… where Boyetus becomes a little child inside a candy store.
My wife’s company will have this Halloween celebration in the end of the month. So last weekend, Ziann and I helped Cez design and decorate her station. And since we don’t actually have Halloween in this country, I came about with the idea of turning her desk into a workstation of a popular character in our local folklore called Mambabarang.
I know it’s not as complex and extravagant as the others, but for me, it’s indeed creative and neat. Plus, we didn’t spend a lot for it. It was a clever bricolage of local and free materials from our house and from the neighborhood.
Basically, we just used:
1. Dried leaves, hay, roots, and branches that we picked-up from the street.
2. Black candles and black jars.
3. An old cloth from our cabinet drawer.
4. Hex bags that surely looked legit.
5. Glass jars with fake fingernails and colored liquids (from Ziann’s old watercolor set).
6. Fake insects and arachnids.
7. Live worms and roaches.
8. Authentic tarantula exuviae.
9. Manila paper.
10. Old crystals and gems.
11. More candles and small plastic skulls.
12. My picture pinned to a voodoo doll.
and of course…
13. Kulam List.
Moral of the story:
Sometimes you’ll only notice that you lose something essential after you destroyed it for a convivial intent. I actually looked good in that photograph. It’s a bit Photoshoped I know, but still, I looked good. Too bad, it’s my only copy.
After five cities and six means of transportation, I finally found what I’ve been looking for: a classic Motorola Razr V3.
I have decided long ago that I am tired of touch screens, Android stuff, and any iProducts, and that a mobile phone is just a contrivance used by people to call, be called, and send / receive SMS. After years of having different kinds of smart phones, the only thing that I personally found useful beside the basic features (call, SMS, time, alarm clock, datebook, and calculator) is the Metronome application (this for Android and this for Apple). The rest is just okay but I can definitely live without them.
My “new” phone is a pre-owned unit (it is already phased-out from the stores) from a weird guy in Sta. Ana but it’s a very good purchase because it is in excellent working condition. The cosmetics is about 98% smooth and there are no hidden defects. I had this phone around 2007 but it was stolen with my bag in 2009. After that, I went with the flow.
In the history of the gadgets that I bought and used, I can say that Motorola Razr V3 is the only phone that I truly wanted. I am so pleased I found one again. I hope Motorola revive this unit using slimmer metal housing and stronger flex technology so it will be detached from its disposable reputation. I know that’s wishful thinking that’s why, I’ll just enjoy using it until it’s done.
…doesn’t mean that I am jobless. In fact, I find my current work better than the previous ones.
I am a home-based music arranger creating backing tracks for music students in a foreign land. From a wide gamut of genres: from Taylor Swift to Megadeth to Eric Clapton to Extreme, and from different levels of musicality, I have never been so excited to face a blank .cwp template and start a new file. Most of the songs that I arrange are so familiar that I have already played them before in gigs and the likes.
A home-based job has its own advantages. In my calculation and conversion (since the pay is in different currency), the compensation is three times higher than any of my prior pay checks. Enough said. There’s no office, no commuting, and no stinky Korean bosses. I can work whenever I want as long as I beat the deadline. I can smoke and drink beer while syncing MP3s and inputting data in real-time.
I control my schedule. I can sleep anytime, amble around with my wife and daughter, hang-out with my friends, cook lunch / dinner, and do other important things like DVD marathons and read more books. I even have time now to trim my fingernails.
I can also work wherever I want. It just depends on my mood and the situation of my surroundings. Since I only use a laptop and other small stuff, I can bring my gear anywhere I desire and work when I feel like it.
However, as we all know, there’s no such thing as perfect job. It’s a fact. One of the drawbacks of my so-called career is the unavoidable circumstances of my location. Every house where I can do my thing is next to the road. The noise of the vehicles plus the clatter of people and animals (and the cross-breed of both) outside is a big impediment for my ideal work flow. It makes me miss my office in Makati sometimes where my station looks like this…
…enhanced by a beautiful view of the business district. But now my space is as plain as this…
…including a horrid sight of imbecile and ugly criminal neighbors that’s so daunting.
Having a small abode also makes me lose my impetus when I have to transfer my things from one spot to another when someone will use the space. You know, being disturbed when I am in the middle of something really gripes me. Especially when that something is related to bio breaks, reading books, and/or work.
The worst part of being a home-based music arranger is, well, being a home-based music arranger. A long list of needs just whacks my face from time to time and makes me realize that there’s a lot of things that I am lacking like: a big home studio, Genelec speakers, high-end AKG headphones, a new powerful computer, and so on.
But no matter what, this is the life I chose.
I chose to be unemployed and do one the things that I want. I chose to do one of the things that I know I am somehow good at. Also, I still have local MIDI clients and writing jobs that I will deal with when a day officially becomes thirty-seven hours. And as long as I am earning money and providing for my family, I am content.
The moral of the story is, for commoners, Extreme is just a band that sang More Than Words. But I am not a commoner and this song is fuckin’ more than words.
I totally understand that losing your job nowadays is very impractical. What I don’t get is why some of my ex-officemates decided to come back to that mediocre company when the change that we are asking isn’t even given or guaranteed.
If they made deals with the devil, it’s their choice. If they have their cogent reasons, fine. But honestly, I feel sorry for them. I believe in their skills and capacities. I know they can do better and deserve a lot more than free lunches and perfect attendance bonuses.
I am glad I am not like them. No, I am not one of those typical Tai Jin puppies that wag their tails and lick the foot that kicks them.
Sir / Madam,
Thank you for the treat this afternoon. I am sincerely grateful for your time and effort to egg on my reappearance in the office. But do you honestly think you can buy me with stale pizza and pasta?
Like I said, “I’ll cross the bridge when I get there”. If you can guarantee me that there will be a change or better yet, system restructure, I won’t be bothered to wear your tawdry uniform and work my ass off for your company. But if you can not, don’t ever expect to see me seating in my workstation again.
Lastly, thank you for everything that you’ve done for me. I appreciate your kind handling for eight months but I don’t give debt of gratitude for all the favors that I didn’t ask in the first place.
This afternoon, I, together with the six guys in our department walked out of the office after passing a resignation letter stating that we all had enough of the company’s awful system. More especially, we were very displeased of the bosses’ unjust and dire approach to it. They all suck big time.
I won’t elaborate on the details but something came about that drastically pushed us to do what we had to do. By the way, I was the one who wrote the letter that we all signed. I really wanted to make it longer so I could expound everything about their smegma-smelling structure but we were really trying to get out of that hell quickly so I just cut it to one page. They wouldn’t understand it anyway.
The six of us (someone went somewhere else) stayed in the nearest Family Mart, munched on some chips, and planned for our next move. We decided that we will only come back (if they’ll ask us) if there’s an assurance that the organizational scheme will change. If there will be none, then nice meeting them. Not.
To wrap this up, yes, I am now officially unemployed and I won’t be eating any good burgers in the next few days. But I am delighted to be out of the zoo. I have my fallback anyway so what the fuck?
What happens to the company is not my concern anymore. Quite frankly, my only compunction (if this is the right word) is that my letter was not damn perfect. I missed a comma in one of the paragraphs.
I love Jollibee’s Chicken Joy. From the sapid and juicy meat inside to the crispy skin outside (laman muna, balat later), eating Chicken Joy provides me with a certain comfort, especially when I am stressed out or under the weather. The distinct smell of the newly-cooked chicken reminds me of some childhood memories with my family too.
But I am a burger person (JOLIBEE CHAMP!) and that being said, I am not bothered if Jabi is having troubles with their poultry supply the past days. On the business side, even though they are losing millions of PHP a day, the fact that Jolibee is a stable icon in the fast food industry for decades, I know that the food chain will overcome this dilemma and get back in track soon.
I also know that sad is not the opposite of joy. #chickensad my ass.
It started with a stomachache.
The pain was like when you have LBM and hyper-acidity combined. But it wasn’t any closer. I knew it was different. It was something that my mad stomach couldn’t tolerate and any over-the-counter drug couldn’t relieve. It’s something that Mang Inasal PM1 couldn’t ease and my Marlboro Lights – Kopiko L.A. Coffee dyad couldn’t calm. Mostly, it’s something that my work and in-between-work chit-chats couldn’t distract.
I had to file under time and leave the office after the afternoon break.
C met me in the emergency wing of St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City. I was quickly attended by a nurse. My blood pressure was high, adding the sudden appearance of my tics. It was a purely distressing afternoon. But I wasn’t thinking big. Really. I was thinking that it’s just an unserious stress ulcer (if there is such thing), or hunger had just passed me. Not big. Not as big as Anna Larrucea’s pectoral bumpers (that are ooh la la thrice of my wife’s). Not as big as cancer or appendicitis or a chicken bone clogged in my intestines.
Two IV painkillers; an abdominal CT scan; a blood test; and a urine sample later, I was diagnosed with Acute Appendicitis and advised to have my swollen appendix removed through Open Appendectomy.
Fear of surgery: created by the word appendicitis.
Fear of feeling intense pain: created by the words cut, open, and removal.
I couldn’t believe it. Even until the next day when I was garbed in a hospital gown and gay head dress, lying on a gurney and being taken to the 4th floor of the edifice, seeing the fulgent lights of the hall and operating room, it was like a dream. Like a limpid and vivid Star Cinema movie cinematography, it was so surreal.
While waiting for the roster of the operating team, Cath, the nurse was briefing me about everything that would and could happen. She said that generally, if I am an alcoholic dick, I might wake up in the middle of the surgical procedure and surmount the effect of the sedatives that have been introduced to me.
Fear of waking up in the middle of the operation: assured by the word alcoholic.
When the moment of truth arrived, I couldn’t clearly remember anything. There was like three doctors and four assistants around me in a bright room of cool machines and stainless surgical equipments. I was asked to lie sideways so they could inject the anesthesia in my spine. After that, they just said, “See you later.” and covered my face. Then it was all black.
Fear of feeling intense pain: shut by the word anesthesia.
The entire operation lasted more than an hour and I guess it went out smoothly. There were no complications whatsoever. I actually woke up in the middle of the procedure and saw nothing but surgeons and assistants’ heads. I smiled and muttered about erection until they sedated me again.
Fear of surgery: shut by the word successful.
Fear of having other organ malfunctions: shut by the word futile.
I found myself in the recovery room. Numbed from tummy downwards. The male nurse said I was snoring but it was okay. I groped for my legs and dick under the sheets but I couldn’t feel anything. A beautiful female nurse said the sensation would return after a couple of hours.
About 3 P.M., after the torpor waned, I was in my new private room at the 11th floor and talking to C when I suddenly found out that I have a motherfuckin’, dick-penetrating, lubricant-smeared catheter.
Fear of losing my erection: created by the words tube, insert, and inches.
You can do anything to me. I mean, medically. Anything. But don’t you ever put a who-knows-how-long slim hose in my thing. For me, that is inhuman. That is more private than private. That is vandalism. That is trespassing. That is an invasion of the deepest part of my manhood where I keep my magic seeds. My future children. My Irab-on globules.
So I quickly demanded for the removal of that piece of shit.
My bosses / friends dropped by that evening. We were bantering about my pipe and my temporary restraining order to munch on burgers. Too bad I couldn’t laugh hard because of my four-layered suture but I really appreciate their visit.
Later that night, as requested, my nurse named Tine, finally removed the tube in my tube because I was insanely vexed about the idea and I couldn’t (wouldn’t) wait `til next morning. When she pulled the catheter out, it was seriously painful. The pain was something like when you pee after holding it for an hour because you chose to fuck first. Only nine times the twinge.
Fear of losing my erection: prolonged by the words yellow, liquid, and deep.
After thirty minutes or so, my peter was back to normal and I could frankly say that it was suddenly comfortable. The phallus had calmed down and I finally got a chubby after accidentally seeing some smooth RN valleys.
It seemed like the catheter cleansed my shaft. It felt way better than before. But please don’t get me wrong. I am not being a pervert. I’m just being elaborate.
Fear of losing my erection: shut by the words hard and harder.
Z and the rest of the family visited me on Saturday. They all ate and feasted on Jolibee products in front of me, without taking considerations on how the patient who’s on a liquid-diet would feel. Man, I was really craving for an Amazing Aloha that time.
Sunday was a normal day at the infirmary. I had already taken a bath that morning and shaved my three-month old mustache because my daughter asked me to pare it down. We two explored the other parts of the building. It meant that I could already walk without much hassle. I’d seen the chapel and the cafeteria with pricey but quite acceptable food. All the needles in my body were already removed in the afternoon and I had changed to casual attire.
I checked on the running bill and it was seriously high.
Fear of the scary monster called statement of account: shut by the word Maxicare.
I was already discharged the next day before lunch. C was out fixing my PhilHealth account and Z didn’t go to school for a light responsibility of accompanying me in my room. It was a waiting game. I’ve asked for the final invoice and it was a whopper that’s not as appetizing as Burger King’s.
The dilemma was, the insurance company wouldn’t shoulder ALL the expenses, telling me that I already had exceeded the limit of the coverage and a third of it was already used. I can only have an appendicitis once, right? There was some sort of misunderstanding. Everything was perfectly budgeted that I could even stay in the hospital for two more days without fishing cash out of my wallet. I was disappointed. I was actually angry. In conclusion, we had to pay the rest of the bill.
Fear of the scary monster called statement of account: summoned back by the words Maxicare, exceeded, and scam.
We really didn’t have any extra money so I sought help.
Fear of the scary monster called statement of account: shut by the word Desiree.
Fear of not having a Plan C: shut by the word aunts.
Fear of the incapability to pay back: shut by the word reimbursement.
The bill was finally settled in the evening after all the chagrin. C, Z, and I thanked the nurses, the “bell boy”, the security guards, Paul, and Desiree.
It was a rainy taxi ride to Manila, where I would be staying for days.
Fear of the wound re-opening: created by the words humps and inertia.
I will be going back on the 25th for a follow-up check-up. I hope everything will come to place.
Sometimes we ask for reasons why shit happens. Sometimes we want to blame people and things for our miseries but we end up asking why we should blame them in the first place.
If it was lung cancer, I could blame myself for smoking incessantly. If it was HIV, I could blame myself for unprotectedly fucking dirty bitches. BUT I couldn’t blame myself for having appendicitis whose cause is vague and inconclusive. That’s life and its hitches.
There are things as futile as appendices that can suddenly swell up and cause us a lot. But we are just people. We think, we decide, and we face the just-desserts of our decisions. We save money, we get sick, we get cut, and we make hospitals a hundred and ten thousand richer.
But we are just people. We fight and we move on. So one organ less, I’ll move on.
(… and probably grow another mustache.)
The motels nearby are totally jam-packed and power came back in the area before we could actually checked-in. So we just stayed in our abode, checked for wreckage, and cleaned around a little.
Glenda was quite a tempest. It was one of those atypical chances that a super-typhoon directly hit Metro Manila. Or should I say almost directly smacked the NCR, for the eye slightly veered off to Cavite. We had no work today due to the apparent reason but C was already in the office before the storm arrived around 6 A.M. Z was in a safer place. The typhoon fortunately didn’t bring heavy rainfalls but the forcible wind indeed devastated the Metro. Roofs flew. Trees and electric posts fell down. Houses and buildings were damaged.
Luckily, our small and feeble house didn’t give in to the strong wind. But I was alert for any mishap that could happen, especially between 8 A.M. to 11 A.M., when Glenda’s gig was on-going. I’m sure nobody wanted an encore. I basically read books (with the help of a fully-charged flashlight) the whole day while listening to Radyo 5’s storm update in my fully-charged mobile phone. I was actually prepared. That’s the best thing that I could do rather than watch some cheap, pathetic people fight over blown tin roofs in the street.
I was a bit scared in the morning, but was relieved past 11 A.M. knowing that the super-typhoon had already passed. I got worried for Bataan because it was Glenda’s next target (after NCR) and I am giving much more sympathy for my kababayans in Albay who suffered Glenda’s first blow.
Philippines has an average of who-knows-how-many typhoons in a year. I hope the next ones are not that strong. If not and most of all, we should always be ready for anything.
(photo from here)
I had went inside market basement Guadamall. Shopping list completes cooking later grinded pork pseudo-Arroz ala Cubana. No Musa acuminata fried over finish product. Wife don’t like. What the muthafucker! Allium sativum too expensive! Six cloves of Allium sativum needed for delicious viand. Powdered alternative? I do not thought. Deep inside, I do not like. Capsicum annuum with Allium sativum first. Together many Allium cepa. Spanish-style cooking. Grinded pork marinates sunken in the sauce of soy and Citrofortunella microcarpa. Estimate twenty-minutes or maybe longer than it. Not too much. Never.
In connection, no work today. Pasig something celebration. Forgotten read. Do not care me. Really. Important things so much than this.
Tonight should get laundry. P390 only. Important. Shaving mustache still thinking. Feel good hair above upper lips. So maturity. Don’t like Alyas Pogi. So faggot. Afraid Rattus norvegicus and Periplaneta americana. Cannot use power him. Fake movie effect. So faggot. Indeed. Enrile house arrest senior citizen. Full of Equus ferus caballus feces. Jinggoy silent. Son social media feasting images rich life. Making publicity. Trying famous to be. Stepping-stone better career showbiz. But Kris worst of all. Eaten Bistek deep in the sauce of soy. Everything Equus ferus caballus feces. In television. In papers. In social media.
My pseudo-Arroz ala Cubana important more than those. My viand doesn’t look feces. Tastes good instead.
I do politics concern not. Nothing happen. All like movie. Scripted so much. Politicians great actors. Government sucking. Showbiz suck more. Everybody in genus Sus. BUT not great like my grinded pork. Tastiness. Oh my Science.
Must work tomorrow. Must not late. Must not lazy. Must write finishi self-music for Korean bossi and try harder banki Laarni Lozana cheesy songi for snakey Andi. Up to Friday.
Must cook now. Goodbyes.
… before this company, I was a feral beast running freely in the vast wilderness of the MIDI world. But now, I am in a zoo. Together with the other ex-wildlife creatures, I am caged and fed four-times a day by the Korean Zoo Keeper. Breakfast and dinner are technically OT victuals.
I don’t want to grow old here and end up losing my pride.
I miss the jungle.
Our company is one of the biggest names in the karaoke industry, especially in Korea. It is, without a doubt, not a two-bit enterprise that I should be ashamed of.
In the local office here in the Philippines, the management is good enough to take care of the staff. We have free food every day – from breakfast to dinner; paid leave of absences (including birthdays); and other wonderful privileges that some run-of-a-mill firms might be deprived of. We also have regular natal day celebrations for employees, which usually take place in a fine restaurant picked by the boss.
Employees are entitled with O.T. pay and cash incentives for proficiency and perfect attendance. We acknowledge Philippines festivities and we are paid accordingly for everything. I’m telling you, this is one hell of a company.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate.
In this company, we should, most of the time, observe silence.
Babbling is sometimes tolerated but generally not advised, especially when the bosses are around. A loquacious individual like me cannot fully cope with that, particularly, when the boys have interesting topics on-going like music theory, botany, engineering, culinary stuff, barber jokes, and anatomy. Guffaws will send us to the principal’s office.
In reality, a room without any verbal interactions is dull and quite absurd. We all know that.
But we have to comply.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate.
In this company, we eat lunch en masse.
11:30 A.M. isn’t an orthodox time for people of my type to gobble up grubs, but it is one of the two stretches that employees are allowed to eat (or do anything) outside the office. We should also be back inside not a second after 12:30 P.M. Given that diminutive amount of time to chow means that getting far is not feasible. We have no choice but to dine to the nearest greasy spoons every single day. Me and my buddy, Dudz, have decided long ago that eating in The Fourth is noxious. Glop is still lesser evil than past food. Period.
A thirty-minute afternoon break somehow limited my nicotine intake. Again, together with Dudz, it is usually a two-to-three stick quickie in the parking lot, while turning into our alter egos: Pervert Bautista and Perverto de Castro. Just guess who’s who.
We always have our daily espionage on beautiful women, cool wheels, beautiful women, and beautiful women. But again, we also have to be back inside not a second after 4:00 P.M. or else we would be nagged by the supervisor and might end up with a memo.
And we can’t blame our lungs or the inoperative elevators.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate.
In this company, we have a dress code.
Wearing a uniform almost doesn’t bother me. The truth is, being a liveried employee helps me blend with the cookie-cutter rabble that I walk with everyday. I can also accept the fact that during Mondays, we look like Home Depot guys selling bathroom tiles, and on Wednesdays, we can be demonstrating modern kitchen faucets.
The only setback about the attire is the loud and brazen phrase printed in our shirts.
A (insert adjective) and (insert noun) tagline is amazingly off the beam.
“Stinky and Kimchi”
“Angry and Genital”
“Few and Fear”
“Collectively and Happiness”
“Separated and Sadness”
Trust me, they will never change that.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate.
In this company, we are relaxed.
Honestly, our office is very conducive for working. For us, the artists in the Content Production Department, the stations are neat and comely. The management makes us feel comfortable so we can be efficient. It’s indeed a nice approach of conditioning our minds for work. But wait until you hear the Korean boss yell at the administration staff. There are only four almost fully-soundproofed rooms in the company and the surly boss’ is not one of them. So every time he lavishly reviles the lady personnel, his offensive words suffuse in the whole unit and even penetrate the walls of the 16th floor’s other tenants. For hours, or sometimes, for an entire day, our seemingly high-end headsets cannot muffle the brute’s irritating snarls and frequent banging of things.
And we are artists. We are musicians. We are rapt listeners. We cannot do our art when our minds are abstracted by nuisance like foul language and strident, racist chidings coming from the other room. Yeah, we are physically appeased but the hubbub created by the boss is a big bane for our craft.
But we just let it be.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate
In this company, we try our best to hit the numbers: the monthly quota.
We also give our greatest efforts to meet the quality. But we are in a tight spot figuring out the standard that seems vague, or perhaps, not existing. Arranging, replicating, and creating music involve a specific knowledge, and of course, appreciation. Since we are not trained or comprehensively oriented about any detailed procedures, we are groping for a lot of things. Everything is subjective. And that being said, we are left questioning each other on how to do this and that. All lies in the approval of the other Korean
thing person entity that’s sitting inside the fetid room in the far end of the office. It He is by the way, in-charge of checking our files. It He is not actually a bad thing person being. We can always ask him what the fuck he wants or hates. But the hitch is, he cannot speak any language besides Korean. Man, he only knows like ten English words (go, out, sleepi, finishi, banki, getting getting, etc.) so communication is as futile as talking to a two-year old monkey. That It He doesn’t even want to try to learn English (which is a common denominator for all) that he can use for professionally conversing with people.
But we have to deal with it.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate.
In this company, the compensation is good.
I mean, it is initially nicer than others and I am not complaining about it. But when we don’t reach the numbers, we can actually see perdition in Ortigas. The quota can be considered realistic. It’s a fact. But if we can hear Mr. Anger Management bawl the ladies out everyday, and at the same time, Mr. Stinky Smegma is calling us inside his reeking room for revisions due (mostly) to his blunder, the cut will be getting far from our reach without even knowing it. It’s a wreck of momentum too. Anyway, at the end of the month, if we don’t bonk the quantity, the rate of every file that we failed to finish will be deducted in our salary.
Yes, we understand the meaning quota-basis.
The worst scenario is when we don’t knock down the goal and we have issues on tardiness and absences. It’s a two-fold loss since our rate per hour/day will be amassed from our basic pay. And we thought it’s quota-basis.
But we still try to compromise.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate.
And this I swear, I won’t grow old in front of a computer monitor, facing a MP3 waveform that’s synced under the track view of a .cwp template. No. No matter how I convince myself about how ideal this company seems to be, I have already decided that I will have a career change when the right time comes or when someone drastically pulls the trigger. No matter how I lie to myself that the growth I am looking for is probably here, I cannot find answers that will confirm my blind surmise.
Though I am happy to go to work every day, for I only enjoy being with my new-found friends, I might quit when I am fully burned-out. Though I am excited to learn new things and explore that small world of PCS, CCs, GM and stuff, I might not last a year here.
Because we have strict corporate policies, requisites, and system that make us first-rate.
We’ll skip the initial DRAMA and get straight to the point.
We want to say GOODBYE.
We want to leave our RELATIONSHIP. Our relationship with you.
You and us have been together for almost FOUR YEARS now. It’s been a while but we can still remember your indescribable smile when you grabbed us from the shelf of Happy Feet in SM Manila. Although we could see that you were evidently PLEASED, we knew that you were more delighted because we were ON-SALE that time. Honestly, you granted our yearning to ESCAPE the ledge but it worried us too, for you were NOT GOING HOME WITH US ALONE. That BUY-ONE-TAKE-ONE promo made you pick our RIVALS too: the TOPSIDER duo. the OTHER pair. YOUR other pair.
We used to be jealous of them, especially when you took them to the Red Dot. WE ARE YOUR MAIN KICKS, MAN. YOUR PRIMARY SNEAKERS. The fact that you chose those fusty shoes with foul-smelling insoles made us HATE YOU. Really. But everything’s COOL now. The SPARK came back when you returned wearing your SANDUGO All-Terrain sandals, leaving the Topsiders in your friends’ HDB unit.
Boyetus, we know you LOVE us. You wear us almost ELEVEN HOURS a day. We are like PART of your body and we know you VERY WELL. We know how you walk; how you weakly KICK scattered stones; and how you peevishly step on Periplaneta americana in the sordid street of Magsaysay. We know how you want to look THE SAME everyday and you forever call it CONTINUITY. We know that you don’t WASH your pants because you said DIRTY PANTS look good when paired with DIRTY SHOES. That’s us. We know your BAD TASTE in fashion.
Your short yet WIDE feet fit us very well. I know you found COMFORT from us more than any Chucks and Horse Sneakers can give you. You flatter us.
Remember when you were watching the play Tarzan in the Meralco Theater? You took us off because you want us to REST. Remember when you walked in the RAIN because you wanted to get sick? Oh man, that was DUMB. Our canvasses were WET and your socks were viciously drenched. I know you abhor that feeling but you DIDN’T COMPLAIN. Remember when you slipped while alighting a bus in Shaw Boulevard? You DIDN’T BLAME us. It’s your fucking stupidity anyway.
Remember when you were in U.P. Diliman desperately BEGGING for the bookstore owner to re-open the shop because it was so late and you really wanted that Alex Garland book? You were absurdly HILARIOUS, but after bargaining and got what you wanted, you fetched a cab because you said Sinking Garden is TOO FAR and you didn’t want to WEAR US OFF by walking.
Those small scenarios showed us that you really CARE for us. And WE LOVE YOU for that.
We’ve seen it ALL, Sunshine. We’ve seen how you flirted with the sibak-able women jogging in Rockwell. Man, we couldn’t believe the thought of you exercising in the first place and WE ARE NOT EVEN RUNNING SHOES. We’ve seen how you are POSSESSED with tics and how you cope with it. We’ve seen how you CRY and get ANGRY. We’ve seen how you act like a MAN and how you deal with quandaries immaturely.
We’ve been EVERYWHERE with you. From the office, to remote areas, to motels, to any surface we could imagine. We’ve been through floods, MUD, shit alleys, and even SIMULATED SNOW. The last one was literally COOL and we also wanted to quiver like you, but we are just a piece of rubber and cloth, with dirty black shoe laces and ruined aglets.
We know you are a cheap dick, honey, and you’d rather buy books, greasy cheeseburgers, and cigarettes than to shell out cash for new clothes and kicks. We know about your principles in life. BUT YOU ARE NOT BLIND. Look at us. We’ve been TORN and dilapidated by weather, rodent wanderers, and TIME.
We know it’s hard for you to LET US GO but we think this is all ENOUGH.
It’s DIFFICULT for us to be apart from you and as much as we hate it, we’d like you to REPLACE us.
Boyetus, thank you for everything.
Thank you for the wonderful MEMORIES and the UGLY ones too. Thank you for taking us to GREAT places. Thank you for WASHING us TWICE IN THREE YEARS. We heard it’s a RECORD though it was quite a NASTY ride inside your mother’s spin-dryer. Please don’t do that again in your next pair. By the way, you should have scrubbed us after you tread upon a clump of horse shit in Binondo last month. We APPRECIATE your effort even though you just chafed the green turd in the newly-asphalted side of Sto.Tomas. You are definitely a DIRTY SON-OF-A-GUN.
We know you still have more “VALUABLE” sneakers in the closet that you might wanna wear. Sneakers that are “WORTH KEEPING” than us. We know we are NOT-QUALIFIED to be preserved but please don’t just throw us in the garbage can. BURN us if you will.
Happy Feet – Pair One
What’s with this day that there are a lot of poems scattered in my Facebook News Feed? Well, I admire those who came up with great prose but I was honestly amused more with those who ridiculously tried to rhyme words. I respect the effort and I’m sorry if I find them hilarious.
It gave me an idea though. Let me try that.
by: Boyetus Chromatus Irabon
No matter what you say
This shit is a poem
The tables are swimming there
Where did the dragons come from?
My short-haired hair is short
The volcanic rocks forget
I misspelled the world “tableau”
I slept in the toilet
The Commonwealth buses are fast
Like those red and gold balloons
In the female bleeding holes
We must use tampons
This is the end of summer classes
Tikbalang is just a myth
Don’t greet me in the morning
When I didn’t brush my teeth
I forgot to pay the bills
Trigonometry is difficult
My beard is longer than his
I want to drink Yakult
Sometimes the river is quiet
There are nine beds in the ward
The flower is blooming late
I don’t have a credit card
I asked myself “Why oh why oh why?”
I told myself “Uhm no uhm yes oh no”
She likes to lock the kitchen floor
To see the ghost who wants to blow
I’ll be drunk tonight by ten
Let’s split the bubble gum
The crowd is too quiet here
May I taste your dimsum?
Do you know that I snore?
When I’m awake, it’s worse
I will try to sweep the door
She sells sea shells by the sea-horse
The world is like a worm
They both start with “w”
Let’s make the next line rhyme
Sock, slipper, sandal, shoe
The box is full of toys
My dick is made of wood
The tenses are important
Will stand, standing, stood
Everything I wrote here is untrue
Including the “and” and the “the”
Let’s make the next line rhyme again
La la la la la la la la la
Ten minutes before #4AM, I was already #smoking in front of #PSE. I bought three packs of #marlborolights the night before so I had no problem with my nicotine supplies. Honestly, the #companyouting didn’t give me any plain frisson but I was #earlierthanthecalltime because I finished reading #roofwalker the night before and didn’t have any chance to sleep.
The #techpeople arrived prior to me though and just seconds after I lit my first #marlborolights, the ladies and gentlemen from our #tjmediaservicecenters in #cebu and #davao appeared. Then one by one, everybody’s there.
The #packing of the #equipments was quick. I guess. Okay, I actually escaped the chore and just went outside to smoke more #marlborolights then I went to #seveneleven to buy some #gigglesbabywipes, #dolebananas, and #oishismartcplus.
#showbandstories #goodtimes #showbanddays #rockstar2 #hashtag #aceespinosa #carlaestrada #howtohaveagoodsex #reccaproblems #roundoneonly #sexpositions #exgirlfriends #prom #bustrip #trip #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag #laughtrip
Two stop-overs later, almost #lunchtime, we arrived #covelandiaresort and started setting things up. The place didn’t depict my idea of a place for #teambuilding and other #companyactivities. It’s more of a #familyresort. The #swimmingpools were clean. There were nice houses and cottages. The #beach wasn’t really inviting.
There was a #barslashresto where a #liveband plays. So while the rest was #preparing inside the house, me and @dudzguitarista started drinking #sanmiglight before we actually eat #lunch. @reynarsalvaarranger joined us too.
The schedule of activities was totally buried in oblivion. After lunch, some chose to play #basketballattheresort. Some just toyed with the #tjmediakaraoke. Some actively slept and some twiddled with their #gadgets.
While the sun was retiring, we went back to the #base and helped the ladies in preparing #dinner. I helped @kimberlybabezohbaby brush a sack of #oysters and then stayed in the #bahaykubo outside to lend @raulcedosoundengineer a hand in preparing #inihawnababoy, #inihawnabangus, #inihawnakahitano, and the #oysters themselves. Actually, I just assisted in the #tasting part.
The #oysterdip that @dudzguitarista made was superb. We continued drinking #sanmiglight while some decided to test the #swimmingpools. Later on, the #restoftheboys joined us and the hut was filled with convivial din. Then came #dinnerattheresort. It was nice to see everybody #havingfun and happily #diningtogether. That was one of those subtle moments that we feel we are #family.
Note: there was only one #ref.
There were #discolights and #loudmusic and people started to #partyparty. There were wild talks and #dancing. I didn’t get #drunk that early so I can remember everything that I #saw and heard. There were times that I was amidst my almost #wastedofficemates and I could hear @dudzguitarista shouting some words like #sexsexsex and #takeyourclothesoff on the #tjmicrophone.
Later on that night, I found myself lying in the #bahaykubo to rest far from the noises, then @dudzguitarista came in with two bottles of #soju. We decided to #roam around the #covelandiaresort with #soju in our hands and #trustcondoms in my pocket. Together with @loverlouie and @reynarsalvaarranger, we looked for #fun. The latter suddenly smashed one bottle on the ground because he was surprisingly in his #emomode. We were #unhappy about that. Actually, we were so pissed that @dudzguitarista could have stabbed @reynarsalvaarranger with a #spoon in the face.
@dudzguitarista and I didn’t expect that the #ending of a seemingly good day would be just like that. Everything was ruined by a stupid boy who junked shards of glass on the ground that almost hit and injure our feet.
When everything calmed down and we’re back in the #house, @raulcedosoundengineer fixed us some #coffee and we were #justchillinout, talking to the #survivors. Most casualties were #asleep. Some #threwup. Some chose not to join the #fun and stayed upstairs to use the #freewifi.
About past 4 A.M., we were all #snoring. I didn’t have a #hangover when I woke up. I didn’t dip a #toe in the #swimmingpools. The rest of the morning was spent having #chitchats with the rest of the boys. I didn’t eat #lunch (beside those five forks of #spaghetti) but I ordered a hundred-peso #tapsilog and a #banana in the #barslashresto. I didn’t win the raffle’s #grandprize but I won an entry-level #tjmicrophone.
#twothumbsup for @raulcedosoundengineer and @loverlouie for staying and “blending” in with others. #thumbsdown for those who repeatedly said bad things about the #party and how #flirty some of the girls were.
Are #oysters really #aphrodisiac? Is #pangasinan farther than #batangas or #bilibidviejo? How big is a #koreandick? Is #soju a bland #gin? Was the #pork #raw? Is #banana better than #gatorade or #deepwellwater?
#companyouting #covelandiaresort #tjmedia #tjziller #boyetuschromatus #dudzguitarista #mastapaulsomewhere #desireelupaccasili #reynarsalvaarranger #loverlouie #raulcedosoundengineer #hashtag #richardmrpogi #blessedjester #teptep #venusaguilar #kimberlybabezohbaby #ronamanreal #wediditallforthenuqui #marivelitik #tinachabelita #jmasangkaykungwalaakowalangplatinum #nickthebossreallyohreally #dennisgettinggetingsmelly #kathleencebu #msdavao #rosan #mrcebu #sandytheheadtech #edstupify #hashtag #hashtag #pangasinan
Four large fries and frappucino from McDonald’s; pancit canton; and champorado: not the typical breakfast of champions BUT can be the morning bite of the Irabons.
That specific Petron gas station in SLEX-Southbound was the last stop-over that we (and our other relatives in the other van) had in our family trip to Liliw, Laguna on an early Sunday morning. But we didn’t travel a hundred kilometers south to wade on hot springs nor to buy buko pies. It was a very unexpected visit for my father’s sister, Aunt Celna. For the first time in a long time, she was reunited with her siblings, sadly, in her own funeral.
It was one of those rare occasions that I see my cousins in that side of the clan. And it was one of those subtle moments that I see my father cry.
The obsequy was schedule in the afternoon so we had an ample amount of time to stroll around the vicinity and explore (which I will talk about a little later). It was a hot day and the sun was searing my greasy face but it was humid so it didn’t matter. From the house to the church to the cemetery, I walked, following the hearse. I stayed at the far end of the crowd so I could respectfully smoke.
It was indeed heartbreaking. I just regret that we were days late due to the conflicts of schedules. I am sorry for that and I know my cousins would understand. I’d hate to say this, but if it’s not for Facebook, we (from Manila) wouldn’t know anything about the plight. From now on, I’ll check my messages regularly.
All things must pass. It is a mere reality that exists in this world. In behalf of my kith and kin, I want to give my sincerest condolences to the Noble family. Let’s all move on and continue life bearing the memories of Aunt Celna.
To all my cousins there whose names start with K and to their own respective families, thank you for accommodating us. We really appreciate your kindness and hospitality.
“Segue At Liliw”
It was ideally a sad day because of my Aunt Celna’s demise. But on a positive note, it was still a trip and we somehow roved around the area to see what the district has to offer.
Located at Gat Tayaw Street is a long stretch of stores that sell locally-made footwear on wholesale prices. More on slippers and sandals, the jaunt delighted C, and together with Z, they had a shopping-spree for brunch.
The constant arrival of tourists proved that Liliw is indeed the slipper capital of the country.
There are also a lot of local delicacies to munch on like suman, street empanada something, Bibingka de Macapuno, various fruits, Uraro, Pastillas de Leche, Puto Seko, atsara, and burong santol. Mostly, the good stuff are found near the beautiful church where scads of people are coming.
In the afternoon, when I was walking at the back of the crowd, following the hearse to the burial ground, I tried-out some local kakanins or rice cakes that I encountered en route. I battled the scorching Liliw sun by drinking a fresh, cold buko juice that I bought and brought in a large tumbler. I reached the cemetery with an espasol-tinged stubble.
The entire neighborhood was neat and peaceful. Life is apt and uncomplicated. I hope I can come back there one of these days.
Ziann isn’t the type of kid who will ask her parents for a birthday party where everybody’s garbed in fairy tale characters. She will never ask for a Taylor Swift concert ticket for a present. She will never complain if she receives a small and not-so-nice cake or if she won’t be given any gifts at all.
I am not saying that my daughter is different. She is just a simple lass whose idea of happiness is very down to the norms, that in this world today, makes it like out of the standards. I hope you get that. If she has any peculiarity from other children of her age, it is her being uncomplicated.
Her almost-a-week-long tenth birthday celebration started in the annual U.P. Fair. It was a night of food tripping, books, watching local bands, food tripping, kikay accessories, perya rides, and food tripping. It was a tiresome yet enjoyable evening of sharing our daughter one of the things that we like doing. C and I introduced her to the culture of watching live bands and the tradition of just chilling-out in the girth of the venue. I also bought her a new pair of sandals because she inadvertently daubed her Cut the Rope sneakers when she sank her feet in the muddy part of the Sunken Garden.
Most of the night, we just roamed around, ate any interesting grub we came across with, and just moved near the pit when the acts that we were anticipating are on stage. Ex. Slapshock, Gloc 9, Ebe Dancel, Tanya Markova, and the likes.
As a souvenir, Z got an Om Nom henna tattoo. At first, I honestly thought it was something else. What d’you think?
In Fairview, Quezon City, there was a small binge for my wife’s family. A cake and some familiar, snap victuals were prepared.
In Sampaloc, Manila, four boxes of pizza and a generous order of Amber palabok were enough to do the trick. We don’t really like to profusely spend that much for food that we normally eat during weekends. The important thing was, we were all pleased to see Ziann pleased.
As a gift, to grant Z’ unorthodox wish, we took her to that specific street in Quiapo, Manila where there’s a line of stores that sell beads for wholesale prices. We let her grab anything that she wanted. It is for her growing beaded bracelet
Time really flies so fast. I know we are not really birthday people, but for our daughter’s happiness, what the hell? Right?
We love you, Ian!
… in the not-so ubiquitous though never concealed land of Piano Rolls, NRPNs, and abstruse System Exclusives, I returned. In this new company, I am no stranger to the work per se, but I cannot say that everything will be a cinch. There’s so much to learn here and perhaps, a sheaf of notes to review.
Being a good friend of an adept employee, the bosses have high expectations from me. That’s what I was told. Nay, they are also hoping that I will improve my initial and ridiculous D-grade status anon.
Well, expectations are for pregnant women only and hope is just a brand of a cheap cigarette. Even though I am not buying that story, I’ll still try my best. For me.
The contract that I signed somehow compels me to reach the numbers and quality come April. I’m cool with that for it’s not really my thing to scramble and stress myself with work. It’s not even my mug of beer to make an impression. My approach is to gradually develop my knack and then kick some ass afterwards. If I will not attain the cut, it’s my salary that will suffer anyway.
For the meantime, I’ll just go with the flow and induce myself that I can do it. I may have blatantly bit off more than I could chew, but in this mad world of corporate shit, success doesn’t come with a gobbet of cannots. Success means pounding the nail deep in the hard Tai Jin wood, and right now, I am the hammer.
September 5, 2013 – Thursday
My body temperature has been stuck to 38°c. But I still need to help Z with her project so what the hell?
September 6, 2013 – Friday
This fever is killing me. When I close my eyes, I see different colors and some of my childhood fever dreams are flashing. I have taken different brands of Paracetamol but nothing seems to work for me. So maybe, just maybe, I should seek professional help.
September 7, 2013 – Saturday
3: 19 A.M.
Just arrived home. C and Z took me to UDMC because my chills don’t feel right anymore.
The one who attended me in the emergency ward just gave me Paracetamol and that’s it. I also underwent a blood test and the result showed that my “platelet count” is low. We asked them to admit me in because I might have the dreaded Dengue virus, but they said I should just rest at home. Wow.
September 8, 2013 – Sunday
Last night, I was confined here at St. Luke’s Medical Center – Quezon City and officially, for the record, I have Dengue fever.
I can still gag that I am not gonna die soon but the decreasing number of my blood platelets is positively not joking. I still do not have any idea where I got bitten by a mosquito but it doesn’t matter now. All I want is to recover fast and live normally again.
P.S. We rushed to the UST Hospital first but nobody seemed to be interested in my condition. Wow.
This private room is amply large. It is way bigger than a premium flop of a chic motel. I have a cable television, a refrigerator, and a consistent WiFi connection. Frankly, it’s comfortable here. But hospitals are not really my kind of place so I’d rather be in a premium flop of a chic motel.
Hold on, a doctor will orient me.
Dengue virus has four strains. When you acquired one, you will be immune after surviving it. BUT that doesn’t make you impervious with the other three.
Findings say that this is my second Dengue fever. Maybe my body was healthy enough when I first had it that I didn’t even notice the symptoms. However, the doctor said that the sophomore acquisition is more fatal.
A blood sample should be taken from me every five hours so they can monitor my dropping platelet count.
Since this unpleasant case makes every count of blood valuable, I MUST not bleed in any plausible means. Meaning: I must not squeeze a zit; I must not pick my nose; I must not scratch my balls; I must not brush my teeth; and I must not gamble into any bustle that might open even a small motherfuckin’ lesion. I also must not eat any dark-colored food that can be mistaken as blood when it turned into shit.
What a mediocre situation I am into right now. So this I swear:
When I step out of this building, I will eat a quadruple-patty burger in Burger King.
September 9, 2013 – Monday
This is supposed to be my first day in my new job as a blah blah programmer something. Dammit. C already called the office to notify them about my pathetic condition. It’s really stupid because I may have an IV drip pinned in my vein and I may be lying literally on a bed, BUT I am, beyond doubt, not bed-ridden. I can actually walk; I can, in fact, go to the toilet while carrying the bag of dextrose tethered and injected in my opisthenar; I can still, obviously, type in an Android slate or a computer; and I can still do other shit without a hint of pain.
This sucks and it sucks more because all that I MUST do the whole day is lie on bed, eat, rest, watch television, browse the Internet, and WAIT. Wait for myself to GET BETTER.
I just had lunch. My mother brought me a generous serving of egg omelet (with ground pork and potatoes) which is actually delish. However, I noticed that I’m having a hard time eating. I know I want to eat and I MUST eat (and drink water always) but two spoonfuls of anything appear to quickly make my paunch bloated. A quarter glass of water seems to petrify my tummy and it feels like exploding.
Is it because of the rapid flow of D-glucose? I’ll ask Ivy, my pretty nurse.
I’m starting to get rashes by the way.
An hour ago, my blood platelet count was down to 7. The record here in St. Luke’s was 5 and I really had no plans of beating that so I underwent blood transfusion. Seven bags of almost golden-yellow liquid were injected to me. Nurses said that those were “platelets”.
The color of the fluid makes me wanna quaff a bottle of beer.
September 10, 2013 – Tuesday
Platelet count: 7. No change. The same. Status quo.
I actually have planned for this day.
I will surprise my wife with my… well… “presence” in the car park after her shift and we will go somewhere to eat something savory, then go home, and have a good sex.
I guess some plans are not meant to happen.
C still undressed me by the way… when I decided to take a bath and finally wear the hospital gown. I felt fresh. My mother and mother-in-law also brought some “real” grubs that are affable for my taste buds. No offense but I really don’t enjoy chomping on hospital rations.
Platelet count: 9. Improving, eh?
Ivy, my beautiful nurse has just reduced the speed of my IV drip this afternoon. My tetchy tummy finally got relieved. I was so happy I could kiss her.
Platelet count update: from 9 to18. Let’s do this!
September 11, 2013 – Wednesday
My platelet count has dropped to 16. Seriously?
My blood platelet count is indeed improving. I can already taste a four beef-patty burger cavorting on the strongest muscle of my body. I’m so happy I can kiss my nurse again.
I forgot to write here that I transferred to a smaller private room last night after Bandila. My running hospital bill is a whopping eighty-thousand pesos and we might not have the wherewithal to disburse it if it reaches a hundred. On the other side of the coin, my whiter-version-Long-Mejia-look-a-like-Chinese doctor has already told me that I can go home tomorrow.
September 12, 2013 – Thursday
It was quite a week. I survived one of the dangerous diseases that has killed a lot of people in the world. I am still thankful that I was the one who got it and not my loved ones, especially my daughter.
I am thanking everyone who sent me kind and funny messages that I received through SMS and Facebook. Thank you for those who offered help that we deeply appreciated but respectfully refused.
I may not believe in it, but thank you for those who prayed for my upturn.
Thank you for those who visited and brought food.
To C and Z. To my loving family and beautiful friends. To all the doctors and hardworking hot nurses (I wish I could put all your names in the feedback sheet). To everyone… you know who you are. I love you all.
Karu-san is here by the way. He arrived a while ago while a nurse was removing the drip’s needle from my nerve. He witnessed a lot of blood that gushed out from my vein to the floor. So metal, eh?
I already took a bath and changed to regular outfit. C is settling the bill on the ground floor and all our bags are almost already packed. We will be leaving this place any moment now.
So much for blood samples and needles.
So much for mouthwashes and medicines.
So much for the irregular sleeps and waking up in the wrong hours.
So much for the nonsense jabbers and flirting with the nurses (kidding!).
So much for all this bullshit.
I’ll be back in the real world soon.
There’s a baby grand in the lobby. I want to play a little and C is already here with the discharge papers. All clear.
Come on wifey and Karu-san, it’s time for Burger King.
… at the back of Cash and Carry, I felt an abrupt discomfort. I felt “tight”. Then I realized… I was wearing Vinny’s shirt.
Finally, a cab stopped in front of me.
An hour before, we were almost lost in Muntinlupa City trying to find the exit route to Manila. I groped for my blue shirt at the back of Vinny’s car and changed while the three of us were still watching the live performance of “The Fallen” over and over in France’s iPad. Thanks to her for capturing that rare, and maybe, last moment that NC’s playing together. Too bad it was just 3/5 of the band.
Two hours before, after smoking our lungs out and after flirting with the wedding coordinators (kidding!), we called it a day and decided to go home. Sir Chip and I caught a ride with Vinny and France and the former was dropped off just before Sto. Nino. I lost count how many times we replayed the video of “The Fallen”.
Five and a half hours before, the reception had commenced at Cipriano’s Garden, just a few kilometers from the church. It was a nice place and the food was good. There were the traditional wedding reception courses and gimmicks that surely entertained the guests. Dark Crayola played a quasi-acoustic set and Fidel was the “Robbie Hart” of the night. Man, that band never fails to amaze me.
Note: When I saw Neil danced, I can say that he is a good guitarist (haha).
Vinny, I, and the groom himself, Neil performed a classic NC song called “The Fallen” as a “surprise” (according to the MC) for the bride. But actually, I was more surprised when the hosts called us. I was really off-guard that exact minute. Anyway, we just engaged in with smiles and laughter, enjoying the moment while individually musing over about the great times our band had. I wished Paul and Jack were there. By the way, we played it a semitone higher and Vinny sang it without a hint of effort.
Seven and a half hours before, I was sitting beside Vinny (NC) and Fidel (DC) inside the church having an unlimited and unadulterated palaver about Joe Satriani, MIDI drum velocities, martial arts, Rainbow Ponies (?), Neil’s make-up, nun chucks, and anything under the sun. It was progressively entertaining. I apologize for not paying attention to the wedding proper.
After the ceremony, we redid the wedding march for photography purposes and Sir Chip arrived. Finally, a “smoking-buddy”.
Eight hours before, Neil and Lee got married again. This time, they literally walked down the aisle of St. Perigrine Lazioso Shrina – Muntinlupa City and tied the knot in front of a priest, their friends, and of course, their families.
Being a witness to some of the preparations back in SG more than nine hundred hours before, I can say that the plan did go well. I just wished the deleted scene happened where I would be playing the synth solo (using an iPad) of Dream Theater’s “Beneath the Surface” arranged for a string quartet. That could have been cool.
But I was also part of the entourage so I still had my duty of lighting a candle together with my beautiful partner, Laureen.
Note: Five matchsticks are better than one.
Vinny and Fidel also had their tasks of pinning the veil and placing the cord around the couple. Honestly, we were clueless about mostly everything.
Nine hours before, Vinny, France, and I were in front of the church, in Vinny’s car and just waiting for the mass to start. Me and Vinny just changed clothes inside the vehicle and I just threw my blue shirt at the compartment and wore my “pre-tied” tie.
I smoked a stick of Marlboro under a calm tree at the side of the church’s gate then I felt a sudden vexation in my tummy.
I should have said “XL” for my vest.
Congratulations my friends!
(photos from the bride’s Facebook page)
The cool thing about having a male dentist is, well, having a male dentist.
Doc M is my dentist for who-knows-how-many-years and I can say that I am comfortable with him. Though I only see him once a year or once in two years, I am at ease to settle on his dentist chair and let him scrutinize the insides of my mouth that only he (and my wife) has the license to.
Being in the same gender also means that we can pore over any topic that might hamper me to discuss with the opposite sex. I mean, we can talk about how good in bed Maricar Reyes was/is while chunks of tartar are falling out of my teeth. We can also converse about Walruses and 80’s music while assorted fluids are splashing out from my wide-opened maw to the dentist bib on my chest.
In my cleaning session this afternoon, I learned that I am a “calculus former”. Dental calculus or “tartar” in layman’s term, is indeed caused by dental plaque that came from the hardened fusion of food residue and protein in people’s mouth. The formation of my calculus is just so-happen faster than the others. He said that there must always be a “mechanical” procedure to clean our teeth. Mouthwashes won’t work alone. Proper brushing and flossing is the shit.
Probably, the most significant thing that I learned today is, smoking doesn’t cause tartar. It only stains the teeth yellow, and causes bad breath. Myth buster, eh?
So what’s this post all about? I don’t know. I am just actually trying the reliability of Market! Market!’s free WiFi and I just want to share the song that I heard in my mind when the dental drill was buzzing in my face.
Enjoy and floss daily!
Waking up on the right side of the floor somehow gave me a blithe mood on this beautiful Saturday morning. That’s why I decided to record a video of myself playing one of my favorite Beatles songs in ukulele. There are mistakes (a lot!) courtesy of my still sleepy fingers but who cares? I don’t plan to upload a perfect version of it online. This is the first and only take. More pleasing attempts might just lead to a forced and unnatural result. So I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I had fun playing it.
When I decided to take the risk two months ago, I was adamant of something. I was resolute to stay in Singapore because at that exact moment, it was the most feasible endeavor that I could make for a certain goal: to find a better niche.
So far, the extant turn of events are not fully on my side. I am still in this huge tussle between patience and optimism. I have my rays of hope shining straight from the Katong sky and some foreboding spaces as days go by.
Though I wasn’t really expecting for something great immediately when I first came here, I was confident that I would be able to pick a random apple from the Lion’s tree. With just a week of online job hunting, I received calls inviting me for interviews and I did well. I was honest. I was seriously proper. Those moments boosted my pride. I mean, I know that I am qualified with most of the jobs that I am bringing into play but my nemesis was (and still) that ridiculous quota shit. The depressingly high 2013 ratio of local and foreign workers was unexpected and last year’s allotted 120,000 plus S-Pass slots are now down to 75,000. It absolutely brought me a huge surprise and a little scare. But I didn’t quit.
A few weeks later, I found myself inside a room teaching a boy how to play C, G, Am, F in ukulele. Days after that, I found myself earning a little money and going to 7-11 to buy a pack of Marlboro and Vanilla Coke. I found myself traveling from Lot 1 to Mountbatten Road on a regular basis. I found myself preparing for songs to teach. I found myself having conversations with co-teachers and jamming with the admin staff after school hours. I found myself talking to parents about their children’s musical growth and discussing pseudo-music theories that would eventually be diverted to me answering questions about Manila, aswangs, and my “atsaka”.
Now, as I lay myself on my folded foam, in this dim room in a wee hour of Wednesday, my head is teeming with a lot of “maybes” that I hope I can write down before my phone’s battery drains out completely. It’s dark and I don’t want to look for my charger because I don’t want to disturb Neil and Lee who are so tired and now sleeping tight with the former snoring progressively. Haha.
Maybe I shouldn’t entertain all the maybes but maybe I will go home on Sunday. Maybe Gideon didn’t read my e-mail proposal. Maybe Manning is just a fluke and that I am really meant be a creative writer for Media Corp or a salesman in the Steinway Gallery. But maybe I should really go back to the Philippines and recharge for a while instead of finding a Taxi Driver who will take me to the back door of Hell. Maybe I should start buying pasalubongs later. Maybe water chestnut really came from deep-wells and Chicken Rice is actually pork. Maybe curry really gives you the banal odor that emanates in Bus number 66 and maybe I don’t really have enough initiative, and groping for affirmative responses just illustrates my not-yet-ness for facing the grinds of the Red Dot. Maybe.
Maybe I am right. Maybe they are not. Maybe it’s wrong, to say “Please love me too,” `cause I know you’ll never do. Somebody else is waiting there inside for yoooouuuuuu. Maybe it’s a song. Maybe I’m corny. Maybe I’m restless. Maybe there were actually signs for everything that just fell flat. Maybe love is bleeding. Maybe hatred is monolithic. Maybe solicitude is unilateral. Maybe cynicism is a test to pass your faith exam. Maybe I can substitute C major’s Neapolitan 6th for the D minor chord. Maybe I am dreaming. Maybe I am dreaming. Maybe I am dreaming. Maybe I am dreaming. Maybe I am dreaming. Maybe I had thought too much of my belligerent interests and the enormity of my delusions are just happening right now. Right now. Right now. Right now that I am on the left side of the hyphen. So maybe I am a noun who used to be an adjective that’s outside the parenthesis. Maybe I counted the chicks while the iron is hot. Maybe I stroked it while it’s raining eggs on my parade.
Maybe I should really look for my charger. Maybe I must go to the living room on all fours and begin to find the coin that constantly drops on the floor. Maybe orthodox repetition will never really defy the apparent because I was absorbed and absolved yestreen while constructing some metonymies for the tenants in the upper floor. Maybe they are “busy bees” or “shabu powered” or “hole makers”. Maybe ghosts are real and I can really hurt them with salt and iron.
Maybe I should stop writing right now because all these “maybes” are now turning into one big question that I must sleep on. That is, if I will sleep.
Maybe I won’t sleep. Maybe I don’t sleep. Maybe I should pray. Maybe I am getting crazy. Fuck. There’s that coin again.
Maybe I should sleep.
I will definitely sleep.
This week, a good friend from my former company visited Singapore for his quarterly “business trip” in Sentosa. Just like the old times, we did some classic food trip, walk trip, and window shopping around the city, this time, in a different country.
I took him to Neil and Lee’s music school and to the coolest music stores where he laid his magical fingers on the available ebonies and ivories that definitely attracted some local audience. (Show off! Ha!)
We drank Tiger beer under the high noon sun in the quiet side of Orchard Road, avoiding the Sunday consequences of the Lucky Plaza.
The dinner that we had together with his sweet “friend” Agatha, Neil, and Lee was great. Great bill too. Thank you guys.
Have a safe trip back to the jungle my friend. Thank you for bringing my wife and daughter’s chocolates and for the cigarette. Too bad you forgot Mr. Astronaut in my bag. See you in the near future!
It’s been almost two months since I landed my ass in SG. So, what’s up?
I’m still a foreigner living in a HBD unit in Choa Chu Kang. I sleep in a comfortable air-conditioned room of a married couple who, with the kindest of hearts, accommodated me. I am deeply thankful especially to Lee for the patience and for condoning the not-so-sweet-sounding snuffles that I create when I am asleep.
Living technically alone and far-flung from my loved ones isn’t so easy sometimes. I wash my own clothes and deal with the irate washing machine every Wednesday just before the 7 P.M. sunset. I have no one to embrace when the night is cold but myself and my camouflage blanket. Despite having new acquaintances of different shapes and races, there’s really no one to talk to about certain topics and secluded moot points when the only persons close to me are at work. I sometimes engage into some country-related palaver when Filipinas approach me in the streets. I eat solo 60% of the time like a stranger with no one to share my food with.
During my vacant minutes, I browse trending videos in YouTube and often watch old yet “comprehensive” Pinoy flicks starring the Viva Hot Babes and the new one with Yam Concepcion. At the same time, on the other tab, online job hunting is what makes me mostly occupied. I have reconciled with my ex named “Lina” and I got involved in furtive affairs with more huntresses. I am always on the look for an employer who will, by his own accord, apply me a work pass.
Pimples are still my skin’s frequent visitors. I have flare outs now and then though below the average quantity. So I therefore conclude that the Singapore air is somehow less-polluted than Manila’s. When I’m picking my nose, the dried mucus is surprisingly lighter in color. Holy booger! I’m literally living clean here too. I change my clothes almost every other day. I only brought like five shirts though Neil lent me some of his old garments so my favorite apparel won’t worn out fast. Most of the borrowed shirts are exactly my size but some just don’t fit me.
Speaking of “fit”, that word doesn’t considerably describe me physically. But I am really trying my best to lose weight. I’m taking a whack to shake off the bulge beneath my growing man-boobs. Playing around 75 kilograms isn’t that scary. I mean, I can still see my dick when I stand straight naked and look down at it. But every time I step on that weighing scale, there’s this apparent ambivalence that disturbs me. I don’t know if I am eating too much here or I just have lesser activities nowadays.
The Choa Chu Kang vicinity is a very conducive place for jogging and to do some fat-burning routines though I just consider traveling as my primary means of exercise. MRT stairs and footbridges are definitely my work-out companions. Oh, we still haven’t used the badminton set that Lee bought in Chinatown. Or maybe I should go back to cereals.
After the last two paragraphs, I still don’t consider myself health conscious. I still smoke and I’ve tried a lot of cigarette brands available here: Pall Mall, Next, iScore, Garam Gudang to name a few. Although a bit expensive, Marlboro is still the undisputed champ in flavor and when it comes to supplying my lungs with the right amount of tar and nicotine. It’s not really an achievement but I somehow limited myself to 5 (to 7) sticks a day. S$11.50 a pack is a very severe damage.
Given the certainty that I am wont to be 10 to 15 kilo lighter, I won’t deny the very fact that I love to eat. Not that restricted, but I can honestly say that I am disciplined on my meals. Extra rice is rarely a part of my system now. I have been staying here for eight weeks so I’m already used to the food. I have my favorites and I know where not to buy grubs. Neil and Lee have this constant effort to occasionally cook despite their very busy schedule. These are the times that my tongue can feast on the homegrown delicacies that make me feel at home like Binagoongan, Munggo, Adobo. Beef with Ampalaya, Talong, Giniling, Champorado, Tuyo etc.
We go to church once in a while. Yes, you definitely read it right and though I’ve witnessed a Catholic mass (Singapore-style) about two times, I am more fond of staying inside the prayer room. It is the only specific place where I can deeply feel the much-needed tranquility. I am not a religious person, I don’t really pray, and I am not really the “When all else fails, try god” kind of man but in that spot in Bukit Batok, I can silently reflect about my life. I can internally view my frustrations and little achievements. I can examine and balance my desperation, good vibes, sadness, delight, excitement, and faith to the world. There, I create my abstruse weekly stratagem to beat the negative thoughts that reality is feeding me.
I’m not afraid. I believe that I am the one who’s making the whole depiction of what will happen. I just answer the circumstances that the world asks everyday. I am not afraid of losing, though I hate it. I am not afraid to fail and to learn my lessons through my mistakes.
I teach ukulele in a newly opened music centre inside a rundown mall in Katong. Next week, I will start teaching piano, guitar, and bass guitar. (Yes, seriously, bass guitar). Being a teacher is a great thing. Contrary to other’s weak surmise, it’s not that redundant. Teaching is indeed a good job. Eventhough you are required to get better together with your students, you will not feel obligated because you really want to get better. Get it? Teaching is learning. Everyday you will surely grasp something new from your own lectures and also from your students.
Not connected with that, they say that you cannot fully experience a country if you won’t learn its culture. I’ve already explored the food, studied the political and religious system (which I won’t tackle here), and now I am starting to perceive one of the local languages. I know, life is too short to learn Chinese, but there’s no harm in doing some little research about the common phrases used in the everyday situations.
Some locals think that foreigners are so intelligent. Thank you. They are ducks that always expect monkeys to understand their quack-quacks.
I learned that some people here are considerate. When I am standing idly on the right side of the escalator, people say: “Goon kai!” (Excuse me, mister. Please.) They are very respectful indeed.
When I can’t understand the bus guide in the terminals, I ask questions with a smile.
Excuse me, is bus number 36 going to the Orchard Road?
Ni boo huay do maa ben. Dan!
(Well, certainly. Good job!)
Very polite, aren’t they?
When I am in a place that is “under the radar”, I am still careful so I often ask:
Excuse me, can I smoke here?
Dang ran! Bu chi, wo ba bu de ni bei jing cha zua.
(Yes, that’s the right place to smoke, cute foreigner.)
They are very humane and helpful to strangers.
Anyway, it’s time to go. I have to do something important. See you when I see you.
Maybe it is safe to say now that the “Harlem Shake” (meme) is already out. I mean, not that “in” anymore.
Harlem Shake, by the way, is an Internet craze that started early last month with people in peculiar costumes (with props) and undies doing some frenzied “shakes” on the song Harlem Shake by Baauer. It went viral and literally spread like an online disease when a lot of people uploaded their own video versions of it on YouTube. Those so-called “interpretations” of the fad’s enthusiasts from all over the globe featured and added different flavors and jests creating a massive trend which, for the record, reached about 4000 uploads per day.
I dislike it.
In my personal opinion, “real” dancing is a far cry from being frantic. Before I even saw those eccentric videos, I know that the real Harlem Shake is indeed, this one. There was also this version circa 2000 up featuring this song and dance moves which wasn’t really a worldwide hit but somehow penetrated the Philippines. I could remember kids in the streets perfectly doing those in-your-face-ankle-breaking moves for a while.
So what’s this post all about? Nothing. My point is, a person (or persons) with a camera and an Internet access is dangerous.
And though I really abhor this Harlem
Shit Shake, I honestly smiled seeing Supernatural‘s version of it… inside a big Devil’s Trap. Now that’s refreshing.
There’s this interesting pack of Marlboro sold in the stores here. I personally named it Marlboro Red and Black, but it is actually called Marlboro Core Flavor.
It’s not that I am comparing, but I am really comparing and I must say that the normal Marlboro (red) here kicks like a typical Marlboro Lights in the Philippines. The Marlboro Lights, on the other hand, is as weak as the “number two and so on” brands.
Core flavor. It’s still nowhere stronger than any Marlboro that I’ve had before but so far, it can fulfill my nicotine needs. It is also a few cents cheaper so I can still spare some for a can of A&W rootbeer. The only drawback is, since the sticks are thinner, you’re already done smoking while your yosi-mates still have half of their sticks.
IKEA is a huge Swedish department store that sells fair-priced household stuff. There are two branches of IKEA in Singapore, there’s one in Tampines and the other is in Alexandra.
Because of the fact that it’s rest day tomorrow, Neil and Anna Lee decided to travel south (after school hours) to the latter branch and tagged me along not for the appliances nor the ready-to-assemble furnitures, but for the FOOD!
Located at the second level of the edifice, the IKEA restaurant is quite interesting. A semi-classy, greasy spoon-ish food court with a horde of people dining, pushing food carts and swarming around the drink refilling station like bees sucking nectar from a giant flower. The menu looks expensive but still affordable. Speaking of bees, the customer’s line was shorter than of Jollibee’s opening day but you can anticipate the food to be way different from Yum with cheese and Chicken Joy. Like what I said, it’s Swedish.
The Italian-style pasta meal that we ordered was not the best but it was straight. It is an almost firm penne noodles topped with sour tomato sauce and some good cheese to balance the over-all flavor. Decent but definitely not that “organic”.
The luscious IKEA deep-fried chicken wings are truly tasty. Though the taste’s not new for my tongue, the sapid wings indubitably suggest how deep-fried chicken should be: juicy in the inside and quite crispy on the outside. The right blend of marinade used is also close to perfect. This kinda reminds me of my father’s pritong pakpak.
Probably, the most intriguing (and controversial) of all was the IKEA Swedish meatballs.
A few weeks ago, IKEA restaurants froze the selling of their trademark meatballs because of the “horse meat scandal”. According to the news, Czech inspectors found specks of horse meat in one batch of meatballs in Europe causing the company to pull the famous product out of most branches around the globe.
On March 8, the two IKEA Singapore branches came back with a vengeance, announcing the confirmation that their ever-popular meatballs contain only beef and pork (beef and chicken for the Halal menu). And for one day only, their signature food product would be available for a steal (10 pieces for S$1), to give thanks to the loyal patrons. It was a blockbuster hit.
Ten days after, there we were indulging over the divine, mouth-watering
horse meatballs. Served drown in hot gravy and accompanied by mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam, those perfectly cooked balls are probably the most delicious food that I’ve tasted so far in this fine city. I kid you not but you will gallop out of joy when you take your first bite. Now, for S$8/15 pieces, it was worth it. (Thanks Neil and Lee!)
Anyway, what’s wrong with eating horse meat? Taboo? Well, I’ve already tried eating crickets, superworms, dog, carabao, and goat meat before. Though I didn’t actually like the last four, I didn’t die after. I didn’t even get sick. My point is, horse’s or not, meat is still meat. As long as it’s clean and safe, and as long as it tastes good, I’ll eat it like a hungry stallion.
(March 21 – April 19)
Throwing up inside your knapsack isn’t a cool thing, especially in front of your partner. Two bottles of beer will be enough in order to survive that long bus trip after the party on Tuesday. Stay away from the finger food too.
You don’t have to worry about anything. The “hot badminton buddy” is just an imaginary person made up by your partner to make you jealous.
The salary adjustment that your boss promised you won’t reflect on the next pay-day. It will never even happen. The SMS wasn’t supposed to be for you.
(April 20 – May 20)
Nobody will “Like” and comment on your supposedly funny Facebook status. Think of something else like a witty one-liner implying you are bisexual or that you met your real biological father. Catching people’s attention won’t be easy this week. Try next month.
You are blessed with a very honest partner. If he say you look ugly in your dress, it’s true.
Patience pays. Don’t sign your present contract and wait for the other company to call you. The pay is higher there and the job is way better.
(May 21 – June 21)
You will eventually get caught by a policeman for jaywalking. That’s why you should always use the footbridge. It will also help you burn down the unwanted fats that you are complaining about. Avoid riding cabs with plate numbers ending with 5. The driver will talk to you about beer belly.
Check his phone’s sent items. He will be so busy at work this week that he will forget to delete the “suspicious” messages. Sneak in to his photo gallery too if you want a bigger surprise.
Jobs don’t just knock on your door. Try looking for one.
(June 22 – July 22)
Refrain from using Facetime and playing Candy Crush while inside the toilet. You will drop your gadget in the bowl while flushing your “color bombs”. Divine.
Prepare yourself for something that your partner will do on Thursday. It will totally blow you away.
You are too young to retire and too old to change career. Stick to your job.
(July 23 – August 22)
Overcome your fear of water. The pool on Tuesday’s venue is only 4 ft. deep and your stars accurately guarantee that there will be no sharks in there. It’s not also too late to learn how to swim.
On Wednesday, you will finally meet your long time chat mate and she will finally reveal that she’s a “he”.
On Thursday, you will finally be employed and your boss will be, coincidentally, “him”.
(August 23 – September 22)
A huge realization will come into you this week: “Call Me Maybe” is not a hit anymore. You will finally delete that song in your MP3 player after playing it for the last time on Wednesday.
Stalking your ex and your ex’ ex is pathetic. Move on and be busy on other things. Continue looking for a new love or start a new interesting hobby like scrap-booking, baking cupcakes, or collecting old coins.
Irate customers will be aplenty this week. The 11th one will be a frank call. Drop it or transfer it to the Spanish department.
(September 23 – October 22)
Lessen your green peas addiction. It will give you unpredictable and uncontrollable gas moments especially while inside your building’s shaky elevator. People won’t be able to tolerate your loud and smelly fart and they will be disgusted with you forever.
Love is just around you. Don’t waste your time looking for it because it will definitely come. But before anything else, you have to discover some important things in life like tissue paper, toothpaste, soap, and shampoo.
On Wednesday, don’t tire yourself by running and don’t waste your time and money fetching a taxi if you will be late for work. You’ll get fired anyway.
(October 23 – November 21)
Have your eye glasses fixed before Friday. You might end up putting sugar on your sunny side up and depositing a lot of money in the wrong bank account. Don’t even think of wearing your doll eyes contact lens without its pair.
You’ll have the sweetest movie date of your entire life. Don’t forget that the hand that will stroke your right leg in the movie house won’t be your partner’s.
“Brieves” is not the plural word for “brief”, just like “hice” for “house”. Check your spelling before replying to emails. You might lose the client.
(November 22 – December 21)
You will receive a text message that you won a million bucks via electronic raffle and of course you won’t believe it. But it will be too late for you to know that it was actually real.
The person in the mall who will first greet and sell you a Life Insurance will be your future husband. So smile, flirt a little, and say “No, thank you honey”.
This week will be a lucky one because your boss will be on leave. You’ll have more time sleeping in your cubicle and more attempts figuring out the password to your Friendster account.
(December 22 – January 19)
A very random week. You will step on a dog’s poop while riding a bike in the stairs. Always take the elevator because hunger isn’t always the right way to decide if you will cut your hair or not. Call your dad while looking for a Paracetamol in the hardware store because the heat will be troublesome. Blue baby bra. Milk.
Learn to appreciate the small things that your partner will do. Those are the last good things that you will share together as a couple before he/she dumps you and admits that he/she had an affair with your cousin.
You will finally be called for a job interview when you remove your 2×2 picture on your resume.
(January 20 – February 18)
This is the right time to stop partying every night and getting wasted after. Your parents’ words will finally sink into your mind and you will understand why they still treat you as their sweet and innocent little baby girl.
The bad thing: your parents will get angry for sure. The good thing: he will not run away from his obligations.
You will have all the support your boss can give you. The company will help you with the hospital bills and will give you a long maternity leave.
(February 19 – March 20)
Having pimples is indeed a part of growing up. Don’t be embarrassed about it and stop covering half of your face with your handkerchief while commuting. Too much pressure from your hands will pop the swollen one on your nose. Bring extra tissue papers and band aids.
Try to brush your teeth thrice a day. That will surely change the way your partner kisses and hugs you. It will also prolong the relationship.
In order to stay longer in the company, avoid the events and people around you. The dinner on Wednesday isn’t free anyway and everything that you will eat and drink will be deducted on your salary. Your office mates don’t like you too so go home early and just watch your new DVDs. Again, don’t forget to brush your teeth before sleeping.
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
That cliché is a big pile of bull crap. But if you’ll shuffle it a bit, the literal definition of “teacher” will come out.
“Those who can teach those who can’t do”.
Sunday. After the twenty-minute LRT ride, plus more than an hour firmly sitting in a cold bus traveling on PIE… plus the fifteen-minute stride on the wet Roxy vicinity, and another fifteen looking for a legal way to cross the street, I finally reached the music centre (this is really spelled this way in Singapore) where I would be having my first job.
The slightly weird thing was, I went there to teach “ukulele”. Oh man. Honestly, I always thought that ukulele was just a toy. Though it’s cute, I didn’t expect that people here really take that
toy musical instrument seriously that it is included in the curriculum of most music schools. I don’t know. Maybe because it is easier to play chords with four strings. Maybe because kids’ fingers are well-suited in the more or less than one inch frets. Maybe because it’s cheaper than an entry-level acoustic guitar and less hefty. Or maybe because of this amazing guy. I have no freakin’ idea.
So anyway, I did some chitchats first and showed-off a little to the staff and teachers with an old piano until my student arrived with his comely mother and younger sister. The three were startled when they found out that a handsome foreign guy wearing multiple earrings and dirty pants would be the new instructor. By the way, I shaved my rocker’s beard so I kinda looked decent. Ha!
The student: a typical jolly seven-year old boy with his two front teeth still just peeking out. He already had a couple of sessions according to his notebook and already knew like six chords and wild thrumming. The problem was, he couldn’t play a single song from start to finish.
I taught him beforehand some basic things like the proper handling of the instrument and correct finger positions. I also fed him with new easy chords and apt strumming patterns.
During in-between minutes, I tried to break the ice more before awkwardness decided to settle inside the room. I let him talk about himself and I listened to his stories about his classmates and family, especially his sister that he loves so much. It was a way to know him better and by sharing my own stuff too, I somehow demystified myself. After that, we started to be comfortable with each other. We had a couple of laughter and some other mirthful moments.
But what I really wanted to ensue was, for the kid to completely play a song straight without stopping. He wasn’t quite happy with Jason Mraz so we ended up with the undying and still twinkling fraction of Mozart’s “Theme and Variations”. He liked it and before the forty-five minute session was up, he finally nailed it without being obfuscated with the chord changes. I was so glad he did. It was quite an accomplishment, not only for him, but for both of us. I wrote some important home practice marks in his log. Some “to-do” things to smooth away his rough edges and to tighten his loose screws (please don’t take the last sentence literally). I hope he’ll progress more in playing his ukulele as much as I hope for myself to be better and successful in everything that I will be doing.
He happily thanked me upon leaving the center, but honestly, I should be thanking him for bringing back the positive vibes that I lost some days ago. Most of all, for the wonderful experience. Thanks Kenn.
…then place your ring finger on the 2nd string, 3rd fret.
Teacher, I can’t.
What the…? Did I just Singlish-ly say “can”?
The rainy Sunday afternoon didn’t stop Neil, Anna Lee, and I to catch Humanfolk in their 7 P.M. set at the Mosaic Music Festival held at the Esplanade. The hasty thirty-minute limo-taxi ride from Jalan Jurong Kechil to the venue was fast enough (plus some running too) that we arrived in front of the stage just right in time the band was doing their first instrumental number.
By the way, Humanfolk is a Filipino group playing world music fusion with a lot of added spices like jazz, rock, and electronic elements . The members that night were, of course, Johnny Alegre on guitar, together with Rodney Vidanes on the low ends; Zach Lucero (Imago) on drums, Malek Lopez on computer and other techie stuff; Andrew Dixon on sax; and Abby Clutario (Fuseboxx) on keys and vocals.
I really didn’t know the songs that they performed in that free gig but I surely loved “Para Sa Tao” with Abby doing the vocal job (err… something’s telling me that the last two words don’t sound right). It is basically and literally an alphabet song with an excellent and superb instrumentation (5/4 baby). The catchy melody somehow dug and pinched a little something inside of me. I felt calm.
Our dinner after Humanfolk’s set in the crowded Gluttons Bay was extremely satisfying. Fried Carrot cake, Yang Chao Rice, and a lot of roasted chicken wings could really end the day right and fix some husband and wife misunderstandings (hehe). There was a small Gerry’s Grill alongside the other Asian food stalls in the site . The long line of waiting patrons were mostly Filipinos and there was also this store called Mang Kiko’s. Neil said that it somehow someway resembles Mang Inasal. Let’s try that next time, shall we?
Sorry I forgot to take pictures of the food.
Anne Lee Sia and Boyetus
Singapore is a chowhound’s heaven. A land harboring a multi-racial society and having a diverse culture means that there’s a lot of intriguing victuals waiting to be tasted by foreigners and locals alike. From Chinese cuisine, to Malay, to Thai, to Indian – food is definitely found in every corner of the country.
Though you can easily run into a myriad of interesting goodies anytime, it’s not a cinch to spend a great amount of converted currency on food alone. If you only brought enough cash, you will have to think of other things where you will allot your money on like the place where you will sleep; EZ Link card load; souvenirs; and pasalubongs.
We obviously know that the cost of living is high in SG. But with a profuse chunk of keen observation and guts to ask questions to the genial citizens, you can find the right places where you can shell out a little qián but still be appeased big time.
In Singapore, there are “Eating Houses” or “Coffee Shops” or “Kopitiams” as they call it. A Kopitiam is an open-air food court filled with stalls where you can choose from a wide variety of already-cooked dishes.
[Coffee Shop? Yes, they serve different kinds of local coffees and beverages too. But let me discuss that on my next post.]
It is the Singaporean version of the Philippines’ “karinderya” or “turu-turo”.
Basically, a mandatory cup of steamed rice is served and you got to pick one, up to how many semi-greasy grubs that you want to go along with it. A two-meal combo is good enough but a three-meal medley (or more) is definitely for the win.
Mostly Singaporean, Chinese, and Malay cuisine, you can expect Sweet and Sour (pork, fish, and anything that can be sweet-and-sour-ed); Breaded anything; an array of esculent and smeary cooked–vegetables; and other comestibles with sauce in it. I love the white egg omelet something.
A meal can cost you a mere S$3- S$4 depending on how many viands are in there.
If you want a cheaper meal, you can treat your lingua with a S$2.50 repast called Chicken Rice. Unofficially the national dish of SG, it is a cup of chicken-flavored rice, topped with sliced roasted chicken. The taste is literally like how you would imagine it.
Another contender in the price range is the popular dish called Nasi Lemak. It is like the Chicken Rice but the rice itself is cooked in coconut milk and pandan with a touch of local chili paste. Some serve it with fried egg, nuts, and anchovies. The chicken is fried, not roasted. If you feel like you are already growing wings, you can opt for fish and other fried stuff.
The first-rate and systematic MRT line of SG makes it possible for you to travel around without much hassle and impasse. The mere fact that there’s a mall near in almost every MRT station means that there is a food court inside it.
Food Courts in Singapore are typically just like any other. They are actually a bigger, decent, and air–conditioned Kopitiam. You’ll get more food choices though the prices are a bit expensive than their street counterparts. You might have to spend S$4 to S$8 for a nice and warm eat. Food Courts are “branded” by the way. For example, the name Food Republic has more comely stalls and offers more delicious foodstuff. Others are just standards and quasi-economical.
Of course, if you are the not-so-adventurous type of eater, located across Singapore are the various western fast food chains. There are the usual suspects like Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, and McDonald’s. The McDonald’s Curry Sauce is kinda weird as an alternative dip for chicken and fries when you think about it, but honestly, it somehow tastes good for me.
Eating in fast food chains can usually cost you S$4.50 to about S$8 a meal. The Double Quarter Pounder and Double Mc Spicy are worth it for S$7.50. Too bad, the Mega Mac is only a seasonal delight.
[For Filipinos, watch out for the opening of Jollibee’s first branch in SG. It will be homed by, of course, the Tutuban-ish mall called Lucky Plaza (Orchard).]
Back in the streets, you might also wanna try the S$1 ice cream sandwich. It is a slab of frozen Selecta (Wall’s) ice cream (choose what flavor you like) sandwich-ed between sliced bread or crispy sweetened wafer. It is a more-filling but inexpensive substitute for some frozen desserts.
Authentic Muslim Eating Houses are also wide-spread in Singapore. They don’t serve pork but the other picks for satisfying your palette are equally gratifying. For less than S$10, you’ll get a distinctive meal that you can pair with a freshly squeezed fruit juice of your choice.
For noodle-freaks, there are the Economic Bee Hoon stalls. Usually for breakfast, the noodles are cooked and dished-up with fried items like eggs, luncheon meat slices, breaded anything, and sausage variations. If you want to heavily stuff your paunch with carbohydrates, this local delicacy might do the job for under S$4.
“Seafood Houses” are usually the transformation of the other Kopitiam stalls at night. The charge will become a dab pricey but a fixed list of menu will be presented so you can order fairly and the dishes are guaranteed newly cooked. It is kinda like a typical Chinese restaurant giving you the food experience you might be looking for. The Marmite Pai Kuat; dim sums; and dumplings are my extraordinary favorites. You will have to shed S$4 to S$12 depending on the size of your order.
Three things to remember when food-tripping in Singapore:
1. Drinks are usually not included in a meal.
You can order soda, kopi, ice lemon tea, lime juice and other beverages for a sheer $1.20. My favorite so far is water chestnut. It tastes like the Filipino refreshment called sago’t gulaman, minus the sago and gulaman.
2. Prepare your taste buds for gobs of spicy dips and sauces.
You’ll face a very Asian-oriented side dishes and dips: different kinds of curry, shrimp pastes, fish sauce with chili, name it, they have it.
3. Open-air food houses don’t usually provide napkins.
You better have some in your pocket in case you need to wipe your unctuous lips.
Remember, this post doesn’t tell everything, of course. This is just a plain perspective of a foreigner, who, is still searching for new experiences day by day. Singapore is not a big country. You can freely and safely roam around, transferring from trains to buses and won’t get lost with the help of instinct and basic reading skills. The more you ramble, the more you discover things. It is as simple as that.
But regarding food, if you already know where to go and what to eat, you only have to worry about one thing:
Have it here… or take away?
… screamed a little boy playing at the bottom of the stairs, when he saw the strange brown man treading down the overpass. Whether the kid, who’s wearing a dirty school uniform, was bantering or not, the strange brown man still smiled at the lad without a hint of irascibility. He kept on walking, ignoring the pinch of the hostile rhyming words thrown indirectly at him.
Beside a legal large green trash bin, he stopped and stood, reached inside the left pocket of his gray pants and exposed a pack of Marlboro. He pulled a stick with a SPDC mark before the brand name and lit it.
The first ruck of nicotine died shortly in the middle of his wind pipe. Another puff and the man could then feel the trail of tar from the upper part of his tongue going to his lungs. But the flavor was too light. It was like tasting a burning page of an old Bible. Smooth but vapid. Almost empty. Dull.
Breathe in the smoke. Draw out. Inhale. Exhale.
He observed the passing droves in all aspects that he could grasp. Though being intrigued by the bumble-rushing people in a not-so bumble rush hour of a Tuesday, he found it new. He found it refreshing.
Brisk walking while Facebook-ing without looking at the road. Yeah, that’s a skill.
“If this is Avenida, three or maybe eleven of them might lose their iPhones in the next few seconds.” he mumbled and grinned slightly.
But he wasn’t in Avenida. He wasn’t even close to Quiapo nor Welcome Rotonda. He was in a foreign land where he is considered a foreigner. He was a stranger. He was a stranger in a strange land where buses only load and unload passengers in the designated areas. He was in a land where there’s no traffic jam in a small two lane road. He was in a land where people rabidly run in the right side of escalators. He was in a land where roaches are rarely seen and Myna birds are everywhere but in pet shops. He was in the land where Marlboro costs nine times more than how much he knew it. He was in the land of undefined guarantees and employee ratios. In the land of particular risks and ambivalent decisions.
He looked at his inferior phone to check the time and he was surprised:
“Alas siete?!” he said aloud.
The real time didn’t rhyme with the still bright sky.
“I have to move…”
He took a series of rapid puffs and threw the cigarette butt in the water-filled ash tray above the bin.
“…but I need to pee.”
The nearest public toilet was located in a mall about two hundred and fifty-seven steps far. The strange brown man headed towards the basement and something amazing hit upon him. The lower ground level of the commercial complex had scads of retail stores selling books and magazines.
Shelves. Books. Shelves. Books. Magazines. Books. Books. Shelves. A convivial beam suddenly molded out from his face.
He’s a book enthusiast.
Is this heaven or is this heaven?
He walked on a slack pace so he could take a gander on everything that he would pass on by. More shelves and more books greeted him on his mini promenade to the comfort room. But his attention was aroused by two things that he found more interesting than paperbacks and bestsellers.
I’ll get back to that… and that… after I lose this excess liquid.
“Hi, I was just passing by…” he murmured and rehearsed the generic lines like a trite script of a television show. He pressed the stainless button with green and red blinking lights that summoned a gush of water to rinse the pale yellow fluid in the urinal. He didn’t know it was auto-flush. He looked at the mirror and wiped the traces of oil in his face with his pink handkerchief, avoiding the small zit above his right eyebrow.
It was a nice men’s room.
Target one: the store beside the lift.
“Hello. How can I help you?” asked a tall Indian guy behind the glass estante while dipping a piece of prata in a red-orange curry sauce.
Looking dapper in his well-pressed, black polo, the strange brown man smiled confidently and pointed outside. “Hi. I was just passing by and I saw the ad in front that you are in need of a retail…”
“Sorry mister.” cut the Indian guy. “We already found.”
There was no need to finish the sentence that was already dotted. In that concise exchange conversation, both of them understood each other. The strange brown man smiled again. “Okay sir, thank you.”
Target number 2: the one with the poster of Hercule Poirot’s shadow.
It was too quiet. Three men were sitting inside and loosely listening to the echoing footsteps in the hallway. One guy was relaxing behind the cash register; the other one, with the round glasses, was settling almost at the far end of the shelves; and the third person, who was wearing a black shirt with the Images and Words print, was near the entrance.
Already had set foot inside, the strange brown man smiled. “Hi. I was just passing by and I saw the ad outside…”
“You PR?” asked the supposed DT fan.
“No sir, but…”
“NO NO NO NO NO NO!” the supposed DT fan quickly responded in a staid and semi-furious face and tone.
“Okay thank you, sir.” the strange brown man smiled for the last time and went out of the store. Two slow footfalls after turning his back, he heard the three douchebags laughing loud. He didn’t look back and kept on going until he’s outside the entire establishment, oblivious to the inviting images of over-crowded books inside the countless shelves.
“Nice.” he said in sarcasm.
He stood beside a legal large green trash bin, a few meters from another overpass. He reached for the pack of Marlboro in the left pocket of his gray pants, pulled a stick with a SPDC mark before the brand name and lit it.
A progressive flux of over-hurrying people were coming in all directions in that busier part of the vicinity. He soon became aware of the strident voices and the cacophony of strange consonants that then, were smoothly resonating and panning from his left to right ear. A little boy in a dirty uniform was running down the footbridge. Their eyes met and the boy screamed…
This is my last night in the Philippines. A series of heavy emotions are pumping inside me right now. I am mostly pensive though I am so happy to spend this date with my entire family.
Ziann didn’t go to school today. She said she wanted to have a quality moment with me before I fly my ass out of this country. Personally, I also wanted to bring off all the floating promises that I made to her. And I did. Well, most of it. We already went to the zoo, U.P., and to Binondo some weeks ago. Too bad we didn’t reach the Planetarium in time this afternoon but we, without a hitch, dropped by Museo Pambata. On Tuesdays, if you have a valid I.D. stating that you are a citizen of Manila, then you are good to come in, for free! What a lucky day indeed.
Z and I really explored the building up to its every hall. She reveled in the playable objects and perhaps learned from some of them. She did appreciate the different doll collections, antique stuff, and the amazing Science room filled with interactive exhibits about the human body.
There was an upright piano in one of the rooms downstairs and she wanted me to play something but there was a sign telling that the old eighty-eight’s “sick” and not allowed for usage. It’s okay. Z still enjoyed the trip with or without me laying my fingers on the keys. We had a great time.
[When we were about to leave, we saw two of the crew playing the “out-of-service” piano that didn’t even sound faulty.]
We hurriedly went home at 6 P.M. to prepare for the real occasion: February 12. 2013. It’s Ziann’s 9th birthday.
My entire family was present in Cabalen (West Avenue). It was actually a double celebration: Z and Jeng’s (the fiancee of my cousin) natal day blowout. The bash was contrived and sponsored by my loving sister. Thank you, Tita Neneng.
My family loved the All-You-Can-Eat buffet and we were all delighted with the food. I love the Kare-kare (with their very distinct sweet bagoong) and my favorite Chicken Pastel.
After the satisfying regale, we all went home. There was a drinking session (as always) outside our house in Sampaloc (where we are currently staying) though most of us just chose to rest.
Ziann is not really a birthday person and I don’t like the word “despedida” for fuck’s sake, literally. Like what I always say these past few days, there are no “goodbyes”, just “see you soon”. “Good luck” is better in my opinion. For you know, I won’t be crossing oceans to party my life off. I don’t even know what’s in store for me in that country. All I know is, I am taking this risk for anything better and I’ll surely miss my friends, my pets, and my family for quite some time. For weeks, for months, I really don’t know. I am going to leave my homeland because I badly want to have a break from a career that I lately found disappointing. I am going to leave to rest a bit, calm myself, or maybe, start a new life. Maybe. Just maybe.
… made possible by Fritz and Jake at the former’s house last night was actually just a typical drinking jam until we crashed into the neighbors who were releasing sky lanterns outside their house. At first, Jake was just taking pictures of the semi-interesting subjects until the neighbors actually invited us to join them.
Traditionally, sky lanterns are used to convey prayers and wishes to the direction recognized by most as “heaven”. So as cheesy as it may sound, I did wish for some things before I let the waxy pink paper shell leave my hands.
After all the lanterns vanished in the dark Tandang Sora sky, we went back inside and proceeded on our profound confabulation about tarantulas, the song Mad World, local bands, and Cinema One flicks. Then, upon finishing our battle against the jug of gin with pineapple juice and Mountain Dew, we intelligently conceived a very short film using still photographs. Jake actually did most of it.
Anyway, the important thing was, I got to be with my friends before I leave four days from now. I just hope our lanterns didn’t burn any house in Metro Manila.
Thank you Jake, Fritz, Reyver, and Karu-san. See you soon.
So after a week of taming and bonding, after more than twenty bloody nips on my hands and umpteen wee-wee and poo-poo in my shirt, face, and hair… our new pet finally gave in and accepted us as her new owner.
So ladies and gentlemen, meet “Juno“, our female Sugar glider!
Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps) are small marsupials native in Australia. Marsupials (females) have pouches where they carry their babies, called joeys.
They are omnivores. In captivity, their delicate diet is consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, Cerelac, and insects (crickets, mealworms, superworms, and roaches).
Like my big hairy Arachnid pets, Sugar gliders are nocturnal animals. They are wide awake at night. Juno is very much active around 1 A.M. until 6 A.M. Trust me, these cute creatures vigorously play and jump around at these hours and sleep mostly during the day.
The word “glider” comes from the flaps that they have on their side called patagia that they spread out in order to make a gliding motion from tree to tree in the wild and from cabinets to curtains to beds inside your bedroom.
Sugar gliders are extremely social creatures. The rule of the thumb is actually a minimum of two gliders when having them as pets. Having Juno alone is honestly a risky move, so being a responsible owner, I have to keep up with her and play with her during her awake time. I also have to carry and take her to the office with me (inside her custom-made bonding pouch) and let her out to pee when she needs to and then feed her with a slice of apple in the afternoon (mid-day snack).
Keeping a Sugar glider is like having a baby. If you don’t have much time to spare for this critter, go look for another cuddly animal that doesn’t need much TLC. Sugar gliders are also highly sensitive creatures. Believe me, they can die in a matter of hours if not given the right attention they need.
Juno is almost well-bonded to us now. I handled most of the taming stage because I didn’t want anyone (except me) to get bitten during the entire process. I only let my wife and daughter fondle the cute little thingy a few days after I’m sure she’s finally tractable.
But we still have long way to go. Taming and totally bonding a glider really take months and/or years. Luckily, we’re just having a good start.