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!