Monday, January 30, 2006


The tattoos we got from our trip to Tagaytay. I wasn't so brave so I had mine on my ankle, while B got his on the upper arm. Superman kasi sya eh.

Should I get a real one?

Public Service Announcement

I am appealing to my (now) four readers to help me spread by word of mouth this announcement:

The Tagaytay Elementary School Batch 1988 is planning a reunion. Those interested may contact me at or Grace Caraan-Robles at I would put my cellphone number but no, I don't want to. Grace went the way of the hermit and disowned her Nokia, so it's really emails for now.

I haven't seen most of my classmates since, well, 1988 except for three or four of them, and just only recently. I would really like to see them again after 15 years. I wouldn't recognize any of them even if they staged a full production of Chicago in front of me.

So please tell anybody you know who's from Tagaytay. I would write all about my childhood years growing up there, but I'm saving the piece for Youngblood. Hah.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ten Things I Don't Know About Me

I didn't know I contained cocaine. Really.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Ruby grace!

  1. Ruby grace was originally green, and actually contained cocaine.
  2. Edinburgh imports three thousand kilograms of ruby grace every year.
  3. If you drop ruby grace from more than three metres above ground level, she will always land feet-first.
  4. The eye of an ostrich is bigger than ruby grace.
  5. Never store ruby grace at room temperature!
  6. It takes 8 minutes for light to travel from the Sun's surface to ruby grace!
  7. Carnivorous animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by ruby grace!
  8. Scientists believe that ruby grace began billions of years ago as an enormous ball of dust and gas.
  9. About one tenth of ruby grace is permanently covered in ice.
  10. You should always open ruby grace at least an hour before drinking her.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bareback Mountain

I've read the short story courtesy of JP (thanks!) from Pinoywriters. It was very interesting indeed, and being a short story it does not do it justice and the reader has to fill in gaps.

The Gels and I will be watching the premiere at the UP Film Institute. I hope a lot of boys will be tricked by their girlfriends to watch it with them. You know them wittle boys, just try mentioning the plot of Brokeback to them and you'll get a variety of reactions, none of which is pleasant. So girls, just drag them to the theater and feign innocence when the disclaimer statement "For Adult Viewing: Sexuality, Nudity, etc..." is being performed on screen.

And to think I sort of thought of Gyllenhaal (the Golden Hole, according to JB, pun not intended or maybe just a little bit) as the nerdy type because I saw this film where Chris Cooper was his dad and Cooper wanted him to be the chief of the coal mine but instead he went on to invent the rocket.

We will see, we will see...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Silent Scream

I sit here trying to finish editing a 20-page report on money laundering. Beads of sweat form in my forehead, and I'm biting my lip. The words in the screen are swimming, I can't focus on anything although I am wearing my brand spanking new Replay eyeglasses (cost me a whole arm, I tell ya).

I grip the mouse hard, but it slips because even my palms are sweaty. Finally I can't take it, I sit kneeling down on the carpet and rest my hot forehead on the cool metal of the filing cabinet.

I feel like I'm being split open in half. My lower body is undergoing a terrible thing, invisible hands are inside me clawing their way out. I'm trying to remember if the moon is full, or if I accidentally smeared a mysterious oil on my body; I'm sure this is what a manananggal feel before take off.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) this is only the curse of my family. Females of my clan experience this mind-numbing ache every month, regardless of age. An aunt used to stay in bed for the whole duration of her period, invalid for many days because of the debilitating pain. It only stopped when she finally had a hysterectomy.

Now, I'm not after such drastic measures. I still wanna have a kid, or kids (ohmigod). I just pop pills whenever the red demon possesses me. I've tried just about everything - ibuprofen, mefenamic, paracetamol, Buscopan, hot water bottles, hot baths, exercise - to alleviate the pain. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it makes me want to kill myself.

Like now.

Monday, January 23, 2006

When You See Three Blue Moons in a Year You'd Get Confused Too

You all know about the lust I have in my heart for Dennis Trillo. So I dragged B to watch Blue Moon, unfortunately it also stars Mark Herras, the dancing eyebrow. I was willing to overlook that fact because I thought having Dennis on the big screen to salivate over would totally outweigh the cons. I wasn't really expecting much of the movie, I was only there for two reasons: Dennis, and that the story was a Palanca winner. I was curious if the makers of Blue Moon would botch it up, and to what extent. I haven't read the original story though, so I really wouldn't know. If anybody can point me to where I can get it, please do so.

The story began in the 1940s, during the Second World War II (hehehe). Which is a bit of a problem for me because Manuel and Corazon had a child during the war (let's say 1943-45) so if the present time is 2005 their child should be in his 60's. Christopher de Leon is not 60 in that movie. But then again, he might just be using Creme de la Mer.

I liked the cinematography of the "period" parts of the movie, but don't listen to me because if you make me define cinematography at gunpoint, you might as well shoot. I also liked it that nobody overacted, which is something to be expected with the young cast.

All this confusion about the two Corazons amuse me though, since the three guys are willing to go to the ends of the earth just to find Corazon so Manuel can dance with her. When the two finally meet, I was almost wishing Manuel would say "Ay hindi sya yung hinahanap ko, yung isa."

Monday, January 16, 2006

That Cousin in the UK with the Two Brats

Hey, I just learned you’re not coming over anymore. That’s too bad, because I was really looking forward to your visit. It’s been what, four years since we last saw each other. Kristy was only three then, and now you have another three-year old. I still don’t have anything to show for the reproductive capability of my body parts, but we’ll get there.

We don’t get to talk much, and that telephone call was a long time ago. If the time difference wasn’t so bloody much, we could have talked more often. It’s really your fault you know, moving to a place where definitions of a decent hour your time or mine involve the words “ungodly” and “not a good time right now”.

It doesn’t help also that to get to your place requires the following steps: (1) calling the embassy with a 12-peso per minute rate, including the “hold please while I transfer your call” part, to schedule an interview; (2) going to the bank to pay the nonrefundable visa fee; (3) gather proof that I actually have enough moolah to fund my trip and not have to resort to illegal overstaying to pay for my trip back, or not return at all; (4) being all nice and dressed up at the interview, saying things they want to hear and assuring them that I am in no way someone who will suddenly have visions and bomb a public transportation; (5) buying an airline ticket that will cost me not just an arm and a leg, but half of my body and a fourth of my soul.

Having said all that, I really miss you. We have fun together, we get along, we think alike. Heck, we even look alike in some angles, maybe if I lost twenty pounds and you grew a mole. There were times we didn’t see eye to eye, but that’s because “ang magnanakaw galit sa kapwa magnanakaw.” We commit the same taboos, sin the same sins, and basically live life for fun.

Remember in high school when I used to tail you? You were two years older and I was envious of you, you get to have boyfriends two weeks apart, and you don’t have any siblings to fight with. You have a loyal support group, you dance well, and you made Ana Marie cry. Meanwhile, I can’t find a decent high school guy who doesn’t have snot trails in his shirt, the guys in my class were mostly morons, I can’t dance, and my circle of friends only have Ian Veneracion or Sheryl Cruz as topics of conversations. Speaking of Sheryl Cruz, did you know that she’s back here, spreading her evil web of acting prowess? But different entry altogether.

You introduced me to the art of making excuses. The memory of that night—the night you told the elders that the three of us are going out to rent comic books but instead met with your boyfriend and we got caught and we ran but got caught again—will forever be etched in all levels of my consciousness. My mother managed to pull a respectable number of hairs from my scalp that night, and your mother shouted an expletive at me. I don’t want to know what she did to you. In the middle of all the shouting that followed in the house, you still managed to give me and Mary Ann a smile and a wink. You are the coolness.

Then you had to go to college, and it was during those times that I found myself. Where before I was “Tiffany’s cousin” (technically though you are my aunt), I was then known as me. I shone as my own star, and I did get tips from you. There were times when comparison at school and in the family was inevitable—the school paper editorials, the NCEE scores, the extracurricular activities. But you did get to graduate as Salutatorian, while I managed a mere Journalism award. For that your name is immortalized in a school Hall of Fame board (a GI sheet painted over) sponsored by Jaz Cola. Don’t fret, maybe Jaz is a little too small-town, but the company was acquired by the San Miguel Corporation under the Coca Cola brand in 2001. I knew that because I had to do a market research paper on beers.

Now you’re married to a wonderful man, and the fact that I also get along with him is just a bonus. But you tell him that there’s no excuse for not emailing, next time he’s here I hope the Boracay sun burns him to a crisp for punishment (whereas we don’t burn, we just tan). And Kristy, who could forget your Brit brat who liked to poke people in the eyes and get away with it just for being so damn cute? I still have to meet Kiera, and I’m looking forward to it.

So see you when you get here, and bring me some of that Garnier Mango toner thing you gave me the last time. Yep, I wrote all these just so I can say that last line without feeling guilty.

PS: Happy birthday. :-)

The Mane Character

Aslan is the handsomest lion in moviedom, ever. Even more so than Mufasa or Simba. If he were a person he'd be, uhmmm, I don't know, Liam Neeson? Coincidentally (or should it be I can't think of anybody else), he also provided the voice of Aslan.

Me, I don't like lions because they eat people. Not all of them, sure, but THEY CAN. I don't like the lions I see in Discovery or Animal Planet as they tend to be scraggly and generally a little bit greedy about antelopes. Aslan, however, looked like he goes for a shampoo and blowdry regularly at Franck Provost. If there was a gym for lions I'm sure he has a lifetime membership there. He is that good looking.

I also liked the White Witch. If you're gonna be a bitchy ice queen then might as well push it. Tilda Swinton is delicious, a frozen delight. She is cold and beautiful, and kicks ass with swords.

That's all I can say about the movie, as I have a whole bag of spicy tamarind waiting for me. I also can't review a movie properly and I'm not going to pretend I can.

Friday, January 13, 2006

To Rimbaldi my PC Fixer

So. (Don’t you hate it when people say that like it constitutes a complete sentence?)

I honestly don’t remember the times when you were a baby, mainly because I was also still one myself. I thought your name was Boy because that was what was written in the nursery card, and I could read at three. Thankfully, we have sensible parents who gave us decent names that we don’t have to be embarrassed of it in the future. I have memory snapshots of you being in the duyan, sleeping off your meals. As a matter of fact, that was all I could remember of your infancy: you were either feeding or sleeping.

You were a voracious feeder, as opposed to the toothpick of a child I was. I remember you stuffing your mouth to bursting, and then throwing up five minutes after. I was a very picky eater then, and whenever I see you do this I inwardly cringe and wonder to the high heavens how you can stand eating that much. Well, I wondered how you can stand food, period.

We fought a lot, like Israel and Palestine we hated each other so much that I don’t want to sit next to you at the dining table. Until playtime, that is. As much as we fought, we really didn’t have a choice because the next child in the neighborhood lives like 15 minutes away, and that early in life I worked with what I got.

So we played, but only the games I dictate we should play. At four years old you were having tea with my dolls, slicing up leaves for the great cookout, blowing bubbles using the age-old gumamela solution, and the classic bahay-bahayan. You were such a gullible kid, I made you chew green siling labuyo with this conversation:

Me: Ano yang lampin sa likod mo?
You: Ako si Superman eh.
Me: Sige nga, kung ikaw si Superman, kainin mo to.

I think I blacked out after that because of the spanking I received, worthy of Bantay Bata reporting.

When Emily Rose came, we teamed up against her, naturally. Suddenly she was the enemy—where before treats are divided in two, now it was three. Your talents in harassment were harnessed during these times. But your pikon factor was directly proportional to your harassment capabilities. Nobody wants to cross you, because they will surely suffer the wrath of Hades on a really bad hair day.

You talked back to our parents, shouted at your teachers (remember when you yelled “Tanga!” at Mrs. Mendoza, I really thought she was going to cry), pulled the hair of classmates, and countless other violent incidents at recess time. Once, you were made to sing in music class and somebody dared laugh at your gift of voice, that classmate was sent home at 10 a.m. by the teacher for fear of you dismembering him.

Now you’re all grown up and with better skin. You are now a licensed engineer, and you help mold the country’s youth into people who know math. Happy birthday, and continue to go to the gym but please for the love of God, stop buying pink shirts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Peel My Lips

Finally, I've found a product that is just perfect for my cracked, chapped, dry, {insert similar adjectives here, here, and here} lips. Where before I use the ever-reliable petroleum jelly (it's cheap and it works) and a variety of lipgloss, I have always been on the lookout for the perfect balm. It has to be NOT greasy and too shiny, has a hint of color, and small enough to fit in my already humongous kikay kit.

It's the Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer, in Rhubarb. I've always liked their lip balm, and now they've added color. It's a little minty and has a nice smell, and I don't have to put it on every 2.5 minutes.

Now I'm writing to Mr Burt over there to ask him if he could change its name to Cracked Not.

I am so tacky.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Exodus: Kindred?

The Addams family dragged themselves to SM City for our annual pilgrimage to the MMFF. This year we bestowed the honors of spending our hundred and five bucks (and also because they handed out passes to Enchanted Kingdom) to the movie Exodus.

We were intrigued by the trailer, and our curiosities piqued by the character’s names. Erik Matti, the director, was from Bacolod like my mother’s side of the family. Most of his characters and plot are derived from local folklore and Lord of the Rings, with Hiligaynon names. Lin-ay, for example, means beautiful in the dialect. I spent seven years in Bacolod, enough to ingest the culture which was already deep-seated in my blood to begin with.

Bangkila, the aswang, comes from the word bangkil, or fang. One of Bagulbol’s Nazguls came from Candoni, and guess what, my Tiyoy Coning lived there too. It’s a remote area in Negros Occidental, by the way, or maybe they already have an internet café or two. I started to suspect that if the story continued I would meet distant relatives.

I haven’t met Erik Matti in person (yeah, like I regularly meet celebrities), just saw him once in an interview on TV. The dude is heavily accented all right, and a protégé of Peque Gallaga. He had the idea, a grasp of what he wanted to do. There was a serviceable plot, but if only they didn’t spend all their energies in character development, they would have remembered to write a script. I think I can count with one hand the times Bong Revilla actually spoke with sense.

The characters were all right, if only for the fight scenes. Except for Tayho, that tikbalang character played by Benjie Paras. I hated how they portrayed his personality. Ok, he can be stupid, but not over the top corny. I want him to be stupid but someone who kicks ass on the battlefield. He could have had the most breathtaking battle choreography next to Bong, but the writers instead put him in that slapstick scene. It pains me to remember the goodbye scene with Exodus where he puckered up for a kiss. The only joke that got me snickering was the one with Bangkila, when she asked what’s for dinner.

I loved Aubrey Miles as Bangkila. The Queen of Goth had the most thought-out fight scenes. Maybe Erik Matti likes Aubrey (they did Prosti together)? I loved her costume, her angles, and her fight choreography.

The rest were ok, although little more than wall decors. I’m telling you, that Tolits kid is way overrated. At least Aiza had her one-liners during her time. Jay-R was limited in his role, or maybe that was because of the masks they had him wear (Masskara festival, duh). And what is Paolo Bediones doing as an old king with rotten teeth? He was miscast; he could be the Tarot King instead.

The CGI was good though, although in some parts it looked like a video game already. I liked what they did to the tarot cards. The movie had great potential, if only they bothered with the script. Overall, I’d say watch it for the free EK passes. Hee.

2005: The Year of Kick-Me-While-I’m-Down and Hide-When-I’m-Able-To-Get-Up-Because-I-Will-Hunt-Your-Bloody-Ass

It was an interesting year—that least could be said about it. It started sober enough, I was doing my stuff and minding my business until about midyear, when everything exploded in our faces. It was the calm before the storm, riding the surf until the day when the shit hit the fan. Finally, I was able to live the title of this blog.

In retrospect, it was good that it happened. As the famous saying goes, the truth set me free. I didn’t care anymore, in spite of the hellish things that happened, it was a splinter plucked out from my foot. The process was painful (oh, you have no idea how much) but in the end it allowed me to breathe more easily. I didn’t have to watch my steps that much. It was only one of the many splinters, but it was the biggest that time.

You know that joke about your closest friends kicking you when you’re already six feet under? Trust me, it happens. It was a shock for me, because people are conditioned to trust their friends. And if those friends cannot support you in whatever shit you so stubbornly put yourself into, the least they can do in my opinion, is not to take sides at all. They don’t have to help cover you with dirt while you lie in your self-dug grave.

Well, I got over that. With the help of some people that I least expected to help me (I seem to have entered the Twilight Zone, or a parallel universe) I was able to get my shit back together. To those people, though they may never know it, I am eternally grateful.

2005 is a very memorable year, because it gave me something I never thought I will have. At least not in 2005. Funny how one day you see yourself living your life in a very selfish way, and then you wake up the next feeling you could change the world. Suddenly I had to be stronger, more flexible, and make the world a better place to live in. It was an experience both harrowing and wonderful, and if I had to go through it again I would, but I hope next time would be more ideal. I say next time, because just as sudden as it entered my life, it was taken away from me just as swiftly.

I grieved as I would for something that was with me for a lifetime. From the deepest part of me I couldn’t understand the why. I was heartbroken, and I wasn’t getting any help. Or so I thought. From the moment it was known, my family has been there for me. There weren’t any judgments, or accusations. They were just there, trying to share my joy even though it was hard to see through everything that was happening. They acted like a family, even though it was all so cliché. My life turned out to be a one big motherfucking cliché. I knew it was hard for them too, but I just couldn’t share my grief because I was so ashamed.

Ashamed, because the one person I thought I could bring to the darkest places of my heart with me was not there. I could honestly say that it was one of the lowest points in my life, wherein I could cut myself and not feel any more pain than I am already feeling. But people are full of surprises. Sometimes, you just have to look beyond what you are seeing. Often, what we see is only those we want to see. When I thought I was alone, it was really that I didn’t want to share. Those were the times that I really saw God’s hand in everything.

The past year has been so full of changes. My whole life turned around where nothing was familiar at first, but day by day I got the hang of it and made it a livable place. I rolled with the punches but got black and blue first.

The bruises are healing now, and I’ve got my life back on track. I have freed myself from the emotional vampires that hounded me, and the myopia that afflicted the people that surrounded me. I’m not bitter anymore, but I was surprised at how some of them still are.

To God, my family, the friends who survived it with me, and to the people who slapped me when I was hysterical and then gave me a glass of water afterwards, words are never enough to thank you. But still, here’s a million thanks to store for a rainy day.

Sa 2006 ulit?

Friday, January 06, 2006

The War that is the Wardrobe

Overheard from waiters in the Spaghetti Factory, Megamall:

"Pare nood tayo ng Narnia, maganda daw yun eh."
"Oo pare maganda yun, giyera yun di ba."

At which point a sundried tomato shot out of my left nostril.


Happy New Year!
I wasn't able to post much this holiday season, due to the new job and stuff, but I promise to make it up to you guys.