effected the change in me?

One of my aunts told me that it was probably because I was pressured to perform well in my academics in grade school and high school. I did note that I got to be freer when I started in UP and it was like exhaling after a long long time of holding my breath.

But could it also be because of my reading material? Back then, I was really into the classics where lives are always full of suffering and artistic ennui. Now, I read fantasy which lent me wings to soar on my imagination. Back then, mysteries were a pain in the neck, always needing to be understood. Now, mysteries are to be believed in and accepted.

Whatever it was, I'm glad it happened. Not like I completely let go of the stress and storm anyway. I still do get all melancholic when my world's off-kilter. Oh well. Just introspecting.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Swimsuit for Stormy Weather

Weird. You remember that entry I made just before we lef tfor Palawan? I said I wanted to buy a swimsuit that wouldn't make me look like a walking flower patch? And I said I just want a simple black one?

Well, rummaging through the Surplus Shop today, I found my ensemble. It's a black tank top just my size and black board shorts that covers the unmentionables on my thighs. Together thy just cost me around Php 450 as opposed to the Php 800 - Php 900 I was expecting if I bought them branded and in-season.

Of course it felt a little odd to be buying them in the middle of a ravaging storm that suspended classes for 3 days. But what do I know? Someday I might need to wear swim wear on my way to work, the way it keeps flooding the streets.

Trivial as it might sound, here's another proof that everything we want will be given at the right time. :p

Yey! Next summer, I will really go snorkeling again. :p

After the First Day

One day in Operations and I went home looking like this:

It might take me a while to recover my stride.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here Goes Everything

I'm about to go up to the third floor to assume my new post. So I suppose this is Olivia the Communications Officer signing off.

Don't worry. Tomorrow, Olivia will sign on in as per usual. But we both know it wouldn't be the same, eh?

I wish my parents were still here to buffer me up. But we all have to stand alone sooner or later. I'm just glad to be --- still standing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We Are Rockstars

Today's my last day as Communications Officer of PBSP. Tomorrow morning, instead of ambling towards the spacious first floor office, I have to go up to Calvary with my busted knee. Tomorrow, I'll be Senior Training Officer of the Luzon Regional Operations and I'll be sitting on my cramped desk with 3-months of backlog to catch up with. I think today's my last day of being a well-adjusted, sane human being. Oh, and for the same pay as I'm getting, if I might add.

To say I'm scared shite of the stress and amount of work I'd be facing back in Operations is to say the least. But the thing is, if it's the price I have to pay to remain a viable asset to the development field, so be it. In terms of tools in the shed, I want to be sharp. My niche has always been as a frontliner. I need to be where the action is --- NOT because I like it, but because I need to be forced into participating in life. I learn so much more from traveling and meeting people. Nothing could equate to the dynamics you get from engaging with a community as opposed to just sitting down and observing so you have something to write about. I don't want to just report the action, I want to be part of the cause for it. Put me in the backburner, like FAU, then I lose interest in life altogether. I float, get stuck in endless ennui and I probably would degenerate.

I'm leaving the ideal job: stress-free, seasonal cramp-times, work equal to the pay, nice, chatty people who can actually have the time to discuss the weather with you. But, I just keep in mind I'm taking a job which would lead me to the Olivia I've long envisioned: a capable, engaged and engaging person whose very life and passion lies in development.

Your life gets a very short fuse when you engage in LRO, literally. Countless people have been burnt out, me being one of them in the past. It's a rockstar life, really. You live for short years but you do explosive things. Stuff that would make other people scratch their heads and say in amazement, "You really did that?" The difference is, you don't get worshipped much as Bono would, nor would you receive a super rockstar's equivalent pay, BUT I miss the feel of Passion driving you forward. I miss being aware that what you're doing is making a direct impact to people. Sure, the stress makes you want to jump off a tall building tomorrow, but today, TODAY you make a difference.

And isn't that what ROCKSTARS are all about?

Ruminating On: Friends from Work

Strange Names Alert!

I will be talking about people you might have never met or have even known existed. You won't be hearing me saying my girl Avril or supah friend Gwynneth. But if you ARE human, and have friends, you still might be able to relate to my sentiments.

A person I would have very much liked to be good friends with is leaving work today. We've worked together in the past, even bonded initially in work-related events, but nothing that would lead to lasting ties. Not yet. My moving back to Operations might have remedied that, but as it happens, today is his last day too. Tomorrow, when I am officially in LRO, he won't even be officially in PBSP. Haha, funny, eh?

The thing with Iyad (that's his name) is that he's also young. And he still hasn't imbibed that Edgar Allan "Nevermore" Poe look that most of the remaining Operations members tend to wear on their faces these days. Even Ian, who's also our age, acts and speaks like a grandfather with seventeen grandchildren nowadays. Another thing is that he's also a Sixth Sense-r like me and it was kind of fun talking about weird stuff with him. Coz he understands most of it. Coz he doesn't look at me like I'm crazy when I tell him "let's scoot, we're being watched." I sort of had this scene in my head when we'll both sense a ghost haunting PBSP and we'll save everyone's lives by combatting (eh?) the malevolent spirits. Silly crazy, I know. :p But fun, isn't it? And saves one from thinking lonely thoughts, right?

The problem about having friends at work is that they're always leaving. It might be the nature of working for a competitive organization like PBSP, but it sure increases the feeling of being a fleeting microbe in a system that will survive without you.

I'm not even done with missing Gilda and Terteen yet and pop goes another weasel. Sure, Raffi is here but she's the manager and it isn't a friendship of equals. I swear, if Ian leaves, I would kill him first and he would have to haunt PBSP as a ghost.

(SCARY LAUGHTER> You're never leaving here FOREVER!!!)

No, seriously now, if Ian leaves, my friendlessness in PBSP would be utter and complete. Sure, I can make new friends, but it isn't the same, and you get me right? It wouldn't be the same comfort, it wouldn't even be the same important memories. But of course, he'd be leaving sooner or later, and no, I can't kill him (unfortunately). And me, I can't leave yet without paying back my dues. Sure, I have friends outside, them I've known longer and have built lasting ties with, but I don't see them everyday and they're not always essential to my getting through a day at work. And the nearness of them is not encompassing, They weren't there when I bawled my head off because my boss stressed me out, they weren't there when I couldn't climb up and down a mountain without a steadying hand, they wouldn't even understand the dynamics of what I do for a living. My career and my life is sooo entwined that it's very hard to separate it.

Oh god, I'm babbling. Okay.

What's that fantasy again?

Iyad and me saving everyone's lives. Let me just get back to that. Told ya. Beats thinking lonely thoughts, every single time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Losing Maddie

Even the hardest heart would melt with that smile. Okay, if you've been hiding under a rock lately here's the dish: This little girl was snatched from her bed inside a hotel room in Portugal. Their parents were dining out in a nearby Tapas bar and they claimed they had been regularly checking on Maddie and her 2 siblings. Then, someone snatched her from the right under their noses.

In the UK, they're swept up with the move to find Maddie. It's become a movement, with millionaires funding the search, offering reward money and whatsuch. Her dad even keeps a journal now on the official Bring Madeline Home website, and last time I checked he was talking about the weather. (Huh? Yeah, exactly my point)

And the Philippines isn't exempt from participating: last June 22, we released doves from San Pedro, Laguna simultaneously with other countries as symbol for hope in finding her.

My heart goes out this girl. Look at her, so pretty. I don't think they would want to hear what I have to say about the girl though.

A pretty girl like that would be dead by now. Why do I think so? Okay, here are the possibilities:

1. If she was kidnapped for slave trade or for some underground child-distribution purposes, they would know she's useless now because her face is plastered all over the world and nobody would want to acquire, even in the black market, highly recognizable stolen goods. Unless someone from inside the ring start coveting the reward money and find a way to hide their involvement, she's probably "disposed" of by now.

2. Some human trafficking rings don't always sell children as workers or as adoptees to rich, morally-unstable couples. Some of them sell children to wacko, sick men and women. Maddie must've been "acquired" already, subjected to their cruel depravity, and "released." I understand that some of them see children as the height of beauty and must be preserved as they are. Of course, preserve with formaldehyde is what they meant. Others just have subconscious hate instincts against beautiful children (esp. blond ones) and lock them in cages to play with them and make them cry. And then some do it for mad, evil sex.

3. She could also have accidentally died inside the hotel room, and not wishing controversy (ha! what stupidity!) a hotel worker not wishing to be blamed has disposed of the body. I have also heard somewhere that the Dad is suspect, if only because he looks too composed about it. Their theory is that, and I quote: "The Dad did it. He probably chanced upon maddie already dead inside the room, slipped in the bathroom or another accident which would explain the blood traces inside the room. And knowing that there are harsh laws in Britain which could sue them for neglect of the child, he probably thought it best to hide the body and feign the abduction. Or else they'd lose everything their practice as doctors, their dignity, community respect including their other 2 children."

But as for every Oracle, nothing is precise. So I'm leaving a sliver of hope here:

Someone must've kidnapped the kid, sequestered her in the middle of nowhere and they are just waiting for the furor to calm down. The hope there is to find her and to never let the furor down. Hard to do for twenty years and by then she'd be unrecognizable. So she could still be alive, but she's still lost to her parents.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope I'm very,very wrong. But someone has to think logically and not be swept away by the Teddy Bears, and the Beckham recommendations and flying doves. Someone has got to play the CSI. I hope they find somebody like that.
I hope and I pray.


Walking through the city on a downcast day like today feels like being stuck in a film noir. Suddenly, it is all too important to see everything in the light of the un-sunshine pouring from the heavens.

This kind of days makes me feel more at ease with myself. It's as if the greyish tint of the surroundings lends me an extra dimension to see with. The surreal quality of it makes other people curse, but hey, I like surreal. It's waaaaaay better than reality sometimes.

Even my Ipod seems to be cooperating. I started with the heavenly violins playing Pachabel and then followed it up with a bevy of kitschy summer songs. Just by playing songs worshipping sunshine on a day it does not exist adds to the surrealism.


I woke up with really dark rings under my eyes and splotches of red on my face. Not a "pretty girl" day. But I doubt if anybody else would be waking pretty this morning. :) My bad face day isn't brought about by the weather though. It's this silly nightmare about manananggals and vampires. Chasing me. Me, Fighting them off.

Calling Dr. Freud, come here and blame it all on my mother. Ironically, my mother was in my dream and she was the one who warned me to stay away from a certain Randy because he's turned into a vampire. :)

The only Randy I know is a hired van driver in the Mt. Province and based on his conversation-starters, he is labeled as a black sheep by his tribe in Banawe because he hasn't married yet at the very old age of 28. I doubt if I'd be seeing him again. Another Randy I can remember is Jonathan Taylor Thomas' character in that old sitcom Home Improvement. I also doubt if they'd be resurrecting the show and turn it into something Addams Family-esque. Really. Not gonna happen.

Ergo, I am running away from an unknown Randy and the cult of vampires who initiated him. And in my dream, I climbed vines and flew on roofs to avoid him and finally beating them down by some now-really-vague miracle I somehow effected from the heavens. As it happens, this is also the story of my life. What a head trip.

When I woke up and saw myself in the mirror while taking a bath though, I frightened myself. Kasi nga ang itim itim talaga ng eye bags ko. And I honestly, honestly got scared thinking for about three seconds that maybe, I was bitten by the vampires after all and I turned into one of them.

And since there's not a ray of sunlight today, I haven't confirmed if I'd melt with direct contact with the light yet. So there. If tomorrow the sun comes out, you'd know if I'm a vampire because by then I would've gone splat as an ice cream on the pedestrian pathway.

By the way, my last will and testament is hidden inside the pink pillow on my parents' bed. If I melt or self-combust or turn into fine black dust, please let my sister know so she'd have no trouble finding it.

Thanks much!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Avert Karma!

I think I did something wrong today.

Ella and I went to the grocery and shopped for food for the week. Now that we're on our own, we eat like college students (read: unhealthy). So our cart was full of canned goods, fresh chicken parts, Cheetos, Stuffins, eggs and instant noodles.

Thing is, when we reached the register, the cashier made a mistake in punching in the prices. After punching in a third of our purchases, she hit a key and the screen showed "Enter Bagger ID." Thing is, she did not press ESC when she started lasering the tags of the canned goods --- ALL of the canned goods. By this time, I knew something was wrong, but I wasn't sure, baka nagreregister naman, hindi lang nagshow sa screen. Then she turned her back again to get another plastic bag, and this time she pressed ESC, so the request for bagger ID was gone. Only then did the next items show up on the screen. When we got our receipt, it showed none of the canned goods and it was only then I was sure of the mistake.

The cashier was in a sour mood, maybe that's why she messed up. I did consider if she'd get into trouble, but I figured hindi naman siguro. After all, ang daming de lata sa mundo. I'm still not sure though.

But the effect is that, we have a cupboard full of canned goods which we haven't actually paid for. It certainly helps because we're a little tight for cash. I just hope Karma doesn't follow our tails to lash out. Kaya nga, I keep saying eh: Avert! Avert!

Moral of the Story:

If you're the cashier, don't gripe and see if everything you punch in is registering.

If you're the customer, shut up until you're sure there's been a mistake. And if it's too late to change it or nobody really gets hurt, keep shutting up. hehe! Salbahe! :D

Friday, August 10, 2007


If you were given a chance to work abroad as a chambermaid for a hotel or as a factory worker, would you take it? A former PBSP employee is recruiting people to work in Canada, either in Alberta or Calgary. My workmates are really excited about it. It seems that there would even be a solution to the $ 2,000 recruitment and processing fee they are constantly worrying about. The compensation is $9 per hour (not counting tips) for 43 hours per month. They have a 2-year contract and they gain privileges to return to the Philippines bi-annually. The Canadian government also provides medical insurance and educational insurance if they have kids. More than this, the Canadian company would be talking to local banks to help finance their applications here. They would even help source out the lodgings.

Discussing it over lunch, I briefly glimpsed the future of these girls I have become friends with. I can almost see them walking through the snow, sharing an apartment and babbling over dinner about their day’s workload. Wow. For one brief second, I wished I could go with them.

Then, I stopped and thought again. Am I really going to revise my dream that radically? I have always envied people who can flit about from job to job and still think they’re stable. It would be a nice learning experience to work as a chambermaid. But is it something I want? It’s totally outside my career plans and I’m sure I don’t have the disposition for it. I can’t even clean my own house, for Jupiter’s sake!

I think I’m still at the crossroads when it comes to my career. Now that Mummy and Daddy are gone, I can pursue a totally seemingly pointless existence if I wanted to. It wasn’t long ago I was thinking of giving up here, packing my bags and living in Sagada. I can probably find work as a teacher in the local high school or even as a chambermaid for one of the inns. I wouldn’t be averse to minding stalls or stores too. Of course, life would be hard and I would be dirt poor, but the cost of living there isn’t so high. How I will be able to afford books and the fact that there isn’t even a bookstore within 100 miles is another matter, of course.

So, I was thinking, if I can think of living like a church mouse in Sagada, it wouldn’t be so bad to think of working as a blue-collar laborer in Canada. Because, obviously, I’d be earning way more and I might even snag me a Canadian guy. Hehehe! But…


The dream inside me sparks. I look inside and I see it very clearly. I have found my niche in development work. I belong here. From PBSP, I can see myself transferring to an international organization. ADB, VSO, maybe even the UN. I think I still have a shot at next year’s Chevening Scholarship. I can still study in Oxford, or Amsterdam, or something as far shot as the University of Salamanca. I can work for the Prince of Wales Foundation. I can still become a founder of a development foundation, which I plan to call One World Org. I can go to Africa (or Payatas) and work with children and I know I can do this well. And then someday, I will teach in Universities. I will teach not just development theories but also values to support progress. I will teach empathy and freethinking and concern. I will teach action. And while doing all of this, I will write. Books, novellas, and anthologies… you name it.

I know it sounds so idealistic. But so far, life hasn’t given me grievance to withdraw my beliefs. Do I keep to the path? Or is it just pride that’s keeping me here? Are there really better opportunities for me outside my field? Should I lower my expectations or my standards already? Will pride cause my fall?

I may sound like a total airhead saying this, but I kind of really think I can do it. I would rather try anyway, than regret not having done anything. I have the capacity and capability to get there. I have always been a quick study and I sincerely love learning from people from different walks of life. I can almost, almost (!!!) sense the passion waiting to burgeon out of my soul for helping communities, especially children.

I will get there, but I have to stick to the path. So far, life’s flowing the right direction, so I should just learn to bade my heart to be still.

Adventures. Yes.
Exotic Learning. Yes.

You’ll get there, Liv. Just hold steady. Steady. And be ready when God says Go.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Two Crazy Things

First Crazy

It is with much regret and sorrow that I inform you of my failure to keep myself from falling in love. I have vowed to myself that I will never be played the fool again and that I will refrain from making the same mistake as I have before. I had been struggling for months, telling myself how inappropriate the match is, that I surely will find him immature and hard to handle, playing it hot and cold, but somehow there are instances when logic cannot hold full sway over one’s heart.

As always, the love’s probably unrequited. I say probably because I still don’t get it myself. He’d be showy with his affections and then pulling away the next, confiding secrets one moment then impregnable as a boulder a second after. In short, it’s the same old roller coaster ride where I twist and dash my heart unto the jagged rocks of hope, one false step away from desolation.

If I can just get over my fixation over holding his hands and forget that his touch is the warmest I’ve felt.

Argh. Hating it. Dying of it. And him looking at all the svelte, doe-eyed girls oblivious as a garden gnome. Or worse, he could be not oblivious to my feelings but he’d rather not do anything about it still.

Whoever invented romance should be hung upside down from a burning tree and smothered with honey whilst armies of giant fire red ants have their determined way with him.

Second Crazy

The guy best friend’s 26th birthday party was held last Sunday in Ateneo. After six years, I met with his Mom again who’s also an avid book reader. I like to think she likes me, and I hope she thinks that if her son wasn’t gay, he’d be damn lucky to have me beside him. But oh well. That’s history.

I also met GBF’s current love interest. They met at the gym, I gather, and are now dating. It still irks me some that this guy whom I hung my hopes upon for 5 whole years and has been as relationship-less as a dung heap as I was can now date 2 –3 guys a year. And I remain making dopey-eyes at another boy who will probably live the next 60 years of his life happy he did not take his lot with me. Needless to say, I feel as impotent as a rotting eunuch when it comes to relationships.

Later that night, GBF texted me to say I made an impression on his love interest and that the guy thinks I have a nice aura. Thank you.

So why the fu-k am I still so single? I can beat Velveeta in the singleness of my cheesy singledom. If my best friend’s mom as well as his date think I’m such a slice of sunshine, why can’t this other boy, this garden gnome of a guy, see that for himself? And if he does see it, why not do something about it?
Oh, fu-k. I forgot. Gnomes don’t like sunshine. They like svelte, doe-eyed pink flamingoes grazing on the grass keeping their eyes to the ground, thereby not noticing the pudgy, glamour-less owl who can soar such heights by the sheer will of their intelligence.
Fu-king gnomes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Time-Traveller's Daughter

I just finished reading the book A Time-Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Good Lord, was I bothered by the end of that book!

The synopsis is that Henry has a genetic illness yet to be discovered in 2000; he is a CPD ( Chrono-Displaced Person) meaning he is chronologically impaired. He met Clare, his future wife, when she was six years old and he was 36. But he married Clare when she was 24 and he was 33 and he didn't know he has time traveled yet so he was seeing her for the first time. See how mixed up it could get? The whole story is driven by this confusion when time cannot move forward as we know it ought. Henry jumps back and forth involuntarily from the future to the past, but always coming back to the present.

It got painful for me when it got to the point when Henry, just before the birth of her daughter Alba, meets her as a ten-year-old kid. Alba was in a field trip in a museum and upon spotting her father, jumped up and embraced him. The teacher was visibly unbelieving because as it happened, Henry died when Alba was just five years old.

Do you see where I'm coming from now?

Another later scene was that a seven-year-old Alba, who also has CPD same as her father, traveled to meet the four-year-old Alba in their backyard. The 7-year-old greeted Clare warmly; but upon seeing Henry, she launched herself onto her father and wept. Clare did not know that Henry has died, or will die, when Alba turned / turns five. So she had no idea why the 7-year-old reacted that way.

Did you make sense of that? You better read the book if I left you more confused than before. But the point of this whole tirade is that: I would give my soul to be a time-traveller too. How many times have I wished to physically hold my parents again? Alba though, would meet her father about three more times after he died. Not to mention that she can always find herself projected to a time when they were alive since she's a CPD herself.

To hug my own Daddy. To kiss my Mummy. To touch them. To lay my head on Mummy's tummy. To feel Daddy's one-day stubble. One more time.

Yes, sir, just one last time.

Don't get me wrong. The book was very well-written. It isn't science fiction-y at all. The focus was on the people and not on the genetic mutations. It has taken all the ramifications of time traveling as a fact so it still reads as if it's just a well-plotted, well-written love story.
Read it. Don't listen to my emo-stuff. Just go. :p