the long and winding road

Note - I meant to post this one last night, as i was traveling back to Manila, amidst the uncertainty of the roads made unpassable by Ondoy. Due to slow and intermittent internet connection, majority of what i wrote wasn't saved. The following is a reconstruction, an approximation of what i had in mind yesterday.

Thank God for SCTEX, really. It made my travels going to and from Manila a lot faster. It's a nice thing that bus companies have finally utilized this highway, as travels going to Pangasinan are lengthier these days thanks to local traffic generated by the bustling cities along Mc Arthur highway. Though SCTEX is really heaven sent, how i wish travels to the countryside could be easier if only SCTEX or NLEX for that matter would be extended up to Pagudpud. That far, huh? I know, its wishful thinking. hehehe. It's more plausible with SCTEX, though i think; but for that to be carried out, it will have to go round the main road, dodging towns, settlements and all signs of civilization. I heard though that SCTEX will be extended til La Union, but i'm quite doubtful if my travel time will be a lot faster given the fact that its gotta go round the towns, rather than in a straight line.

Now, with the train system, thats different. Should the plan by the government to extend the MRT upto Pampanga pushes through, I'll be one helluva happy commuter. hehehe. One college professor who had ample connection with the government mentioned this in class about eight years ago. I wonder what happened since then?



The wind is still wreaking havoc as i write this. We were lucky here in the province that ondoy didn’t hit as hard as it hit Manila. I was looking at news footage yesterday and still couldn’t believe seeing that Quezon City of all places, would literally turn into a sea; for local teen star Jennica Garcia to be hysterical over live phone patch, says a lot about the situation. Back here in the province we had the usual brownouts whenever strong winds would play with the electric posts servicing the area, but situations like that are quite expected already. It’s the terrible floods everyone frets about. We were on the lookout exactly for that sort, when we crossed the street last night to the other house, trying to see the far end of the street if our old neighbor, the river, has already risen. I just hope everyone i know who was in Manila at the height of ondoy’s wrath is safe and didn’t get hurt.

I’ll be leaving the province this afternoon. I hope the floods at NLEX as reported in the news, have already abated by then, or else it’ll be really messy. Reports said its the worst flood to hit the metro since 1967, and that’s saying a lot. I also hope that the gentle abode at Boni is still standing by the time i get back. I mean, i know it’s in a state of perpetual mess, but throwing in murky flood waters would spell nightmare for me--i hate clean-up operations. i hate cleaning, period.


auntie tuding

i was at the shuttle bus last night going to the mrt, braving the evening traffic when i received a text message from auntie tuding asking me how i was doing. she was the only relative aside from ate i told of the ugly sick pig. she knew of the story that i had to endure for a year, before i finally said enough and began the process of moving on. as the highest official in our little hierarchy told us in one of the weekly flag ceremonies we had, at the beginning of the year, - life is too short. it took me nine long months to finally let go of hate and start embracing the fact that it happened, and i just have to charge it to experience.

i told her i'm finally moving on. she replied it was a good decision on my part, and added, "wag ka nang makikipag-away ha".

then just with those words, everything had to come back rushing, everything i endured. but then i had to stop myself from getting agitated, because i remembered that auntie tuding endured, and is still enduring much. i asked her how she was doing with her battle. she told me that she's ok so far, "ok pa naman sa kalusugan at sa isip", adding as an afterthought perhaps, "pangit na ang ante mo"..

i can't help but feel sad for what fate has dealt on her. then i remembered it was her birthday last september 11, and i haven't even greeted her. so i greeted her a belated happy birthday, and said sorry for not able to do so on her very day.

but i haven't really forgotten. in fact during that very day, i intended to greet her. but i could not bring myself to say "happy birthday", when i know the big C is lunching with her, eating her cake, enjoying her balloons.


working on a novel

The sun was up early this morning. It rose golden and majestic over the distant hills to the east; its rays melting away those delicate curtains of mist that hung like spider lace over the fields and the meadows, and the little brooks they passed by along the way. They have been travelling by bus, a rickety one, for almost two hours now; and each bump along the road is reminding Clem how hard it is, getting to the island.

-excerpt from the gentle novel

The past two days had been very busy days.

After my (draining) episode with the CR, i decided to go home to the province to recuperate and be with the family. I brought the golden compass with me, intending to read through Lyra and her exploits but i was barely able to finish two chapters because—hold your breath—i was able to get a move on with my (ehem) novel already (yay!). Yes, ambitious though it may sound, what began as lazy afternoon scribblings in july became a full-blown literary wonder of sorts only two days ago. Hehehe. even the planned re-watching of before sunset had to be rescheduled because it’s not an everyday, regular thing that an inspiration to write a novel strikes. Indeed, the power of the pen has been pushing me to new (and exciting) heights previously unimagined by this gentle writer. its like sleeping as belle in the evening and waking up as the beast, come morning (you just have to buy the analogy). whatever blessing or devilry this is, i'm not exchanging this for the world! i've always dreamed of writing stories, and its finally coming true.

image source - www.pbase.com


a poop story

i can hear grumbling in my stomach like ten thousand orcs suddenly launched an attack in middle earth. thunderous rumblings.

doctor said it was probably food poisoning.

it's my second day now, in house confinement. sadly, imodium and rest did not help in quelling my tummy activity, as my trips to the cr yesterday numbered to about thirty.

and the poop coming out was vile, yellow liquid.

so today, off i went to makati med for consultation with a professional. i came home with a number of strong-dosaged medicines in order to quell what he suspects to be a case of gastroenteritis.

the result for the fecalysis he requested i undergo is due tomorrow.

meanwhile, i'm praying that the meds do their part tonight and in the succeeding days.

lesson learned : never eat the head of an inihaw na pusit if water is oozing out from it like puss.



As today is my laundry day and i have nothing more decent to wear tomorrow, i decided to do some shopping for clothes in the nearby robinson’s department store in their pioneer/ boni branch.

When i was in college, and also a few years back when i was already working, i would almost always go for high fashion—meaning, i would always buy the most expensive shirt my money could buy. The shirt/ clothing article has to branded, otherwise i’d feel naked, or itchy all over. Talk about being imeldific. But the later years sort of mellowed the fashionista monster in me. now, i go more for what’s working for me rather than what’s in fashion. During the selection process, i also take time to pick pieces which have classic lines/ cuts so they don’t easily go out of style. And lately i’ve discovered that the department store can be a treasure trove of scintillating finds, if one is keen enough to look.

So what did i buy? statement shirts. Not the kind that asks “sino best friend mo doon”, on one side and answers “shempre ikaw lang”, on the other. I still have an ounce of self-respect remaining to buy those kinds of stuff and actually wear them. Hehehe (wearing promotional shirts is another thing altogether though, something i’d very much like to talk about in another entry, when inspiration strikes ).

As i was roaming around the display racks, I discovered a brand that’s not too popular among the masa; i’ve gone a notch lower than “imeldific” and settled for “portside” (well i haven’t met anybody or saw anyone in the street who wore any of the designs i saw, and they are actually good). Artwork used to be a good brand, but due to its rising popularity as an alternative choice for shirts that pack in the extra oomph, its lethal levels have been somewhat diminished lately—may nakakasalubong akong kapareho ko, gosh! hehe.

So this brand, when i saw it, was actually a breath of fresh air. Having saw that a lot of thinking went into designing the graphic tees, i bought four shirts. All for the price of 776 pesos. As i was leaving the premises, i caught sight of a pair of cargo shorts that, judging from the material and the simple way it was designed, i think will last a solid five years, without going out of style. i bought it too. And it’s not Mr. Lee, or Dickies, the prices of which can easily be placed around the range of 1000-1300, or much higher.

Clutching my purchases on the way home, i sort of felt like tatay. When i was still in my elementary and high school years and he was at the height of his purchasing power, he’d go to the department store instead of the individual shops and boutiques that carry a singular name. He’d buy the sm basics and the sm-commissioned shirts with simple designs on them, when he can easily buy designer labels. i know this for a fact, because he’s a watch freak, and in one of the trips to Manila, he bought one that actually doesn’t fall in the Seiko, Swatch, or Guess category (those were the only brands that this barrio lad actually knew in those days).

i’m still a long way from being able to buy a designer watch without the feeling of overshooting from one’s budget, feeling sorry later on for having to tighten one’s own belt so to speak, for the lapse of judgement. All i’m saying is that, like tatay, i now know the convenience of doing the shopping at a department store; getting good finds that are fashionable, without draining you dry of your resources.


ang libre ni manong

Nalibre ako ng agahan kaninang umaga. Ang nanlibre, si manong ng opisina namin. Si manong na matyagang nagsisiroks ng mga dokumento na iniindex ko. si manong na kabertdey ng tatay ko. si manong na magreretiro na ngayong a-kinse ng buwan na ito.

Di ko maipaliwanag pero may kakaibang lungkot sa pagitan namin kanina, habang kumakain. Hirap akong imani-obra ang usapan tungo sa mas masasayang bagay, kahit maraming pagkakataon na gawin ito, dahil pareho naman naming alam na isang lingo na lamang ang itatagal nya sa amin. Di naman kami gaanong close; napakarami din naman kasing tao dito na kailangang pakitunguhan kaya’t di kami gaanong nabigyan ng pagkakataon na mag”bonding”. Pero yung mga maliliit na bagay na namamagitan sa amin, gaya ng biruan kasama ng iba pang kaopisina habang nag-aantay ng ilang minuto bago mananghalian, ang pagiging “maharot” at chikboy nya sa edad nyang iyon—sila ang mga mumunting bagay at alaala ni manong na babaunin ko pag naghiwalay na kami ng landas.

Malungkot si manong. Bakas sa mga mata nya. Maliit lang siyang tao sa opisina, kakarampot ang sinisweldo. Ang tanging ipagmamalaki nya pag nadalaw syang muli sa library, ay sya ang nagsiroks at nagbind ng pagkarami-raming libro, clippings at kung anu-ano pang bagay na nasa pag-iingat ng library sa humigit kumulang na dalawampung taon. At sigurado na ang kanyang pagdalaw sa amin. Marami pa kasi syang aayusin sa GSIS bago nya makuha ang retirement benefits nya.

Ayaw ko sanang tanggapin ang libreng pa-agahan sa akin ni manong kanina. Pero naisip ko din na tinyempuhan nya talaga ako, at ayaw ko namang magmukhang tumatanggi sa pagpapasalamat na ibinibigay nya. Ako kasi ang palaging nakukulit ni manong na gumawa ng iba’t ibang sulat ukol sa nalalapit na nyang pagreretiro at paghingi ng rekomendasyon sa iba’t iba pang mga nakatataas na tao para matulungang maipasok ang anak nya sa aming opisina, kahit kaswal lang muna pansamantala.

Ala naman sa akin ito. Sabi ko nga, hilig ko talaga ang pagsusulat. Pero ang mapasalamatan sa bagay na taos sa puso mong ginawa ay walang kapantay pala ang dulot na tuwa.


regrets, i have a few

last night, i was supposed to head straight to the gym after i got out from work. i already had my rubbershoes and extra shirt packed in my bag, and all i gotta do was alight at the shaw station of the MRT, eat dinner and make a dash for the gym after, ignoring the pitter patter of rain falling on the pavement. somewhere along the mrt line, a short bit before reaching shaw station, i suddenly had a craving for yoshinoya's beef gyudon bowl. it was so great a craving that i ended up at sm megamall instead, vowing to myself that i'd just walk to shaw after satisfying my tummy. after dinner, i had the urge to browse for a couple of minutes at the adjacent powerbooks, looking at, and browsing a few pages of the new titles on display. i somehow got carried away, sashaying through the shelves, that when the recorded announcement played out stating that its 10 minutes to closing time, i was brought to the present, a bit alarmed that i had a workout to catch.

the bookshop employees who were already readying to leave, made casual remark of the harsh rains that were already making tiny rivers in front of the shop. i took a casual glance of the situation through the glass doors and decided its best if i just head home, and reschedule my workout the following day. i water-splashed my way from megamall to shangrila, holding onto my wind-battered umbrella like there's no tomorrow. reaching the long staircase going up the mrt station at shaw, i decided to go for it rather than cross the street to wait for buses that would carry me the opposite direction. i reckon that i'll be incurring more splashings and teribble winds if i stay that course, and it'll be a lot faster going home, riding the MRT.

as i was lining up for the ticket booth, i saw from afar, to my right, the still-busy street of shaw boulevard, going to my gym's direction. for a bit i was tempted to go down the opposite staircase, brave a few short bursts of wind and water to the jeepney terminal that would carry me to the gym's doorstep. it was well within reach. but then reason triumphed over impulse this time, and i was on my way home.

on board the train, i didn't do the usual stuff of hating myself for the wrong turns i took. it all just happened. i simply took it as events making up a bizaare, stormy night.

one sunday afnun at shats'

30 minutes to 7

Its 6:30 in the evening. I am just winding down from the work done during the day. The boss’ television has just been turned on to TV Patrol, her favorite news program. The big bosses have just finished their work, talking and debating among themselves for a good three hours and a half, crafting policies that would be beneficial for everyone’s good. I have just made my exit from my database work, and 7 o’clock seem far away, just waiting for it; so I decided that this entry will make it in time before I log out of the office premises.

I often whine and complain about a thousand and one things, gargantuan and mundane, relating to work—about how things do not seem to get better, and work just seems to pile up—but I’ve also realized that engaging in all these makes me feel most alive. Listening to the bosses’ banter while encoding the first quarter issuances of the other department mostly relating to holidays and call centers, actually make my blood rise with excitement. I like being in the center of things. i thrive with stress but at the same time despise it. whatever, I realize I love my work, and though it is riddled with mountainous hurdles, I will not exchange it for anything else. Intrigues and politics be damned!


mirror, mirror

Saturday. Its one of those days when I don’t have to do anything, especially when I’m home in the province; not busting my gut out trying to exercise to look like Akihiro Sato in the Penshoppe Guadalupe billboard. I can wake up as late as i want, and luxuriate in the cold water of the shower without worrying that I’d be late for work. I’m a shower freak. I linger in the shower, not content at having lathered and rinsed my body in one go; I’d linger some more minutes just to make sure that my face, neck, armpits and singit have been given the proper attention they deserve, scrubbing them with my soft palms; making sure that cleansing, purifying water run its course over my entire body.

I go out of the shower area, feeling refreshed and energized, just like any other saturday before that. Only this time, I manage to catch a reflection of my face in the oval mirror adjacent to the shower door. Its not that I don’t look at my face, ever. Even those who renounce and shun narcissism are bound to look at their faces even for once, in a week's time. And I’m a child of narcissus. Hehehe. Though that might be the case, I am still surprised to see that the face staring back at me no longer exudes that youthful air I fiercely held onto say, a good two or three years. The face is a lot sterner now, and lines around the forehead, however faint they may be, are already showing--if you squint hard enough, they’re there, staring right back.

Coupled with my bulking body, I no longer resembled that strapping youth that the mirror fell head-over-heals with, six years ago; that mirror, which tatay himself installed when our house was newly-built, and was the current toast of our place for its daring bold colors and imposing rock fa├žade.

Time indeed has passed, and as Old Rose in the movie Titanic was bound to say, “reflections changed a bit”.


several hundreds lighter

Last Monday I splurged on two hardbound books. I bought the vampire-themed Twilight and Pullman’s The Golden Compass. I’ve already read The Golden Compass on paperback and having loved the book on first read very much , I wanted to have a proper copy of it—a hardbound one. I immediately went to re-reading the book but because there’s so much to do and so little time, I have not really gone far as much as I would have wanted (I stopped at Lyra’s Jordan hehehe) ; besides, I still have my anime to cover, and a newly copied avi format of an art film to watch.

I actually bought Twilight on impulse. I originally planned of buying Pullman’s trilogy in one swoop but the unavailability of the hardbound edition for the next two volumes left me somewhat feeling dissatisfied. Determined to have another title before I leave the bookstore, I ended up browsing the pages of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. I have had encounters with this book before, in other bookstores, and I must admit that it didn’t manage to catch my attention at first, mainly because the preliminary paragraphs didn’t hit it with me. But lo and behold : at Fullybooked, that Monday afternoon, Twilight’s first paragraph actually pulled me in. it might be the time of day, it might be the mindset, or the light, or the ventilation. But I was actually liking it, enough for me to make the purchase. And that sold me. I went home several hundreds light in the pocket.

two men

There were two men talking across from where I was sitting in the steam room. from their looks, both of them are somewhere in their sixties, and from the ease of their conversation, it looks as though they’ve been long time friends. The younger-looking of the two asked how the other’s massage went, and went on to tell how he had his. The masseuse, he tells his friend, is an attractive young woman of perhaps twenty-four years. He was raving about how his erogenous zones were coming to life with just mere accidental brushes of fresh skin, but had a sudden drop of temperature in the room when the girl started calling him tatay, to ask if the pressure applied is okay. This elicited a guffaw from the other one, and a smile to my face. Old folks. Hehehe.

Their conversation carried over to their observation that no matter how hard they exercised, their sweat glands do not seem to produce as much sweat they used to when they were young. One of them jokingly pointed to it as “ang mapait na katotohanan” (the bitter truth). Sigh. The preoccupations of the old are not very different from ours.

the great calm

It feels like I’m perpetually in a calm before the storm—the storm hovering at the periphery of my vision, never materializing, but still managing to make its presence known; like a shadow lurking at the corners of a dark street, or a lump at the back of my throat. (oops, am I making sense?) I feel like i'm floating, not being able to make a decision as to change this course I am in, right now. Or, I think the question I should be asking myself is, is it really time for me to be making the big decisions? Or should I wait it out until the right time comes along? Sigh. Such is the state of things right now. Like Harry Potter, I know I am still destined for great things. It’s just that circumstances conspire and compel me to act differently from what I really am underneath; compels me to be this eternally shushing librarian perpetually ignorant to the finer things in life, like going out for a late-night beer drinking party with friends, maybe?