all saints day here is really an Event, and a capital E for that. people come out to commune with their dead, and in the process see their relatives they haven't seen in a long while. the day for the dead becomes a day to party it out, sometimes even dressing for the event because its the day to "see and be seen" in the provinces. these parties are guaranteed to lure out your neighborhood resident drunkards, and before you could even flash your sweetest smile and wave your hands to the maddening crowd you pretend to be your fan base, there breaks a riot among the swaggerin, beerbottle-carrying drunkeeos in a nearby burial lot. well, all of that madness is reserved for tomorrow's event but for now, its blog time for me.
the last week, found me a very busy bee in terms of changing the look of my blog, tinkering with this and that feature, adding this and that widget all in vain hope of makin my blog marketable. i learned that its not just enough that you have interesting stuff to get your audience coming back for more, you should have an audience to start with, hehehe.
gentle went gaga with sending sms messages, pleading to friends, relatives and officemates to "take a chance on me" (cue in the abba song!). well it seems that i still have lotsa marketing stuff to do to establish a solid following but something totally unexpected happened that made gentle's day. oliver the newspaper guy who blabbers a lot about movies and stuff became my first follower. yes, oliver--the artsy one who came up with the marvelous 'lexy nance and argus' comic book and whose site i found by way of carver's (another hero) blogsite--"followed" my blog. i'm not really keen on making this entry an homage to the guy but its turning out like that anyway so i think its a big cue for me to wrap things up and go home. it'll soon be dark, and the net shop might be closing anyways, anytime soon; besides, i cant make mom wait too long or she'll worry.
oops, before i go, heres something i came up with just this afternoon. i'm fond of using the adobe and i came up with something to jazz up this place a bit and send potential fans (that includes you, international reader) scurrying for hiding places. hehehe. enjoy!
is a silent prayer
in the caressing darkness
i rise and fall
on each whim
of your fingers running
the length of my back--
exploring every crevice,
with each gentle dip
each velvet flick
of your tongue
leaves fire in my loins;
i burn. i sigh
your sacred syllables
under my breath--
they cocoon and drown me,
drown the fever;
send sweet shivers
It’s been three days since I had the zombie episode, staring wide-eyed into the computer screen in what could have been close to half-a-day of productivity lost—mall tours, movie marathon or chit-chat with friends over coffee, if you consider those activities in the category of “productive”, at all. Hehehe. But since sister Cat (yup, her pet name) is such an endearing hostess, she made sure that i sat and wrote til my butt hurt. That was Friday.
The days that followed were actually much kinder episodes, as I was able to accomplish a lot of things in the hearts department, engaging in an eat-til-you-vomit bonanza with officemates last Saturday at Marina Seafood Restaurant in Pasay City for baby Alec’s christening ; then its me on full throttle again, braving the cancer-inducing smoke emissions of vehicular traffic going to Tagaytay to join shattershards and eyvicat just in time to attend baby Bastie’s first birthday celebration. Its an irony that people go to the Tagaytay countryside for crisp chilly winds that spell nature tripping only to be bombarded by the lung-eating smoke emissions of rusty cars and dirty buses at the coastal road, crawling at a be-patient-or-die pace.
if there' s a poster-boy that day for the urban weekend warrior ad concept targeted at yuppies walking their Makati and Ortigas catwalks, its me in full shining glory—two thumbs up for backpacking at such short notice, braving the smoke-filled arena of Bacoor’s rush hour traffic, and of course, slaving it through Manong Scruffy's endless cigarette-puffing in front of me, oblivious to my lungs crying out for even just a whiff of fresh air.
Such torment could have been easily avoided had I taken an air-conditioned bus instead of following my preachy “come on ate rose, where’s your sense of adventure?!” declaration while looking for a vehicle to get us out of Marina Restaurant earlier in the day. But I suspect my just-described ordeal points to a much earlier grim origin that has something to do with cats.
I hate to think that a face-off encounter with a black cat crossing the street some nights ago has anything to do with this. But since it’s a week away from Halloween and November 1, let us take time to frighten ourselves a bit by considering the facts : this is my 13th entry—the number thirteen, as we’ve all been brought up to believe, takes its place in the list of "evil" numbers to avoid, foremost among them being 666 ; and black cats strutting their stuff on the streets, well they are staples of spookfests. Could Sister Cat’s hand be on any of these coincidences, nay, convergences? It chills me just to even think about it.
To cap off the weekend, our trio fresh from the highlands, rushed to the SM Mall of Asia Convention Center to attend our friend Kenneth’s show at the Philippine Fashion Week. He was one of the 10 or so young designers featured at Design Fusion, one of the shows in the event’s week-long roster of shows. Bodies glistened and worked the catwalk to the tune of upbeat music ; models sashayed, pirouetted, and enchanted the crowd as they modeled clothes ranging from the shabby-chic, party cuts, high-end ensembles, to es-em (some friend’s joking term for segunda mano) inspired creations. Kenneth in his usual flair wowed the audience by having his models wear platinum blond curly wigs and paper hats that stood out from the rest of the evening’s (well, with one or two exceptions—sorry for being biased; been a Kenneth fan ever since he wore that fabulous mariposa outfit some two years ago hehehe) otherwise ho-hum outings.
He was last to walk the ramp along with a model wearing his signature piece for the season—same cut, fabric and color pallete as with the others, but the big draw—this model had a mummy-like cat stripped of skin and flesh, bones painted gold, perched on her shoulder; as imposing as the gait by which the model made known the presence of her cat-familiar.
Just as the show ended, I can’t help but cringe at the creeping realization that again, it’s a cat for me, making the big statement of the week.
my eyes bleed for you
untether me from
these unflinching stares
unhinge me, unbind me
from all this madness
been staring at the screen like forever. looked at this guys blog, and that guys blog. actually all of 'em creative geniuses i admire and look up to. cant wait for carver's opus to come out (no pun intended, hehehe) and hit the shelves. oliver's site is a surprise find, as i really didnt look for it. its no wonder that he'd be linked with carver's somehow. i'm just a moron not to see it the first time, dang! imagine how my gentle heart pirouetted to the tune of "bituing marikit" with all these pleasant discoveries.
also this whole preoccupation with blogging led me to unearthing goodies i havent touched in a while. poems. a trunkful, actually. the site where i stored my poems just sort of collected cobwebs coz of years of neglect, hehehe. the poem intro to this entry is just a crude attempt to oiling the creative burner i havent used for sometime. i can say that my creative journey really began with poems, having discovered i can scribble a good deal after i had this petty (well it was really big deal for both of us, looking back) argument-turned-fight-for-dear-life episode with roy my roommate (i miss the narra days! whatever happened to you roy? i hope you get to read this in this lifetime. hehehe). he'd write things on his side of the wall, i'd write my retaliatory attacks on mine. poetry flowed like blood from a wound that just wouldn't heal (because its such a joy to pick on it just when the scabs begin to form! hehehe).
the semester ended and we had to erase all the writings otherwise clearances wouldn't be signed. it also signaled our eventual kiss and make up episode, ending our almost half-a-semester clash. the lull after the storm kinda dulled my writing, too, coz i didnt really have something to write about. i mean our fight fueled me to reach emotional heights i couldnt really have reached without roy fuelling my hurt feelings. my eventual triumphs in the rolling hills of diliman and my brushes with the sublime (*wink, wink) further alienated me from my muse. dang! all that revelation after such intense declarations against self-confessional blogging (see hello commercials!), what in the world is happening to me? catatonia has never been this irrisistible.
recently i have been put under a severe stress test and much as i want to let you in with the oh-so-juicy details of my present state, my manager decided to keep everything under wraps as i wouldn't be gentle anymore if my fandom knew how roughly id been treated. tell me, does the idea of a roughed-up gentle even make you a bit interested? the secret to longevity in this business, my manager tells me is sticking to the tried and tested formula. and i have been gentle as long as you can remember so a change of image is definitely not in the agenda. :)
so to create a positive multiplier effect in my somewhat roughened but still gentle life, i turned to things which would take my mind away from the all the roughness that ruffled my gentle existence--one of which is blogging. i started blogging in 2004, but it is an on and off affair. nevertheless i've managed to accumulate a hefty stockpile of gentle facts in the internet that, if one is to piece a string of gentle data together, one might be able to recreate a year in the life of gentle. having said that, a year of mellowdrama and high drama might be in order; but it is not necessary to burden you with all that, dear reader, so i decided to start with a clean slate by deleting existing blogs that do not go well with my cleaned up, much gentler image you see now. :)
it is painful, and post-partum depression might be in order now that i have mentioned it--you do not just write about something--a lot of feelings went to the writing of those blog entries, now gone with just a single tap of the delete key. reviewing my old blog before deletion, i stumbled upon an entry whose main feature is the quotable gentle quote, "love is a battlefield and i am a soldier". a bucketful of tears went to the writing of that, and it pained me to part from it. but i must--i did, if a successful moving-on is to be in order.
i must always keep in mind the multiplier effect advertisement i've read, and i must do that maybe until christmas time, if an effective change is really desired. the time is now to just blog about positive things, keeping the personals to a minimum, as advertisements won't come in the way of capitalizing on ones emotions. the days of the confessional-dear-diary type blogs is over for me. hello commercials!
so there you have it, the birth of the gentle persona. the star that my manager have to peddle at every reader's doorstep to ensure maximum chances in making it to this type of business. wish me luck! :)
i'm talking bout mall tours i do when i feel the itch to stare and salivate over lotsa things.
back in college, mall tours comprised a good portion of my student life. hehehe. movie scheds change on wednesdays so expect me among the throng of people lining up to see the latest wonders hollywood cooked up.
When things got a little shaky in the grade department i turned to strolling alot in the malls, just to turn my attention to sunnier things. it wasnt much for buying stuff, i just want to update myself with what is the latest offering in a bookstore, or to hear a mariah single launched just weeks into the charts. i could spend hours in a bookstore browsing titles and reading blurbs ; or in listening stations in music stores.
upon graduation i took to appreciating the finer things malls here in the philippines have to offer. its not much of the merchandise (hypocrite! my gentle conscience screams), but the architecture and the ambience that i dig. hehehe. mall tours have become all about relaxation, lounging in cafes, drinking all the madness a crazee stressed out life has to offer. :) in my tours i have come to love 3 malls and i will proceed to describe them each in as much details my gentle little brain can muster to call to mind. :)
topping my list is the shangrila mall in mandaluyong. what do i love about this mall? the escalators! it has one covering a good three floors. now that is a lengthy travel, hehehe. i also love this mall come christmas time because it suddenly becomes a venue to showcasing artistry as the escalator-well-cum-atrium suddenly transforms into whatever its resident artist imagines it to be--last year it was an under-the-sea kingdom, with mermaids swishing their fins in midair. i also like this mall for its relatively few shoppers, making my strolls stress-free and very much like a walk in the park except that its airconditioned.
the glorieta-greenbelt malls in makati come in second. being adjoining malls, i like the contrast they provide each other. they also suit my mood effortlessly; if i'm on the hunt for something that fits the budget, glorieta have sections that are tiangge-like and would surely satisfy the tiangge shopper in you. a mid level shopper would also find that all the requisite mall amenities are here: cinemas, convergence zones like the atrium/ activity center where families with multiple yayas in tow for their babies mix and mingle with street rats like me to watch events like fashion shows or meet and greet with famous personalities like neil gaiman. hehehe. and oh yes, the food court, of course. in the end, its always about the food, ya know. :) beside it just a few strides away is greenbelt, a high-end shopping establishment that is nestled in a park-like environment. i really like the concept but the idea of buying your basic necessities there hurts like a thousand knives hurled at you all at once.
the third mall to make it in my tour list is megamall in mandaluyong. upon its construction in the early 90s and before the rise of mall of asia (which is too big for my taste) megamall ranks as the biggest in asia. like what its tagline says "we've got it all for you", one goes to megamall if one is in a hurry to buy something and is not sure if one can find it in either glorieta or shangrila mall. it is a catch-all business establishment, and being "catch-all" expect a large crowd anytime and everytime you go there. still i love it for its layout, a no-nonsense rectangular building with stores lining up each side of the aisle. its a refreshing contrast to the web of escalators of shangrila or the maze of corridors glorieta offers its tourists.
whew! tiring isnt it? :) that concludes our mall tours.
Indeed, I must say. :)
i was stationed at my regular post this afternoon browsing the newspapers while talking to my officemate-friend who happened to be light of office workload so she managed an afternoon tete a tete with moi. It was a pleasant distraction as I wouldn’t have wanted to spend an hour with the newspapers and drain myself of socialization fluids I so crave for these days. It might seem that socialization is an idea that is a far cry from yoga, relaxation, and massage that have been the previous entries in this blog, but come to think of it, if you really enjoy a good conversation, it too can be a form of relaxation. Where does massage figure in, you might ask. well, when you talk, doncha kinda massage your tongue in the process? Hehehe.
So we had this conversation that was somewhat propelled by my declaration that nice things cost money. We are about to attend a lunch-after-a-baptism thingy by another officemate on Saturday, on account of her child Alec’s baptism. Initially the office friend and me are to give separate gifts but later on we decided against the idea to save money; we just decided to pool our resources for a grander but much pocket-friendlier gift hehehe.
So how did this nice-things-cost-money mantra came about, you might ask, as a follow-up question. And what is the relationship of the newspapers to it? This is turning out to be serious detective work, if you ask me. hehehe. well before her arrival, I was browsing thru the newspapers to kill time. It was my tour-of-duty at the monitoring desk, checking for books to be checked-in and interviewing clients topics of their research. In other words it is Gentle-in-G.R.O.-mode (G.R.O. as in “guest relations officer” but in the Philippines it has come to mean another, much nastier thing, as well. hehehe). now if I have been an intellectual with an insurmountable thirst for news articles relating to the current situation of world stock markets or the state of political affairs in the government, you would see me thumbing the front pages or the editorial section; but since I am a penniless tech geek, it is the tech section for me.
Indeed the tech section is bursting with to-die-for gadgets I could only put my hands on in my own sweet dreams! Cellular phones, laptops, the works.
I am not much of a celfone addict. i can pretty much survive with a celfone that has the basic call and sms functions. What really interests me are the PDA functions that come along with the state of the art celfones coming out these days. That, and the wide crisp screens bursting with color which boast of the new windows mobile interface that, when you use one inside the train would pretty much shout out : slap me, I am a tech yuppie! Hehehe. not that I am complaining of the capabilities of my Samsung E200. its suits me just fine. But having a Samsung Omnia wouldn’t hurt too. :) But then again, given the environs here in the Philippines, I should probably be content with my E200 phone lest I want my hard-earned Omnia ending up on the second hand fone stalls just weeks after purchase. hehehe.
Imagine yourself writing in your blog in the comfort of your room using your hp laptop. An officemate recently bought one and its been the object of my affection ever since. tho i really am not particular with the specs of a new laptop, but the mobility of owning one just amazes me, as one could practically carry it wherever one goes—in posh tea and coffee shops, clicking away while sipping one's genmaicha green tea. Ahh. tech heaven it is.
Snap! you suddenly realize you were just in the middle of a lucid daydream and a client is handling you her claim stub for her things. hehehe. then you suddenly remember one of those one-liners you used to memorize from the movies : that of oskar schindler having a conversation with his accountant, saying, "nice things cost money".
So when my friend arrived and talked of the upcoming baptismal gift to give to baby alec, being the ilocanos that we are, we decided to play it cheap by following oskar's advice. :)
There you go.. a hodgepodge of gentle musings brought about by an upcoming baptism, newspapers tech articles and a nostalgia for Hollywood movies. My hour-long desk duty in the monitoring section ended with me swirling with a thousand things on my mind. made me giddy enough to blog the anatomy of an afternoon conversation right away.
my yoga teacher used to say this, back in the days when i was still attending her classes. that was before deciding to go solo, parting ways with her and dropping my gym membership altogether because of soaring prices. i mean how can you let your heart soar in royal pigeon pose knowing there's an impending club fee increase just months after the most recent one took effect? hehehe. this is the philippines, dear, and much as we want to pretend to be moneyed urban yuppies, drinking and sipping our starbucks as we brainstorm in our meetings, truth remains that we are a third world country who fight it out for survival in the daily grind of our lives. :)
exchanging the glitz and the glam of being in a yoga studio filled with sweating bodies moving to the groove of an upbeat moby track for this monk-like austerity of just living on your mat, i must say it took quite a lot of getting used to this new set up. but what is yoga stripped to the bare essentials but mats, barefeet, and that silent prayer that with each sweat trickling, each new asana performed would be a step closer to touching the divine. 'yoga' as defined by in the yoga sutras by pantajali is 'to yoke'.. the human mingling with the divine. yes, we do crave for that. in my three years of doing the asanas (thats poses to you, dear reader) i cannot and will not claim to have touched the divine. in fact, divinity is an idea i cannot even smell from here, hehehe.
what yoga has taught me so far is inner peace. aside from the limbering and energizing aspects of the practice i have come to be more attuned to the workings of my body and my emotions. yes, yoga as a form of exercise have the added bonus of letting you experience intense emotions as you move from one asana to the next. movements performed have that poetic feel to them that just reaches out to the artist in me. looking back it must have been one of the reasons why i was drawn to yoga, like moth to a flame. touching palms close to your heart center, standing in mountain pose means one's openness to succeeding poses that challenge and refine your being. a downward facing dog pose means a surrender to a bigger force... gravity pulling your hands and feet in place--or, if one wants to inject spirituality to one's practice, its THE Force. :)
doing the 'royal pigeon' and feeling oneself melt to the ground and soaring skyward at the same time is an experience that always leaves me breathless. i just love the sheer drama happening as the yogi becomes the pose. and that is always the same, be it in a posh studio or in a room with just your heartbeat keeping you company.
when i go for spa treatments, its usually the traditional swedish massage. in the philippines, we've come to know this massage as something resembling 'hilot' because of its use of oils and the similar strokes used. but of course, 'hilot' is a different breed on its own as its more target-specific unlike swedish which covers the entire body. well, steve was talking most of time during the session which lasted for more than an hour, something close to our just-discussed different massage types and their benefits. imagine that passionate hour-long speech coupled with strong kneeding and pressing of specific pressure points (ouch, really) and you get the sense that you've just entered twilight zone hehehe. in fairness to him he was asking me from time to time if the pressure is not causing me pain to which i answered 'its tolerable'. he later on added that massages shouldn't just induce you to sleep right when you are being massaged. its the after-effect we are after. and true to his word, when i got home i had the intense wanting of just going to sleep and making a raincheck on all my planned activities for the night. i was supposed to be having sun salutes, some chaturanga dandasanas and inversions for my yoga but because of the relaxing after-effect of the intense session i had with him, all i wanted to do was sleep. and sleep i did til about 630 in the morning today; nearly got late, thank god i didn't hehehe.
well. that covers my 'wellness' experience yesterday. :)
or, the sinfully delicious cholesterol-infested pork rinds of the ilocos region, philippines. hehehe.
nope, this is not going to be a poem or a song in praise of the wonder that is bagnet; but just the same it is meant to be as free flowing--like a gush of fresh warm blood from a broken artery somewhere in your chest, after eating a barrel-full of bagnet. hehehehe.
i first chanced upon this gastronomic feast when our group went to the ilocos countryside, summer of last year, to have a break from our tiresome city lives. we took the customary group picture, shot in front of the centuries-old houses lining up a street in vigan, and frolicked with the waves of maira-ira beach (dubbed as ilocos region's 'blue lagoon' reminiscent of the brooke shields movie that hit the screens of the 1980s) in pagudpud. but even the magnificent architecture of paoay church do not even come close to the oohs and aahs a first bite from bagnet would elicit, what with the crisp on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside feel this marvel of ilocandia has come to be known for. complement that with the exotic sounding and moreso, tasting, KBL concoction--a condiment made of a mixture of bagoong (fish paste), diced tomatoes and onions--and it will surely send you spiraling to foodie haven in no time. :)
the malls here in the metro have bagnet offerings in their food establishments but these do not come close to the original, no matter how hard they try. they are more like glorified 'chicharons' , heir apparent to the throne occupied by bagnet. so i write this entry, salivating, dreaming of the time i'd go back again to ilocos, savoring the lovely sunsets and the serene landscapes but more over smelling the aroma of the KBL poured on top of a piece of bagnet in a bed of steaming rice!
sweet dreams indeed.
note : bagnet photo taken from http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/lechon-kawali-bagnet-part-ii.
green backseat against the red
of your face...
so goes the lyrics to rufus wainwright's 'imaginary love'. oh, yes, yup... scroll up a bit to find... ta-daaa!! the Greenbackseat! congratulations for being the astute, observant subject that you are! :)
the song has a heavy jazz influence, something one would listen to in a darkened room, maybe in a 30's or 40's era bar, nearing dawn and about to close for the day with just a couple of customers in different states of drunkeness and you... oh you take the cake! hahaha! well thats how i describe the song. its very melancholic, brimming to the core with languid images of the senses running amock because of too much spirit- - figuratively and well, the wine, too. hehehe. if you do have time to look for the MP3, i suggest you do, so you'll know exactly what i'm talking about. :)
in the meantime i chose the 'greenbackseat', and the circumstances being described in the song to represent the atmosphere i want to pervade my blog- - that of an uninhibited, giving-in to your addictions. if you are a book person then by all means, sleep with your books; a food person then tempt me with your delicious offerings. let all hell break loose... wallow in grief, wallow in bliss, joy, pain or ecstasy. your call. just please, remember if you cant take it anymore, just lie comfy in the greenbackseat and lemme do the rest. :)
lara croft rocks!
i'm currently at the sanctuary of the scion level in the reworked, vamped-up original tomb raider that made its debut in the early 1990s. it is now aptly titled 'tomb raider anniversary', and gawd, the graphics and the sound elements just take my breath away everytime i play it. i've not played the original tomb raider game. before encountering 'anniversary' in the gameshelves of a local pc shop, what i know of the sexy and cunning heroine came by way of ms. jolie's famous lips when she played the character in a movie adaptation in the early part of 2000.
'anniversary' has a very challeging gameplay in that it requires the player to actually think. the environments in which lara finds herself in are actually large puzzle pieces in which she is required get from point A to point B, taking in the clues she gets along the way. in this regard i really like the game as it veers away from the common point and shoot games that plague the market.
i've spent sleepless nights just thinking how to get past the moving sphinx statues in egypt's temple of khamoon. when i actually got past em a sense of achievement immediately takes away one's frustration of not being able to propel lara into the next level. some of the reviews say the game is not intended for beginners. but i daresay the game really keeps you on your toes, thinking what to do and where to go next. its a must for people who go for challenging games.
with that said, i am really looking forward to the release of 'tomb raider underworld' this november. by then i hope to have finished 'anniversary' already. as of the moment i'm now itching to fight that giant squid monster somewhere in the arctic seafloor!
note : lara photo by BlaM4c on flickr
riding the train, i've noticed there has been a growing army of geeks sporting this arsenal of games--visibly strapped to their necks like the new bling-bling of the day--oblivious to the danger of being victimized by pickpockets who ply the MRT too meet their trade quotas.
the black market for stolen gadgets--cellphones, portable mp3 players and the psp's ilk--is on the rise again and growing by the minute especially now that Christmas season is just a stone's throw away from making a grand entrance. i should know as i have been a victim of cellphone theft walking the street on the way to work some two years ago. just the thought of those thugs who lured my sony ericsson fone into their traps makes me wanna scream and spank some sense into these poor souls who are jumping and punching and kicking, inarguably lost in their self-created virtual worlds amidst the hoi poloi and the criminals riding the MRT.
such noble intentions, huh?! nah, i'm just envious. hehehe. and besides, how in the world could a pickpocket possibly get a hold of a neck-strapped psp? unless the head goes with it. welcome to the philippines. :)
hehehe... the tagline pretty much sums up what this blog would be about : living (all things food, travel, books, music, movies, exercise, etc.--everything we could think of) ; laughter (humor... hopefully! me? funny?! haha! you decide!) ; loving (past loves, present loves, future loves--and i mean food is still included, of course) and uhm... lingering (seriously, hehehehe. ponder, dear reader, for the pond is wide and you are but a mere frog resting on your lily pod).
and with that, i bid you all, royal subjects, a grand welcome to the green backseat! more on the blog title in following issues.