Saturday, December 31, 2005

A school holier than thou

Redundant?! naahh..TWO DAYS AGO, I had the rare opportunity to pass by my old school when I paid visit an old friend in his Techgarage armed with my Neo sketchpad. I went online after handing him a box of munchkins.

Having a camera in my bag, I didn’t hesitate to shoot images of my old alma mater inside and out. (I’ve done both with my lenses peeking along and in between the barricades of the fence) And what did I get? Since it is vacation for all the students and teachers alike as of this writing, I’ve seen nobody in school uniform except for the insipid guards manning the gates, one of them bears a familiar face. Our uniform back then was combination of gray bottom and white top for high schoolers (black and white for college). I guess they still have that same protocol today. By the way, I never complained about wearing a uniform several years ago maybe because I didn’t have the luxury to get myself fashionable dresses.

The school’s façade obviously suggests the same old picture. Unknown to many, the main gate was once ruled and conquered by progressive and militant students when I was a freshman highschool. The conflict between the school administration and the students over the issue of unjust tuition increase made the officers of the college student council at that time, resort to boycotting enrollment and in general, the entrance of the students in the school. They effectively paralyzed the school’s operation. I never minded that issue in the past, nor did I pay serious attention over it. I was 11 years old and having weeks of suspended classes was like having a trip to Neverland.

I didn’t witness how the boycott ended but I’ve learned that policemen physically dispersed those students and their leaders. I’ve seen chocolate boys (those policemen wore brown uniform with guns and insignia’s attached in it) holding batuta and shield. Poor students, they were automatically kicked out of the school and their names written in the block list. Poor me, school was back to normal with only one month remaining before the summer break. The schedules and examinations were all shortened so as to accommodate what was left.

Soon after the main gate was cleared, the school immediately put up huge iron bars and fence covering the entire perimeter of the entrance, I guess for fear that the students might retaliate and regain control of the area. The school façade was like a perfect replica of a max security prison gate. The schools name was totally wiped out from an outsider’s point of view.

It took more than 5 years before dissolving these huge iron bars and returned the front gate into its old image as it is displayed today. It even improved better. Passersby have the privilege to see wall size advertisements similar to those ads pasted in the walls of MRT along EDSA. These commercials showcase what the school is all about. Walking a few meters along the sidewalk, it was evident that they even converted a portion of the concrete walls into see through bar fence. The familiar halls and columns of the Main building stands tall and proud for all the public to see. The statue of an angel with a kid portrayed as a student can now be seen from the outside. Freedom park, Social hall, new buildings on the rise, and even the school bus was totally exposed and brought out in the open.

During my school days, these walls are all hard concrete and one can even suspect that beyond these walls are activities far beyond studying, hehehe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The City Hall

Since it's 5 full days and not a bit of nostalgia was felt for my office in Laguna, I come to think why not fix my old problem. I lost my debit card last October and not a weekday was spared for its replacement. I just thought this is a great opportunity to settle such cobwebbed predicament.
It's been a while since I last set foot in a very old but very familiar place. The city hall! Fetched by my kid brother whose passion right now is... ehem~ basketball!.. I glanced upon the halls where my hometown's city mayor currently dwells in.
I went over the task I was undertaking and flashes of old memories beamed silently around my head. It was those days when, along with a group of GOOD campus journalists or CJ, we went over and brought support to our fellow comrade for his appointment with the fiscal. He sued a fellow CJ for libel. I can't remember the whole story but the idea was to bring on their knees those BAD CJ's whom we thought do not write for the advancement of students interests.
The antagonists fault was that they've written an article that maliciously maligned the persona of our comrade. The column writeup was published in the university's student journal and circulated in every corners of our campus. It was indeed a direct attack on his personality and not on the issue at hand. So, to bring lessons to those "culprits" we considered, we went to the city hall.
I never have known the resolution of the case, or how it went afterwards because I was already a prisoner of a manufacturing giant. But nevertheless, I think that taught those BAD guys real lesson. You don't get subpoenas in this country everyday the way that you can get yourself a newspaper daily right at your fingertips.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Why do some engineers always utter the word basically in their speeches, writings, casual conversations, or to put it bluntly, in their everyday language?
I just came off from a 2-hour boring lecture and one of the speakers persistently caught my attention. After dismissing a handful 18 slides of their projectorized powerpoint presentation, he spoked mildly and mouthed the word 24 times in his entire spiel. [I have actually recorded that in my noteback like I was a scorer in an olympic volleyball game hehehe]
In a mathematical point of view, he averaged a 133% usage of basically. That means, it's certain that he will speak the word 1.33 times per slide.
When I first went in The Library in Malate, together with a group of old friends, [that was 4 years ago I think] the stand up gay comedians festered on a poor guy in the audience who branded himself as an engineer when he was asked. They shot the same question on why do engineers say basically before expressing what they really mean. They added the words generally and other -ally technical gibberish that seems very funny and completely unnecessary.
My observation is further affirmed by my boss who never fails to give me amusement whenever I hear him speak.
So why do engineers always utter the word basically? Maybe that is the basic question, basically...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cold breeze makes me slumber

YOU TEND TO wake up but your body refuses to. Your brain is set to command your muscles so that by the time the clock tick 6, you’ll be able to begin your morning ritual that includes rubbing your back, scrubbing your teeth, plowing your worst-than-Troll-like hair, nibbling your toe nails and other countless ceremonies before going out in the world.
But the biting cold is much stronger than the willingness of the mind. You curl further like a worm inside a hole warmth by its sanctuary. You grab the sheet to further cover your nakedness not minding that your bedside clock doesn’t know when to stop turning its hands.
Then suddenly you are awakened, like a rush of blood to the head just hit you hard. But your knees and hands are too weak to function, too numb to stand and too timid to even stretch a single tissue. You realize time is running out and getting late again for work or school is not an option you are willing to partake for the nth time. So you summon all your strength as if you were few meters away from the peak of Mt. Daguldol in Batangas and giving up now is definitely not in your To-Do list.
You are successful after struggling to get up. After yawning several times, you grab your towel and head straight to the washroom. There, you begin your battle with the army of water dripping fast from the faucet (or shower maybe). The questions keep popping out now. Will you quickly drop several cups full of cold water in succession hoping that you be able to deaden the chill? Or are you going to do it slowly by dipping both your hands and sprinkle droplets of h2o until the desired chemistry between your body and the breeze has been achieved? Or worse, you surrender and go back to bed? Whatever the case maybe, there’s no turning back at this point most of the time. Thus ending the long endured conflict between waking up your senses and short term hibernation, which happens usually during this time of the year and until before the summer comes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Disaster party

Vintage phones for sale!

THE PARTY CAN be described in one word: DISASTER

Saturday. It has been wet the whole week, and sunshine reluctantly surprised everyone that morning. But the euphoria was spoiled at exactly 1700 hours when people started filling up the area supposed to be partied on, a heavy downpour came and wreak havoc.
The only reason I came was, for RiverMaya appearing for the party. I didn't have the slightest idea that the place would turn into a river, literally! My 2-year old sneaker was soaked with mud. I can't eat my food for there were only monoblocs within the bounds of makeshift tent that barely sheltered the people (including pregnants with huge stomachs) from the rain. I was furious deep inside for lack of contingency plans from the organizers but due to the biting cold, I remained silent and sang along with the rain.
Look what just transpired:

  • A great number ate their bag of 2 chicken parts, cup of rice, a slice of thick pepperoni pizza, bottled water, a moose, tetra juice, and spoiled steamed potatoes while the rain raised and maintained the flood. No tables!
  • Not a soul was ferried back to his own home during the outburst of water from the sky. Buses were only permitted after everyone was all wet
  • Artistas didn't serve their purpose that night. They were paid only to bring shrieks from die hard fans and blocked the lobby
  • A lot of kantanods along with bureaucrats were inside taking glimpses of these artistas, photo ops, autographs and giggles, while the majority were left stuck in the cold rain, tired, sick...
Monday. The president announced that bonuses will be given in a few days, including GC and other benefits. Clap! Clap! Clap! The day before, 30 persons were reported absent. That must have hurt, I say.
I quitted my bickering and badgering when I learned a repeat of the party was looming. And that Bamboo Mañalac will lead the show. Now that is a "Hallelujah!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Pandesal and the rest rooms at Gateway

AFTER SPENDING HALF an hour jogging around the blocks of Laguna Belair sporting a green sleeveless shirt and a baseball cap, I had a rare opportunity to bring home and eat pandesal bought from a typical belair house turned bakery. Decades ago, I used to consume this staple every morning when my mom still serves my breakfast before school. It got to the point that whenever I hear the word pandesal, I can already taste it in my tongue as if glucose are automatically induced in my mouth making me pass on the bread and prefer the coffee or milo instead.
I strutted back home carrying a package of 8 freshly baked hot pandesals and a sunday edition Inquirer.
Gently delighted by the combination of fried scrambled eggs, tomato ketchup and pinoy bread, I pondered whether I'll take Pizza to Gateway or not. I was scanning the broadsheet using my left hand and stuffing the bread in my big mouth using my right while sitting in my 2 year old couch in front of the tv patiently waiting for the Taylor-Hopkins rematch. I drained all the 5 pieces along with 2 glasses of bland iced tea and declared 12 pm as departure time.
The moment we arrived in the outskirts of the urban barrio called Cubao and stepped out of the van we paid for 60 bucks each, a rest room was urgently in need. I almost forgot that I have to pee when I felt dumbstrucked with the awesome sights of the mall's unorthodox architecture. It definitely outscores those box and square malls in style and fashionable structure. It took us a couple of minutes before finally embracing the atrium where a 40-50 feet christmas tree stands tall hanging with it-- basketball sized christmas balls. I took ample time figuring out its height, but that is the best guess I could get.
The stores are definitely cozy. Even their tiangge consists of expensive dwellers, such as papemelroti, chicco, gift gate, etc. The "tiangge" is definitely an understatement. The moviehouse is a grandeur. Ceilings seemed to have been a canvass for Michael Angelo wannabes carefully designed and painted with different themes of past and present blockbuster hits. The walls are covered with images of western type movie houses and phenomenal events such as the Thrilla in Manila: Ali vs. Frazier.
At last, we found the bathroom, a.k.a. CR, toilet, banyo, kubeta, kasilyas, whichever you want to call it. I walked past the ladies room and went straight to the men's like an eager battle-tired soldier hurrying for his homecoming. Before I was able to unzip everything that covers my being, someone from the back yelled and demanded with full clarity and discretion, "sir nagbayad na po ba kayo?"
Time suddenly stopped and my mind appeared stunned, it delayed the processing of words. All I could shot back was,"Magkano boss? San po magbabayad?"
I immediately followed his requirements and relief was such a good feeling. I stared in front of the mirror and asked myself, what should I do next. Should I wash my hands? Cleanse my face? Urinate again like there's no more tomorrow? Put on some lotion? Pamper my hands with alcohol? Bath with baby powder. I definitely would want my ten peso worth the service. The options were indeed very inviting. After several seconds of shaking up, I decided that all I need was a mouthwash.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Minoru left the building

THE PAST THREE weeks made me very busy working my butt in the building called "imi". We don't bake pancakes here nor we build spaceships often referred to as UFO's. What we do is repair devices that stores datas, like a huge cabinet of clothes. The difference is that it is incredibly smaller, made of metal and instead of clothes, it stores digital information, as in the binary 0's and 1's. In short we manufacture computer drives. I specifically handle the testing and just recently, I was accompanied by a Japanese national to setup additional machines.
His name is Minoru. Japan customs requires us to call them thru their last name adding the suffix -san for respect and professionalism, thus the name, Hasegawa-san.

Very petite for a 55 year old who will turn 56 this coming December 5, he is white haired and very jolly and happy too. He always laughed especially when I was begging for his sony walkman mp3 player. The moment that purple emblazoned walkman, that looked like a bottle of small perfume fixed in a neclace, glimmered in my eyes, I immediately wanted it in my hands. The headset fascinated me very much, aside from its contoured fit in my ear, the sound was crystal clear as if I was sitting in a front row of an orchestra.
But he never gave in to my craving, saying that it's too expensive for him to let it go. He bought it for 20,000 yen, with a 128Mb capacity. That's a wopping 10000 php, at least. Hasegawa-san even boasted that his son, who is 23, almost same as my age, have an iPod mini. It's then that I discovered the nano version of Apple's iPod.
When I checked in Goldcrest at Glorietta 2, one saturday, it was tagged for about 12K. It's worth it for it's thinner than a Mongol pencil I used to write with during my elementary days in Angeles, and a 2Gb storage flash memory. Sigh! I need to earn that much the hard way like a drunken carabao plowing an infinite field before landing a black colored piece of plastic and metal that plays only mp3, and aac in my very callous fingers.
A week before his departure back to Japan, Hasegawa-san was homesick! He talked less and less every minute that passed. It's then that I decided to give him something to remember instead of snatching his mp3 player. So, I planned to buy him something very Filipino. I remember during his 2nd day, he and Maeda, (he's another story) were ferried from the office to imi via a Philippine jeepney. Every Japanese soul I've met with dreams of riding one. That must had been a lucky day for them, I guess!
It was the time I realized how a miniature jeepney will hurt ones pocket. At 900 pesos, I was only able to muster 300 deep within my purse. Options though was not limited to the jeepney, instead, i bought him a handcarved wooden jewelry round box made in an obscure place somewhere in Ifugao. I didn't go to Ifugao, mind you, but a group of business people selling indigenous fixtures was showcasing their crafts in the 2nd floor of Festival supermall. I placed inside the black memento, an advance happy birthday note and a small
magnetic jeepney for his fridge, I'm pretty sure he has one in his house. And the good thing is, the present was priced at a measly 180 php.
Thursday, November 24. After a serious closing and summary meeting with the "bosses", we went straight to imi and do a rundown of several unfinished work to do. I accompanied him with his farewell to my staff and operators. Surprisingly, inside his bag were hidden 5 boxes of macadamia chocolates which were later feasted on by hungry stomachs. I took one box, of course, and brought it all the way to Laguna Bel-air where I cherished the sweet soothing effect of every bite and melted one by one inside my mouth.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Late in the hustle

I WAS LATE for 10 minutes! I didn't know whether the shuttle service left Magallanes at exactly 6.20 in the morning and I still never made it to the bus top. I ran furiously and walked briskly after stepping out of the MRT station still hoping to catch the bus. Eventhough I already realized the hand's clock was pointing to the number 6 when I checked the time, my hopes were still high.
That is an adverse effect when you wake up so early in the wee hours of the morning and was very unlucky! I stepped inside an empty aircon bus and I had to wait for the other passengers to fill in all of the seats before taking off. Unluckily, the bus' engine cranked up only after 30 minutes have passed. It was running smoothly along the expressway but on a very slow drag. I can't sleep even after the bus conductor turned off all the passenger lights because I was worried and very wary on the slow pace of the engine.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Triple Overtime

STARTING A BLOG is not easy. I had to squeeze a lot of brain juice before being able to come up with a decent online journal that is pleasing to once reading. I know, I know. I can't please everybody. But why did it take me here in the office, to work not only double, but thrice than my body could do? I'm here in my desk, wanting nothing but the sound of the chime signaling its 8 eight clock-- time to quit the day and go home. How i wish i'm home. And, it's Nov 1! Hahaha.
At this very hour, I've documented the exact number of hours I've worked Overtime. It's nearing 7 pm and my goal is to have a century of beyond the regular hours pay before the cut-off for the next period commences. By the time I received my paycheck, it would more than double the regular 15th day cash-on-atm salary considering also that I would be receiving it on the 15th of November when taxes are at low.
But look what I just missed:

  • Octoberfest in Paseo de Sta. Rosa, October 28-29 (drop until your pee is nothing more like beer)
  • Tigtigan, Terakan qeng Dalan in Angeles City, same day as above (i told my mom i won't be going home for they won't be around the house. They will be heading off to my lola's place)
  • Swimming treat (plus shot of RH!) of old college friends, two of them just recently passed the M.E. licensure exams. Congratulations to them, by the way.
  • The chance to see Lhon Cabides whom I've never seen in a year! WOW (who is he?! haha)
  • Play Saturday Bingo with CJ and the rest of The SOLUTION (2001-2003) gang.
  • Take Pizza to Shakey's and eat a sumptuos basket of Mojos (<-- Oh I like this one)
  • Play NBA Live 06 with my Neo
If you're going to ask me if I'll ever do again what the title of this post suggests, I would know my answer right away! hahaha
...back to work!