Saturday, April 23, 2005

When You Take a Trip with Classmates

1. If you cannot travel light, make sure you go with people that do. That way, you can have them carry your other bags. Better yet, palit na lang kayo ng dala.

2. If you have baon, make sure it's really what you think it is. Kung hindi sure, wag i-announce. And don't insist it's porkchop that only looks like chicken. After all, do you really expect porkchops from a joint named Chicken Chicken?

3. Don't lose hope. Even when you arrive at a strange place at dawn, not sure where you're sleeping that night. There's always the Coast Guard anyway. Keep your eyes open for places that have giant streamers screaming Budget Rooms, even if the resident butler is a bald tennis player from Middle Earth named Kid, or if the bathrooms have great big holes as windows with no curtains. We call it skylight. Nothing can beat 100 bucks a night. Oh yeah, the owner has a brilliant idea how the Americans can get back at Muslims for the 9/11 thing. Freako.

3. If you're not sure about a place to stay, have breakfast anyway. Makes you forget about the possibility of sleeping with the coast guards. Don't limit your choices to what you see. Go to the palengke and buy what you want to eat, and make them cook it.

4. Negotiate with the boatman. Haggle. Siguraduhin lang na wala syang kasamang maliit na anak. Promise.

5. Don't scream when Kid from Middle Earth suddenly taps you on the shoulder while having breakfast to say that the rooms are now available. Again, don't scream if he suddenly vanishes.

6. Never underestimate the power of sunblock. Apply liberally to exposed skin, but not the eyes. That is if you don't want Buko Salad ice cream in your burned skin, together with kaong and nata bits.

7. Bring along a licensed professional to compute expenses. He would make a nice little spreadsheet complete with subtotals, and negatives in parentheses.

8. For maximum enjoyment, learn to trust the lifevest.

9. Again, bring along a member of the Philippine Navy so he can personally babysit all of you while swimming.

10. Don't believe everything you see in Finding Nemo. Clown fishes are not funny, they can be mean and vicious creatures. Ok, he or she might have been a little irritated with all the fingers crowding around his anemone, or that he/she was only acting on instinct to protect little Nemo, but he still has no right to come after us.

11. Don't panic if clown fishes run after you, it will in due turn cause the Navy babysitter to panic.

12. Not all transparent mushroom-shaped creatures are jellyfishes. But if they suddenly outnumber you a hundred to one, swim like hell back to the boat.

13. If you cannot swim like hell, have the babysitter pull you to safety with a pole.

14. Not all starfishes are cute and named Patrick. Some look like characters from Alien 3.

15. Let me reiterate, insist to your boatman that he should leave his little girl at home. Otherwise, this little girl will hold your feet while you swim and cause you to have a few gulps of seawater. Resist the urge to make sabunot her long hair.

16. Lying down on the beach for some time will cause the sand to stick into every hiding place in your swimsuit, not to mention your hair. It's still sand and it's itchy, even if it is indeed powdery fine.

17. While you're in the process of taking out the sand underwater, make sure that the boy swimming towards the lot of you is not wearing prescription goggles. He swore he didn't see anything, though.

18. Don't be overwhelmed by all the food you ordered. Trust me, you will finish everything.

19. Wag maarte pag pipicturean, pero pag ngumiti hanggang third molar.

20. Our babysitter has no friends. Be nice to him.

21. While snorkling with friends, don't sing the themesong of Jaws. They might drown you.

22. Discussing the future of the Catholic Church while planning how to ditch the little girl can be quite enlightening.

23. Pag sinabihan ka na "ang lalaki pala ng ngipin mo," take it as a compliment.

24. It's my birthday tomorrow, and I want an advance copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, an Oly c8080, a new PC or better yet, a G4, some new good books and CDs, and a Palm. Sigh...I'm old.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Thicker Than H2O

I'm off to Tayabas tomorrow with my cousins. Haven't seen them for a while, two years I think, so I'm pretty excited to see them. I practically grew up with them when I lived in their house in Bacolod for seven years. I saw them grow up, from little kids to towering monsters with mustache. How time flies.

Their mother is my mother's sister, and she has four kids, three boys and a girl. I love every one of them like my own siblings, and each one of them is special, but my baby is Andrew. He was literally a baby when I moved in with them, and when I left he was in the second grade.

I used to give him baths, play with him, take him around the village so he can get out of everybody's way (he's a feisty little boy). I was there when he was a drooling two year old, and when he did his recital as a plant in Kindergarten. I think he was a plant, because the costume's all green.

Whenever I give him a bath we used to sing that Aladdin themesong (shiny shimmery splendid) together. Of course he was Aladdin, and he knew the lyrics but can't pronounce it properly. We had our own fights - he punches me and I wouldn't talk to him for the rest of the day. He was three and I was fifteen.

Then there's Paula, the only girl. She was, and still is, the center of attention, the way she wants it. We slept in the same bed eversince I lived with them. She was such a little drama queen, crying in front of the mirror, or slamming the door and burying her face in the pillows for maximum effect. We just ignore her. She wraps everybody around her little finger, especially my old great-aunts who hangs on her every word. Until now she holds the record of being the only person to ask me if I was still a virgin, and she was nine then.

Angelo, or Angge, is the most principled grade school student I've ever met. If he thinks he's right, he's right, and no matter who you are you can't change that. He's not gonna say sorry if he believes he wasn't at fault. He doesn't like girls who make pa-cute to boys, and just imagine his reaction to girls going to the boys' houses. He's old-fashioned and conservative, and a gentleman.

Martin or Mart, the eldest, is my co-conspirator in our underground lives. My aunt doesn't like it when I'm associated with boys, such is her fear of me having a boyfriend then. I still find ways around it, though, and sometimes when I'm playing hooky at some mall with some boylet, who else would I see there during school hours but Martin. We're both caught red-handed, so we just smile at each other and nod understandingly. NOTE to Mart: you can still save yourself, check yourself in at some rehab center.*

When I left to join my family here in Manila after graduation, I really cried my eyes out. They were my family, and I missed them a lot for quite some time. Since I started working, I see them only whenever I go to Bacolod every two years, and sometimes they come here for a few days.

I miss spending time with them, just bullying and teasing each other. Sometimes we discuss more profound topics, and everybody contributes intelligently. They are almost all adults now, except for Andrew who just graduated from high school. Pakinshet, I'm old.

Can't wait to see them. :-)


* It's not drugs, alcohol, gambling, or Ragnarok addiction. But just as worse.


People ask me why do I have the moon phase thing in the sidebar. I was tempted to tell them "so fucking what, it's my blog" but of course that would have been contradictory to an earlier entry, so I'm gonna explain.

I have trouble remembering what is waxing and waning and what does the new moon look like (it means no moon, right? I'm still confused). And I need to know those things when I do my spells.

Before you stone or lynch or burn me at the stake, let me explain that witchcraft per se is not evil. Witchcraft and witches were denoted as evil when Christianity began to set in, and anything that does not fall into their definition of religion is branded evil. Witches then were pagans, people who believe in the power of nature. I could go on and on about it, but for all our sake just Google it.

Meanwhile, spells are a form of prayer, a ritualized prayer. It's the same thing when you get your rosary and pray for something. Anybody can cast spells, as long as the intention and the emotions are present. It doesn't mean dolls being needled, or a picture burned, or whatever you see in the movies. When a person is really, really mad at somebody, and she mutters something like "Drop dead, you prick", that person is casting a spell.

Now, I need to know the phases of the moon, because when I perform a spell for gaining (i.e., to have a good fortune in business) the moon should be waxing, or going to full. Conversely, if I do something like stopping bad luck, the moon should be waning. It's like that.

People who do witchcraft, the wise ones, would tell you not to do manipulative spells. Manipulative spells are those which interfere with a person's free will. Free will is a universal concept, it transcends the physical world. In short, spells for making somebody fall in love with you is definitely a big no-no. You might also want to consider that whatever you send out, it will come back to you three times three times three. Yep, it's that many.

So stay put while I get my candles, the moon is waxing.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Illusion of Stillness

Class is over, and I'm a bum from work for a month. Under normal circumstances these two things brings about a change in my atmosphere. Not this time, though.

It's so ironic that my last days at work are also the last days of deadline for final papers. You can imagine how stressed I am, just think how I managed to wrap up and turn over work (I am organizing a meeting*), and at the same time come up with something like "Key Learnings and Recommendations for Philippine Companies", all in the span of 3 days. It was pure torture.

On Friday, we finally managed to submit one requirement out of three. I really don't know whether it's from being complacent or negligent or we are all really so busy that we haven't been able to finish things. I was past caring, I was so tired and stressed out already. So when my classmates asked if I wanted to go and have coffee, I went. I really needed the unwinding.

Needless to say, HE didn't like it. He never liked the idea of me going out anyway, except with my family, or with him. I don't know why...well, maybe I do, but can't he just try to be a little more generous (for lack of a better term) for once? So now he's not talking to me.

I'm not gonna think about it now, or anything for that matter, I want to convince myself at least for a day that I am carefree. I'm not going to think about how he's ignoring me, or that I have reaction papers, or the fact that I have to go to the office to turn over things. I'll just lounge around, stuff myself with junk food, and finally finish that last Dan Brown novel on my list. Maybe I'll drag myself to the mall later for some shopping to ease my nerves.


* I don't know if I was in an altered state at the time, but my list of participants had one listed as a Martian as a nationality. It was a joke that we forgot to delete. Hope nobody notices it.