Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Debut

THE STORMY RAIN brought by Seniang was non-stop as if telling me to thwart the upcoming musical presentation, and go home instead and sleep the rest of the day.
But our visions were unfazed and Blue Beans gang, which was supposedly named as Six Sigma band, hurdled the wet highways and the very cold morning breeze to show up for the sound check and performed before a crowd of an estimated 3000+ screaming operators. I'm not sure if they were still yelling after we unplugged from the stage.
The band is composed of Oni (vocals, guitar) and Kris D (lead guitar and the ultimate driver), Emmar (percussions) and myself (bass and vocals).
The video was courtesy of my main man Glenn M and his S3-IS baby shooting from somewhere in the bleachers.
Go and hit the play button.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Storm's Coming

WEATHER FORECAST IS usually placed at the most obscure location of newspapers, or it is the last report shown on a news broadcast after an exhaustive delivery of other big news, and sometimes these are just flash bulletins on radio stations. Since the number of ways to deliver information such as emails, SMS, podcasts, live feeds, etc has never stop to evolve, the looming catastrophe that the storm may cause, based entirely on the strength of typhoon Durian, nicknamed Reming, has suddenly brought new chills to be scared about. A Bohol trip scheduled this weeked seems to be shakened. While wondering if we need to abort the flight or go on with it and pray for a safe plane travel, I chanced upon this drawing that immediately took my breath away.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pacquiao for President

A CHILD AND his 58 year old father was about to have a conversation in front of the tv. The girl was busy playing her doll, crosslegged and her butt flat on the cement floor while her papa was sitting pretty on the couch and with a beer on his left hand and the remote control on his right. He turn on the tv, picked the number 2 and quickly threw away the remote. A loud cheer coming from both sides of the speakers suddenly filled the once silent room and turned it into a scene like you were in a cockpit arena.
The father’s sullen face and cold eyes were instantly glued on the tv set when the lady announcer in the voice of Diane Castillejo began chattering away her well crafted analysis of the upcoming bout, impromptu style. Dubbed as one of the greatest trilogy in boxing history, dear papa must not miss one bit of a punch thrown and landed as if it were the last fight he would witness.
At this time, the daughter seemed to have notice his papa’s overwhelming attention on the show
Papa, what are you watching?
It’s Manny and Erik on tv. They’ll fight each other to find out who’s the greatest.
Why do they need to fight? Isn’t it fighting is bad?, said the little daughter while rearing her doll between her arms as if it were a baby
The father was stunned upon hearing her child’s inquiry. He raised his arm, reached for his head and scratch it like suddenly an army of lice trooped on top of his head. He managed to utter a few words and said, you know my child, in life we face everyday our own battles to fight. We struggle to live to survive this cruel world. Just like Manny, he faces his battle with Erik to inspire us Filipinos that anyone can be great by following his dreams.
I can’t understand, papa, cried the daughter.
Soon you will, my child, soon you will…

Three days after Erik folded up and bowed to the ferocity of Pacquiao’s punches, I am still mesmerized whenever I hear people talk about the fight that united this country for at least three rounds of 3-minute boxing.
I began to be a boxing fan way back when George Foreman was already an ageing slugger that used to rule the four corners of the ring. Then I’ve learned of other great fighters such as Ali, Frazier, Duran, Sugar Ray, Iron Mike, and many others that has been subjects of endless story -telling of my elder relatives coupled with beer and pinapaitang kambing.
From then on, I was always thrilled whenever an underdog wins a boxing match. It was simply because of the distinct story behind the boxer's life. I am enthralled whenever I learn how they managed their way to reach such tremendous level of celebration and victory. As one writer had put it, a boxer's life is a story that portrays a picture of poverty and the will to survive.
In this blog, I expressed my prediction that El Terible would win the match not only as fitting ending for his career, but as the fighter with the spirit of infinite proportions. And it seemed the case had been too strong for the spirit but to weak for the body to fulfill. Morales was decked and kissed the canvass in the third round.
Ultimately, it had brought our nation to its wildest roars and cheers. Once again, for at least a few hours of a sunday, the street were free from crimes, and people of all sorts are glued on screens to cheer for their champion. My good friend Glenn M has now his nerves on what could probably happen after Pacquiao's victory.
Pacquiao for President? It was more of a statement rather an inquiry.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


THE AMBIANCE WAS cool resemblant that of the breeze of December. The interior was spacious and I need not tackle anyone from getting in between the electropneumatic doors. It was a smooth and sound experience riding the third train built for mega manila. Maybe because the timing was perfect and the scene of rushing people to get from point A to point B is not yet playing. I unboarded LRT2 in Recto station when I decided that I have my 1-year expired electrical engineering license renewed, and to take the words that the green form I used, I re-registered it in the Commision that also handled the recently tainted nursing board exams.
The train station at Recto is a far cry from its predecessors, MRT and LRT1. It boasts a wide platform that could fit 25 NBA sized basketball courts, if placed together. The platform area is peaceful and I just thought that this was not the same Recto I got accustomed to 4 years since, when I reviewed for the September 2002 board exams.
And I was totally wrong!
I made up my mind that instead of riding one of the jeepneys to get my butt to PRC, I'll walk the streets of Morayta, Recto and Gastambide to witness a great view of Isetann, the mall where i watched the blurrest version of Reign of Fire and made me think that watching film makes you dizzy, Far Eastern University, and the thousands of books being sold at wherever you point your sight.
When I passed a series of pads and stores selling everything from books to rubber stamps, one guy tried to capture my attention after another. Then someone suddenly put his hands on my shoulder as if he was my long lost brother from the third dimension, or I just immediately had a inaanak and a kumpadre. They all wanted to talk and lure me to buy their stuff. Only here will you find the possibility of getting a MBA diploma in Ateneo de Manila University, or a mimic transcript of records for graduating Metallurgical Engineering in UP. The options are infinite. They can even produce copies of birth certificate and near-authentic PRC IDs.
My sudden kumprade brought chills to my nape and I said that I'll come back later just to woo him away. I doubled my walking speed when he turned his back.
After 4 years of missing the place, the sidewalks of PRC building was different. Back then, vendors used to sell pirated books and reviewers, and sometimes newspaper clippings for the results of recent boards. Technology has its face turned for this money makers and suddenly, these same ambulant sellers are now bargaining reviewers in digital format. They are selling CD that will help anyone review for almost all exams even NCLEX, and TOEFL. I couldn't help but think that these guys even surpassed the PRC itself in terms upgrading their services.
The only difference that I saw inside PRC from the time I applied for examination is the air I breathed in. This time, it was more polluted than it already used to be. It bears the same old system and technology because they still require the same passport size photo with full name tag on it, instead of putting up its own digital cameras to photograph every professional's face. The same lame lines of people especially those who are applying for new registration and examinations. That's what I get upon paying 550 pesos re-registration fee, 100 pesos for one year lag and a 60 peso surcharge.
I am going straight home and I wished I wouldn't cross path with my kumpadre.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Trip to Quiapo

WHILE POKING AROUND a collection of piled newspapers, bags full of unknown things, empty carton boxes, hamper full of dirty clothes, these and among other stuff that compose the collection of what I call personal property, I realized the increase in the number of books I’ve been keeping in my storage. If these are piled up on top of each other, it could stand to level the height of a 1997 Honda Civic.

The books are mostly comprised of novels but a few serious paperbacks have partly consumed its space. One of them, Trip to Quiapo authored by Ricky Lee that I stashed from a certain library, has landed on my fingertips while dusting off the place on a summer hot day in November. The book teaches about script writing for movies. And as far as I remember, I read that book about seven or eight years ago. Up until now, I haven’t finished the book nor started to read it again.

Surprisingly, a single sheet of yellow paper is kept somewhere in between the pages. For years, it was untouched and its original yellow color has been stained and appeared rusty and washed. But the writing on the paper suddenly dodged me back to the day I tried to write a script after being indulged with the learnings and teachings of the book.

The story was made in one sitting. I don’t have a computer at that time and never got back to pen the stories’ ending.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Facing Defeat

MANNY PACQUIAO IS yet to face the monumental battle of his boxing career. On Sunday, November 19, he will slug it out on a championship fight against the highly acclaimed Erik Morales, now on its third edition.
In their first meeting, Pacquiao shamelessly vowed to Morales in a unanimous decision where blood streamed from his face like a river. I almost cried watching that fight and said to myself, his career is over. Over just like the sound of IT'S OVER in Playstation's Fight Night when a game ends. Done. Zip. Through. Finished.
Little did the rest of the world know that it had spawned a great spirit inside Manny that catapulted him into a different zone of vengeance. A rematch was immediately agreed upon and during this time, Pacquiao nicknamed the “Pacman”, stole away the victory with a convincing win by knocking down Erik on the 11th round. It was a left hook that fell on the right side of Erik’s cheeks while wading his head left and right trying to avoid power packed punches. It took Erik down into the canvass for the first time ever since he learned that boxing is life itself.
That victory has propelled Manny to the highest imaginable level of fame in this celebrity-strucked country. His convincing win against El Terrible gave him the passport to sing and release a music CD which were sold out minutes after he won the second fight. It awarded him not only millions of dollars from Top Rank but also a galore of tv commercials, paid endorsements and even the “champion for life” medal by GMA. It gave him the right to sing for you, extremely and magically in front of your tv sets. And he even tried to convince everyone how sour datu pute tastes like.
A night ago, my main-man friend Markus asked me who I think would win in the Grand Finale. Trying to sound with less concern, my mouth went wide open and instantly announced the name Erik. He followed with a question, "is it because Morales will beat Pacquiao, or I just don't like Manny to win?" I bluffed but managed to utter a reasonable intervention. Morales is the underdog, and the one that is very hungry to win. The only similar reason I found in the papers, newsfeeds and blogs that Erik keeps on saying is that he's sole purpose is to win, plain and simple, and get back his shattered credibility. No media highlights, no press releases, not even the money, simply win and beat Manny for himself. It is like putting yourself in a forbidden island and the only way for you to survive is by walking barefooted in sand dune under a scorching sun. And since you don't want to die, you'll used up all your life's energy to get back home.
On the contrary, of course I wanted Manny to win. But I can no longer see the same Pacquiao I've seen in his last two fights against El Terible. And his match versus Larios was a dud! I only learned how to hate Channel 2 more because of the infinite commercials in between the rounds.
I know that siding against Manny Pacquiao is going against millions of Filipinos. But does that make me non-patriotic? Certainly not. The Filipino life is a life of struggle and endless search, and inspirations such as Pacquiao's life in the boxing ring makes us proud and believe that there is indeed light at the end of our own tunnels.
If El Terible defeats Pacman, (which I think he will) some will win with it, while the majority will weep and cry. I'm sure Manny will just shrug it off and fight another day. I have my own battles to fight and whenever I lose, I also feel the same way.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Happy Birthday Blog

THIS MORNING, I woke up and felt that something inside me wanted to come out. As if I've just swallowed a bettle unwillingly, and it was struggling hard to get out of my stomach. I bathed and figure that it was something else. A set of thoughts inside my chest has incubated and it was beginning to grow its legs and beak, ready to break out from its shell just like a new born eaglets was spawning from the nest.
While staring at the mirror, I found another traces of one year old stress have been painted on my face. A couple of uban or white hair strands has suddenly sprouted from my head up front like a lost weed in the midst of green bermudas.
I just realized, like suddenly a glowing yellow incandescent bulb had appeared above my head, that I've been blogging already for a year.
Time really runs so fast, I almost missed it. Wow! I can't even believe it myself.
It seemed like it was just yesterday when I started putting into words, thoughts that came and went inside my head. Like a sponge doing the dishes after a party, it absorbed ideas, concepts, stories, both pleasant and unpleasant.
It has become a battleground. Everyday, I fight and struggle to survive with this thing called "life" and it has been an area where I could draw my sword and whip every enemy in thoughts and in words!
When I was totally bored, it didn't faze but instead, it gave me an outlet to express my frustration and cool.
I even wrote something about nightmares and dreams, but I think the story was half restored since I can't remember entirely the sequence of the dream.
My first post was about spending super extra time working and missing a lot of things, with friends, family and self. From then on, I made a pact. I can only live once in this world and I say I will never again dispose my entire time working.
So I blog, and blog, and found myself reeling under the blistering sun watching and agonizing with someone being crucified, literally, eating with delectable food, and the best fish and sisig!, playing basketball, dancing in the storm and being bitten by a dog.
It has been a great jumpstart for my passion of writing, I even created several other blogs that seemed to look better if they have their own site to be seen on. I made retrato ni popoy to showcase all the insights and great scenes captured between the lens and viewfinder of the camera. Serious essays and thoughts that need a separate page to be viewed on, The J Journal was fabricated with the right amount of strings and needles to sew the articles, that I wrote with intense focus, to be mended piece by piece. I even began an attempt to publish a novel.
Writing is just a part of the whole communication process. It is useless if no one reads what I wrote, or no one realizes the thought I've been consciously conveying. I guess attracting a great number of readers and have a constant virtual audience that are open in leaving comments in this space, is as difficult as capturing flies buzzing around your food with only a pair of chopsticks at hand.
This post would be the thirty-third edition for this blog, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be the last. Happy birthday blog!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

When Dog Bites

IT WAS A sunny morning when a dark furred german shepherd named Viper and a gullible maid went out for a walk. They were few meters away from their home when suddenly a group of fangs fell in love with a right lower limb. It was as if the teeth just discovered how to munch a strangers' foot for the first time when it willfully bit into the pants. The dog perpetrator must have seen a walking luscious beef so it buried its fangs right into the target.
The fangs belong to Viper and the right lower limb was mine.
I must have waken up at the wrong side of my futon. Part of my daily routine is to walk a couple of blocks to join Pizza before heading towards HICAP. Having done this a thousand times, I've never met a major accident nor simpy trip over a stair. It was this one fateful day that my daily routine would entirely be disturbed.
Marla was the maid and she came all over from Cebu. She is already on her eight month serving his boss domestic needs prior to yesterday. I've learned these details when I decided to take off from work and have myself checked with humans in white robes, or sometimes called doctors. I was stormed with warnings and scary thoughts of getting infected with a deadly rabies and after several years just die a sudden death. Thanks to my dear colleagues for they catapulted me to have myself immediately vaccinated.
The plan was to go to fortmed clinic and seek an advice of a doctor. But before having myself logged into the registry, the nurses quickly pushed me to go into a certain RITM.
"RITM who?," I ask the nurse I was conversing with. She blinked and sighed a deep empy breath while uttering the same question. She sought help from several other nurses lurking around but they weren't able to save her from an ocean of embarassment.
RITM stands for Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. As the name suggests, it is the branch of the government that seeks cures for different kinds of tropical diseases resulting from venomous animal bites such as cats, snakes, dogs, etc. I was too dumb to realize that such institution exists. Thanks to Viper, I gained an additional Wikipedia knowledge into my brain.
I went back to the house where the dog sleeps. Marla was the only person present when I came. Her face was innocent and suggested that I rub it with vinegar and garlic to cleanse the bruise and wash away the rabies. I couldn't laugh at her supposed witty comments under a blistering 11 AM sun, so I am left with an option to call his boss and tell the whole damn story.
The dog was regularly checked up and vaccinated, and so the owner attested. Nothing to fear, nothing to worry about. He added that he would willingly take me to the dog clinic where Viper used to get shots. But my position was in deep pit and I am not taking any chance at all. I was just bitten by a dog and it caused me a lot.
My day was shattered. I was forced to go undertime which caused me half a day's pay. My phone bill will soon skyrocket causing me additional burden due to calls I had made here and there. I painstakingly had to absorb the heat of the sun, rode in one of those God forsaken tricycles streaming in the hell-like-highways. And after agreeing with the nurses financial conditions, my torso, shoulders and skin were tortured with painful injections. Now I have to eagerly convince myself that I need to flush antibiotics into my stomach thrice a day.
Now tell me what have I done wrong to have all these occured to me?
Tomorrow, I will read my horoscope.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Call Center

How does a call center located in the jungles of Makati sound to you? Very okay I guess. Right at the heart of the business capital.

How does a call center situated in the Mall of Asia appeal to you? Quite exciting. You'll have the nth chances of watching Superman Returns in iMax

How does a call center in Baguio City, Clark, or any other busy districts elsewhere excites your senses? Hmmm. Not bad maybe.

Just one more.

How does a call center spaced in a house from little less known and quiet residential village called Belair appear to your taste? By now, instinct should utter a loud gasp of hollow guess coupled with an inch of wondering what on earth is it doing there.

I've got several friends who works in that booming industry with a great deal of pay as most of them chided. Some were engineering graduates and licensed too, to make it more profound. While others have finished accountancy and business management courses whose weapon of survival is their capacity to speak fluent english dressed in a foreign accent, that if you hear them speak you would thought it was someone born in London. When I was still unemployed, I tried submitting my resume to a very popular call center but failed to convince the interviewer of my ability to express myself well and I ended up being a factory worker.

As it turned out, these call centers capitalized on agents a.k.a. customer care representatives a.k.a. modern day telephone operators on their ability to speak the universal language. They speak in behalf of companies for customers with concerns to their products or services, but I guess that is another topic for a future post.

They have somewhat turned into zombies who are always awake when the world is sleeping. If they haven't learned the word independence yet, they described themselves as boarders in their own houses where chance upon talking with their parents before they lay onto their matress in the morning or head for work in the eve.

But the issue here is a call center amidst a suburb like a lost command of an infantry batallion making forming its own army in the forest of the wilderness. Whenever i strut along Stockton street, I often times grab an opportunity to glimpse to this call center during its pristine time. I
witnessed the house reformation, it used to be one of the abandoned units where only tall grasses dwell.

One fine morning, I walked along the same path leading to my own sanctuary. Suddenly, a loud conversation was looming and succeeded in capturing my attention. I thought somebody was at cold war after an evening of downpour and the pavement still have traces of moisture. The loud voice almost failed to die down like that of a stream of water flowing down the river bed. He was wearing boxers and a polo and I think it was the boss with a low baritone voice trying to mimick an English accent.

Sooner, several people came and filled the call center converted house like flies rummaging over a piece of lefover cheese cake. I guess these are the operators and one day they busied themselves outside the house group into two. They appeared to be given the task of improving their speeches by blabbering with one another as if they were speaking with a customer. I
witnessed this while holding a book about the memoirs of a geisha named Sayuri and acted reading the book as if I was ignoring the things that they do.

I just wonder how do they satisfy their craving for food at the most unimaginable wee hours of the morning since they are literally very far from 7-11, neither a sari-sari store nearby would open at that time. And I can't think of what the adjacent neighbors reaction, since most people who chose to live there required a quiet community and never wished to be disturbed particularly at night.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Blank screen.
White sheet of unblemished paper.
Pen clipped on the fingers of a numb hand.
Empty ceilings.
Clouds of thoughts.
Endless dreams.
The uncertainty of tomorrow.

I lay flat on the bare floor in between sheets and a saddled cushion underneath my body as I realized that I was back on my senses after a deep slumber. It was a Monday, and it was almost 7 a.m. when I felt helpless and failed to escape the comfort of the bed. I wasn’t planning anything on how I would crank the gears of my schedule on this very particular day.
My mom just sent me a text message and didn’t say anything unusual except for typing the words saying I was born twenty five years ago at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. She deemed it imperative to share me the thought that suddenly flashed back on her mind, what a big head I had when she bore the excruciating pain of pushing me out into the world.
Until I decided to go on holiday five days ago. I certainly would’ve thought to just go anywhere but the usual place called work. I needed a break from the monotony of doing similar things over and over again, a refresher, a time-out, so I could concentrate and just simply sit down and think.
Not so long ago during my classroom years, I was accustomed to being called young from among my batch since I started embracing school at the age of 5. During those days, public schools would only permit students who are at age 6 or 7 at the most. More peculiarly, a child is permitted to enroll when he/she can reach the ears opposite the hands. I ended up graduating a 5-year engineering course at the age of 20.
I am, indeed, getting old. I can’t deny it this time that I’ve reached the silver anniversary of my existence and it pains me to realize that I’ve accomplished just a fraction of my goals.
Tracing the past three years made me just feel subdued. I felt I wasted a lot of time in doing something else I can’t rewind and correct. My goals remain to be dreams waiting to be realized like a cocoon stuck on a tree that is delayed for almost eternity before blooming into a gorgeous butterfly.
It made me raise the question on what was I made for. What is my purpose in this world? I’ve thrown this question to someone else sometime ago but at the very moment I thought of it, it sure hit me big time.
The answer appears to be unseen while it seems that I still have to weave what is left unsewed for the garments of my aims.

Blank screen.
White sheet of unblemished paper.
Pen clipped on the fingers of a numb hand.
Empty ceilings.
Clouds of thoughts.
Endless dreams.
The uncertainty of tomorrow.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Fleeting Weather Report

A DRIZZLE OF raindrops coming from a window left ajar, started to tickle my face while in the middle of a lost dream about being a warrior embracing his inevitable defeat.

The sound of tee-teet, tee-teet from the ever reliable 3310 phone woke me up further at half hour past 6 o’clock in the morning. It read a message from Lea Kristine saying that there is no work for Hicap employees because typhoon Milenyo, which I later learned to have been named internationally as Xangsane, the Laotian word for elephant, was about to wreak havoc over most of Luzon’s center.

I took an effort to spread the news via sms to my housemates who may still be lingering in deep sleep.

And so, the morning seemed to become a drag already. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep. The scattered newspapers were old but rose to become a passion to help me escape the fangs of boredom. I held the guitar and sang a couple of melodies while they rested and went back to dream land. Unnoticeably, the typhoon casualties were slowly rising up.

Electricity was out since the break of dawn. Water from the faucet dried up even before noon came. Globe’s network began to fail. Smart was intermittently failing and searching, but sms were still ok to send. Sun Cellular literally was a failure as soon as the sun was hidden behind the angry clouds. The rain was a downpour coupled with whistling waves of strong winds I could hardly describe its strength. It must be the worst typhoon ever to hit this country for several years now.

Staple food

Good thing, Pizza and I bought some food the other day, a pair of milkfish, three pieces of bisugo, a can of tuna and a handful of quail eggs, supposedly to be consumed for the rest of the week. They became a dire staple enough to supply breakfast, lunch and dinner for two.

Sad thing, several comrades got nothing in store to pamper their weeping stomachs. So when the eye of the storm passed, I wasn’t surprised to see them geared up and wished they would hurdle on every fallen tree, flying roof, flood water along the roads of Belair and weather the storm to go to the Mall of Asia! Sooner, the hopes dwindled down when another blast of strong winds came, but this time, it was even stronger and the rain appeared to have wanted to smash the roof and wet us all inside our nifty hut. I got the opportunity to collect water using the empty pails from the neighbors gutter which came very useful to wash the dishes and flush the toilet.

Then suddenly a honk of Kristofferson’s Space Wagon invited them to head out for McDonalds.

We ate lunch while awaiting for their return.

They came after more than an hour with plastic bags containing what can be bought from a 7-11 store in a panic buying mode.

Cards and Tycoon

When the electricity is out, the tv is just a huge black box in the corner of the house. Glenn made it a point to bring a deck so we could entertain ourselves with Pusoy and Pusoy Dos. A very good move, I should say.

We also have a board game that used to just gather dust stowed in one of the open cabinets but came very useful.

For a couple of hours, we were in fantasy land as Mark would portray himself as a gazillionaire with millions of play-money to buy miniature plastic buildings that represent as business establishment for the game. Once a player rolls the dice and lands on an already owned property, he is obliged to pay the amount required to the owner, who rejected the words "thousand pesos" as a form of money. That was the rule of the board game. And for four hours, we fancied ourselves not realizing the looming dark hours without water and electricity.

(I promise I would never ever play that tycoon game again.)

Batteries without a flashlight

Flashlights are handy especially if you got fresh batteries. But Pizza’s light saber was missing and no where to be found.

It’s dinner time and I felt utterly disgusting as I have never bathed yet since the day before Milenyo struck.

Laguna Belair has already ran out of resources to save its people from famine and drought. Its water tanks are full of water but the motor cannot run without power to circulate within the neighborhood.

Several stores have suddenly become a hot spot for buyers of candles, water, and food. Mr. Yellowman or Lando, who grills barbecue in a house turned sari-sari store in Gardena street, was too busy marinating all cue sticks with pork meat above a flaming coal. I think these were sold out too.

Belair have beautiful houses and splendid surroundings and these weren’t spared from the harsh the typhoon caused. They don’t have generators at least to power up water facilities. And it seems to me, that calamity preparedness wasn’t included in the list of its Belair features when they lured the now homeowners in buying the real estate some years ago. And it's very likely that the current situation in Belair wouldn't be ok until saturday or sunday.

Or maybe, Milenyo is synonymous to God. He just reminded us all of His existence, and may we relearn to conserve water, electricity and all resources that today we have. Because someday, there might come a time when faucet drips no more water and electricity will become a part of history, that I can't imagine!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


SECOND QUARTER. THE lead was up by almost ten points and the opponent was held scoreless during the first. An anonymous Amigo took the ball right into his hands and aimed for the basket. He dribbled back and fourth and back again facing a green defender at the left wing underneath the ring. He seemed to have been already fouled below before take off. As soon as he let loose the ball from his hands in an attempt to lure a foul for a pair of free throws, I took him to the ground and spanked the BALL from his hands as if grabbing a candy from a wandering kid in the park. No skin was bruised. No fingernails were blemished. Not even a strand of hair was pulled off. It was all BALL.
The instant I held the orange bouncing rubber, a loud beep was heard from afar. One of the refs called it a foul play while pointing an obscure finger right at me. He was 20 feet away and he looked pretty much the face of one of the bosses here, as one shooting guard pointed out.
But my instincts were buried to where my feet were. I cried a loud objection. I hollered an attention grabbing B-O-L-A, that was loud enough to wake up the silence that creeps the hallways during office hours.
When he wavered his hand gesturing number 97 to the committee table, I carelessly let out an almost 80% vulgar words contesting the call. The words were packed in a strong and crisp fashion and still carrying the same amount of decibels that could belt out ones ear wax and would terminate me if I would yell it instead to my manager.
It offended referee number 1 and soon, he quickly put his hands together with the right index finger touching the left palm while whistling a technical foul.
It’s my first time to be hurled with such description of play since the day I learn how to crawl. And I liked it. I really damn liked it to be whistled upon. Except for the fact that they gifted the opposing team 4 sets of free throws and kept the ball possession after.
I was burning hot inside with a purely wrong call and if I didn’t burst it out, my chest and head could have literally exploded.
Now I understand how Mark Cuban felt when the Dallas Mavericks lost the NBA finals due to a number of substantial referees’ mistakes.
We just came from a desperate loss brought by the top ranked team in our bracket, which we hoped and thought we’d almost won. I would certainly never dream of losing another game.
Before the buzzer for halftime break, I was whistled by none other than referee number 1 with succeeding personal fouls putting me in foul trouble with only couple of minutes of playing time.
I sat it out the entire third quarter.
The minute I entered fourth, Kickyo’ass was already struggling to score and the opponents were inching their way to overcome the lead. But it appeared mr. referee was still eyeing at me. I complained for a seemingly wrong backing violation call while on the bench, but I was put in a position to nod my head in agreement.
I was called with a 3-second violation on a fast break, how funny is that? And a loose ball in the shaded area fulfilled the fate of being finally driven out of the game.
Good thing, we won by a strand. We catapulted a play to break a tied score with 9 ticks in the game clock, but plans can change during execution. Instead of giving the ball to a heavily guarded Joff, Lawrence nailed the win with a toe-biting drive into the lane for an off the board lay-up.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Our own terrors

THE NIGHT WHEN several airplanes literally crashed into the twin towers of the Big Apple, I was in school. The college of engineering of our university was having a show of its own for a series of nights to celebrate its annual Engineering Days that showcased the different traditions of student ingenuity and talents. I was with my co-EE classmates and we were wounding up the finishing touches for our exhibit. It was more of a competition of talents and skills.

The terrorist attacks were brought to our senses by one of our professors who posted in a bulletin board just beside the dean’s office, a print out of a hot news taken from the internet . It was the time when the internet is yet to rise as one of the ultimate changes in the technology. We, students had a hard time accessing the web inside campus, and I still remember, they were still using WinNT, which is now fossil and archaic. The terrorism news spread like wildfire. The thought of commercial planes carrying innocent passengers striking against these towers which houses thousands of innocent lives, was inconceivable. It brought shivers, cold shivers, down my spine.

I went home at 9:30 PM and in awe while witnessing the live televised broadcast of the World Trade Center being hit by another set of planes. Later on, I would learn of another airplanes crashing into the Pentagon and the other on an open field, believe to had been recoursed because of vigilant passengers who fought the terrorists. It was definitely not a good sight witnessing one man who was standing somewhere along the area wearing black coat and tie carrying a suit case. Seconds later, the man was totally different with white ash all over his body spewed from the gradual down fall of the trade center.

Thousands have died. Innocent lives were sacrificed which I believe that the reason for this orchestrated terrorism is to bring the superpower country down on its knees.

It was simply frightening.

September 11 is a day I would never miss the chance to bring back significant events such as this. Every year, I would definitely paused and think of endless thoughts about the terror, especially when this day comes.
We had our own set of terrors in the past. September 11 is also the day to commemorate the birth of one of the great (and BAD) leaders of this beloved country the Philippines. I was amazed that Pizza even reminded me that this was the day when Ferdinand Marcos was born. I never thought she would know that detail when in fact she never engaged in a friendly debate about politics, history and the peculiarity that is of the Philippine government.

Truthfully, we have our own terrors to solve. I failed to watch the documentary channel 2 was bragging about the past weekend because the tv I had the other night doesn’t have cable, worst, an antenna to acquire video feeds.

But what good does it give, if we can’t even settle and face our own terrors. I’m speaking of the what good does this government provide for its people.

Leakage in the nursing board exams.
Politically motivated killings of journalist and activists.
A sitting president with an unclear mandate.
Corruption everywhere.
Jueteng is back where it’s before.
Charter change instead of putting people first.
Destruction of precious marine life in Guimaras.
A decline in the quality of education.
Massive migration of Filipinos abroad.
The poor becomes poorer.
And so the list goes on and on.

Every payday for three years and three months already, I’ve been contributing unwillingly taxes for this government hoping that it would brace its part to do service for the people. More than 3,000 pesos worth of taxes is funneled to the government coffers every month from my paycheck. It may not seem large enough, but this amount is born out of my sweat and painstaking job. It’s equivalent to several days of stressful work.

And it is sickening to realize that the tax axed from my hard-earned wage would just be a part of some congressman’s payment for the gasoline of his luxurious vehicle or maybe part of the bill in a high class restaurant, or a miniscule portion of the ticket to fly to Las Vegas and watch Pacquiao fight. I pay my taxes, I do hope that it would be used for the betterment of our society.

It’s hair splitting to learn that when Congress buried the second impeachment complaint, they were being paid for their deliberate ignorance taken where else but the people’s money. I can’t help but think why we let this happen. Have we not learn from our past?

Funny it may seem, our government is so eager in sending troops to other nations in dire need of whatever sort of help, while it can’t help survive its own countrymen deeply buried in the quicksands of poverty. We put to risks the lives of our soldiers fighting somebody else's war, while the state is so dumbstruck fighting the war of poverty and alleviate the plight of the poor.

I still hope that someday, whenever I go to a store and buy something and knows that a portion of my payment is tax for the state, I will feel glad that I am contributing willingly in helping this country move. Otherwise, it will just remain as a dream yet to come true, until we learn to face our own terrors.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Sweetest Thing

UNDER A BLISTERING hot morning sun, the green five basked in the lime light yet again on their next ASSignment.

Finally, we were able to wear the much anticipated jerseys that were tailored in the city of angels, and it really stood out.

One friend even commented as the best uniform ever! But I guess I leave the conclusion to spectators. Anyway, it’s not the uniform that wins games but determination and spirit.

And that’s how I thought I saw ourselves performed. We didn’t lack with persistent reminders like confetti of Post-its strewn all over an office table. Written on them were tiny messages such as guard the zone, box-out, focus on defense and most importantly, rotate the ball and find the open man.

Two of our guys were even cut off with their playing time because their shoes gave up on them. Jammy first lost the sole of his shoe and minutes later, Noel’s snickers followed suit. I guess that alone measures up their priceless contribution for the team. They went on to cheer for the warriors of Kickyo’ass basketball whose faces were toasted while enduring the heat. Good thing there are trees just beneath the baselines for a cool summer shade.

Nobody was fouled out, only a couple of foul troubles. It was a clean game of basketball and we led the score the entire game since the first shot was drilled into the hoop.

It was the sweetest thing to see a couple of guys who are very unfamiliar with each other but were bound together for a common and unifying goal.

It ended on a high note by winning it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I RESENT it when I lose.
I dread the feeling of succumbing to my worst fears.
I can't stomach being beaten and eat somebody's dust in a friendly competition.

I simply hate it.

Losing is part of anybody's game or life. It is a dismal word that describes a separation of two members, or an event that portrays suffering or defeat.

The rain kept on pouring since sunday until tuesday, but not yesterday. Instead, it was shots that poured in during Kickyo'ass first outing last night. I never took notice of the final score since it was a lopsided victory for the winning team. We are the losing team.

It was not a simple loss where you can bounce back and put together the pieces where we left. It's an opportunity to gauge how fragile the team is. A window that will let us see how determined we are in building our team.

So where did we do wrong?

Practice. In preparation for this once-a-year and during-rainy-days league, we manage to bring the team to practice only once. We played freely for one hour hoping to build the chemistry we hope we could establish. The rain came and took us out of the court right after everyone sweated like a pig. No wonder our dribble + shoot formula didn't work.

Defense. The enemy is a collection of tall and well built guys, so they guarded the score zone very well. We were unable to penetrate and drive into the hole, letting most of our guys shoot from the outside. It was lesson and points taken.

Alternately, we didn't guard well. The painted area was a loose and hollow ground for guys in red jerseys. We'd let slashers found their way on a rebound and followed up on a miss with less resistance. We didn't boxed them out, letting them take the game away.

Rotation. One thing I kept pointing out is rotate the ball and find the open man. We failed the test, thus earning us a 0-1 standing. We were in search for a point man on the court but I guess we're still in search mode.

Intensity. I tripped, fell and got bruised when somebody pushed me on a futile attempt to steal the ball. We finally found our rhythm during the last period when we outran the reds and scored in succession. The lead gradually decreased until it was too late to hustle. Time was no longer on our side and the referees called it a night as soon as the buzzer sounded.

I asked coach his assessment of the game. He remarked that it was the kind of game where we begin to feel each other and learn the individual capabilities. It was indeed a chemistry hunting stage.

Or maybe because we didn't have yet our uniforms!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The unmaking of All Star Struck 3

BASKETBALL HAS BEEN part of my vocabulary long before I strummed the first chords of a 6-string guitar. Back then, I would summon all my powers and use all the available hand tools my father owns to put up a 4-inch diameter hoop on the trunk of an avocado in our backyard. All day, I would exhaust my energy flushing a rugged green tennis ball by all means, and by all moves.
From there on, basketball has been a source of life’s inspiration and desperation.
I love reading stories that revolve around basketball. Call me pathetic, but I easily get nostalgic whenever I watch a movie that shows bouncing basketballs. Space Jam, Like Mike, Coach Carter, Glory Road, these are some of the flicks that crank my brain and heart gears going.
It has also been part of my dream playing for the ultimate game with all the sweat and sparkles combined. That’s where the desperation comes in. (And I guess that’s another story).
I set aside basketball once but being in a group that knows this game so much, and talks about it for countless times, is enough reason to bring back the excitement it creates.
Three years ago, a band of young and fun loving men, and women too, met and worked in a company with a lot of differences in their own baggages. Some came and then went. Others stayed longer and still quit. While the rest of us are still here, working the same field, singing the same tune and still loves to play the same game.
That’s where the story of All Star Struck began...
Merging the celebrated All Star Circle and Star Struck tv shows, they coined HGST All Star Struck or HGST ASS as its unique name for a basketball team that will participate in the company’s festival of sports.
“Sali ako sa pangkat na nabuo, hindi lang dahil sa kagustuhan maglaro kundi dahil sa samahang tunay at totoo”
They played to the heart! They struggled and lost, but played for fun. The ladies were very supportive and they appeared more hyper than the LA Lakers cheerdancers.
The original roster consisted of the majority of the guys, but several others joined the team only on its second year along with other reinforcements.
I can say, the ASS second run is more prolific and refine than the team’s initial year. They played their best. They won games. They’ve given the others hard time before losing out. Most importantly, they prove that they indeed can play ball!
They didn’t reach the playoffs, though, but I guess they achieved more than what they expected.
The year after was a period of recession that marked a permanent wound to the ASS Dream-Believe-Survive theme. A lot of engineers quit in several months period including 4 ASS cagers that hammered the nail into the coffin. Either they found their dream jobs elsewhere and immediately packed their bags, or were disappointed and raised the white flag over something which will definitely lead to the company’s endless list of shortcomings.
It appears that All Star Struck 3 is no more a reality. Five or six players remained but only three vowed to stay.
I am one of the three.
The options are getting smaller by the tick of the clock, and the only thing I had in mind is form another team along with the two. Never give up until the fight is done.
The difficult part is scouting for players who would dive for a looseball. Of course, the best fishes in the ocean may have already been caught, so we have to stick it out with those who are willing to run with us.
Kickyo’ass is now our new team! I just hope that it’s our opponents asses that will be kicked when we start playing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I COME TO think of all the reasons why I love and hate sta. rosa. Then all of a sudden, an astounding thought hit me.

In order for me to gauge this two measures of the place I currently stays in, I need to have a point of reference. So, why not Sta. Rosa meet Angeles City in a seemingly Morales-Pacquiao tale of the tape fashion? On hindsight, this is to further prove that Sta. Rosa is immature to have labeled itself as a “city”.

Positive (+) -->only 5 points

~Sta. Rosa is known as the little Detroit, or the motor city of the Philippines housing several car making facilities.
>Angeles don’t have car makers but duty free shops, and heaven knows these may have already shut down as of this writing due to Henry Sy’s hobby of absorbing the money of all mall goers and SM shoppers.

~Sta. Rosa is the location of the Enchanted Kingdom and the loveable Anchors Away
>Angeles City don’t. Only perya and fly-by-night carnivals

~Sta. Rosa is a 30 minute to 1 hour drive to Metro Manila. That’s if and only if you have a car!
>Angeles City is approximately 1 hour to two hour drive.

~Sta. Rosa is 30 minutes away from Tagaytay. Again, that’s if and only if you have a car. (Are you getting my point already?)
>Angeles City is a 4-hour travel to Baguio, the nearest cold place

{At this point, I was already struggling and squeezing my thoughts to write something that will encourage a positive note for Sta. Rosa}

~Sta. Rosa is part of the Laguna Technopark. Which simply means more jobs and huge government tax every payday automatically converted into pork barrels, bribe money and corruption paraphernalia.
>Angeles developed Clark Special Economic Zone

>Negative (-) --> a whopping -11 points

~Number 1. Traffic is terrible. Worst ever maybe here in the Philippines. The time that one will consume in travelling from Complex to, say, Laguna Belair during rush hours is ten years!
>Travelling the same distance in Angeles City will only prick you for 30 minutes to 1 hour. I highly do not recommend high blood people to go to Balibago at any hour of weekdays.

~Mode of public transport within Sta. Rosa
Jeepney = 5%(maybe)
Tricycle = 95% (of this rate, maybe 30-50% are dilapidated or smoke belchers, some drivers will even charge a novice job hunter in LTI for 75 to 100 pesos
>Angeles City
Jeepney = 100%
Tricycles are limited within villages.

~Since there are virtually no Jeepneys plying in all the routes of Sta. Rosa, you are so unlucky if you stayed too late outdoors. The cost of going home definitely hurts the pocket especially when you’re alone. A 50-peso fare will take you from point A to point B.
>If you stayed late in Angeles City, you can go home with a 50 peso stash and still buy yourself a coke and a hotdog over at seven eleven.

~So if you have a car, that’s an affirmative. Otherwise... hehe
>Owning a car in Angeles City contributes to the desecration of the Ozone layer

~Sta. Rosa -> Paseo de Sta. Rosa
>Angeles City -> Fields Avenue {need I say more?}

~Sta. Rosa boasts three malls in its geography: Henry Sy’s SM, Robinson Mall, and Target Mall
>Angeles City have countless malls, namely: SM Clark, Robinson’s Angeles, Nepo Mall, Jenra Mall, Saver’s Mall, Jaypee Mall, Bart Mall, Sandra Mall(this mall is so tiny, it can vie for the Guinness Record of smallest mall), etc

~Sta. Rosa has Dela Salle Canlubang, Saint Scholastica Westgrove (these are only high school and college institutions)
>Angeles City has Holy Angel University, Angeles University Foundation (these two are universities)

~Sta. Rosa are geographically divided. Rich people live in suburbs like villages, while the not so rich and poor hide in the shacks of Tagapo
>Angeles City builds bridges as shelter of the poorest of the poor

~Fishballs, Kikiam, Kwek-kwek, One-day Old and Tukuneneng are rarities in Sta. Rosa.
>In Angeles, there is a rendezvous of these vendors in almost all major places where people gather, and you can spot a wheeler selling this best Filipino food in any road or street corner.

~Sta. Rosa has Tudings
>Angeles City pride is the Crossings!

~Sta. Rosa speaks the following languages: English, Taglish, Tagalog
>Angeles City blabbers in 4 different ways: English, Taglish, Tagalog, Kapampangan

Angeles City wins by unanimous decision (11-5)!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Revenge of the hotball

THIS IS ANOTHER case of barking at the wrong hydrant.
It is terribly hot anywhere my feet take me nowadays. For several minutes, I may be toasting my skin in the blistering rays of the sun because of standing beneath a highway to grab a bus or even by just keeping the clothes line full.
The weather is really hot. But this time of the year is supposed to be the time when I can drench myself in a road that may turn suddenly into river. Bath literally under the sky, semi naked along with other kids with no worries or problems whatsoever in the back of their minds.
It reminds me of the ways of living during the 80s. The innocence of a young kid's heart is full of gladness and joy. It was then that I can still play long hours outside and burn, but still get something good in return. The sun is a good source of Vitamin D. And I was told long ago that to maximize the benefit of absorbing this, one can embrace the morning breeze until ten in the morning. Midday temperature could scorch you, but not the kind of intensity the sun possesses these days.
I was awaken with sweat all over my face and body. And so I take a bath. The day seemed very long on a sunday and early in the morning, I am complaining about almost for everything that won't work my way. When in fact it is only the hot weather that's been punishing my patience. Midday is excruciating. And I can't expect myself to sleep inside the house after siestas. If only there's an available hammock I could make, but my wish fell on a deaf fairy.
In the office, they've been making adjustments to save some stash. They turn off the canteens' aircon. Locker area is an oven. Meeting room is converted into a blazing fire dorm. Even comfort rooms which are supposed to be "comfortable" weren't spared from the backlash. The shuttle service is on saving mode too. The unfriendly driver keeps the cooler to a minimum. Sometimes, he kills it to save gas and energy.
Humans used trees to make beds and other things made of wood, to the extent of abusing it. Now there are less trees than the sum of all beds you could ever imagined.
I've been taught that trees preserves the oxygen we breath and cools the world. Now I understand why I am perspiring while asleep.

Friday, June 9, 2006

The Art of Getting Bored

I WAKE UP usually at six, sometimes six thirty with sunshine rays greeting on my once rashed face from the east side of the second floor. The faster I get up will earn me a passport to bathe first and wouldn't rush to put on a pair of monotonous long sleeves and slacks. I will brush my hair delicately using the knuckles, more often without staring against my reflection in the mirror. I've done this a thousand times before and I'm pretty sure will be doing it a helluva lot more. Ties used to accompany these sleeves but I learned long ago of its inappropriateness with what I do.
Before stepping out of the house turned barracks, the one place I spent most of my sleeping hours, I would slip on my ageing shoes which I bought along with a schizo friend.
From there, the script I've been role playing a couple of years now shall begin with the waiting for the shuttle to pass. It will take me to a kilometer or two destination where a Pacquiao banner with a chicken leg right into his mouth flows along the wind. Pay 8 Jose Rizal coins to the stubborn driver. (It used to be only 6 but the invention that replaces gas with water has been deliberately ignored and buried into the unknown by more or less this too-busy-to-corrupt-money government.)
The waiting shall continue when I will board the company shuttle that ferries me daily directly to the office. It usually leave by 7:20. If I get unlucky, I will let the scorching sun fry me for longer the 10 minutes or more while wishing another of those buses with the letters STE emblazoned on its body, or friends in the office who happen to drive his or her own car, will run by and pick me up. In this manner, I will save sweat and hard earned cash to spend for overpriced tricycle fares.
After getting off the bus (or car maybe), the drama continues. This is one of the worst scenes of the play. Blue boys and girls will stand my way in when I'd get my white shoes. They'll swish their garrets in a sword slicing fashion to find out if I was carrying C4s and TNTs to aide me blow the building into nothingness. Once inside, I must wear the white shoes, safety shoes, kung fu shoes or whatever shoes that were not used in the outside premises. I'll walk past the hordes of females waiting for time to tick at 8 o'clock like a deathrow getting ready for mass execution.
The official hour my time will be paid commence at the same moment these pink wearing "inmates" enters the gas chamber-like factory. But before that occurs, I'll eat breakfast. I'm not even sure if they are worthy to be called breakfast. Ever since this drama begun, the same menu, the same food are being served. I got 5-10 minutes to finish eating, where I will head to the main opera house, the ultimate stage play.
An avalanche of characters will sprout in this opera house. Some are bosses, some are not. Some feel handsome, while others are dumb. Each of these characters plays its own unique role.
The day starts with the same stagnant purpose. I long felt the day when I feel elated about the sense of what I do. The excitement was no longer in sight. I guess if I ever tried remembering the passion is like how a blind man sees the centerfold of a Hustler magazine by braille.
There I sit quiet. Turn on the PC. Read messages. There are lots of problems again in the factory. But I feel tired. Nobody have scratch my willful portion of my brain since time immemorial, telling me, hey Jervis, it's a good day today. Isn't it wonderful if you finish this. You'll be able to tell the world how great you are. You're contribution is priceless mister, blah blah blah...
But my body is too weak. Too uncomfortable to even stretch a muscle of initiative. I used to be super in what I do. Just tell me the problem, and in minutes I'd be able to tell you the cause.
I was even able to forge plans and future improvements for my line. Unfortunately, they are buried under the stacks of papers I would throw in the garbage.
No recognition. No, nothing. Nincompoop MGRS who wouldn't even bother understand the essence of what we do.
How in the world would I get myself excited about everything this script tells about?
The day drags on. Loads of task from yesterday were unfinished and dust is already at a micrometer high.
A futile attempt to continue these recurring work just like how the sun rises every morning at the same spot in the sky will eventually fail. Until the first bell reverberate into the halls and across the tables and walls, signaling it's time to feed again. Same menus. Same kind of stale food. I've got less than 3 options.
One, eat what is served and practically chew it like a cow destined to munch all the grass in the field.
Two, shell out 6 pesos, go to the vendo and say, abrakadabra! A coffee in a recycled carton cup is methodically served.
And three, stay in front of the pc, nap or chat with the person on my right.
Phone calls, emails, and tons of papers that came out from a poor and less than mediocre printer. These things are the simple elements in these arena of existence where I communicate.
Machine breakdown, computer viruses, and the monotonous way of doing stuff. A little less challenging. No recognition. No budget. Only salary makes me move.
These things exist and happen over and over again. Until I realized an hour passed faster than the entire time it would take for a text message to be sent and received. Or even quicker than the quick brown fox who jumps over the sleeping lazy dog.
I would then realized, I already ate my lunch which by the way, may include left overs from the previous shifts or even grinded meat of unsold chicken tinola rolled into meatballs and priced at the same value.
I would also embraced the fact that by this time, the day has already neared its end. That the sun have travelled 90 percent of its path in the light blue canvass over my head. Dark is looming but the drama hasn't end.
For the nth time, I'll serve myself with the food cooked the same way, by the same cooks, in the same floor and tables cleaned by the same person managed by supervisors who only wears blue. No wonder why my cholesterol have skyrocketed and caused me splinters in the brain.
The last gong heared from the ceiling would only mean, it's time to quit the day. Go home dear jervis, and take a rest. You will be summoned tomorrow morning like a robot who does only what is instructed in their programmable silicon brain chips.
The end of the script doesn't end in a high note, nor in a mind boggling finish. It only involves boarding an outgoing airconditioned or oven bus. I will let my feet carry me further back to where I came from early in the morning-- slumber house.
The wall clock doesn't get exhausted circling its two hands around itself, but at this point, I am dead tired to do something significant other than rest, and sleep.
End of the script.

PS. The drama begins again at the sound of the celfone alarm customized the way how the second stanza of Eraserheads Tollgate is sang. For three freaking years, this script has been used, acted upon and played, but not written until this very day. Sometimes there's a twist inserted in the story lines. When this happens, its a matter of bliss enjoyment or painful regret.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


TUNA sandwich
Tuna sardines
Sizzling tuna
Sizzling tuna belly
Sweet and sour tuna
Hot and spicy tuna
Bicol express tuna
Inihaw na tuna
Tuna fillet
Spicy tuna spaghetti
Adobong tuna
Dinaing na tuna
Omelette tuna
Tuna afritada
Tuna caldereta
Tuna litè
Tuna plain
Tuna kisses

One of the many things I learned since August of last year is the vast options in cooking and serving the best fish in the world I have ever known, TUNA. Why tuna? There are other sorts of fishes found in the Philippine ponds and shores, like galungong, bangus, tilapia, dalagang bukid, isdang tabang, espada, tamban, and the list goes on and on. But why did I brand tuna as the best fish in the world?
I have the following reasons:
(a) Tuna can be found almost anywhere, whether you're in Japan, in America, Europe maybe, Australia. Although I have never gone out of the country as of the 24th year of my existence, I am pretty sure Tunas are served in those countries and elsewhere.
(b)They appear in various presentations. They are sold raw in nearby beaches. In any wet market, you might see somebody yelling tuna for sale. In groceries, cans of tuna come in different flavors to fit anybody's appetite. Best of all, you can always buy a can of tuna in manang's sari sari store any time of the day!
(c)It is a proven pulutan alternative! Hot and spicy tuna will guarantee a fast paced consumption of ice cold beer and alcohol. Let this be a warning that its chilli sauce-oil can choke you, when you sipped it while drunk.
(d)Tunas are heart friendly. If you eat too much, you'll never have to worry about cholesterol.
(e)Tunas dont bite (I guess).
(f)It's cheaper than shark's fin soup, a kilo of shrimp, or a mcdonald's happy meal.
(g)If San Diego California was once the Tuna Capital of the world, we have here in the Philippines, Sultan Kudarat as its version of Tuna country.
(h)It can be eaten almost anytime, anywhere. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, meryenda, siesta. In the office, sa kusina ni urban, bus, jeep, in the park, basketball court, virtually anywhere.

The next time you come across tuna, or you always eat tuna on a religious basis, don't fret. There are wide array of possibilities to enjoy the dish more than any other fish.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Forget about Ben Wallace

FINALLY, for the second time around, I let my hair lengthened up to the point it's unmanageable and appeared like an overused mop head ready for its trip to the garbage. I have had several reasons in my pocket why I made such a move, to ignore the need to visit the barber man.

One is the scarcity of time which is channeled mostly at work. (Haha! It so happen that my job has been taking a great deal of my existence even my haircut has been spared, but that's another story.)

Two, I have the kind of hair that easily grows through time. Over the years, I've been wondering why my DNA has such characteristics. A david salon hairstylist hinted me that it maybe due to the frequency of shampooing. Her opinion mattered at first, but upon lessening the use of this hair cleaning agent, nothing happened. Still, my wavy and kinky curly hair I inherited from my father never wavered in getting a few more centimeters.

Literally, it's been one of my long time wishes since I was a kid. During my 5th grade, my grandma made use of her shears to smooth our heads. She used to make dresses for other people as a living. And during that time, Lucky and I were treated as guinea pigs. I guess she wanted to venture into hairdressing and carelessly cut our hair like a lost grass in the doorway. I admire people with long hair and even chanted the proverbial song Anong paki mo sa long hair ko, but I never had done since.

Three, life sucks oftentimes and having a long and untidy hair, mixed with untrimmed beard obviously illustrates the angsts and disappointments resulting from barrage of frustrations banged into my ears. It maybe similar with hunger strike or boycott, my version of coup d’etat, only it is in its most subtle form.

The fourth reason that I could think of is basketball. I love basketball so much that I tend to mimic everything I come to love. Sometimes I stick to one baller and draw inspiration from him afterwards. When I nurtured my hair, a Negro implicitly convinced me to do so. He captured my attention due to sheer bravado and excellence in one aspect of the game, the defense. I even asked a friend where I can find a cornrows dresser in Manila. Unfortunately, I changed my mind.

48 hours ago, I went to Trixie, an old salon full of gays. Without hesitation, I had my hair trimmed to its finest. No ifs and no buts. I convinced myself it’s time to let go of frustrations. Forget about being afro. Forget about being held inside the house simply because of a hair nightmare. Forget about Ben Wallace and from now on, I’ll start saving shampoos!

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

No Newspaper?

CITY OF PINES, BAGUIO-- Waking up is difficult here in the summer capital. But a breakfast serving of relyenong bangus, freshly harvested vegetables cooked the way your taste would appreciate it and strawberries spread in a pan is worth enough to endure the wake up struggle. Glenn welcomed us in his pad, with a smile up in his ears after an enjoyable Sagada trip, thank you very much!
Located somewhere in the middle of a certain camp, I walked up hill to grab a breakfast complement, the inquirer. I was just told by his mama that a newsboy just passed by earlier and was unsure whether a store can be found near. She warned me that it maybe in the market or somewhere else. So, I hopped along with Glenn on his way out to the city. He left immediately after boarding an fx taxi. I was alone and advanced farther until I reached an internet hub and a newspaper stand!
Voila! My wish is answered. And here I am, telling that story.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The road to the cross is hot!

I convinced myself before that I will spend more time scribbling words and letters rather than pour all my effort and focus at work. I guess I failed again. Tons of paperworks, endless troubles, boundless responsibilities, this is the current picture I never wished to have been developed. An image that paints a miniscule suffering as compared to the Messiah's in the cross of Calvary.
Holy week is a time for everyone's reflection upon him/hers
elf. We may differ in terms of beliefs, but I consider this as an opportunity to gauge ones faith.
Some may eagerly dispute me, for the
re are different types of people living in this world. A vast collection of religion in this country is one proof. There are atheists who don't entirely believe in God. Catholics consist the majority. Christians, protestants, methodists, baptists, born again, pentecosts, JW, INC, ADD, muslims, the list seems endless. I learned from an expat that most of the Japanese are buddhists, realizing later that I have less knowledge of what their religion is all about.
We vary in beliefs that some of them have life long traditions worthy of note. I am referring to the manner a great minority of the Filipino Ca
tholics celebrate Christ death and resurrection. More specifically, Kapampangan faithfuls who, for a long time already, been practicing this tradition they embedded since I first came to see the light in this world.
Armed with the enthusiasm to witness first hand, the physical portrayal of Christ death
in the cross, I tagged familiar persons in this blog. We raced to San Pedro Cutud in San Fernando, Pampanga under a blistering sun last Good Friday.
The heat was indeed terrible. But this was not enough to maim my interest to see a once in a year event. We parked in front of the old church right in the heart of the city. The town was overflowing with pedicabs, a bicycle fixed with a side car used for public transport, tricycles and even saw a few kalesas.
It was also a day of discovery when I learned that the road we were traversing towards Cutud was the first pavement ever established in the Philippines. Evident through a script written in a concrete, the road from Apalit to San Fernando was built in 1956 which led to the construction of the rest of the country's concrete road.
We strutted a few more meters to hoist a jeepney which ferried us closer into the crucifixion si
te. The jeepney fare was 6 pesos but we didn't have the slightest idea of how long we will walk further to reach our goal.
le overwhelmed the streets, foreigners and Filipinos alike. It drew the craze brought about by the presence of media, local and abroad.
We reached the site with an imperfect timing. Mass crucifixion already took place wherein even a Briton was reported to have joined the tradition along with 15 other mandarame (local word for penitent). Eavesdropping led us to confusion and even a lot more questions. Did we miss it? Will there be no one else to be crucified, in the truest sense of the word? Was our purpose in getting there vanquished, defeated, spoiled?
I tried lookin
g for answers but no credible person was able to guarantee whether there will be another one.
So, we waited it out.
Hid from the sun via
the installed booths nearby.
Took a lot of pictures.
Drank coke and water.
Walk briskly from one shade to another.

Nibbled junk food bought from a store more than 500 meters away and witnessed someone carrying a cross heading towards the same direction I came from.
Until I realized that he was destined to be nailed at 3 pm.
We hurried past the crowd and took possesion of a better spot that will give us enough viewing angle. By this time, the number of spectators multiplied and grew steadily by the second.
Suddenly, the man was already up, nailed and almost naked. Both of his hands were punctured each with a nail that resembled those being used in fastening roofs, with a big head and slim body. Although, his feet were spared from the occasion.

He was up there for approximately 15 minutes which appeared to be a lot longer. We came to learn further bits of stories with some of the natives standing near us.
That the man have done so for the 15th time this year. It will also be his last. That his wife, never came to witness his husband suffering in the entire 15 years of his penitensya. That he excessively d
rink and when he is drunk, he bullies all people who come his way like a psycho criminal out from jail. That the one who hammered the nails through the hands and into the wooden cross, is the last existing soul from the original cast of yesteryears. That, in contrast, all of the persons being crucified are still alive.
Getting down and off the cross, I think is an excruciating sight to see, second only to the point of feeling the pain of flesh pierced by iron. The nails were believed to have been blessed by a priest prior the event. His face revealed much of the suffering. And his emotions never lied. His panata is now over as soon as the cross disappeared from our sight.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A night with the Queen

I just love eating. Don’t you?

Two Saturdays ago, while strolling along the old highways of Angeles city after a failed basketball exercise, we decided to spend the rest of that night dining in the infamous Aling Lucing’s sisig located, literaly, in the town’s defunct railroad tracks commonly known as “Crossing”.
Most of the old barkada were not around for unknown reasons. I was with evan and pizza and having witnessed the second serving of ice age made us starved and craved for food.
So, it came to mind the place I longed to go to. Aling Lucing, the Sisig Queen, familiar not only for kapampangans but also to famous people, (politicians, artists and celebs) and even renowned writers of our time, such as C. De Quiros.
Even if I have lived more than two decades in the city of angels, it was just my second time embracing the place. The first one is already a memory. All I can remember is the taste of sisig sprinkled with chilis and how it was chopped into bits and pieces while being grilled in hot flaming coal and fire.
This time, I took ample chance adapting with the ambiance and gained as much as detail of the home-along-da-riles turned restaurant. The walls were made into a canvas of newspaper and magazine clippings showcasing write ups and articles describing how delicious the original sisig is. Monoblocs were enough fixture to rest your behind while savoring the smoke that sizzled from the freshly served platter of mild spiced diced meat and earlobes. A tv was setup to keep those who are ordering and on queue entertained. Best of all, grills, cooks and meat are situated nearby, you can almost see how the food is prepared and readied to perfection.
Although I was adamant in consuming more than I could, I failed to resist the inviting created by the beautiful scene right before my eyes when the orders came. Without remorse, I chew, bit, knawed, nibbled and tasted the juicy meat. Carefully ate away the inihaw na tilipia aided by the helping fork. A stick of pork barbecue dressed with red sauce was enough to complete the whole set amounting only to about 300 pesos for the three of us.
Aling Lucing, whoever she is, didn’t have a hard time convincing me with her self imposed title, the Sisig queen. She only need to wave her scepter and make sure that every sizzling serving is worth the wait.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An Open Letter

Blogger's note: The post you're about to read was an edited version of a letter from a friend whose wrath about the supposed incompetency of a certain medical institution's staff that almost killed her.

March 7, 2006

An open letter to Fortmed

This letter aims to highlight and complain the negligence of some of your staff in FortMed Medical Clinic last Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Morning of March 1, I was suffering from severe pain in the lower right side of my body. After physical examination conducted by my company’s in-house physician, I was advised to be subjected immediately to laboratory tests (CBC and Urinalysis) to confirm UTI and rule out Appendicitis. Due to the urgency of this case, I was brought to FortMed through the ambulance mobile.
Upon arriving at FortMed 9:45am, I informed the receptionist that I was sent home by the company and should undergo immediate lab tests (CBC and Urinalysis). The receptionist referred me to the records section personnel. I then informed the records section personnel the same. After a few questions, I presented my Maxicare Card, Maxicare Lab Request Slip and Sent Home Advise certification. I was hoping she would quickly attend to my request after explaining my situation, but the personnel just told me to wait for my name to be called. While waiting excruciatingly, I went back and followed up my name only to be redirected to the nurses’ station. I instinctively obeyed but the nurse said that it is not yet encoded and insisted to wait for my name to be called.
After an hour of waiting feverishly and having chills, a male staff called my name. I approached him and he handed me a lab request and a slip (on it, written CBC 55 and U/A 22, total PhP77). He explained that the fees for the lab tests will be charged on my Maxicare Card, however, an additional fee should be paid in cash for the “rush service”. After paying PhP77, the male staff gave me the lab request form and told me to, again, wait for my name to be called.
I approached the nurses’ station after another hour. This time I complained that I already waited for 2 hours and yet my name has not been summoned. She said that I should have gone to the lab after I paid the extra rush service fee. I told the nurse and it was very clear to me that one of her male colleagues, after duly submitting all accomplished slips and payment, told me to wait for my name to be called again.
With that, I requested to pull out my laboratory request and get a refund. Around 12 noon, my husband arrived (from an undertime work!) and accompanied me to talk to FortMed’s Admin Officer. The Admin Officer apologized and insisted that I be checked at that time. I refused. I would not risk another chance at FortMed, so my husband & I left to transfer in a hospital.
We rushed to the Calamba Medical Center (CMC) and I was immediately admitted in Emergency Room due to pain, fever (39.6°C) and chills. Lab tests were done. Few minutes after, there’s already a result. I was diagnosed of Acute Pyelonephritis.
First of all, my case should have been treated as urgent, if not emergency. But still, I painstakingly waited for the first hour, thinking that it is normal to be put on queue. But bearing the pain for 2 hours is too much, only to find out I was waiting for nothing. I have not eaten since morning due to the company physician’s advice to delay eating to prevent further damage. For if it could have been Appendicitis, my appendix would have already ruptured long before a FortMed staff would attend to me. FortMed service is as slow as a turtle compared to others in treating urgent cases (read: EMERGENCY). Also, my waiting could have been cut short if only these FortMed staff are learned enough to give out right instructions.
Secondly, I know for a fact that CBC and Urinalysis results come out after 1 hour. But according to FortMed staff, the laboratory results are due after 5 hours. Five hours is too long for a lab result to be released. Does this mean FortMed don’t have the equipment for a faster service? Or, it’s staff and nurses are totally lazy to move a muscle in quick mode? And why would FortMed charge additional fees for rush service, when the rush service time is the same as the regular time of 1 hour?
Thirdly, I am a patient in Calamba Medical Center (CMC), however, I opted to be sent to FortMed, for tests to be done and be out the fastest time possible. FortMed is the nearest clinic for the companies in Laguna Technopark. And I don’t think people just rely on proximity. People rely on efficiency.
The reason why I wrote this is to express my disappointment in FortMed’s staff and service. I am very infuriated with this experienced in the said clinic. I will share my story to close relatives and friends, for them to be aware of your substandard quality of service. And I just hope that would save PATIENTS experiencing the same.
The PATIENTS that come in FortMed chose the clinic above others, thus, they entrust their health to this institution. PATIENTS should be treated with utmost care and not as if they’re just passers-by, who come and go. Most of them, won’t mind paying the high fees as long as their receiving quality service. PATIENTS should be attended accordingly, and not like hours of waiting is normal.

Sincerely yours,
(Name witheld)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sisig Saud

3:30 pm was the call time but we made it at around 3:46 pm under the scorching heat of the sun. Only to find out, after calling out Evan in front of their neat house somewhere in Angeles City, nobody was around except his bespectacled brother. We were supposed to stretch some muscles together using the basketball in one obscure playground within their village.
Minutes passed, two other fellow came in succession before a text message suddenly broke down the silent afternoon. Armando, a guy who loves the 80’s rock music brought with him his ripped off sleeve jersey in a paperbag followed by Corina, a slim lady who seems to haven’t found her way of getting big. It costs a measly 10 pesos to hoist a tricycle from the highway to the house at 29 Guijo street.
Pauwi na ako  read the text message. Evan, who is on top of his corporate career right now with one of the Big 3, will go to Manila by the next 3-5 or so hours and hit the road again in the morning towards Tagaytay Highlands for a team building activity. And so, we took chance of the enough time that was left.
As soon as the sun prepared for its dusk, we geared up and headed straight to the court.
As expected, the place was pre-occupied with ballers in slippers. Several unknown bystanders were there surrounding the benches. It wasn’t a covered court, but it sure is fine to play with. The weather and the sky was good too, without any signs of rain or dark clouds that could melt our heart away.
We sweat. We ran. We hustled. Some of us aimed the basket. Some opted to just run and kick the ball. Evan was exhausted shortly before halftime and never came back. His brother was a warrior. He didn’t get tired of running. It was obvious that we looked terrible in that match, and it seemed that these guys last played the game when Erap was still in Malacañang.
The opponents were not that good either. Maybe two or three were dead serious in defeating us. One of them was seen many times waiting patiently in the backcourt for a sure fast break. Others knows only to shoot the ball and didn’t know the alphabet of a good offense, we stole the ball on several occasions.
The lead was enormous but we got close twice the period. We trailed for just 2 points before finally giving it to them. Final score was 20-15.
It was a great game, even if we paid the losing price of treating them with Coke and Sprite. A great game would definitely mean a great deal of food.
The evening was heightened with the group’s decision of having dinner in a restaurant few meters from Evan’s lot an hour after Carlo, another friend who loves to sleep at daytime, came. It was a typical compound turned into a gazebo of Nipa huts or kubo with dining tables leveled differently from each other. One was even fixed in a tree, like a tree house that is. We were supposed to eat there but decided not to, due to its untidy setting.
We settled and finally ordered. The menu was simple but full of mouth watering promises. Sizzling Salpicao, a mixture of a variety of seafood and vegetables served in a usual hot plate.
Baby back ribs was their specialty, a sweet in the tongue and very tender too. A knife was unnecessary since it came off with ease using fork and spoon. It was a delectable choice since it was surely a low salt food.
Hipon Halabos, a steam set of not so big shrimps. I didn’t eat one though, I’m sure it will tickle ones taste buds.
Initially, we thought of not missing the normal menu every time we dine out, the sizzling Sisig. But this time, Evan insisted of taking Sisig Saud instead. Sisig what?? Saud can be associated for “mamalengke” or “binili” as my Bicolana colleague pointed out. Garnished generously with slices of tomato and onions, the medium chopped pork (size is about a Bigboy chewing gum) Sisig Saud sparked a friendly debate on which is the most delicious meal. It stood for what its name implies. Soon, the plate was emptied and everyone seems to have a happy evening.
We may have lost the game early that day, but Sisig saud helped us regain finesse and definitely took our minds away for a sweet ride in one brief moment.

Monday, March 13, 2006


last week, i made two poems from the twilight zones. That includes being bored, alone and haven't put the basketball in my hands as of writing them.

toilet paper

nahulog ang bolpen ko
kulay itim galing sa iyo
hindi ito nahulog sa inud***
kung saan ako ngayo'y nakaupo

nagugutom at nahihilo
gusto ko ng kumain, uminom ng milo
sa kusina na malapit dito
samahan mo ng tsa-a
sa halagang walong piso

malapit na alas dose y media
sa wakas makikita ko ulit si pizza
manananghalian kasama ang tropa
hanggang umabot ang ala una

tutunog ang kamapana
sa kisame hindi makita
ang kampanang nagsasabing
tapos na ang siyesta
balik trabaho ka na

to write is to breathe

writer i am
with a pen in one hand
simple ideas turn into great
emotions form into shapes

mix words and letters
with passion and voice
savor with feelings
of loneliness and joy

a gift of madness
a treasure for the soul
one, two, three, four
smile and say more