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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Virgin Hours

Commuting to Eastwood for work, early as usual because everything doesn't need to change simply because now I contribute to foot traffic and not to road chaos, I find bliss arriving early and walking in the soft sunlight of the morning - one with the early risers and shop openers and delivery van drivers and delivery boys and street sweepers. The peaceful rhythmn of the mopping of floors without the boss looking. The contentment in the heart shining through the middle-aged man's face while unloading cases of beer from the truck. The cheerful swishing of water on the pavement as the utility man cleans the outdoors of the bar by the park.

When will people of metropolis discover this beauty? When will the executives and housewives and businessmen stop frowning over traffic, cursing road freaks each morning they can't control EDSA?

The world is beautiful in the morning, the virgin hours of the day. The gift it brings to life is life's gift to us. And I thank God I am humbled.

Here I am going Villa-esque again.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Yesterday, I was riding a jeepney to Alabang. I was seated at the rear of the PUV. From across me were two women, late twenty-ish, giggling like girls in their puberty. For two minutes, I ignored them. Surely, I also had my i-forgot-i-was-old-and-no-longer-a-teen moments. So I let live for two effortless minutes. Then the giggling went from intriguing to annoying to infuriating. A high school girl to my right was deadpan. Sigh.

I looked at the women to show them they were not pretty acting pretty. Then I got it. They were flirting with this guy in a gray sedan following the jeepney. Then the giggles shot up to the sky. The sedan driver (whom I couldn't see from where I sat) wrote his mobile number on a cardboard and flashed it on his windshield to the giggling girls. The girls where like World Cup anchors giving blow by blow accounts of what the man was doing.

One of the girls registered the number on her cellphone under the name "Textmate Kotse." The gray sedan overtook the jeepney. The girls started texting.

And that was how the cookie crumbled.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My First

Come to think of it, there are a million firsts that can happen to us as individuals. We can disregard the first kick in our mama's womb and our first wail when we came out of it.

Our mothers can count the first firsts for us, because we care only for the first love, the first kiss, the first time. (Not necessarily in that order.)

After that, the next series of firsts become secondary. The first job, the first pay, the first heartache, the first seething pain you never thought humanly possible.

Then we partake of the petty firsts. The first virgin, the first beer bottle, the first cigarette, the first car drive alone, the first plane ride to the moon.

For the (un)lucky ones, the first wedding, the first child, the first annulment.

Then we meet our first vehicular accident. Mine happened this morning at 6 AM with a jeepney. The old but pretty Civic suffered badly. I suffered numbness. Not of the body but of emotions. I felt nothing. It was nothing. I have waited all these months to shout vindictively at someone, to curse someone with the creative genius of a writer who curses in written color but curses auto-mute in person. But I let Mamang driver go unscathed in words and in deed.

The insignificance of this incident defies the word petty. There are bigger issues in my life that deserve this blog space for introspection. But here I am writing big about a non-issue too small for verbal assault.

Life has gone beyond meaningless I'm using chopsticks to eat cake. Literally now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Already a Man at Two

My barely two-year-old nephew is taught not to cry when hurt. Not when he falls and stumbles. Not when he skins his knee or elbow. Not when he gets himself burned on the arm while playing beside a fresh-from-the-road motorbike. Not when he gets slapped on the bottom for being mischievous. Very early in life, he is taught that boys don't cry. About small stuff.

Indeed what does not make one cry makes one stronger. He can push cases of softdrinks from our front door to the back. And these aren't empty bottles, of course. He can also carry two (2) pet bottles of 1.5 liters of Coke, a bottle in each of his tiny arms; this over a 10-feet distance. And this after pushing a case of Sparkle and carrying four 1.5 pet bottles of Sprite one at a time. He gets bored carrying only a bottle at a time; a 1.5 liter bottle of softdrinks that probably weighs a third of his weight.

No, we don't allow him to do that everyday lest we be sued for child abuse. Oh the things that he finds amusing!

But he weeps when there is thunder and his Didi and Mimi are not around, shouting at the top of his lungs their names, asking them to come home. He weeps when his Miming and Mama Miming are growled at by Kunot. He weeps when you tease him by taking away his Buhbob pillow or his Buhbob shirt or his Buhbob cap or his Buhbob slee.

Tomorrow, Sheesha (as he calls himself) turns two.

How many 30-year old men can top that?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Food Poisoning, Eclipse and Catharsis

I got food poisoned last week and went to Asian Hospital two days later. I wouldn't have gone to the hospital had my friend from the office not dragged me almost literally to it. I'm good now, although, still semi-dehydrated. I drink Gatorade instead of coffee in the morning. I also take Hydrite dissolved in water at meal time. I'm still weak and have muscle pain here and there; a little numbing of the hands during my waking hours. But I will live.

While waiting for the hundred lab test results (three vials of blood needled out of me in one go! No way I'd ever donate blood!) last Friday and for me to consult with the doctor again, I decided to go watch bloody Eclipse. Alone. What would have I done? Watch the KC-Gabby-Jericho movie instead? Of the dozen cinemas at Festival Mall, only 3 weren't showing Eclipse. I wouldn't want to watch Toy Story 3 alone. That would be way too sad. Besides, I plan to watch it with my nephews.

A lot of digitally enhanced and beautified people who can't act. "You know, I'm hotter than you," said a male character to another male. WTF? Did I just miss that line in the book? The tent scene reeked of Brokeback. Now I get what a review meant by it. Two males with a frozen female in the middle. And the men discussing "hotness" - to each other.

And the vampires who died where marble-like when their body parts were severed in battle. If the Cullens are anything like them, from where do their body fluids come - Rosalie's tears, Edward's kiss juices and that other liquid when he finally succumbs to the call of the flesh? Answer: Suspend your disbelief. Just enjoy the eye candies. Ugh!

This is the movie that broke all-time midnight showing box office records! Whatever that means.

But if there's any consolation, the movie is pure cathartic. Imagine a tragedy that befalls vampires despite beauty, strength, power and wealth. Our little every day crisis seems childish and teenish in comparison. OK, my lit crit prof has just shot me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Crabs and Turncoats

it's day 4 and i'm still not disappointed. never mind the wangwang. people are awed by it. if you are to believe interviews, commuters and drivers with whom he shares the road feel great about it. why rain on other people's parade? i'd give away 10 grande cups of latte decaf to share EDSA with him. (kaso kadalasan hanggang alabang lang ako at kung luluwas man sa C5 ang daan.) if he dies in EDSA (which I doubt), then we can rename it to PNOY. our premier international airport is named after his father who died at the tarmac. we may as well name after him the country's most popular and historical highway if he does die there being too chivalrous and all. but this is morbid. people ought to stop being pessimistic. people die even in their sleep, haven't you heard?

a lot of intelligent people say noynoy shouldn't have appointed this person to this post. and that he should have named this person to this department instead. guess, what. why not try to win a landslide election first then you do what you think is right. you can even tell the people you're my chief, instead of saying you're my boss.

a lot of turncoats in the government? i'm telling you, there are more crabs in this country than there are turncoats in the cabinet.

Palengke People

I, being a promdi, have known and seen the innards of a public market at a very young age. My mother used to take us three kids to palengke where she sold paper bags to her "suking" rice dealers. We used to make them out of empty cement bags that father used to take home from work. Mother would religiously clean the uncut cement bags and cut out patterns and fold and mold the bags. We kids helped in pasting the cutouts together using glue that mother made from gawgaw. That was our pre-school education.

Today, I have no qualms having goto and lumpiang prito in a karinderya inside a palengke. I've never minded sharing the long bench with kargadors and tricycle drivers. That alone is an experience I carry like a badge of honor. Yesterday, a skinny boy bought spaghetti "yung walang hotdog" and dared someone to gawk at him. A granny bought guinatan and ate only saba and kamote and left everything else in the bowl.

Oh, the market place is heaven on earth where people call me "Nene" or "Ineng" where I am usually mistaken for a 17-year old. And when I'm lucky, Manang Tindera would call me "Ganda" without the prefix "Vice," of course.

Palengke is a place where brands don't matter. You walk the wet and slightly muddy floor where your Ipanema usually gets stepped on by either Sunbeach or God forbid, real bakya ni Manang! You may wear a tattered souvenir shirt from Boy and Zeny hardware store without people staring at you drilling into your head: "What the hell you thinking looking like a rug?"

Of course, I get extra finger chilis, tomato, onion, some shrimp and everything I bought with extra something with it. I'm not one shameless "tawad" queen, but I wear a crown being "dagdag" queen. In my opinion, asking for dagdag is more practical than asking "tawad." Well, do the Math. And by the way, this is from someone who had made a living in palengke at age 4.

At Astrovision in Festival Mall last Friday. A very local looking father and his two little sons were having very strong American English twang-y conversations:

Son 1: What are these, Dad?
Father: Those are VCDs.
Sons 1 and 2: What are VCDs?
Father: DVDs are better.
Sons 1 and 2: (Stared at Dad, stumped.)
Father: (To the sales clerk) Miss, meron ba kayong DVD nito? (Pointing to a VCD.)
Sons 1 and 2: (Start playing "touch me, i pinch you" and run around the store. Grrr!)

And we want to trust sex education to today's parents? They can't even explain what VCDs are to their kids! "DVD's are better"? Pray, tell them what VCDs are first and then what makes DVDs better! And the kids were asking what VCDs are, not what DVDs are, deymit!

And the kids? Aren't kids supposed to ask follow up questions? I remember my siblings when they were kids. They would ask a hundred questions until they were satisfied with the answer.

I pity the sons of this DVD man. Children who don't ask tons of follow up questions are raised poorly. Methinks.

I therefore conclude, palengke people are better.

Beautiful Sunday

Done with my weekly laundry. Just had breakfast. Having a mug of hot weekend taho. Sunshine as far as the mountaintop. Light breeze on leaves of mango trees. Beautiful Sunday.

My dog sleeping at the foot of the bed. Nephews running, giggling bringing shame to musical instruments. Neighbors engaging in friendly banter at the store. Beautiful Sunday.

Now I wonder why I had days worrying about money. And love life. And work. And the world.

It will do me good to remember days that don't need fancy occasions nor posh environs to be beautiful. Days that don't need to be red-lettered to humble the holidays.

Well, all Sundays are red-lettered. It will do a lot of good to the world, if everyone celebrates this weekly holiday. Simply as if it were the first weekend of creation!