Friday, December 29, 2006

Farewell

Dear 2006,
I don't normally do this to your kind when you say goodbye. I prefer the commencement, that's why whenever one of you comes, I create a little ode to welcome you into my life. So far I've met 22, including you.

Do not flatter yourself thinking you are special. There were years past more memorable than you. '90, for example, who introduced me to the world of learning. Of course, there's '84, but I can't remember much from him (or her). '97, who gave me the thrill of my first public speaking endeavor which turned out bad, but memorable nonetheless. '01 ushered me into the wonderful universe of college. I can't imagine my life without him/her (Why is it that your gender isn't made clear? Now I'm having a problem with pronouns). Your predecessor '05 escorted me to the quote-unquote real world. You are just continuing what he/she started. So why am I doing this to you?
Well, to be honest, it was you who made me realize that life is better than what I used to believe. My boss is not really cruel, she's just stressed out. My workplace isn't really a jail without bars, it is as it is for me to be more productive, and other realizations that disprove my earlier postulate of the universe conspiring against me.
You taught me to be contented. My spirit still yearns for more, but that doesn't mean I'm not happy with the way things are going. My family is healthy, my earthling is adorable, my friends are compassionate. And yes, I've met quite a number of new friends this year. The feeling was almost alien to me, and I'm glad that although we are so different from each other, we manage to get along really well. 
You may not be the best, but you've been good to me. Thanks a lot.
Wishing you well,
Me
P.S.
Tell 2007 to be good to me too (I'm hoping he/she will be better than you though, hehe!).

earthling et moi
friends...



and more friends
ate and the look of the future
Bunso at panganay


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

After Life

I’ve been to the film org I regularly visit to watch the screening of After Life, a Japanese movie about happiness and eternity.

The premise: After people die, they spend three days choosing one memory they will take with them to eternity (just one, all other memories are erased). They describe the most important memory in their lifetime to counselors (also dead) who will then recreate it on film and screen it at the week’s end; eternity follows.

One man finds it so difficult to pick a memory, thinking his life was so ordinary he couldn’t make a choice. The counselor who handles his case lets him view videotapes of his 71 years of existence to help him out. It is distressing to watch the old man watching his life, especially so because he himself knows that he didn’t attain what he set out to accomplish. He was an idealistic youth who frowned upon his friends’ idea of living (i.e. getting a wife, having kids, and working for a company until the age of retirement). He said he didn’t want to leave the earth without “an evidence of life”, but still, he did. 

The memories people in the film choose ranges from the absurd to the heartwarming – an old man talks about his sexual intercourse with different women, a teenage girl picks out her Disneyland experience (thankfully, her counselor convinces her that the memory is so run-of-the-mill and at the end of the three-day selection period, she opts to take the memory of her leaning on her mother’s lap). It made me wonder what will I choose come my time to pick, assuming there really is a place like that.

Pinoy ang Tumapos (sabi nga sa plug)

This is a bit late but I'm posting it nonetheless...

As most people (at least most Filipinos) expected, Manny Pacquiao won the last installment of the Pacquiao-Morales trilogy. The fight, however, lacked the excitement found in their first two matches. I wonder why, when it is supposed to be the most exciting. After all, it wasn’t called the Grand Finale for nothing. 

Besides, there were factors that seem to reveal better prospects for Morales. The Mexican fighter got reunited with his dad/trainer, got himself a “new” training technique, and bore a grudge over being knocked out in the previous fight. For these reasons, some boxing aficionados thought he’d be much stronger this time. All these, however, proved insufficient as Pacman let out punches one after another. Morales’ Velocity Training was no match to Pacquiao’s speed. I think the training method’s name applied more to the fast shedding of weight (to which the former was a subject) rather than to agility.

It was a boring fight (even the two undercards). Or maybe I just expected too much. Too bad for those who paid to watch the fight in cinemas, even worse for those who endured the five-minute commercial breaks in between the three three-minute rounds. 

If there’s one thing that made this fight better than the previous one, it was that we had a better singer for our national anthem. Cheers to Sarah Geronimo!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No Such Thing

I saw this quote from Ally McBeal in an online forum:

"You're supposed to be able to send your life to the dry-cleaners and get it back nicely pressed and folded."

Unfortunately though, Life Laundromat hasn’t been invented.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Marriage, Wedding, and the Whole Damn Thing

One of my closest friends got married last weekend. The affair was simple – no bridal gown, bridesmaid, best man, ring bearer or flower girl, and all the props that come with the thing. It was a civil wedding (Or a wedding presided by a judge or a mayor, as the case may be. “Civil” sounds rather vague, it hints of the existence of an uncivil one, hehe). Only a few sponsors composed the bridal entourage, and a few family members were present.

I was among the few non-members of the couple’s families; indeed, I was invited because I sort of asked to be. It’s a long story, and a complicated one. Some disagreement between my friend and her parents arose, the reason for which is still unclear to me (despite my friend’s attempts to elucidate on the matter). This prompted her to think that she may not have any family member on her side during the ceremony, and so I volunteered to attend.

Theirs is a story with the elements commonly seen in romantic movies. I remember how I played Cupid four years ago. Socio 101 class was a bore (at least the one we attended), and I would always come up with excuses to be absent. I couldn’t understand why she would be enthusiastic to attend class, when she’s not at all a diligent student. Soon she confessed, giggles and all, that she has a crush on a guy in the class a few rooms from ours. In a couple of weeks, she has managed to get the guy’s name, affiliations, his org’s tambayan, and his cellphone number. How she acquired this supernatural sharpness in finding out details is still a mystery to me. Some human beings are more evolved, I must say.

What’s the point of having all that information when they won’t be put to good use, I argued. So in a moment of insanity, she dared me to text him. Such an opportunity to display my talent for mischief was not to be allowed to slip away. And so the rest, as they say, is history.

Despite not having the wedding that they dreamed of, contentment glowed in the newlyweds’ eyes. I still remember how they cuddled their little Plummy (a name of unknown origin, not in the least a derivative of the little creature’s real name), how they held each other’s hand and how they teased each other about their love story. I know they will be happy. After all, it’s not the wedding, but the marriage, that matters.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lethargic Me

Hay… I just feel like yawning and stretching my arms all day. If only I can sleep in front of my PC (and my boss)… But we are in the real world so here I am, typing blog materials on my Paleozoic Era-computer and pretending I am indeed doing something productive. Of course, that comes with the requisite minimizing of the “guilty” window/program every time the boss approaches and resuming the whatever-it-is-that-will-not-earn-their-ire work. Hehe, there goes my How To Survive An Office Job tip. (^_^)
Time seems to be ticking too leisurely today. With the restoration of MERALCO’s services going at a snail’s pace and the repair of all things ravaged by Milenyo almost intangible, it’s not too hard to think that Time has gone on vacation.
****
A completely irrelevant matter I just have to get out of my mind:
I have this vision of Miriam Defensor-Santiago in Madonna garb singing “We are living in billboard hell, and I am a billboard girl…” (demonic laugh here).

Monday, September 25, 2006

Korea-pelikula

“I will not miss this one,” I said to myself as I read the e-mail from an organization of film enthusiasts. It was the schedule of the Korean Film Festival at UPFI. Since graduating from college, I had to give up my regular movie binges; I just don’t have the time. I already missed countless film showings since then, the screening of Spanish films at Instituto Cervantes last August and the Chinese Film Festival at SM Mall of Asia two weeks ago are two of the most recent.

The festival showcased films that feature the “dynamic culture of South Korea ,” so the poster said. The line-up included Il Mare (2000), A Day (2001), Art Museum by the Zoo (1998), I Wish I Had a Wife (2001), Old Boy (2003), and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (2003). I only got to see two out of these six, a shame compared to my previous movie-going performances. But then again, it’s better than not seeing anything at all.

I really wanted to watch Il Mare (to compare it with its Hollywood adaptation The Lakehouse), but it was screened on a weekday, so seeing it was out of the question. At any rate, the two movies I’ve seen are quite noteworthy.
I Wish I Had a Wife is a romantic comedy by Heung-Sik Park , about a guy who is getting old and is desperately searching for a wife, all the while avoiding the girl who might bring about the end of his quest. The movie celebrates the ordinariness of love, with its ordinary characters in their ordinary world (The guy is a bank employee, and the girl is a teacher. How ordinary can they get?). No picturesque settings, gorgeous characters, and romantic movie lines, yet the magic is quite palpable. Viewers still chuckle and sigh inwardly, but the “kilig” would have been more felt if they chose more dashing protagonists. On second thought, that would be self-defeating.

Jeong-hyang Lee’s Art Museum by the Zoo, also a romantic comedy, tells the story of Chul-soo, a soldier who returns from his base for a break, only to find out that his girlfriend has left their apartment and Choon-hee, a wedding videographer, lives there instead. Chauvinist Chul-soo spends his ten-day break with eccentric Choon-hee, and a riotous battle between the sexes ensues. The title refers to the script the two co-writes as an entry to a scriptwriting contest, which is inspired by, well, an art museum and a zoo (duh?) that lie on the opposite ends of an intersection, with the protagonists’ significant others as the lead characters. It could very well denote the dichotomy between the two characters, or the parallel existence of the two places, or if we could stretch it further, to the dual progression of the film (The story of their script develops alongside the film’s plot, and scenes from the work-in-progress are interspersed throughout the film.).

I’m still in the process of thinking what to write next, and finding that I’ve grown too lazy to add more, I will stop here. Hehe, bitin.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Juvenile No More*

I am now twenty-two (That is my age, not the versions of me debating within my head, the number of which is probably double, haha.). Three hundred and sixty-five days slipped away without me knowing it. Have I grown older? I couldn’t tell. Every year I ask where the past year went, what became of my plans, what happened with my life. And every year I arrive at the same answer – I don’t know. These rantings have been a birthday ritual actually. Every essay asks, “What’s the point of living? What’s in store for me?” Reality is questioned, love and faith viewed with skepticism. Every essay ends with a resolution that I will face life head-on, rotten as it is. What has life done to disappoint me? I’m not sure, but I’m not happy with mine. But I see my life is quite a breeze compared to others’. I eat three (or more) times a day, I have a job, and I have my family and friends. All right, I’m an asshole. It’s just me and my I-am-the-center-of-the-universe belief (which is so hard to unlearn). As Alexander Pope puts it, “All looks yellow to a jaundiced eye.” Well, at least I am self-aware. That’s a good start, isn’t it?
*Juvenile sounds rather negative, probably because it’s been associated with the word “delinquency” for so long, but it only means “young, youth, or adolescent”. I just couldn’t find a word that starts with the letter J (I’ve been trying to complete the alphabet with my entries’ titles.). At any rate, my sister who’s a Social Work major says “juvenile delinquent” is an obsolete phrase and it has been replaced with “children in conflict with the law”, or CICL,to be more politically correct. Wala lang…

Friday, September 08, 2006

I Not Stupid

That’s the title of the first Singaporean film I ever saw. I didn’t know it was Singaporean until I saw its sequel being featured on MTV Screen. Our Asian neighbors all look alike so I don’t quite know how to make a distinction.

The film is a story of three grade school boys struggling to do well with their studies despite being in the EM3, the lowest and “hopeless” section. It shows several similarities between their society and ours. First is the unquestioning belief in Western talent, comically exposed in the advertising agency sequence wherein one of the kids’ father, a businessman, hires an advertiser to promote his product. A Singaporean presents his concept but it is bluntly rejected, only to be beaten by an American who presents exactly the same thing. Then there’s the preference for English and Math. These subjects are made the measure of students’ intellectual capacity. Those in the EM3 section are presumably weak in these subjects and are discriminated against. To make matters worse, authorities do not address the issue, believing that the kids are a bunch of hopeless cases anyway so the best way to deal with them is to let them be. An idealistic young teacher finds that the students may not excel in English and Math but they do in other fields of study. Hence the title, I Not Stupid.

The movie seems to be a mockery of Singaporean society. It makes fun of the authoritarian government and of the people’s blind obedience (Through one of the kids’ mom who bullies her kids around, saying that it’s for their own good). Of course we already know about these things but now we see a Singaporean’s confession to the world. It is all very well especially for us citizens of a developing country, seeing that all their riches come with a price -- that of their freedom. But in the last twenty minutes of the film, all those self-mockery builds up as a big joke on us. Every problem is solved, and in the end, the bullying mother is right after all – “Where will your freedom bring you? Be thankful you have a good and responsible mother. Believe me, it’s for your own good.” With the political and economic crisis plaguing our country now, it is quite easy to believe her indeed.

The first three quarters of the film is cute and funny until it gets personal (or racial?), I wonder how I was able to sit through it. The offense takes place in the kidnapping sequence, when the rich and spoiled kid whines “I don’t know how to butter my bread or make my coffee.” The kidnapper then snaps, “I’m a kidnapper, not your Filipino maid!” The scriptwriters could easily delete “Filipino” and still get their point across but they put it anyway. And this film is coming from the country responsible for Flor Contemplacion’s death and guilty of countless OFW abuses besides. I get the urge to scream “Yes you are!” in reply to the movie’s title.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happiness is a state of mind (?)

Two quarters of a year in a job I’m not too keen of is quite an accomplishment, especially for a “get-this-day-over-with” type of person like me. I can only wonder how I managed to survive six months of wishing that the present day be over soon and praying that the next one be better than the last.
So, what exactly do I hate about my work? Uhm, it’s hard to point one precise reason, but I do have quite a number of little peeves that form a huge monster when added up.

1. Blah and boring. Unless you think staring at the computer monitor is exciting.
2. I can’t stand questions. With my job, I get to encounter questions right and left, but I hate it most when I’m asked questions I have no answer to. Like “Bakit si Oyo Boy ang love interest ni Sabina? Ang sagwa!”
3. It entails heavy responsibility. One wrong move and everybody is getting on your back and berating you for not being smart enough to handle things.
4. I hate people (“hate” seems too strong a word. All right, dislike). I’ve been a loner all my life and here I am, trying to be nice to a hundred people who destroy my peace everyday. It’s just too much…

To cut the long story short, I’m not happy. Funny how I used to think how big a crap this “happiness” thing is, that it is just a state of mind and if you induce your brain cells to produce pleasure hormones everything will be all right. But now I know better. Sure, you can fake satisfaction in other endeavors (*wink*) and get away with it too, but the heart is far more intelligent than what we were made to believe.

Happiness is a vitamin that nourishes the soul, the absence of which is detrimental to one’s being.
Case in point:
Friend: Mukha kang ngarag.
Me: Talaga? (I couldn’t believe it, since last week was the idlest period of my stay here)
Friend: Oo no. Busy ba?
Me: Medyo (Of course, I lied. I didn’t want to reveal that I have the extraordinary ability of harassing myself).
Friend: Ako rin nga e. (And off she went to enumerate her To-do list. I wonder how she manages to look okay, when her activities sound like a death sentence to me.)

But after all these rants, I will probably just stick to where I am and think that I will still be unhappy anyway if I have nothing to pay my dear landlady with… (sigh)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Good Times Revisited

Sixteen months. I couldn’t believe it’s been that long. Labing-anim na buwan na palang walang direksyon ang buhay ko. But since this piece is supposed to be happy, I will not dwell on that, hehe.

So after sixteen months of not seeing each other, the members of the K2 block reunited. I call it a mini-reunion, for only five were present. Not that nilangaw kami, quorum na nga yun e. Walo lang kasi kami sa block, nag-transfer ang isa at absentee blockmate ang isa pa, kaya bale anim lang kami (sus, pinahaba pa ang kwento!). It was the first time we’ve seen each other after graduating from college, and if not for the scheduled claiming of the yearbook that day, we wouldn’t have visited our dear old MassComm.

The girls of K2 are as crazy as ever – Kia was her usual jolly madaldal self, Christina was part serious, part chatty, Vanessa was lively despite the lack of sleep, and Virge… well, I didn’t observe her much because we see each other more often than the rest. Oh, her gold shoes, they were glittering!

I daresay they didn’t change much, but I am still putting forth some transformations. One is now driving a company-provided car with fuel allowance to boot, one is currently enrolled in baking class, and the other two are in law school (surprisingly, they're quite OK).

Snaps of conversation which my cerebrum managed to capture:

I. Vani, Virge, Cess (CMC Canteen).
Vani poring over some photocopied readings
Virge: Buti naaalala mo kahit once mo lang nabasa. Ako siguro tatlong beses dapat…
Vani: Kailangan eh.. hay, inaantok na ako...
Cess: Tulog ka muna. 4 pa naman yung class mo di ba?

II. Kia, Virge, Cess (Oz Cafe)
Kia: Di ba, anong pagkakakilala nyo sakin? Mabait naman ako di ba?
Virge & Cess: (micropause) Oo naman! (grin)

III.Kia, Virge, Vani, Chris, Cess (Teriyaki Boy, Libis)
Cess: I-congratulate nyo ko, one week na akong hindi nagkakape!
Chris: Wow, congratulations.
Kia: Kanina kaya…
Cess: Shet, oo nga ano. Kape pala yun, di ko napansin. Malamig kasi e (iced mocha).




We signed our pages on the yearbook with messages we never say to each other in person. Hay, ganon yata talaga pag Journ, puro sulat. I love you K2 ! We parted ways, with a promise to get together again when our schedules permit. And I’d like to add, when Kia has better parking abilities, haha!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Florita and the Bird*

This blog has been barren for quite some time. I’m either too busy or too lazy. Last week, something happened that made me want to write again.

The sky was dark, the downpour was relentless, and the wind was blowing hard. The city was under Florita’s rage. Waking up was a struggle, but I only had two options – stay in the warmth of my bed and suffer in the wrath of my boss, or brave the tempest and be, uhm, brave?

So I set off to work. My pants were drenched a few meters from the door of our apartment and my umbrella was a wreck (almost). To make matters worse, PUVs suddenly became extinct.

While I was waiting for a ride, a little bird fell from one of the trees lining the street. It plunged into the gutter. It moved its young wings with great effort, but it was in vain. I wanted to help the poor creature but all I was able to do was stand and stare, and I wonder why. It made me feel uncomfortable. When a Jeepney stopped, I immediately got on, leaving the bird still in the gutter. I could almost hear it cry for help.

The bird was running (or flying) in my mind the whole time during my trip to the office. Why haven’t I bothered to help it?

As I was traversing the few meters from the foot of MRT-Kamuning to the gate of the office, a sound caught my attention. There was an old man playing an equally old guitar and singing old songs to passers-by. Amidst the storm. Albeit the weather was a bit kinder in this part of the metro, I still couldn’t help but pity him. But then, I left him behind and hurried to work.

The image of the little bird flashed in my mind, followed by the old man’s. It was a montage sequence that recurred throughout the day. My stomach was heavy with guilt. Why haven’t I bothered?

Outside, the sky was weeping for me.
*The title maybe too children’s story-like, or too sleazy (*grin*) – as I.A. Richards puts it, “Meaning resides in people, not in words” (uuy, Comm 140!).

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Eyeball

We've been together for thirteen months and twenty-two days but only a few of our friends know about it. We don't even have pictures in Friendster. "Walang evidence," as he puts it, only that little line that says we are "in a relationship". Not that ours is a case we have to defend in court. But I admit, it's a bit weird.

So one day, we spent a whole afternoon taking pictures of ourselves. We really didn't intend to upload everything on the web. It's just me and my exhibitionist tendencies (hahaha!). At any rate, I asked for his permission and he consented.
*****


Hindi naman kami galit sa camera...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Delayed


Three months ago. Isa pa akong dakilang bum noon kaya nakuha ko pang magpa-umaga sa Fair. Maliban sa mangilan-ngilang kaklase ay puro bagong mukha na ang naroon. Feeling ko tuloy antanda ko na. Pero ganoon pa rin naman ang Fair – matao, maingay, magulo. Isang bagay lang ang bago – ang pagkakaroon ng access sa likod ng entablado.

Delayed ang pangalan ng banda niya. Tulad ng kuwentong ito (na hindi lang delayed, expired pa). Gayunpaman, ipo-post ko pa rin dahil gusto kong magmaganda, wahaha!
Let's sit, let's talk... One moment with Hale

Hindi naman ako fan pero cute kasi si Champ...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Completely and utterly _______.

Why the city in the pink of health implemented its “car-less day” policy on a Monday is beyond reason, like Kellie Pickler’s stay in the Top 6 of American Idol (a topic deserving a different article altogether). So the city government blocked the main thoroughfares, leaving both public utility and private vehicles congesting the narrow backstreets. On a Monday!

My usual one-hour travel from home to work turned a quarter longer. After days of buzzer-beating, poor me have spent all the grace periods for the month, and half for next month on top of it. I was left with no choice but to expect a written reprimand and salary deduction come next pay day. =(

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu


Wala na ang kopya ko pero kamakailan lang, bumili ako ng bago. Ewan kung saan ko siya gagamitin. Basta nung nakita ko yung dilaw na pabalat at ang mag-inang nakasalampak sa sahig na mukhang enjoy na enjoy sa pagbabasa e naisip kong bumili.
Ito ang unang libro ko. Malamang kayo rin. “Mga Unang Hakbang sa Pagbasa” pala ang pamagat nito. Kilala ko lang kasi ito sa tawag na Abakada. Hindi ko pa rin lubos maisip kung paanong mula sa papantig na pagbabasa (ba-ba, ku-ba, ka-bi-bi, etc.) ay natuto tayong umunawa ng mga aklat na tulad ng The Da Vinci Code at Kama Sutra for Dummies (huh?). Nakakamangha.
Ngayon ko lang din napansin ang ilang nakakatuwa/nakakatawang laman ng aklat: May mapamintas (“Si Aling Nena ay mataba”), may sarcastic (“Naglilinis ka ba ng ngipin?”), merong morbid (“Mahabag ka sa batang binugbog,” “Ang bata ay bumitiw sa kalabaw”). At ang runaway winner, “Ibig kong kumain ng sisiw.”
*****
Pagsasanay. Basahin at gamitin sa pangungusap:
tala sa noo
luha sa mata
suha sa tasa
babae sa babae
binata sa binibini
Hindi ko na maalala kung paano ko sinagot ang pagsasanay. Lalo na yung huling dalawang grupo ng mga salita…
*****
Alam nating lahat na ang Harry Potter ay kay JK Rowling, ang LOTR ay kay JRR Tolkien, at ang Xerex Xaviera ay kay Xerex, pero alam ba natin kung sino ang naghanda nga aklat na angturo sa atin kung paano basahin ang mga nasabing akda? Sabi sa title page, siya si Luningning A. Salvador. Walang "About the Author" ang aklat kaya wala rin akong masabi tungkol sa kanya. Gayunpaman,
taos-pusong pasasalamat ang ipinaaabot ko (saan man siya naroroon) dahil sa kanyang pagsisikap na ipakilala sa atin ang mga "pangunang tunog at pagsasama-sama nito na siyang bumubuo sa mga salita sa Wikang Pilipino.” Amen.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Anderweyt

My latest visit to a physician revealed that I am underweight. I’m actually 2.5 kilos (yes, you read that right) short of my ideal weight. And I’m not bragging. Whoever popularized the idea that being thin is beautiful must be crazy, but those who bought the idea are crazier. Really, what is desirable about being waif-like?
So now the Weight Loss Industry is making a killing in the market. A whole line of products and services were developed to help people become “better people,” as if obesity is a criminal offense. And because those behind the industry wanted to help, they have devised different approaches for different types of people – for the lazy majority, there are miracle pills and fat eliminators; for the health-conscious few, there are diet and exercise systems; and for the rest, there’s Lindsay Lohan.
I’ve never been a weight-watcher. I never count my cups of rice, so why bother with calorie count? Sometimes I devour food good enough for three people, never minding that Gluttony is one of the Deadly Capital Sins. But isn’t it a greater sin to deliberately starve myself and let food go to waste when half of the people on this planet is dying of hunger?
My weight loss went unnoticed for some time, even with the fact that my pants, one by one, screamed for a belt. I thought they were just old and worn, and as my Mom puts it, “lustred.” Loose thread. Whatever. Until I met some old friends who commented on how thin I looked. So for the first time in ages, I actually checked my waistline with a tape measure. True enough, I’m now an emaciated version of the eighteen-year old me. But then, the eighteen-year old me was bloated anyway, so I guess I’m not in a very bad shape at present. I wonder how that happened, when I’ve been cultivating a very sedentary lifestyle and violating every Healthy Eating Tips from the Xenical brochure. (My possession of which is rather anomalous, hehe.)
I quote:
1. Avoid heavy fried food breakfast.
2. Avoid eating meals with big portions.
3. Avoid eating high-fat foods. Skip butter or mayonnaise on sandwiches and toast…
4. Avoid frying foods.
5. Don’t eat junk foods like chocolate bars and chips.
6. Minimize alcohol intake since it is high in calories.
7. Read labels and aim to buy foods with 5 grams of fat or less per serving.
8. Avoid creamy dishes and heavy desserts…
9. If you can’t avoid fast foods, eat simple choices in smaller portions i.e. order a regular burger, share a dessert with someone, eat half a hamburger or order a small-sized French fries.

And there are prescribed “correct food portions to eat” -- pancake about the size of a compact disc, garlic bread about the size of a facial soap, 1 ½ ounces cheese about the size of a 9-volt battery (huh?), etc.

How are we to survive if we follow all that? We’ll all suffer from memory gap I suppose (“Bawal ang pork…”).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Comfort Room

Hindi ako iyakin. Noong bata pa ako, hindi ako umiiyak kahit pagtulungan pa ako ng mga bully kong kaklase. Nakakahiya kasi. Paniwala ko, isang kahinaan ang pag-iyak. Para bang hindi ko kayang alagaan ang sarili ko. Isa pa, wala namang mabuting idudulot iyon. Mamumula lang ang mga mata ko.Uusisain lang ako ng mga makakakita.
Natuto akong magpanggap. Pili ang emosyong hinayaan kong makita -- tuwa at galit lang, kung may iba man, iyon ay tuwang-tuwa, galit na galit, medyo natutuwa, at medyo galit. Kapag medyo na-touch ako sa pinanood sa TV o pelikula, palihim din ang pagluha ko. Minsan kasi, tinawanan ako ng mga pinsan ko. Sabi ko tuloy, "Marumi lang ang mata ko, kailangang linisin." Ewan. Hindi naman ako lalake.
Iilan pa lamang ang taong nakakita sa pag-iyak ko. Maliban sa mga kapamilya, dalawa lang siguro. Nitong mga nakaraang araw, napapadalas ang pag-iyak ko. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Naging masyado na yata akong emosyonal. Pero siyempre, patago pa rin.
Kanina, paglabas ko sa banyo nasita ako. "Bakit mapula ang mata mo?" Sagot ko na lang, "Mahapdi sa mata yung shampoo e."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Almost Absent

...on my second day at work. All because of the blasted student ID that didn't make its existence felt. I don't have a company ID yet and although I have an entry permit, I'm still required to present a valid ID (who says a student ID is not valid when you've been a graduate for a year?). Good thing the guard accepted my Laking National Card plus 1x1 picture. You may call it resourcefulness. I say it's charm.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Simple Wants

If you were to die in three days, what would you want to do? Phil Keoghan (No Opportunities Wasted) asked that on Oprah a couple of weeks ago. I realized I'm one of many who wouldn't know how to answer it, so I made a list of the things I'd like to experience before "I face my final curtain." I must have spent two days making the list up. Man, if I were really to die in three days, I'd only have a day to do the things I thought of! It's crazy.

1) sing and dance in the rain. I used to do this when I was a kid, and I'd do it naked. Too bad, I have to let go of the naked part now...
2) visit a foreign country. Probably France or Italy, and maybe infuse some romance into my veins in the process.
3) cook something special for someone. The most complicated bit of cooking I've done for someone was tortang talong. Don't laugh. This recipe involves two stages -- roasting the eggplant and frying it with egg. For someone with below-average culinary capacity, that requires a lot of effort.
4) try an extreme sport. No opportunity has presented itself so far.
5) witness a meteor shower. And I don't need any of the F4 guys to enjoy it.
6) appear on TV. (...?)
7) give birth. Whoa!
8) live in a totally different environment. In a place with no cell phones and computers and TVs...
9) walk down the aisle. Someone said that walking down the aisle is the greatest form of excercise one could take. I say it's a Death March. Or a prelude to a lifetime of torture. I'm willing to inflict it nonetheless (insert evil laugh here).
10) make other people happy. The believability factor of this one must be closer to nil after reading #9... Sure, I'm a jaded and self-centered *itch, but I do try to not make life difficult for others. (With the possible exception of my mom, who I suppose has gotten used to me and my antics anyway.)

One dream experience that is sure to benefit humanity but didn't quite make it to the list is -- bang Dubya's and Gloria's heads against each other. I'll be content doing that to any of them, with a little help from a wall or something. Uh, is that inciting to sedition?

 

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Clear and Present Danger

President Arroyo and her minions evidently thought there was such thing yesterday, when she put the entire nation under a state of emergency with Proclamation No. 1017. It was her response to the rumors of coup attempt which have been circulating since god-knows-when and which were eventually "confirmed" and "successfully foiled" by the Armed Forces. Wasn't she contradicting herself? Where the heck was clear and present danger when she herself said "napigil na ng pamahalaan itong iligal na pagkilos"? And who were making those illegal actions anyway? House Speaker Jose de Venecia, in an attempt to enlighten us on the matter, claimed that the Rightists were teaming up with the Leftists to destabilize the government. That's a pretty sweeping statement, but I'm glad there exist only two sides. Suppose there were Uppers and Downers? It wouldn't matter. They'd all be ganging up on GMA anyway.
*****
Actions do speak louder than words. So the Commander-In-Chief, probably thinking , "I'm dead serious and you better know it," deployed entire battalions of crowd disturbance management units to disturb the crowd, I mean, to police the ranks of the groups scheduled to assemble and commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first EDSA Revolution. All mass actions, including those earlier granted with permits, were declared illegal. There were warrantless arrests and violent dispersals. Isn't it ironic that an event commemorating the restoration of democracy was met with thoroughly undemocratic schemes? OK, let's just pretend that EDSA I didn't happen. It's still Marcos up there, who probably had sex change and grew a mole. It is easier to take things that way, than to know that People Power really took place, and it's been twenty years, and nothing has changed.
*****
I don't know, but I think the clearer and more pressing danger we are suffering from is not another coup de etat but a really bad case of historical amnesia.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Valentine Special?

Ang Pag-Ibig. Bow.
Katuwaan lamang ang tangka nitong tula
At bigyang-kulay ang nakakasawang paksa
Huwag sanang mapikon sa mga hirit ko
Mga makatang nabanggit at hindi magmulto.

Si Balagtas ang bida sa lokal na eksena
Makapangyarihang pag-ibig, pinapurihan niya.
Upang ito'y masunod, lahat daw ay hahamakin!
Paano naman kung wala nang makain?
Sapat ba ang pag-ibig upang di kabagin?
Sa kabilang panig naman ng daigdig

Si William Shakespeare ang dakilang mangingibig.
Binigyang-katwiran itong kahangalan
At sinabing bulag ang nagmamahalan.
Hindi kaya sila ay may muta lamang?

Si Alfred Lord Tennyson ay nariyan
Para sa mga mangingibig na talunan
Mabuti pa raw ang umibig at mabigo
Kaysa maduwag at di man lang sumubo.
Kanyang pakonsuwelo, isang magandang payo!

Ayon kay Jane Austen na isang nobelista,
Pag-ibig daw ay mabisang pampaganda.
Mangyari kasi pag inlove ay blooming.
Ito nga ba'y epekto ng nasabing damdamin
O gumaganda lamang dahil takot kaliwain?
*****


I didn't mean to sound cynical. I just wanted to look at things in a pragmatic way, now that the season of being romantic has set in. It is quite hard to maintain a detached attitude, especially so because the media have been endlessly churning out materials falling under the Romance category -- TV shows talking about people's "one true love" and what they had to go through to find it, movies telling stories of how love conquers all, love songs (well, they are always around regardless of the time of the year, only there is a terrible influx of radio requests for them at present) extolling the virtues of Cupid's crime. Even those who are not so successful in this department take pleasure in sipping from Love's cup, nevermind that it is the cup of other/fictitious people.

I just want to say that in general, Art has a tendency to exaggerate Love, so don't go searching for the literary/romantic flick factor in yours. Sure, Sweet November, My Sassy Girl, Pretty Woman, Amelie, and The Other Sister are stories we all love for their espousal of the love-is-all-that-matters theme. Unfortunately for us, they don't happen in real life. Go watch Umbrellas of Cherbourg instead. With a line that goes, "People die of love only in the movies," you can never go wrong. Or Ring, and let Sadako scare the romance out of you. But still, the best way to forget the occasion is to watch news programs on TV and try to remember how many times has the price of oil gone up since tha start of the year.
*****
Here's another attempt at pragmaticism, written a day after V-Day of last year:
Araw ng mga Puso
Lumipas ang araw na inaabangan
Ng mga nilalang na nagmamahalan
Upang ang pag-ibig ay maipadama
Di lamang sa irog, pati na sa madla.
Tunay ngang umulan ng "pagmamahal"
Sa presyo ng rosas, mapapatigagal.
Idagdag pa ang cards na todo ang kita --
Greeting, prepaid, o credit din kaya.
Talagang hindi ko madalumat
Ang pag-ibig ba'y may presyo dapat?
Kung gayo'y di na yata praktikal
Sa panahon ng krisis na ikaw ay magmahal?
Dapat nang wakasan ang sistemang ito
Araw ng Pag-ibig, komersyalisado.
Hindi naman kaya bitter lamang ako?
Mangyari po kasi ay walang Valentino!
*****
Funny how little my views have changed, despite the eventual negation of the second-to-the-last word. Am I being too much of a Valentine scrooge?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Macho si Machete

"Estatwang kahoy pa lamang siya'y binigyan na niya ng kaganapan ang aking pagkababae."

So said Rita Avila in Machete: Estatwang Buhay. Or at least that was the tagline in the movie's poster. I have no idea how a statue could do that, or more appropriately, how a woman could do that to a statue. Indeed, it would have looked like necrophilia. But we all know the story -- the statue comes to life at midnight and maybe that's when he made Rita's womanhood complete. He's not just a estatwang kahoy after all.

During one of my solitary rambles, my feet brought me to MOWELFUND Film Institute and there I visited the Museum of Philippine Cinema. Rather, I went to visit the library; the museum's existence hitherto unheard-of but it was in the same building so I checked it out. There I found the real Machete, the same statue they used in the movie. I daresay it looked better than the pre-Rizal Cesar Montano who played the a-bit-disappointing animated version.

I never was a fan of the movie, nor of its remake (the one with Rosanna Roces and Gardo Versoza) but the sight of the damaged prop was dejecting -- all fingers on its left hand were mutilated. I'm not sure if the mutilation was part of the movie's plot, probably some ruffian did it on purpose for whatever gratification he would derive. Pity it's not well-taken care of, to think it is from one of the landmark films of its time. OK, I exaggerate by saying "landmark" but at least it's one of the movies we remember, unlike Christina Moran:Ang Babaeng Palaban, Huwag Mong Buhayin ang Bangkay, Super Inday and the Golden Bibe, and other films you don't remember for their storylines but for their outrageous titles. And it is our version of the Pygmalion-Galatea tale too.

Other stuff of interest were old movie posters and magazines (proofs of the theory that the 80s is the era that style forgot), invitations to the Manila International Film Festival, and Marcos's treatise on films' contribution to his New Society. Another remarkable item on display was the white robe that Nora Aunor donned in Himala. Now that I think about it, this last item deserves more than just being mentioned. It should have been my main subject, it coming from a milestone in the history of Pinoy cinema. But what can I do? Machete and the little loincloth that covered his you-know-what interested me more. *grin*

Interesting trivia: Both Machetes, Cesar Montano and Gardo Versoza would play national heroes later in their career. They both starred in Marilou Diaz-Abaya's Jose Rizal, Montano as the title character, while Versoza was Andres Bonifacio. That's what I call career growth...


Monday, January 23, 2006

Euphoric

So our man Pacman emerged victorous after all. The much-hyped grudge rematch with Erik "El Terible" Morales had made me apprehensive for some time. El Terible was hibernating in the South American mountains, not giving a hint on how terible he would be inside the ring, while Pacquiao was preparing in LA for all the world to see, assuring every Pinoy that he would beat his opponent (which made me go, "Siguruhin mo lang a."). Then there's TV Patrol giving the blow-by-blow account of Manny's preparations day after day after day, and Team Pacquiao was all too cooperative, filling us in on the new techniques and "secret" weapon that Pacman would be using. But then again, the Mexican media must have covered (or uncovered) their idol in much the same way too. Except, maybe, that Morales didn't have an album released, hehehe.

The day of The Battle came. I was up in front of the television as early as 10am, but of course, there were three undercard fights that lasted til 1pm (My energy waned as the time drew nearer, and my siblings refused to have lunch before the fight. Happily, we lunched at three...). Then came the singing of the National Anthems. Jennifer Bautista sang Lupang Hinirang quite fine, except for the last line where she went grossly off-key. It was a bad premonition, I thought. But that's not the end of it. The Mexicans had Grammy winner
Jon Secada for their anthem! Men, why didn't we send in Martin Nievera? (I later learned that the girl is connected with the people of Games and Amusement Board and with Sen. Bong Revilla Jr. too. Oh, well...).


Naturally, every Filipino wanted Pacman to win, but my sister was rabid in expressing this desire: "Pabagsakin mo na!" she cheered a few seconds into the first round. Of course, she was asking for the moon; Morales has never been knocked out in his entire career. Besides, the audience, especially those who shelled off 300-500 bucks to watch the commercial-free coverage in theaters wouldn't be too happy. Pacquiao's punches however, proved it wasn't wishful thinking as Morales almost went down as early as the second round. At the end of the sixth round, I knew it was possible. The end came at the tenth round, when Morales went down barely seconds after getting up from the first knock down. It was such a sweet revenge.

Para sa 'yo ang suntok na 'to...


Now that Pacman has won, we'll never hear excuses of his having bad gloves/socks/promoter. I heard Morales was complaining of aching legs while into the fight. Hindi kasi siya nag-Alaxan e.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tawag ka ni Aling Suming!

Ito ang pamagat ng reunion ng mga CMC alumni na gaganapin sa darating na Sabado. Nagulat nga ako nang marinig ko ang radio ad kanina. Alumni Homecoming? Tumatanda na talaga ako.

E, sino ba si Aling Suming? Siya ang records officer (di ko maalala ang opisyal na titulo niya) ng Kolehiyo ng Pangmadlang Komunikasyon. Ewan kung kelan siya nagsimula sa trabahong iyon pero natitiyak kong may katagalan na. Ibang level kasi ang paggalang at pagmamahal na ipinapakita ng mga MassComm pipol sa kanya.

Sa tanang buhay ko sa Kolehiyo, minsan lang ako nagkaroon ng close encounters with Aling Suming. Ikalawang buwan ko pa lang noon sa Unibersidad, natatakot pero nananabik sa maraming bagay. Hindi ko alam kung sadyang ang kumbinasyon ng takot at pananabik ay katangahan pero sa kaso ko, ganon ang nangyari. Opening noon ng UAAP Season 6_. Siyempre required. Mag-isa akong nagtungo sa Araneta Coliseum dahil iniwan ako ng mga walanghiya kong kaibigan (hehe, peace!). Nang akmang dudukutin ko na ang aking wallet, hindi ko ito matagpuan. Andon lahat: ang ID (awa ng Diyos e yung cartolinang green na temporary pa lang), Form 5, ATM card, Laking National Card, Suki Card, pera, at yung ticket sa event. At ang pinakamasaklap, andon din yung picture ng high school crush ko (hikbi!). Buti na lang, may bente pa ako sa bulsa, nakauwi pa rin ako nang maluwalhati.
Pagdating sa dormitoryo, lost na lost ako. Mawala ba naman ang lahat ng katibayan ng aking pagkatao? Que horror! Matapos ang mahaba-habang iyakan, nagpasya akong ayusin ang lahat (wala akong choice). May anghel na nagbulong sa akin, lumapit daw ako sa admin ng kolehiyo para gawin yon.
--Ma'am, nawala po ang Form 5 at ID ko. Ano pong gagawin ko?
--Doon ka kay Aling Suming.
Taray, di man lang tumingin sakin. Parusa ba yon sa katangahan?
--Good morning po. Ma'am, saan po ako makakakuha ng copy ng Form 5?
--Bakit, anong nangyari? Tanong ng matanda na kalaunan ay napag-alaman kong si Aling Suming pala.
Siyempre, inilahad ko ang blow-by-blow account. Nalaman niya na first year ako (at promdi pa) at binigyan niya ako ng payo: Naku, sadyang marami ang masasamang-loob dito sa Maynila. Sa hirap kasi ng buhay... Kaya sa susunod, mag-iingat ka. Ano nga yung student number mo?
--2001-5**3* po.
--Ipa-photocopy mo to tapos ibalik mo dito pagkatapos ha? Hindi ka gagraduate pag di mo binalik. Diyan ka na lang sa library para malapit, aniya sabay abot sakin ng Dean's Copy ng Form 5.
Pagbalik ko, sinabi niya kung ano-ano ang mga dapat kong gawin para makakuha ng bagong ID at muli akong pinayuhang mag-ingat sa magulong mundo ng Maynila. May pahabol pa, mag-aral daw ako nang mabuti.
Pagkatapos non, hindi ko na siya masyadong napagkikita. Mabait kasi akong estudyante kaya hindi ako naipapadala sa admin office (harhar!). So far, nasunod ko naman ang mga payo niya, maliban sa huli.
Ngayong tumatawag siya, pagkakataon ko naman ang makinig. Sana magkita kami ulit. Hindi ko kasi naikuwento noon yung tungkol sa picture ng high school crush ko.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Anong meron ang taong happy?

"E di happiness!" I shouted at the idiot box as the ad played. Before, I never really cared about commercials; I considered them as interruptions and I would switch channels as soon as they begin. Recently, however, I've been watching all the advertisements in all the TV programs I watch, believing they are somehow part of the programs that would not exist anyway without the sponsors.


I was amazed at how downright idiotic some (or most) are, aside from the obvious exaggerations they employ to catch attention and eventually increase sales. Talk about advertising ethics.


So what's my point? I dunno. I guess I was just annoyed at how my sister reacted to my answer to that ad's question. The choices are a)energy b)pagod. And she said, "Haha, mali!" and went on laughing long after the ad (and the program in which the ad was shown) was over. But really, someone can have all the energy in the world and still be unhappy... Never mind that the ad was for a multivitamin or something...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Panimulang Pagtalakay sa Pagbabagong-Buhay

Bagong Taon na. Pihadong tiba-tiba na naman ang mga nilalang na may access sa hinaharap. Hindi ko pa rin maunawaan kung bakit marami ang nahuhumaling na silipin ang kanilang kapalaran gayong wala namang katiyakan kung may nakikita nga ang mga manghuhula sa mga bola at baraha.
Ewan. Basta ako, kuntento na sa dahan-dahang pagtuklas sa kinabukasan. Bahala na ang mga tala sa kalangitan kung aayon sila sa akin. Hindi ko na rin tatangkaing magpa-feng shui para dapuan ng suwerte. Sabi nga ng guest speaker sa graduation namin nung high school -- opo, nakikinig ako sa mga speech -- "Luck is hard work. The harder a (wo)man works, the luckier (s)he gets."
_______ Bagong Taon sa inyong lahat. Kayo na ang bahalang magpuno ng adjective sa patlang. Tutal, nasa inyong mga kamay naman ang kahihinatnan ng inyong bagong taon.

Askal













Bagong Taon pala ay Taon ng Aso
Anong kapalaran kaya'ng dala nito?
Katulad ng mga panahong nagdaan
Ang nakatakda'y hindi mahuhulaan.
Kaya ako ngayon ay maghihinuha
Gamit ang common sense at hindi baraha.
"Kung anong itinanim ay siyang aanihin,"
Iya'y kasabihang madaling unawain.
Sa aking palagay ang ating aasahan,
Ay pagpapatuloy ng ating nakaraan
Hindi magwawakas ang malas na lubos
Maliban na lamang kung tayo'y kikilos.