Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dark Weather

My sister said I'm bitchy tonight.

Well, that officialy starts summer then. The only stimulus for my irritation is extreme heat, and I hate the weather right now. I like the sun as an individual entity, and when I look at it from underneath a cool shade. But I hate summer. Hate. Hate.

It's even taken the edge of excitement for my impending trip with the girls tomorrow. Cagayan de Oro. Hmp. Who wants to go there anyways? I didn't. I'm only going because of Camiguin. But I am not looking forward to ziplining, parasailing or canopy walking. Right now, I think of it as cheap thrill-seeking and completely irrelevant to my life. So what if I do death-defying stunts over and over again? I've been through worse. I would consider myself idiotic if I fall for that.

And I'll be with the girls --- the last time, Dre almost bit Yel's head off, and I suppose I didn't help ease the situation. Andrea is stubborn, Mariel is stubborn, Sep is stubborn, I am stubborn. We are also ALL Princesses --- iba-iba lang klase, may extremely spoiled to extremely bitchy. I used to be the nice one, but now, I don't feel nice anymore. I am not gonna cater to anyone anymore, nor put up with fussy people. I love them, but it doesn't mean I won't kill them.

hay. I am in a foul, foul mood nga talaga. Dark clouds above me. Biruin mo, I am actually contemplating the murder of the people I love the most? I hope it will pass by tomorrow morning, but I fear that if anyone of them exhibits primadonna attitude again, I WILL BITE THEIR HEADS OFF. AND OF EVERYBODY ELSE'S INSIDE THE DAMN AIRPORT.

Stress lang kasi sa p**c***g U*PC yan eh. Stress work. Stress summer. P**c**g summer yan. Stress na windang ako. Stress na may kapatid akong psychotic. Stress na hindi ako sa bahay ko. Pati sa PBB Teen Edition na yan, naiinis ako. Walang kwentang palabas pero pinapanood ng mga tanga sa mundo. pag-uwi ko sa bahay hindi ako makahiga sa kama kahit pagod kasi nakatunganga sila sa hinayupak na kabangagan na palabas na yun. Sino ba nag-eenjoy sa mga kwento ng Lobo at maging SIno Ka Man part 2 na yan? Kahit nandun si Sam Milby, walang kwenta storyline. Para makagawa lang na conflict, pag-aawayin lahat, papatayin ang mga tao o kaya magkakasakit. Pinagloloko lang kayo ng mga writer na yan. OO, mas kaya ko gumawa ng matinong kwento, bakit? Pero hindi niyo papanoorin, kasi ang gusto niyo, yung niloloko kayo. Gusto niyo 5-minute camera-panning sa mukha ng isang humahagulgol na artista. Gusto niyo, kababawan at kakatawanan. Wag mong sasabihin na umiiwas lang kayo sa hirap ng buhay. Hindi niyo ba naisip na sa kapapanood niyo ng mga telenobela na yan, nakakabuo kayo ng kamalayan na ganun din ang buhay niyo? Tingnan yung mentalidad ng mga Pinoy ngayon, lahat komplikado.

Hargh. Titigil na ko. Kasi pag sinimulan ko yung Kamandag, yung Bordado na yun tsaka yung remake ng Babangon Ako at Dudurugin Kita, baka ihampas ko na laptop ko sa ulo ko. O mas masama, ihampas ko sa ibang tao.

Tama na. Matutulog na ako. Ipagdasal niyo na wala akong mapatay na tao.

See you Monday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

“My mom is a special person --- this cannot happen to her for no reason…”
-Kris Aquino

I can help her understand a thing or two, this little girl Kris.

Suffering happens to everyone --- rich, poor, naïve, jaded, young, old, fat, thin ---- everyone.

Tragedy strikes anyone ---- ex-president or not, wise or otherwise --- anyone.

Nobody is special to the eyes Fate.

There is always a reason --- but more often than not it is something we cannot make sense of.

The way Kris said it, it sounded like she’s fully expecting her mother to recover and add Cancer Survivor to her brilliant resume. She sounded as if implying ‘Nothing too bad will happen because she’s special.’ Add to that, “God cannot do this to me, because I’m special too.”

No, don’t smirk at her. It’s crippled thinking, but an instinctive one. The people we love are special, and there will always be the tendency to think: No, It Won’t Happen Here. She sounded like me, a couple of years ago.

Oh no, not My Daddy. He’s special. Loved by the Lord, loved by everyone, a brilliant teacher, no, not him.

Of course those blots in my Mom’s lungs ain’t cancer, she’s special, she’s already survived losing one breast. I mean, lightning cannot strike twice, right? And besides, if God will save anyone, He will save her.

And me, I’m a good girl. Don’t do drugs, not even disco. He’ll give me this one request. Right? Right?

But the scythe is wielded by Forces beyond our bargaining power. I have learned that the harshest way possible.

Kris, it’s just your turn. Your Mom may make it. I pray she does. But sometimes, God has other plans. Your Mom may succumb. Face it, squared shoulders and all. And most importantly, be there by her side. Be there. Don’t ever ever ever ever ever let down your vigilance or you may lose your chance at a good goodbye. Don’t add more salt to the wound this process will give you.

Trust me. I know how much more it will hurt without goodbye.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Name one childhood thing that you can’t resist but return to no matter how hard you try to shake it off, and I’ll give you mine.

Ice Cream Cones? Computer Games? Skipping Rope? Bakelite cakes? Hero Figurines? Really you?

Well, me, it’s playing The Sims. And that’s just the first in a long list (so I indulge on my inner child, what?)

It’s a god-thing. The one and only time you can actually be in control of your environment, the people around you, when to make them shit or bathe or have babies, fall in love with the person you want them to fall for… It’s uber-cool. And best of all, there are cheat codes. Life can take a shortcut. Why work your ass off when you could just press ctrl+shift+c then type in motherlode and you’d have 50 grand just like that? This leaves your character to enjoy studying/sleeping around/indulging in their extreme OC-ness. They can have as many freakin’ children as they want and call the Nanny day and night so they could frolic around. It is uh-mazing.

I probably play it because (calling Dr. Frued) I am trying to live the life I want to live in this video game. I want to never worry about money, I want Adam Levine to fall in love and have 3 kids with me, I want to be a genius extraordinaire, I want to be a slacker, I want to have Woohoo day and night. And I want the satisfaction of a life really lived so I multi-task everyone inside the house.

The new thing with Sims 2 is that they now age, so the characters now will actually die in maybe 80 game-days. My Adam in the game is 69 days old already, and will probably die at 75. Last night I dreamt that Death wearing a black Godfather suit came to him and all I had to do was to keep my hand from fumbling as I right right-clicked the mouse and pressed Bargain for Life. Guess what? He got one more day. He took Via to a nice restaurant, made one last Woohoo, played with the kids and then when Death came again, right-click, press, and there you are, one more day --- again.

I don’t know if the game works that way. That was just my sub-conscious playing around with the game controls. I guess I’ll find out in a few days when Death will really come to my Adam Sim for real.

But just to assure you I haven’t gone the downward spiral AND hit rock bottom, I’ll tell you that I haven’t made a Burgos family simulation yet so that I can keep my parents alive forever. Just the thought of making them do Woohoo makes me ---- nauseous.

So there’s hope for me yet. :D

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The motor of our water pump was stolen.

True. We rarely go home anymore and the thief have had lots of opportunities to get into the backyard and do whatever they want. Our no-good dogs probably watched him dissemble the thing.

I have turned my back on everything occult, but it's so very tempting to call on the earthly spirits I have felt near our house to freak the livin' daylights off the next person who even as much breathe inside the compound without our consent. Some freaky dwende to make kalabit the next person who tries to dislodge any lock, disturb any cranny or do anything illegal. A kapre to kick the person's gut out. And even the boy-ghost, who I am yet to meet but has made the acquaintance of the other house members, it'll be handy to have him float around to terrify a thief to stone. But... they're tricky creatures and I do not want to know what their end of the bargain will be like.

I just hate being violated this way. My sanctuary being breached. Bastards who don't know how hard it is to have both parents die and try to run a household. That motor will cost me thousands of pesos, money which doesn't grow on trees. Mga hinayupak na yun. Wag lang sana ako panghinaan ng pananampalataya, kasi, isusumpa ko talaga sila. Mahuhulog mga ipin nila, makakalbo sila, gagalisin sila, at kung anuman ang binili nila ginamit yung perang pinambenta ng motor namin, magiging abo.

mamatay na kayo.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Empty Spaces

Something about Holy Friday always makes me feel empty inside.

This has been years in the making. Even back then when my parents were so involved in the charismatic community and they rang up a busy schedule during the holy days. Me, I'll just space out or pretend that another Holy Week will pass without exerting overt expressions of faith from my soul. Now, without their initiations of Pabasa and Siete Palabras... I feel even more emptier.

I had a daydream today wherein I imagined that there will come a day when I will see an old couple walk past me in a mall or a parking lot somewhere in this universe. They will remind me of my parents and I won't be able to help the tears. They will see me crying and somehow, for some odd reason they approach me and comfort me. The old woman will be carrying a bouquet of roses and she'll give me one. They will both hug me and tell me, "You won't always be so lost. Just always look at the sun."

I will be so stunned from the direct coining of my Daddy's favorite phrase that they are gone before I fully recover.

I am so desperate for anything sembling closure for my parents that I will take whatever last best thing I could take a hold of. If I find it. Someday.

Kubler-Ross says Grief has 5 stages, and it is a cycle that the bereaved goes through: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. It may or may not follow this progression, but the more erratic the stages are, the more complicated the grief. As a Psych student, I can't help but to always try to gauge what stage am I experiencing at a particular time.

I'm disturbed because, I know for a fact I did not start with Denial. I started with Acceptance -- false acceptance it may be, but it helped me to think clearly about the little details to get through the next few months. I had to deal with organizing the funeral, the payment of hospital bills, payment of money we borrowed from people, etc. I had to figure out ways to manage the household because back then I was adamant to keep it running as usual.

Then Anger came because I failed at so many things. I couldn't run the household on my own; eventually we stayed longer in our uncle's house because the house in Fairview was just too far and too sad to come home to every night. I can't manage the household bills, I can't get a grip on the everyday aspects my parents were seeing to for most of their adult life. I got angry at them for leaving early. I asked God what His big plan is, hurting me and my family this way.

I got Angry and because I could not find the answers, I got sad. I succumbed to Depression, but even then, it was so skillfully ingrained in my whole persona that it didn't come out as the sulky kind of sadness. I managed to look smiley even as my body deteriorated. I got sick. You might remember the 2-week hospitalization which baffled all of my doctors. Nobody knew what was wrong with me, I defied diagnosis. I really thought I would die, and I didn't half mind. I wanted Death. To Follow into the dark the people I love most in Life.

Which brought me to Bargaining. After realizing that my inner depression wasn't gonna kill me, but it might debilitate me, I got a little sense back. So I made a bargain with God, I'll do what You put me here to do, but be sure to get me right afterwards. I want to go Home.

But what He wants me to do is so unclear. I don't know where to start. It is confusing, to say the least. I am floating in this earth, and I am losing my orientation.

Worst, I have come to Denial, where I believe any moment now --- any second forthcoming --- they will come back or I will wake up or I will go to Fairview, and if I am very careful, I might just see them waiting for me. It can't be true. They can't be gone.

If that isn't messed up, I don't know what is. Before Daddy died, I was about to ask him to bring me to a shrink, because I knew something wasn't right back then. I was already a depressive. Then when he went, I knew I had to get over it because I have to carry on for my Mummy. Then she died and I told myself I have to carry on for my sister. But looking at her, she who barely cries about them now, looking stronger than I am more than ever, I wonder who's carrying on for who.

The only thing I'm carrying on for now is the fact that I am Empty. And I still believe emptiness is the perfect vessel for filling up with hope.

Maybe, someday, it will come.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Prayer of An Orphan

I think I mentioned before that our favourite priest (Fr. Mar Ladra) recently published a prayer book called "Straight from the Heart." I had the honour of being asked to write a prayer for orphans to be published in the book. And today, when the world seemed bleak, i re-read what I wrote and it gave me back a bit more heart.

I would just like to share it with everyone, it being Lent and all. I also encourage you to buy the prayer book; it is a comforting companion.


Father Almighty, I stand before you, alone,
stripped of the borders that once kept me safe,
grieving and at a complete loss.

You gifted me with such good parents
and it is difficult to accept that I lost them this early, this fast.

In Your mercy, lead me through this darkness
into the light of your Presence.
Help me remain strong against the onslaught of doubt,
confusion and pain.
Help me keep to the lessons my parents taught me
and to keep my conviction to remain trusting in Your Divine Plan.

Help me find comfort in knowing that
my parents have returned to You
and are now free from any earthly pain or sorrow.

God our Father,
You are my shield, my strong and secret place
which I can run to when in despair.
Please hold me in the palm of Your hand
and cover me wholly with Your protection.

I lift my future up to you
and all the challenges I am yet to face without my parents.
I trust that each experience will make me
become the person You desire me to be,
until at long last, I come to the day when
after having completed my earthly mission,
I return to heaven to find You and my parents
waiting to welcome me back Home.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Utterly Inexplicable

I'm in love with a man-whore.

I haven't been able to refrain myself from indulging in Adam Levine mania lately. It doesn't help that their billboards for their Manila concert are still up and distracting the hell out of me. I never really liked him that much until I watched the concert and he loomed -- well, not bigger than life, quite the opposite --- he looked just so real that finally I had to believe Mariel's constant shirking of "OMG, Adam's hot, etc..."

Sadly, I now agree.

Sad because this often leads to brief creative periods for me and then after that --- pffffft. Sad because my imagination has no reins and I am sure it will involve various plots and mechanism on how sometime in the future he and I will meet, fall in love, get married, and *blush* well, let's just say married Then of course, the crash back to earth will be hard and cruel. It's a wonder I could keep my sanity even if I'm living (or imagining) as violently as I do.

And I'm so deep in the infatuation that the ridiculously rude articles about him just peaked my interest instead of assuaging it. Dated Jessica Simpson, dumped her through text. Rumoured to have called Maria Sharapova a dead frog in bed and denied it. Had sex with his latest ex-girlfriend on the first date AND announced it over on the radio. Strange fixation for blond es. Read: Barbie-doll types. I should be extremely disgusted by now, but instead -- damn it.

I never was one of those girls who dreamt of finding the bad boy and converting him to a revered saint. I want my boys nice and manageable, just like the great hair I dream I'll have someday. See: My cousin's best friend Eleazar, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, that Doogie Howser kid who turned out to be gay, Stephen Gately who also turned out to be gay, my college best friend who is, surprise!, also gay. Only once in a great while do I fall for the bad boy: Moses in college who was brilliant but extremely irresponsible. He was my groupmate and I was extremely annoyed with him until I found out I was actually kind of feeling the opposite. I managed to whip him up to shape (at least long enough to pull a concerted effort for our thesis) but of course, nothing romantic happened. He was into barbie-dolls.

And now this. Buti na lang, I only have 10% chance of really meeting this guy. The sheer implausibility of actually being with Adam Levine gives my infatuation a mortality period of about 30 days, give or take. So check back on me a month from now. If I'm still hooked on Levine, kill me already.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Forgotten Feeling of Being On a Swing

We lose things along the way.

Sometimes they are just things --- trivial stuff that often send us careening towards the deep end. Misplaced keys, a favorite book, the clasp of an earring, IDs, the remote control.... you've been there. These lost things will get us digging under bed covers, inside the car, all your bags, the sink, the toilet bowl and finally, the trash can. There are times when we find it, lucky you. But sometimes, we don't.

Imagine then if we were conscious of losing the big things. And I don't mean just people --- losing loved ones are always pretty obvious. I'm talking about the small big things, like how it felt when you first rode the bike, or completed your first HomeEc project on your own, or even the first time you baked cookies that didn't have goo in the center. And how about the smaller things than that? Like how it felt when you drank calamnsi juice your Mommy made you every day after school. The last times I drank Calamansi juice was two days before I brought my Mommy to the hospital. After that, never since then.

And finally, how about that forgotten feeling of being on a swing? That's been longer. I was probably in high school; I often sit there while waiting for my sister so we can go home together. But then, life springs up chances for you and all you have to do is take it. When I saw the makeshift swing in front of the beach villa we rented in Matabungkay, I smiled. How cute, I said.

I didn't even know I missed it until I sat on it again when I figured it was a good way to dry off after dipping in the sea. And when I let go, I let out a big happy squeal. Remember that sinking feeling inside your tummy? When gravity and motion messes up your orientation and you secretly fear the tree branch will break because you might be too heavy (well, in my case, that's not just a fear, it's reality). Then there's the wind whipping at your face and your ponytail flies to you mouth and you find yourself eating your own hair?

And of course, there's that freedom. The reminsicing of kinder days when getting on the swing was a treat in itself.

I didn't even know I lost it. I didn't even know I forgot.

It was a gift I'm glad I found again. And in honour of finding this one small big thing, I promise myself I will try to recapture the others. See my initial list:

1. Ride on a seesaw. I don't care if i have to put 50 kids on the other end just so my end will hold up. I have to do it.
2. Eat dirty ice cream while sitting on the street curb.
3. Go to a sari-sari store and discover what my Php 20 can buy me.
4. See how many Tootsie Rolls will fit my mouth and then try to chew (yeah, yeah, diabetic, but only once, my gosh!)
5. Play with a yoyo.
6. Buy pretty stationery and NOT write on it at all.
7. Grow my own Kiss family (baka kasi manganganak talaga)
8. Play Cops and Robbers again.

Not bad, eh? It's a start. :)

I hope they all make me feel like this again:

Friday, March 14, 2008

In His Shoes

Everyday, I try to fill in the shoes you left behind.

When you took this picture, maybe you didn't know that it will be the most important photo I will hold on to after you're gone. When you took this picture, all I was thinking of was how not to trip on your overlarge shoes. When this picture was taken, both of us had no idea what we were capturing would eventually point me to my life's direction.

Now, more than ever, I realized how big and heavy they were. I still trip on them and stumble around. But more and more now, it feels like I'm wearing two floating ships which steers on its own as well. All I have to do is trust it, and it'll bring me where I need to go. Somewhere --- I am always hoping---- nearer you.

Daddy, trust me, I will never stop trying.

In Defense of Kanto-Rap

It's all over the news: Students take part in a rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio today. Contrary to other news items, I am aware of this one because it took place near work. I happened to pass by the Manila Post Office on my way home and heard the "rally" progressing. They weren't picketing or shouting though. Creatively, they held a concert instead. I chanced upon a youth group singing a rap song about the corrupt people in the government and you know what? They weren't half bad. The lyrics were actually kind of hilarious. And heated. ridiculous but well-rhymed. I was surprised. It was almost another kind of genius. Twisted and crude, uh-huh, but a talent nonetheless.

"Akala ko ang buwaya ay nandun lang sa kanto...
Yun pala may buwaya rin doon sa may palasyo..
sana lahat ng corrupt sabay-sabay pumanget...
Sabay-sabay sumara butas ng kanilang puwet...
Pag eleksyon may karga-karga silang bata...
Pero pag tapos na di na marunong makibaka...
Natapos na ang termino ngunit eto pa rin kami...
Eto pa rin aba at eto pa rin api..."

Graceless, artless and superficial, but I am sure it was also reflective of what the common people think about in their unguarded moments. If this is what the common gangsta kids are engaging in nowadays, this kanto-rap, well, I wouldn't be so annoyed about it. Aside from the fact that they develop their "balagtasan" abilities in a modern format, it also keeps them aware of current issues (maybe even more than I'll ever be). And with awareness comes critical thinking.

I won't be buying the album, but I won't diss it all that much either.

Men I've Never Met


I'm in a mood tonight. Do you ever get one of those days when you just worry about everything? Yeah, that happens, eh? Like a persistent vacuum cleaner salesman, it just keeps knocking. You remember the Imarflex man?


Speaking of men, not wanting to sound impatient here, but... All good men seem to be taken nowadays. Kahapon sa Krispy Kreme, may pumasok na 5 guys all wearing white barongs (probably from a nearby corporate office) and all of them were drop-dead cute. As in my first reaction was... Shiite.

Nasan sila sa buhay ko? I have been doing my best, going on with my life, pretending not to notice the dearth of men falling in line outside my door. But days like these, when you wish somebody was there to have carried the laptop for you on the way home... can't help but wonder.

I was also asked a weird question today. Somebody point blank asked me if I was falling for somebody they knew. I'm not stupid, I've been noticing the questioning glances. The best response I can come up with was --- I am sure I am not falling but I can't help but act as if I am. It's hard to explain even to myself.

What I know is, it's been a damn hard year, and it was so easy to depend on this person. He was just there. And he was strong. And he was alive. And it was comfortable to lean on somebody. But I don't want to get too comfortable. I had been vulnerable, probably subconsciously transferring affections to somebody who wasn't buried 6 feet underground; but I think I would have to put my foot down firmly on this one. He's a dear friend --- he'll always be that way. I have to mark the line with my toes --- here, only until here. Not just as a reminder for other people. For me too. I love the guy as I would a brother, but I don't want to fall in love with him. God forbid, that'll be the Neverending Headache.

I have my head clear on this one but I would have to take the emotions by the horn and steer it in a more beneficial direction. Para que pa ang 15 units sa Psychology kung sarili ko na nga lang, hindi ko pa matulungan? What's the point of waiting this long if I would only fall for the wrong one? And, ako pa lang ito, we're not even getting into the whole other side of him not liking me that way either. Hindi lang talaga kami talo.

Pero wait... may mga wrong ones na I wouldn't mind making mistakes with! Hehehe... For example, Adam "Freakin' Divine" Levine. Man-whore image, but he's so yummy, I think I can easily acquire selective amnesia if he asks me out (you know, in a parallel universe or sumthing). Ano nga ba yung sabi ni Leanne Rhimes? He's the Right Kind of Wrong.... the pleasure will be worth the pain, I'm sure. :P

There's also this Anonymous guy who calls himself the Jok3r. I asked a Computer question on Yahoo Answers (laptop problems) and he was one of those who answered. If this is really his pic (which for a geek, I doubt, but secretly hope I'm wrong), then he's a geek and a cutie. Perfect sana. Oh, and did you have to ask? Of course I gave him the award for Best Answer. teeheee... ;p

Oh well. Sabi nga ng isang former student ko sa DLSU, karma comes around, mejo slow lang minsan. :) Sana tama.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Last Letter

My uncle and aunt had to go to DFA today to fix my 4-year-old cousin's passport. They left the house quite early, while Gabe was still asleep. Not surprisingly, the little boy let out a howler once he woke up because his Mom and Dad weren't home to make him eat breakfast or take a bath. It didn't make a difference that they had been telling him about leaving him to my care today because of the errand days before. Since they anticipated his reaction, my uncle wrote Gabe a letter explaining why they had to go. It went like this (or something):

Dear Son,

Mom and Dad went to the Department of Foreign Affairs today to fix your passport. We will meet you in school after we're done. So eat your nice breakfast (hotdogs and fried egg!) and take a bath (Ate Liv will bathe you and you can take your rubber ducky) so you won't be late for school. We will see you later!

Love, Mom and Dad

Gabe read this on his own, and I read along with him. I wasn't expecting such a visceral reaction to the whole danged thing. I found myself wishing, no, more of, desiring with my whole whole soul, that my parents left me something similar to hold on to before they went.

They also left quite early in life, they left when I was still half-asleep to this world. I knew the day was coming but that didn't stop me from weeping out a storm when it came.

I can't help but imagine though, what if --- if they did write me a letter, what would it say?

To soothe myself, I wrote this:

To our Gifts from God, (they always called us this)

Mummy and Daddy went home earlier than either of us expected. We're going to the Lord of All Earthly Affairs and maybe while we're there, we could also fix your passports. Just to smoothen things out for you in life, and maybe drop a prayer or two where it will surely be heard within a micronanosecond. Don't worry, we will meet you at the end of all things, be sure of that. We'll be there to fetch you and bring you back home. Meanwhile, enjoy your nice life (such promise it still holds!) and take good care of each other (we've told you you will be everything each other's got) so that you would never miss out on any good thing that God has in store for you. We're proud of you, and we still are, even if we are too far to let you know. We will, Livia and Ella, see you both later!

Love, Mummy and Daddy

If only....

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Quirky Quacks Club

Something about the way Oliver Sacks describes his medical experiences makes you forget he is using words you have never heard of in your life. Even with my minor degree in Psychology, he uses psychiatric words that means 'numble-jumble" to me. I've been reading Random House's Vintage Sacks and came across the 3 most fascinating people I have never met.

Miss Rose's Stolen Life

From a high-flying, high-living maidensturm, Rose at age 21 was struck by a rare case of encephalitis lethargica and lived the next forty years inside a jail cell purely constructed by her mind. At first she suffered from minor indications of intense concentration and catatonic reactions, but after a while, her whole body was so imprisoned by the disease that drooling and vacant stares became as natural to her as breathing.

After being treated by Sacks though, Rose seemed to have awakened for a while, enough to narrate how it feels to be inside her head. Mostly, she describes it as a kind of "thinking of nothing" vividly explaining that she can think in a loop or make a picture disappear in her head, and end up, ultimately, with nothing. She also tried to write down as many things she could remember about her life, but she never seem to progress beyond the experiences she has felt after being struck down by the disease. It's as if she was 21 years old forever and ever. Disturbing, for someone who is already 60+ years old.

I wonder about my life in contrast to hers. I have my whole life, as of today, in front of me. Nothing's been stolen from me that I haven't given up in the first place. Maybe next time I lose the will to live, I'll think about Miss Rose's stolen years and think of what she would have done with it. Such a waste for me to throw it away knowing that someone once lived without even knowing that she did.

The Dark Side of Tourette's

What do I really know about Tourette's Syndrome? Save for what I gathered watching Ally McBeal, not much. Yes, there's the hooting, the ridiculous touching and twitching, and the over-all whimsical Road Runner bursts of speed and movement. In reality, the media has been extremely unfair to the disease and those afflicted by it. Always, the character in any TV or movie would be a comical one, eliciting more laughter than empathy. I haven't met a Tourettic person in real life as well, and that hinders me from gaining an inside view on their disease.

In Sacks' memoirs though, he wrote about somebody who was able to live with the disease and be a surgeon at the same time. Not that Medical Surgery was ever an easy feat for anyone, but this guy, Dr. Carl Bennet, is a respected and skilled surgeon who worked on cases ranging from neurofibromatosis to mastectomy and God knows what else. If I were a patient meeting him for the first time, I'd surely have doubts about his involuntary tics and need to lunge at the walls and ground. But the miracle is, he never fumbles during actual operations. He says that whenever he is operating, he forgets he has got Tourette's and then the indications all disappear--- like a miracle. Sacks say it is the intense concentration and the ability to work rhythmically which helps him attain this. Citing an example, he watched Dr. Bennet perform a 3-hour operation without any tics or involuntary movements. After the operation, and once the rhythm was broken, his usual quirks resurfaced.

So why is that I, un-Touretted and completely without the need to lunge on the walls and ground, have such difficulty concentrating on such a simple task as writing a Terminal Report? And instead of using my will and concentration on solving the world's woes, why am I stuck on this seemingly insipid question:

Is there a connection to the word Tourette's to the Pinoy slang torete (used to describe people so very windang like moi)?

Island of the Colour Blind

Lilliputian conspiracies fasinates me no end. So far, I have added to my knowledge bank that there is such an island where most of the inhabitants only have one arm. And here in the Philippines, there is a quiet but firm inquiry on why women near the Clark Air Base area are more prone to develop ovarian cancer or barrenness. My biggest fantasy is to travel one day and arrive in an island where 1 out of every 10 male looks like Sam Milby and quite obsessed with finding Rubenesque wives who will bear them much fruit. Right.

Sacks though, being obsessed with quirks, found more pleasure in traveling to Micronesia to explore the Island where 1 out of every 12 people in a population of 700 are colour-blind. And we're not talking green-blue blindness here but total achromatopsia or the non-ability to see any color at all. Aside from being total, it's also congenital, meaning in-born. And as if that isn't bummer enough, they also have strange intolerance for bright lights. Here you have then people who live in a sunny tropical island with lush forests (flowers and birds and animals, I assume) who have no idea what color banana they're eating and would rather be in the shade. How much more ironic could life be for them? So life doth go in Pingelap, a coral atoll community amidst numerous others that has survived the rising of the sea.

The thing with having one disability is the opening up of so many others. As with Helen Keller who cannot see but feels the world around her, so does the achromatope who has learned to see the world in textures and intensity. So to us chromatopes, a banana may be unripe when its green, but they know it is so not by colour alone but by the feel, smell, and sense of it.

The sense of it, by jove. If I could differentiate a rotten egg from a good one just by the sense of it, I would deem it a blessing.

On the other hand, I am guilty once more because I have taken colors for granted as much as the other idiot. I even go as far as leeching away the colours of my day by pretending not to see most of it. What would the achromatopes see with my eyes, I wonder? Would they gasp with the shock of seeing so many hues all at the same time? What would they lose if they gain color in their eyes? Fail sensing lushness and texture and depth and distance? Would they want my eyes after all?

At this point, I'm convinced I'm the disabled one. So many people out there struggling with disabilities, while mine only ranges in my complete inability to appreciate what I have. Glad I met all of them. Sacks, Miss Rose, Dr. Bennet, Pingelap achromatopes

Life certainly is damn interesting.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Blood Red Tomato

Tell me if there's a psychological explanation for this, because it baffles me no end. I have been craving for food that has got tomatoes or tomato sauce in it. So for a whole week, I have partnered every dish with chopped tomatoes (made interesting with pepper, garlic and onions), or pairing it up with salad dressing, or drenching pasta in sour-sweet real tomato sauce or that perfect pizza with soft squishy tomatoes on top (think Sbarro Chicago Everything not Yellow Cab).

Anything that has the red fruit on it (it is a technically a fruit, right?) won't last 5 minutes on the dinner table. I'm starting to wonder if there's a lycopene-induced growth we all pass through, or I'm just plain going bonkers.

It's all Chef D'Angelo's red sauce pasta's fault. That's what started me on red sauces. Now, I'm hooked and I cannot, for the life of everything that's red in the world, ever get enough.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saving Me From Myself

I used to believe madali lang ako magsawa…

But I realized that it’s not 100% true. What I am is madaling maubos…

Now that i am in the Training field, I observed that I will have periods of extreme creativity and energy and then just as suddenly lose it and spend weeks in comatose. It’s as if I do not know how to conserve energy. But if my work life will be anything like what it’s shaping up to be (2-3 trainings per month), I will not survive. I will be juiced out.

How does one save herself from herself? I’ll be freakin’ jolly if I ever find out.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Granny Liv Shakes It Loose

Young boys and girls, I am proud to relay that your Granny Livie did not make a fool of herself during the Maroon 5 Concert. Sure there were "blonde" moments as to be expected, but over-all, I managed not to be the ditz I can become.

Blonde Moment #1
I am wearing my office attire. With heels. (But what do you expect, I carry a whole wardrobe change?)

Blonde Moment #2
It took me a while before I had to the guts to stand up and sing along and dance to the music.

Blonde Moment #3
A cute boy asked me where the entrance to the Lower Box area is and I stammered, "Below?" Suave.

Blonde Moment #4
I didn't know whether to clap or raise my hands up in the air during high points of the concert. So I just stomped my feet. At one point though, I realized I looked like a mare in heat, so I quit.

Blonde Moment#5
Everytime Adam Levine faces our side of the coliseum, I WAVE. AS IF HE COULD FREAKIN' SEE ME. But there were redeemin' moments....

Proud Moment#1
I know the lyrics to Infatuation and Won't Go Home Without You.

Proud Moment #2
I called Ian during his favourite song so he could listen in while being stuck on field. He said it made his day. Astig.

Proud Moment#3
I dance better than Adam Levine. Really!

But I had sooooo much fun. It was the coolest thing I've been to this last ten years. I am just eternally grateful that now I won't die a second death if ever St. Peter asks me what was the last concert I went to (assuming he cares about current trends in music) as the final trick question before I enter the pearly gates. I would have had answered BOYZONE in '98.

Surely, that would be damnation. :D But now, no more shame! Maroon 5 rox!

Monday, March 03, 2008

I Wonder

The human story is about being lost and being found. Being loved and being left. Sometimes I want to rail at the world because I know... countless people have been through the mirage and the murk; all have wondered if they will ever find their way. Each believes their story is unique. But we all actually just repeat history. We all just repeat ourselves.

All the more I wonder, what a very patient God we have. To hear the same whining and mourning all over the planet from different hurting hearts, it must take some colossal strength. Doesn't He get tired of it?

And me, staring at the ceiling, trying to accept that the floundering feeling inside me, the lost little girl, is a normal thing. Countless people have been through worse, and I have no cause for complaint. I ought not to think too much. I spend too much time staring into empty spaces. I don't know if this is a good thing anymore.

But I wouldn't be myself if I didn't wonder.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


The last 2 months I have been sighing and heaving because I cannot afford Maroon 5 Manila concert tickets. But lo and behold! Andrea has freebie tickets and she's taking me and the girls!!! Even my sister!!! She texted me today and I squealed so loud in the car that my uncle stepped on the breaks thinking something was wrong.
I squealed! Like a freakin' school girl! I'm so happy!

Lord, bless my friends, they love me! Hahaha!

Duh the Ditz

It's a sad, sad day for me when I realized that my sister, Ella, who cannot even spell or define "mnemonics" and my close friend, Ian, whose short-term goal in life is to buy a Gundam DIY Robot, knows more about the ZTE issue than I do.

Before you judge me apathetic though, consider first that Sis does work in Senate and the words "ZTE" and "JPEPA" falls from her colleagues' mouth more often than they could breathe. Yes, that's how caught up they are in it. Obviously, Mar Roxas, who's positioning himself for a presidency (or so others say) needs to be constantly updated. Give me an issue that's making the rounds of the Senate hearing sessions, and be sure Ella knows it. But ask her directions to Monumento coming from Munoz and you'll end up in Zamboanga.

Ian, on the other hand, is a man (or rather --- boy) obsessed. His usual 89.9 radio station was replaced by Radyo Balita when Lozada was testifying. A couple of times while hitching a ride to the LRT, things have gotten so quiet and weird (he was so busy listening he couldn't converse as his neurons are engaged somewhere else) that I forced myself to say pseudo-intelligent questions aloud just so to hear something beside the machinitron voices coming from the radio. Ask him any ZTE-related fact or personality and he can relay to you the lengthy history and processes involved in the whole scam. He can tell you who said what and who brought who where and when. Then try asking him what he wants for dinner and you'd be lucky to get a general food group in response:GO, GROW or GLOW.

Have I completely gone ditzy? Again?

Wasn't there a time I cared? When I marched to oust Erap from his seat? When I boycotted certain shoe brands for treating their employees unfairly? When I (almost) gave up KFC because of the monstrosity they were allegedly doing to test tube chickens?

My misgiving about ousting GMA is this: who will replace her again? Noli de Castro? Manny Villar (aka Boy Botox --- ask any Senate staff)?

We ousted Erap and look who took over. But the hell before I support him or any of his cronies to regain the presidency.I care. I do. But I'm still figuring out the truth I want to support. I want to make sure there are no more hidden agendas (huh! dream on, right?), and that we aren't pawns of anybody else's machinations. Never again will I let myself be swayed by mere words or promises.

I think every Filipino needs a personal revolution first before staging any loud outward ones. Think hard. Think harder. Feel hard. Feel harder.

Juan (Liv/Joey/Dingdong/Susie/Girlie/whatever), what do you really want? And don't start quoting the Spice Girls please.What do we really want? How do we get there?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Personal Triumph

I relayed my parents' deaths to a colleague without shedding a tear... for the first time.


I haven't heard more heavenly music than Mozart's Pachelbel. It soothes me to no end. Listening to it, the world itself might as well have grown a few shades brighter.

I'm so walking down the aisle to to this on my wedding day.

wink wink ;)