Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh Yeah

The Dumaguete/Siquijor article came out in Super last Saturday. For that Super enjoyable trip we'd like to thank the following:

Tess and Maddie of the Norwegian Dream Resort, for all those great tips on how to get around Siquijor, and what places to visit. The food was great, by the way.

Junie our chauffeur du jour, even if he forgot where the enchanted tree was. We apologize for all the questions. But not really.

The lady in Malatapay port who was ever so helpful in finding us a boat to get to Apo Island.

The coastguards in Apo Island, who probably knew we were idiots when it came to water, for watching over us and our stuff.

The staff at Bethel Guest House in Dumaguete, for being patient with all the directions and even drawing a map to the Ceres bus station.

Christian and JR, the funny duo of 8-year olds we met at the Boulevard. I'm sorry that life caused you to sell peanuts at such a young age, and I hope in the future fate will deal you a better set of cards. We're rooting for you.

And most of all The Engineer and The Gym Instructor, who embodied what City of Gentle People meant. Thanks for dinner and the singing, and most of all the fun and hospitality. Congratulations for passing the Bar Exams!

Panic Mode

Help.

I don't know what happened, but half of the pictures in my CF card is now gone. I need need need those pictures, because I ambushed people in Emerald Street in Ortigas trying to get them to pose for me. And now I will not have anything to show for it, and they will see me and they will stone me.

Why is Photorescue not free? Fuckitfuckitfuckit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Winging It

The first day of my Holy Week vacation was spent in a writing frenzy. I wasn't able to write the Samsung/Parokya article over the weekend and because the deadline was Monday afternoon and the article was already lined up for the issue, I had to wing it.

I spent the plane ride, the terminal waiting time, and the boat ride to Siquijor writing on my laptop. The boat part was not easy -- imagine typing while on Anchors Away. Good thing I'm never seasick.

Arriving at Larena port at 6:15pm, I huffed and puffed dragging my trolley across the port area asking the guards where I can find an internet shop. I was panicking already because upon calling the resort they told us they have no WiFi, and the shops usually close at 7pm.

I was trying not to think about the things Siquijor usually invoke in people's minds since it was already dark and duh, we were strangers in a strange land. Hesika was thankfully ok with the Amazing Race portion of the trip, and finally we found an internet shop in Larena.

In agony I watched the green squares in the status bar increase one by one; the connection was sloooow. Finally I got a sent confirmation, but I had to wait until Pamster confirms she got it.

I can sense Hesika getting a little restless, I guess she was hungry or tired or both. Well at least she slept during the boat ride while I tried to remember what exactly Gab said about living loud -- for the life of me I couldn't decipher what I wrote on my notes, and calling Gab again would be a little stupid. I asked him already what Vinci's last name was. (It was Montaner, and I'm all "like a climber?")

The fun part of it was choosing which picture goes with the article. I like this the best.

Picture courtesy of Samsung Philippines.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Go Somewhere Really Hot

Well..

FUCK. YOU. TOO.

Why don't you just go boil your worthless head in acid, or step onto an oncoming train, or just slit your wrists to do this world a favor?

You're nothing but a stupid, boring, demented little piece of pretentious asswipe that walks the earth thinking you're a valuable addition to the society.

You're not, and when you die a horrible horrible death you will not be missed.

P.S.: Just stop reading my blog for your own peace of mind. Let it go, leave me alone, live your life. Just stop like you should have a long time ago.

Not Friday

Appetizer
Given the choice, would you prefer to live in the country or in the city?
I am a city girl through and through and would probably stop breathing if exposed to fresh air for too long. Which is weird because up until college I lived in the provinces. It's probably not the fresh air that would do me in, it's the environment. Once in a while it's great to live a laid-back life, or walk a little slowly than what I'm used to, but after several stress-free days I'd be exchanging a finger to elbow my way again inside the MRT. Some people just thrive on stress.

Soup
Who is the cutest kid you know?
You don't ask people who have children/nieces/nephews that question. Of course I'll be biased or my siblings will have my head. Having said that, I would say the cutest kid I know outside my family would be Amina Aranaz' kid, and Kulay, Jill's nephew with the pierced ear.

Salad
Fill in the blank: I couldn’t believe it when I heard ___________.
I couldn't believe it when I heard about the supposed travails of the "Gucci Gang". I mean, on some levels I can believe they're capable of the things they're being accused of; but it has gotten too much out of hand that people are being attacked for their looks, weight, and other things they don't have control over. If I'm going to mudsling it would be about the things they've done, not about whether the person has no boobs or waistline.

Main Course
If you could star in a commercial for one of your favorite products, which one would you want to advertise?
Given the current advertising trend where campaigns sell lifestyles, not the product, I would probably root for Illustrazio backpacks. It's a local company (I think, Buy Filipino), and I bought two of their backpacks which are still alive and functioning. The first one is already 10 years old, and the bigger one is about 5 years old. I bought the bigger one for my Sagada-Banawe trip, and has since traveled with me to countless places. As far as I know none of them has busted a seam, given my inability to lightly pack for a trip.

Dessert
What type(s) of vitamins and/or supplements do you take on a regular basis?
Whenever I remember - Berocca or Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Centrum. Usually I have tummyache after I swallow the pills all at once, so I try to space them out during the day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

So.

I'm back in the real world and while I miss the beach and the sun, it also felt good to lie in my own bed and hug my own pillows.

There were times last week when I was lying on the sand stomach down, the sea foaming at my feet, and my hands buried in the powdery white sand -- that everything all seemed far away, everything is okay in the world, and I have everything I could ask for.

My friend Darwin was right, that place was a special one. And damn Robinson's for building a mall there. Someday I'd like to go back, if only to eat tempura again at the Boulevard and the best sans rival, or to see again the people who made our last day so much fun. (Dude, I'm rooting for you.)

Of course all those delusions shattered when I landed in stinky Manila, but I love this place so much to ever leave it.

Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

This is Why I'm Single

At Starbucks earlier, I reluctantly shared a table with a bespectacled man who was staring at his phone too intently. I want to pat his back and say "there, there, it's not gonna ring through willpower alone" but of course I kept my mouth shut.

I was on my second stick when finally he caved in and dialled someone. Then my hell began. Half-shouting, half-trying not to cry, he monologued (at least from my POV) for a loooong time.

"Hello! Hindi kita marinig! Nasaan ka?! Lumabas ka dyan! Hello!" (This went for three redials.)
"Sabi mo nandito ka lang sa office mo?! Anong ginagawa mo dyan sa Novaliches?! Kanina pa ko naghihintay ng text mo kung nasaan ka! Lumabas ka dyan! Hindi ko alam kung saan yan! Hindi kita mapupuntahan! Pano ka uuwi?! Ano? Anong babay! Wag mo ibababa yan! Hello? Hello?"

Dude, he/she is apparently not interested in being with you right now. Get the message. Leave it, because if you keep on calling he or she would just turn off the phone and deal with you tomorrow. Do the same thing.

When you're out with your friends having some clean fun (or in a group study or working), it's very very irritating to be called every five minutes by someone asking where you are, who are you with, what time are you going home, and can he talk to your friends to prove you're really with them and not two-timing him. This is called death by suffocation.

Alone times are good. Have some.

Friday, March 14, 2008

No to Potty Mouth

If Giles will give up smoking for 7 days, I'm trying to give up cursing. There are things so embedded in your life and you don't know it, until you try to banish them.

I'll tell you all about it after the Holy Week. In the meantime, I'm off to Eastwood for the Parokya ni Edgar concert.

Friday Blah

There's too much to do on my list before I can even begin packing for my Holy Week trip (yes, I'm off again), and with all the papers in front of me I don't know where to start.

Where to find the time to look at the new place, to get the fountain set, to shop for the trip, to attend violin lessons, to go to the pool party, and still manage to work some kind of order here?

I will probably be arriving at my destination looking like Izma from Emperor's New Groove.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm Good

How many times have we wished we had more money, or famous, or just be “cooler”? I don’t know about you, but I’m from the more-money school. But as life would teach us all, more money doesn’t mean happiness.

I can’t remember a time when I actually wanted to be famous or cool, because frankly I’m not comfortable being the center of attention, and coolness changes definition with every generation.

I’m glad that I'm just an ordinary citizen of this country who has to earn a living to survive, that I have real friends, I’m not famous, and I don’t need to get high just to have some semblance of purpose.

I’m glad I don’t need to keep appearances, that any time I can tell my friends I’m broke and they’d sympathize, and that whatever brand of clothes I wear no one will ask about it.

I’m glad that I don’t have any real skeletons on my closet for someone to rat out, and when someone actually does the world will not care less because duh, it’s so clichĂ©.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Little Geeky Monster

This is my nephew Joaquin Enrico, 4 months and 2 weeks old. He is Abby Doodle's cousin. Here is a picture of me reading him a poem from the classic book "A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson. This book was mine when I was three, given to me by my aunt. That should explain the rattiness of the cover.

Joaquin loves books and paper, I don't know why he's inexplicably excited whenever he sees one in front of him. It's not the color, because that book is in black and white. He loves it when I point out things or read something, as if he understands dreaming about boats and soldiers on an autumn day.

I hope that when he grows up he will learn to love words as much as I do.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Presenting: The Non-Biodegradables

Photo by Romer.

This could have been Mt. Pulag Fashion Week, but of course we've all been through so much (cue sad music) that the last thing on our minds was to look good. We're just too glad to still be alive and walking.

Side note: That dry bag was the wisest thing I've ever bought. Go get one.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why Does My Violin Squeak?

A. I put too much rosin on the bow
B. The bow is too tightly wound
C. I'm pulling on the wrong string while my finger is jammed in another.
D. I'm pulling on two strings, both wrong
E. I'm just stupid

Your guess is as good as mine.

I'm trying to take this seriously. I squeeze in practice time every night, with no regard to the comfort of those who live with me. My collarbone is bruised, my fingertips are peeling, and my bow arm is numb; but since the teacher takes time off from his personal schedule I'm totally into this.

I have progressed to that part of the lesson where I'm supposed to use my pinky, but darnit it's too short. On the rare times I managed to reach it, I pull the wrong string thereby cancelling out the effort.

Why can't my violin love me? Maybe because it's not mine?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I Was Here

I cleared up the clutter on my desk to help clear my mind. I had too many knick knacks and trash I don't need, so as a symbolic gesture of getting things straight, I threw out the unnecessary. No excess baggages anymore.

The thing is, when I was throwing away stuff, it felt that I had already come to a decision. It's hard, but I think I've decided. The most difficult part is done, but it doesn't mean the rest is going to be easy. I'm so gonna need my friends in the next few months.

And Then There Was Silence

There are decisions so big and important that it's too frightening to do it alone, no matter how strong you may be. These things however concerns only you and your life, so you can't turn to people to ask them what they think.

I know I don't go to church regularly, at best I'm a non-practicing Catholic. But I believe in a Higher Being, who may not always give us what we want but rather steers us in the right direction. I never ask for signs when I come to a crossroad; right now I just want to sit still and be quiet inside a church. Not praying for guidance, not asking for anything, just to be silent. I do this when I'm at a loss on what to do, particularly if the decision I'm about to make will change my life.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There is a Mountain High Enough

Maybe because we were too pampered in Bora, the universe felt that some balance was necessary. I went to climb Mt. Pulag because I thought I’d get a kick from going sea to mountain in a week. Yeah, I got a kick.

The bus schedule was totally screwed up because of the volume of people and we ended up leaving two hours after our original departure time. At 6am we were finally in Baguio, early enough to witness the parade preparations for the Panagbenga.

A hurried breakfast of hotdog and coffee and we’re off. We were all happy happy joy joy on the way to Pulag, we even rode on the top of the jeep until Ambuklao Dam. We were impatient with the DENR lady to just start the briefing already, we were itching to cliiimb.

After donning full battle gear at the Ranger Station, we started the trek at 2:30pm. My hell started around that time too, when the full weight of my new backpack made my shoulders hurt. After ten minutes of steady climb – not steep but it was going up – my heart was about to break my ribcage open. Another ten minutes and it moved to my throat still beating wildly. I was getting dizzy from all of it, and I thought of all the sticks I lighted up. I began to think about quitting, but the obvious solution would be not to climb mountains anymore.

It began to rain and I was getting scared of the palpitations, because we had a three-hour climb ahead. When we reached Camp 1 I sat down and told Chrissie that I’m not getting up. Of course I did, and during the remaining 2.5 hours of continuous walking I just concentrated on heaving deep breaths and putting one foot in front of the other.

It was getting dark and I wasn’t talking anymore. Even the will to drink was gone, my hydropack hose just hang there limply. I wanted to cry, with the cold, hunger, exhaustion, and my back was killing me, but crying was not an option.

Just when I thought I would just feign death so I can finally rest, we reached the campsite at 6pm. Around 200 people had set up camp, and the rain was in full blast. The guides hurriedly set up a tadpole for us, and by the time we got inside we were soaked.

The tent was too small for three people, and we were all having a very bad day. I couldn’t enjoy my dinner – try swallowing when your head is perpendicular to your neck. When we laid down to rest, we couldn’t stretch our feet because of a puddle that formed inside the tent. We slept soaking wet, and when it’s 6ÂșC and raining you either wish you’re dead, or wish for drugs to numb all the pain. Neither was available, so I settled for shivering and quivering.

Every hour I wake up and look at my watch – 7 hours to sunrise, 6 hours to sunrise – and so on. As if it’s not enough that I’m cold, wet, sleepless and hungry, the Monthly Curse decided to visit. I didn’t summit because as crazy and delusional as I am, I wasn’t prepared to die.

Finally everybody was ready to get out of there, and it was a difficult trail going down from all the mud. My mood was a tad lighter because I know that soon there would be dry clothes and a hot meal if we just keep on walking.


We walked and we walked and we walked, and when rough roads appeared I wanted to skip and hop except my feet wouldn’t move. There was no rain and some sunlight peeked out, so cameras were safe to be brought out. The light at the end of the tunnel appeared in the form of the ranger station, where we washed off the mud from our shoes and pants, and ate the best lunch ever.

Photo by Giff

The ride back to Baguio was spent passed out even if we’re periodically thrown out from our seats. The rest of the Alkies spent a night in Baguio, so I was able to take a hot(!) shower in their bathroom. Definitely orgasmic. The feeling of dry, warm clothes and a dry, warm, soft bed was a little slice of heaven for all of us.

Conclusion: I think I’ll stay out of mountains for a while, it’s summer anyway so it’s probably the beach for now.

NOTE: If I had scared you into climbing Mt. Pulag with this post, please don't be. It's one of the most beautiful mountains in the Philippines; and had the weather been more cooperative, I would have enjoyed it more. Yes, in some perverse way, I kind of enjoyed this adventure. Someday I'll climb Pulag again, but during the dry season.

Violin Schmiolin

After 6 years I’m taking up lessons again. The last time was a bit traumatic – I was scared of my teacher so I didn’t show up for classes and didn’t practice, therefore I sucked, therefore my teacher became scarier whenever I see him. Finally he gave up and returned my money after he almost shouted at me. You should’ve seen how he really tried not to shout; his eyes almost popped right out of them sockets.

Now I have a much younger teacher, younger than me in fact, and best of all this is free. In exchange (because I’m not totally shameless), I show up for class on time and I practice diligently.

The problem is I might be homeless soon. As I’ve told Fifi (my one and only classmate), my playing is like the soundtrack of death. Said death was caused by my music. I know my roommate lies through her teeth whenever I ask her about it, and she’s probably out there now gathering signatures for my eviction from the neighborhood.

My goal is to play Moonriver, although at the rate I’m going Henry Mancini would have to rise from his grave just to hit me with my own violin. I’m that horrible.