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.