Third Eye




Black Saturday.

Bumisita ako sa office ni dad para may gawing trabaho. Walang mga layout artists at encoders akong naabutan. Lahat sila ay nagsipagbakasyon. Ang tanging naroon ay ang security guard na naka-post sa labas ng kuwarto. Abala ito sa pakikinig ng radyo. Mundo niya ay sarado.

Palabas na ako nang may biglang sumalubong sa akin. Balingkinitan ang katawan ng nilalang. Sa tingin ko  siya ay isang matandang lalaki. Hindi ko man naaninag ang kanyang mukha, pero tandang-tanda ko ang kanyang kasuotan. Barong Tagalog na pang-itaas, itim na slacks na pang-ibaba. Walang dudang nakadamit pamburol ang matanda at sa isang iglap, bigla itong nawala.

Huli na para ako ay maka-react. Walang tili sabay takbo palabas ng kuwarto. Walang nahimatay kunwari at nasapian ng demonyo. Sa halip ay mahinahon akong lumapit sa guard para magtanong: patay malisyang nagkuwento ng ghost story sabay kambyo kung mayroon multo sa kuwarto.

"Nako sir, minsan may nagta-type diyan sa mga keyboard pero wala namang tao." Kuwento sa akin ng guard.

"Minsan naman sir may naglalakad pero pag malapit na sa pintuan biglang nawawala." Tama nga ang aking hinala.



Clairvoyance. Ito ang kakayahang makakita ng mga bagay na hindi nakikita ng ordinaryong mata. Walang kasiguraduhan ang taglay kong ability na makakita, ngunit sa maraming pagkakataon ay hindi ako binigo ng aking ikatlong mata.

Sila ay nasa paligid natin. Ang marami ay pinagkaitan ng kapayapaan, ang iba ay tambay lang. Madalas ay namamalagi sila sa mga lumang bahay o gusali at mga lugar na pinangyarihan ng trahedya. Hindi gaya ng iba, ang akin ay nakikita lang sa gilid ng mga mata. Minsan ay sa pagitan nito. Never tumagal ng isang segundo ang apparition at isang beses lang ako nakakita ng mukha - noong burol ng kapatid ng lola ko. Naisipan nitong sumilip sa loob ng bahay.



Nagsimula ang lahat noong ako ay nasa high school. Nag-camping ang third at second year sa isang resort sa Laguna. Ang camp site ay nasa paanan mismo ng bundok Makiling.

Ang aming pagdating ay tila nakabulahaw sa mga nilalang doon. Ang paligid ay puno ng mga bata. Maiingay, walang pakundangan sa mga tanim sa lugar at higit sa lahat, nagkalat bigla ang mga basura. Unang gabi pa lang ay nabalot na ng kababalaghan ang camp site. Kuwento ng mga saksi, mayroong itim na aninong nakatayo sa tabi ng puno. May mga hugis tao ring nakaputing damit na naglilibot kung saan walang liwanag.

Noong una ay ayaw kong maniwala. Subalit noong ikalawang gabi at naisipan naming kumain sa dilim, nangyari ang hindi inaasahan.

"Tol kain tayo," bati ng aming ka-grupo sa lalaking papalapit. Natatandaan ko lang na puti ang suot nitong damit ngunit dahil nasa malayo at madilim, hindi namin aninag ang kanyang mukha.

Tahimik itong lumakad papunta sa amin, pero sa isang iglap, naglaho itong parang bula.

Speechless ang lahat ng nakakita.

Hindi doon nagtapos ang kababalaghan. Huling gabi ng camping. Naiwan ang mga boys dahil kulang ang bus na nagsundo sa amin. Kinailangan kong bumaba para tumawag at ipasabi na ako ay gagabihin. Hindi ako naghanap ng kasama. Malakas rin naman ang loob ko kaya ayus lang.

Ngunit nang paakyat na ako sa campsite, sa isang maliit na puno malapit sa pool ay naroon ang sinasabi nilang anino. Hugis tao ito pero mas maitim pa sa kanyang paligid. Wala itong mukha o anumang damit. Sadyang nakatayo lang ito sa tabi at tila pinagmamasdan ang aking pagdaan.

Kalmado akong naglalakad habang nakatingin sa nilalang. Kasabay ko paakyat ang ka-eskwela na tumawag rin sa kanyang magulang. Ilang metro man ang layo niya sa akin, pero dahil nandoon lang siya sa harapan, hindi ako kinilabutan kahit ilang dipa lang ang layo ko sa lamanlupa.

Hindi ko na ikinuwento ang karanasan ko pagbalik sa campsite. Ilang oras rin at dumating na ang bus na magsusundo sa amin. Hindi na naulit ang mga camping sa labas ng campus pero simula noon ay hindi na muling nagbalik ang pagiging walang-muwang sa akin.



I've seen dogs barking ferociously at a concrete wall as if someone was standing there. I've been in rooms smelling like a pre-war musk perfume or a candle was suddenly put out. I've seen, for a split second an entity wearing a katsa cloth standing beside a colleague in her cubicle. The apparitions and hauntings were so regular, I don't know what's real from the imagined anymore.

Even the gym is said to be haunted. 

And who wouldn't forget my horror story at the Philippine General Hospital.  The dead were practically lining up at a children's clinic believing their illnesses may be cured like as if they were still alive.

In the long run, you will get used to it.  You will appreciate that there are things in this world that are beyond explanation. I just hope the next time my third eye opens, I wouldn't see a bloodied, mutilated and decomposing restless spirit standing in front of me.




Baby Book





If  not for the baby book,  I would never know that I was born at 5:45 on a Tuesday morning;  That I weight 6 pounds and 11 ounces; and that the favorite aunt was among the first people who greeted me hello.

The baby book lists all the gifts I received from family friends and relatives - gifts that have disappeared three decades later. It has my hands and feet ink marks, which, when placed next to mine today would snug the palm of my hands.

I can also trace my incurable insomnia because of the baby book. Mom diligently wrote my feeding and sleeping habits, including the activities I did to prove indeed I'm alive: 


"Third week to one month - sleeping mostly during the day, awake at night."


The baby book chronicles the events I have no memory of.  Memories, that could have been lost forever at the daybreak of my childhood.   It has records of my first walk, (November, 1982)  the first words my tiny lips had spoken, ("Mama," June 17, 1982)  the first toys I had, and a brief summary of my first birthday party - including the games they played and other niceties the Kodak camera missed to capture.

It was a primitive attempt at self-preservation and my mom, out of love for her first-born painstakingly scribbled the milestones,

hoping, he would remember to look back.   


The difference between 1 and 28



"Anong gift mo sa baby ko?"  My sister asked, several days before her baby shower.

"Iniisip ko pa."   I was in no mood to answer. The present I had in mind doesn't exist anymore.  I searched the malls the previous years and the sales attendants merely gave a blank stare when it was time for me to ask.

"Hanap ka na lang ng baby bottle. Wala yatang magreregalo sa akin nun."

"O sige."  



The baby shower was a success.  The couple received gifts that will be useful when the baby comes out. There were blankets and diapers. A cousin gave an electric breast pump, while an aunt brought an expensive sterilizer.  

I didn't bring any presents for the occasion.  Keen observers would even tell that I snubbed the event when they saw me avoiding the crowds.  The reason for the sell-out was laziness, I forgot to drop by the mall to buy the baby bottle assigned to me.  

But there was a deeper motive for keeping my present away from everyone.

Should I buy mine, and then later finds out that someone thought of giving the same gift, one is bound to be ditched for the other. For the one I had in mind was the present my mom received when she gave birth to me. 


My Baby Book


My mom's desire to preserve my earliest milestones paid off.  Not only did I grow up to become faithful in keeping journals, I took the first chance of passing the tradition over now that some histories are being played again.

These days, baby books are hard to find.  But it didn't stop me from searching.  Finding the last available stock at Babyland, its sun-kissed edges are giving away hints of prolonged shelf exposure.  Like wine, whose age only makes it more special, the baby book is as pricey as when it was put on display for the first time.  

I could have looked for a newer stock at Toy Kingdom, but it was already 7 pm and the store I found along Shaw Boulevard was about to close. There is no assurance that a baby book is sold at Megamall and with the utol about to give birth, I knew it was a race against time.

I do not know how love, or the desire of forever could drive my mom to put on record the epochs of the first five years of my life.  But I understand the feeling: the joy of knowing that someone thought of writing your first words, your list of toys, or keeping the receipt of the food you ordered at a snack house where you and your parents first dined out.  Your parents had decided to go out because they were too poor to throw a party on your third birthday.  




It's no wonder I've been keeping track of histories ever since.




I do not expect the utol to be as passionate as my mom was with me. But the moment I laid eyes on the baby book, I know, my nephew will always be grateful when he reads the things his mom will write about him when he opens his eyes for the first time and greets the world

Hello.   




Cabeza De Barangay | Second Part





My mom fondly calls her Mareng Holly.

She has been a family friend long before we moved to our new house.  They crossed each other's lives when a realty firm tried to sell lands in our old neighborhood.  We were good-paying tenants as far as we know. My grandparents, who owned the house and were abroad at that time gave their word that they paid on time to the original landholders. While a lot of our neighbors have chosen to quietly abandon their homes, those who refused band together and formed a homeowners association to deal with the firm.  More than a decade later, the ones who signed up still live in the neighborhood. The association may have fragmented over the years but its aims to empower the community had succeeded.

Mareng Holly was the face of the homeowners association and so was her running mate Mareng Ditas. For the longest time, they toured the neighborhood to convince others to join the cause. The barangay was united, but with the glitter of money, some officials and association members have either sold themselves to the firm or resigned to the fact that we are doomed no matter how bold we hold our ground.  This has caused strife within the association.

Soon, factions corroded what was once a united neighborhood.



The ones who now run the barangay were at the fringes of the association during its heydays.  The person who pushed Mareng Holly and Mareng Ditas to run for office might have seen the opportunity after the ex captain passed away last month. Mom and the others knew who this shady figure was. Being the leader, he felt that the association will wane further should they ignore the call of power. Regaining the leadership would have easily worked a decade ago.

But the truth is, the barangay has changed.  Nobody believes in the association anymore.

I assessed the chances of our family friends during the campaign period. My sources tell that Mareng Holly had lost so much credibility, she would have to work overtime to gain the trust of even her neighbors.

"Paano ka ba naman boboto sa kanya, eh yung paupahan niya e nahulihan ng jumper," my source said. "Yung kasama naman niya, yung pamangkin eh kilalang sanggano sa barangay. Ano yun, edi lalong maglalakas loob manggulo yun dito?"

It seems their reputation has preceded them.

What drove the rest to put their trust in the present leadership was the rival's spotless performance.  He was a kagawad for three terms and in those times he was in power, he did his best to make sure the barangay was felt by everyone.  He maybe a queer and a home-renter, but with the majority of voters being outsiders to the association, pundits and critics alike could almost smell his victory.

"Mas gusto ko na ikaw na ang manalo kesa si Boying," Mareng Ditas would eventually say when election was over. She was seated next to the kagawad during the Meeting de Avance. Seeing no hope in sight, she resigned to the reality that it was better for the queer to win than the third, hostile candidate who was more popular than our family friend.




-tobecontinued-


ON THE WAY TO JOE'S NEW PAD




 My beau Joe just got a new place in Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood, on Charles Allen drive. It's right in the middle of the city, but you wouldn't think it from taking a walk down the street. It's also beautiful with hardwood floors and a decent amount of space. In relation to surrounding areas, it is one minute from Piedmont park, three minutes from mid-town station, four minutes from Adult Swim ( his work) and five minutes from school. I believe that it's safe to say that in-city living has proven itself quite the convenient charmer for him and it's not so bad for me either. I really like the convenience too, especially for those late nights when I need to stay a little longer to work on a project; instead of going all the way home, I can crash at his place.












Swardspeak | Dennis Da Chenes





Dear Pilyo,

Dahil alam ko rin naman na abala ka sa iyong language studies, nawa'y makatulong sana ang entry na ito para sa enrichment ng iyong vaclabulary.



"... but once in a while i get caught
unaware by the thought
that you cared once and
then memories resurface once again ..."

- forever and a day


pag nakarami ka na ng beerangga at sesenglot-senglot ka na at naka-shombay kayo sa isang parking lot sa baguio at OA na utong mo sa pagka-baktong at yung bibig mo e umuusok kahit wichelles ka namang nagsusubarachi at si sunshine cruz e nagbabanta nang sumilip any monument, kahit aneklavu pa i-isplukatsina nung ka-chikka mong boylet e super deadma ka na.

kasi bet mo nang umeklipany-mae. tapos yung naririnig mo na lang e puro ka-eklatan.

take it away, ida. TIME SPACE WARP, NGAYON DIN!!!



college. kunu-kunuhang shala na hotel na wa namang heater yung shower. 3 days-2 nyts na field trip. ambaduy nung field trip. kahit baguio pa itu.

sabi ni dennis sakin, "ang ganda ng mga stars, no? eklat - eklat - eklat ... special tong gabi na to ... eklat - eklat - eklat ... parang pakiramdam ko lahat masasabi ko sayo ... eklat - eklat - eklat ... i dunno why im telling you all these ... eklat - eklat - eklat ... i like you ... (walang eklat tong part na itech) ... you know what, i like you ... eklat - eklat - eklat ... potah, anlamig. diyan ka lang, naiihi ako ..."

tapos chinikka pa niya kay atashi yung buong medical history nung pamilya niya. pati yung jinsan niyang jortista tsaka basketball player e paki ko naman, davah?? pati yung dis-abantejes ng pagkakaroon ng matangos na ilong (gaya nung tumatama yung ilong pag umiinom sa baso), pangto-two time ng dati niyang gufra-mae, pati yung pagiging alcoholic ng pamilya niya na may i wonder ng O si atashi kung bakit niya ko pinapahirapan ng ganitembang.

at sa isang biglaang moment of saylenz e hinalikan niya yung lola mo. liptolelang galore. lipchukan to da max. siyempre polite-politan si atashi kaya naki-kiss na rin akiz ahihihihi at dahil may gulat factor ang kissing scene, may ka-join itung pangingilo ng iping nagkatamaan. ARAY!

aksyon spiks louder than words, mga bektas. sa aksyon na to, nabingi talaga ko. nag-disappearing act yung mga ka-eklatan, en por da pers taym in history e na-heardsung ko siya at yung gusto niyang sabihin.

AT PARANG UMINIT BIGLA SA BAGUIO, SAN KA PA???? (sabay kindat ang bakla hehehe)

pero may dramang pasabik yung lola mo. sabi ko, wag ngayon. wag dito. igalang mo pagka-babae ko. kasi na-sight ni atashi yung plashlight ni edGARDo angara. e bukas na yung polo ko at nashonggal ko na belt niya. lecheng mga sekyu to, may pagpapatrol pang nalalaman.

"akyat na tayo ..." sabi ni dennis. feeling ko na-offend siya na akechi yung unang lumayo sa eksenang lovapalooza.

"eh gusto kita ..." sabi ko. bumabawi si bakla.

"i know ..." sagot ni dennis. confident itech! nagfi-feeling na ampotah!!!

"anong you know?"

"hindi ko na nga namalayang wala na pala akong belt eh."

hehehehe skill yan. may lahing ninja yata tong badidang na to. wag ka mag-alala, papa-seminar ako.

tapos itinulog na lang namin yon. kinutuban akeiwang may second serving ng ka-eklatan eh. kamustahin naman natin ang puson, godivah?

nung sumunod na gabi, patulog na lahat. tumambay ako sa parking. sa mismong sulok kung san kami nag-lapchukan ni dennis. loner-loneran kunwari. hoping and wishing ang bakla na havs ng repeat performanz.

"may problema ka, bakla?" phone in question ni donita, ang bessie kong babaeng nyoklita, na kala mo siningaw ng lupa at may i apir itu bigla.

"umakyat ka na ..." sabi ko. "past your bed time na."

"as if naman tatangkad pa ko." kasi pinaglihi sa hobbit si donita. di ko lang ka-sure kung mabuhok rin yung paa niya. pero may duda ako hahahaha ..

"umakyat ka na sabi e!"

"uy! may poot ang delivery," side comment ni donita. "may booking ka, no?"

"wala," sagot ko.

"umamin ka, bakla. kilala kita. hindi ka bababa ng baguio nang wala kang ginagawa."

kureksyon, donita. nagawa. past tenz itu

"kala mo naman sakin, pokpok ..." depensa ni atashi.

"hindi. tamang makati lang ... mag caladryl ka nga." at nagsimula siyang magtuturo ng kung sinu-sino, "siguro yun yung booking mo ... ANG KATI MO TALAGA!!!"

"AY! sumpa ka, impakta!"

tama namang dumaan non sina dennis pati yung tropa niyang adik sa ragnarok na kung bet mong jumoin sa clan-clanan nila e kelangan may dsl ka sa balur mez, nagra-ragna ka tsaka kelangang pagtuunan ng karampatang pag galang ang lahat ng klase ng beerlalei at alkohol sa 7-11.

literal na dinaanan lang akiz non ni dennis. wa pabati. wa chikka factor. wa haller at kung anufaflu. wa man lang kiss, kahit hindi french. kahit yung flying lang.

bitter-bitteran ang bakla na bumuntot sa hobbit pabalik sa hotel. asa ka pa. wala ka nang kiss chenes-chenes.

tapos tumunog yung nyelpons ni atashi. si dennis. nagpadala ng smiley hehehehe (punyeta, ba't kinikilig pa rin ako???? ambabaw ampotah!!!)

sa 9 months na tinagal namin, maraming moments na sumagi sa isip ni atashing kumalas na. parang naging habit ko na nga siya non. wit ko lang ka-sure kung talagang hurt-hurtan akechi o betsung ko lang mag power trip at mag feeling na pipigilan niya ko. aminin, bin der bin dat babaeng bundat ka na sa mga eksenang ganito.

pero say nga ni dennis nung unang attempt kong makipag-break, "nobody said this was easy." awwwww ... LECHE! planado na sana yung kilig episode ni atashi kaya lang na-discovery channel ng lola mo na pinirata sa songhits yung linya. KABOG!

pero simula nung moment na yon, tuwing sinusumpong ako ng mannerism kong makipag-quits na lang at break na, bumabalik ako dun sa umpisa. kung saan lahat nagsimula. hindi ako literal na umaakyat sa bagyo. kumbaga sa negosyete tsaka sineskwela, magbalik aral tayo ...

sa ka-eklatan. sa smiley. sa kauna-unahang lovapalooza. at sa malamig at mahamog na parking lot sa baguio.

kasi, at eto tandaan mo tuwing nalulubak yung relasyon mo, "nobody said this was easy ..."

pero yung sagot ko don, "no one ever said it would be this hard ... oh take me back to the start ..."

kamusta naman, davah? sa na-unsiyameng relasyon namin ni dennis, na mala-cheapipay na hayskul musical ang drama, gamit na gamit yung songhits talaga. san ka pa!?!




Raket Season





Nega kung nega ang self-assessment ko sa unang raket ni Bentusi. Dahil isa siyang mabusising editor, tadtad ng red marks ang word document na sinubmit ko sa kanya.  Ang masagwa pa sa mga articles ay obvious na minadali ko ang pagsusulat nito. Not really the professional I presented myself to be. Mabuti na lang at maganda daw ang aking mga ideas. On time rin ang submission kahit todo cramming ang ginawa ko.  Ang resulta: Bumagsak ang aking immune system, kumita nga ako ng isang libo pero kulang pa itong pambili ng mga antibiotic.

Pero enjoy ko talaga ang raket. Alam ko na somewhere, may isang batang makakabasa ng mga articles ko. Malay natin, magiging mad scientist pala ang isa sa mga tsikiting sa kanyang pagtanda.  Who knows, ang dalubhasang makakapag-prove ng dark matter at theory of everything ay nastimulate pala ng mga experiments na kinuha ko sa internet.

Kunsensya ko si Spongebob
Ang masaya actually ay sinabi ni Bentusi sa akin na ako daw ang pinakamadaling i-edit ang trabaho.  Natuwa naman ako kasi na-dispel ang mga duda na nakapagpabigat ng loob ko.  Anyway, nag-email siya ngayong umaga para mag-offer ng bagong raket.  Same assignment pero science articles naman ngayon ang aking isusulat.  Tinanggap ko ang kanyang alok sa paniwalang marami pang susunod dito.

So what's in it for me:  Mahahasa ang writing ko para sa mga darating pa na assignment. Never akong kumuha ng Writing for Children sa Diliman pero dito, puwersado talaga ang magsulat ng simple sentences. The thought of doing something good even if the compensation is in question may somehow cloud my judgment, but in the end:

Sabi ng aking kunsensya, sapat ng kapalit yun.




Cabeza De Barangay | First Part





Even in the old days, the Cabeza de Barangay was already the chief of the smallest political unit of the land. The office was inherited from the first datus who ruled the islands long before the Spanish came.  His Majesty, King Felipe II decreed that the native nobility should retain the honors and privileges they enjoyed before their lands became the crown's subjects.  It was a bold move to swiftly colonize the country and to ensure the allegiance of the tribal leaders; to keep them from turning against their new masters.

The Cabeza de Barangay was a hereditary position. When the office of a cabeza fell vacant because of resignation, or lack of an heir, a new appointee was chosen.   The Gobernadorcillo and the other cabezas choose among their bloodline a new representative.   Sometimes, they gobble up the the land ruled by a fallen cabeza to expand their own realm.

The patronage politics ebbed and flowed for eons until the arrival of the Americans.  The barangay became known as the barrio and the cabeza lost its power and prestige when the post became an elective position.

Finally, anyone could be a village leader.



Her victory became less and less assured as the days went by. The Barangay Elections was just around the corner and support for her leadership waned as entire households switched allegiance. Blame the talebearers for much of the gossip and character assassination, but when one of the kagawads challenged her position, the exercise in suffrage became interesting in this part of Sampaloc.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the district, a family friend announced her intention to run for office. Joining her slate is another family friend who, in the long years of active presence in the community, merely stayed in the curb. The death of the incumbent leader triggered a power vacuum. Without a captain who would support the goals of the old homeowners' association, the family friend was told to challenge the kagawad chosen to take the cudgels of leadership from the fallen champion.



These were the two faces of the Barangay Elections witnessed and followed by the household today. In her desire to make things right, my mother's ex-favorite civic activity was to summon a meeting discussing the affairs of the compound.  Dubbed as "driveway politics," by pundits and scholars alike, the issue centers around the complex and intricate concept known in legalese terms as "right of way" of the driveway.

The matriarch always complained about the neighbor two doors away of putting things at the driveway entrance.  This blocks our passage, as well as the passage of other tenants. The issue almost sparked a family feud involving authorities and hired goons.  The Barangay stepped in to mediate the issue. To appease my mother, the Kapitana involved her in civic activities.  Her responsibilities now include the entire community.  Distracted, an uneasy peace has settled in our compound. With the death of the other household's matriarch, (Mrs. T, Fullmetal Dreams) and the spiral of the challenger family into a sort of civil war, we would go unchallenged for the next two years.

However, my mom's close association with the Kapitana has drawn us into the trouble ridden world of Barangay life. Gone are the petty issues of driveway politics. You can say that the mudra wielded a little influence in the neighborhood. And when the time for solicitations came, the kapitana  personally sought our commitment to vote for her in the coming elections.

Pronouncements of allegiance was easy to say. But in truth, my mom is registered in our other address where the family friends and her closest confidants have decided to cast their lot in the Barangay elections.



-tobecontinued-


U-Radio Manila






"Bossing lipat natin sa 107.9 ha?"

Before the cab driver could say yes, my finger already points to the dashboard receiver. Newer cabs require only a press of a button while older ones take ages before the car stereo detects the exact radio frequency of my station.

"Nakikinig ka rin pala niyan. Pampagising ko yan eh!"

To hear such comment from a young driver never triggers a reaction. Instead, I would smile and say, "Pampaready lang boss, gimik pa kasi." But to hear it from a guy who could already be my grandfather not only sends my head craning to scan the face of the chap, but often, such pleasant surprise initiates a friendly talk between me and the driver.



http://www.uradio.bigbig.com/


It's a chilly Friday night. Whether my destination is towards Timog or Malate, I switch the radio to 107.9 the moment I get in a cab. U-Radio plays club music day-in and day-out, seven days a week. The tracks switch from Trance to Progressive House, to Drum and Bass in a seamless transition that requires no jockeys. Seldom do they include mainstream club music in their playlist, but when they do, expect some killer remixes never before played in the dance floors of Manila.

Since Electronica is my music of choice, the FM station often rallies my glum mood while shuttling between gigs. Long hours at work followed by strenuous work-outs at the gym seduce the exhausted to bed. Add to the equation the limitations imposed by old age and I'm left with cherished memories of past clubbing escapades starting all the way from Phenomenon in Timog to O-Bar beside Metrowalk.



I learned the existence of FM station four years ago. Back then, all they had was a stinger saying "You're tuned to Underground Radio." I tried sharing my discovery with some clubbers. But with a very weak signal and on-off transmission, blogging about it would be an exercise in futility.

Operating with low power,  107.9 hardly picks any signals inside a building. The station doesn't carry any ads but its potentials as a gym and marathon events promoter remain untapped up to now. I do not know how many listeners are tuned in to the station, but with the steady stream of international clubbing events held in the country, windfall reaches even the distant transmitters of U-Radio.

My wish is that the club station would actively seek advertisements to fund its growing operation. Maybe it would also improve its signal transmission. Including Chill Out, Ambient and World Music like Cafe del Mar and Putomayo would add variety to its Electronic genre. Clubbers need to slow down after a night of party. Finally, featuring local dance clubs and chill-out bars wouldn't hurt for the station. Not only does it inform the listeners of the latest trend in Electronica, club culture in the country would get a boost from the promotion.

As for me who is about to give up my club gigs indefinitely, 107.9 remains my station of choice especially in the morning. After all, nothing wakes a lucid mind better than Drum and Bass

when it starts pounding my ears on my way to work.




Paypal





Never did I think it would become handy for the Raketship Project.







The year was 2007.  I signed up at Paypal with Mami Athena's prodding.  She needed to use my credit card to donate to some file hosting sites where she gets her daily dose of  zombie films.  She promised to share her access but since I still use dial-up at home, I merely let her pay the bill.

Word spread that Paypal allows its users to receive payments from online transactions.  But three years ago, the feature has yet to be introduced in the country.  The account could have been a convenient platform for doing business in the Internet. Its limitations however has confined us to purchasing online services which would normally require a Visa or Mastercard.
   
Signing up is very easy.  All you need is a credit card and a commitment to fulfill your credit obligations. Unionbank offers E-On Cybercard as an alternative to cc's, which often require lengthy processing  and background information procedures.

That is unless you have a sizable savings in a bank that offers a credit card.

Paypal.com can be accessed from Google and clicking the orange box that says sign up sends you to the create a PayPal account webpage. Go to the personal box for individual accounts and fill-in the information required.  Verification takes place shortly after details have been put in. 



For the longest time, my Paypal account laid dormant after the Patroness of Giggling Dogs found new ways to pay for her file-sharing "access." Meanwhile, the prospect of running an online empire never crossed my mind since the steady cash flow from the Sikyu Agency had put out whatever sidelines I had in mind.

But things have changed, especially after I discovered the joys of Raket Science
.





The Bentusi maybe the first among my online ventures, and I'm glad that I already have the basic infrastructure should I decide to work freelance and acquire the wealth of cyberspace on my own.




Adiktus





Dahil hindi ko tinatanggap na may ubo pa rin ako
at isang linggo na akong hindi nakakabuhat sa gym.







Deadlift:
215 lbs 3 reps 10 sets

Military Press:
105 lbs 3 reps 10 sets

Pull-Ups:
Body Weight 3 reps 10 sets




Dehado kung dehado
Para sa'n pang mga galos mo
Kung titiklop ka lang
Titiklop ka lang
Matalo kung matalo
Huwag ka sanang magkakamaling
Sumuko na lang

Spongecola
Puso




BUSINESS: WHO IS MY CUSTOMER?




In the process of writing my business plan, this question comes up a lot. I find that, not only is this question difficult for me to answer, but it seems to never be satisfied with one or even a few answers. The answer to this question is crucial to the future success of my company and I know that many hours of analyzing & reanalyzing my thoughts will go into it; which means I must take my time to answer with precise accuracy.  The most difficult answer that I have had to perceive as accurate and cope with so far is the fact that, I am not my customer.





So far I have a few answers. I will continue to list attributes of the Azede Jean-Pierre women until I can no longer think of any that fit her aesthetic as well as the aesthetic of the brand.


- To start she is a feminine women who isn't afraid to flirt with androgyny once in a while. She will definitely pair feminine and masculine garments together in on outfit. 

- She likes to invest in her clothing (she will own a jacket for at least twenty years, and on the 20th year it should still be in vogue), but once in a while she might fall to the allure of an undeniable trend.

-She is most comfortable wearing dull or muted tones yet loves to spontaneously intermix her palette with bright colors or even neon to spice things up a bit.

-She works out (or maybe just walks a lot) and is health conscious so she is completely confident of her body. She knows her figure and the best ways to accent it. She loves showing off her curves or lack there of. 

-She enjoys the beauty and the quality of innovative, well thought-out clothing. She has more designer pieces in her wardrobe than she does basics. She scarcely wears anything basic (even to do the most common task).

-She enjoys people stares, thus, she is always the center of attention. She enjoys making what looks odd (to most ) cool, its almost as if she can pull anything off. 

-She enjoys wearing body conscious silhouettes, but her true love is that of loose fitting, flowy or draped garments.

-And yes, to her GOD is in the details

-Her demeanor is that of a lady, yet there is a hidden sensuality about her. She is both delicate and dangerous. 

-She is a women of class and of good taste; she knows how fabric feels and can identify quality very easily. 




Newswriting 101







"Let's have our first writing activity!"   Abel's upbeat voice suddenly stirred her listless class.  After several meetings, the things we learned during lectures will have its practical application.

"Pretend that this is a Press Conference."  The students took out their notepads and scratch papers to jot down notes.  "You will be the reporters, while I will play the role of the Press Secretary."  Everyone's faces was painted with glee after they realized that they will be writing a news article for the first time. 

"Just give me the lead paragraph.  Make sure the important details I will mention must be present  in your article."



It was in Junior College when I had my foray into hard news.  Life before was full of expository and narrative shit.  Word count mattered and kids used to ace one another with flowery and poetic words embedded in their essays.  With hard news, we are taught to be brief and concise with our language.   We ought to follow the basic pattern of every article because time is money and nobody reads news with kilometric sentences.

I remember the 4Ws and 1H.   It was Abel's first lesson in class.  "The challenge of a story" she said, "is how to cram the answers to the questions what, when, where, why and how in one paragraph without sounding too stuffed and heavy."  She would soon introduce the different approaches in newswriting, which include a little fact-twisting to make the story more appealing to readers.


"Headlines must be sensational"   She said when we covered the topic on choosing the best news banner. "It must be screaming for attention.  Remember that your newspaper will be placed next to rival papers reporting the same hot story."

"You must never give away the entire piece, but instead let your readers take a peek at the slant of your article."  Examples she gave include a news article about a small fire. With no casualties and only minimal damages, the headline and slant shift towards the couple who was "about to come" when their gas stove exploded.


"Finally, there are days when news are hard to come."   By this time, the idea of writing our first news article was already being shaped inside our head. "Remember to sift newsworthy stories from ordinary ones.  A dog biting a man is an everyday occurrence but a man biting a dog is news."  Everyone chuckled at her example.

Delighted at the way she presented her ideas - including her experiences covering the police beat - Abel was hailed as one of the pillars of our department. Not only did we learn much from her lectures, we were able to hold classes at the Palace after she was handpicked by the former president for the press undersecretary job.

Her subject lasted only for two separate semesters, and then we moved on and immersed ourselves to other more sophisticated forms of newswriting. But without Abel's legacy, which I fondly recalled while writing this article for an online newspaper:


Ghostwriting Assignment.  Part of the Project Raketship Campaign


My writing style would remain stuck to weaving narratives, poetry and expository composition only.




Post Apocalyptic Recount





Devastation followed after the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. We ran not towards the underground bunkers, but to the places of worship, where the wounded and the scarred found refuge. The betrayal was beyond our doing and so we sought solace in the arms of the Almighty. Faith in harmony was stronger and though we culled thoughts of dazed sleeplessness in the wake of the firestorm, a weapon was refined to keep the nightmares at bay.

Scores perished.  The mangled bodies of those recovered were beyond recognition. Every battleship moored at the harbor capsized. The torpedo attacks ripped steel hulls open. Submarine warfare was employed. Many of those who died didn't know what hit them. Amidst the turmoil and destruction, a battle fleet was left untouched. Leaving the comforts of the harbor to patrol the seas before ignominy struck, they returned and vowed to bring the war right at the doorstep of the invader.



We prayed only for peace of mind.
The universe has sent an angel instead.




Spirit Of Ondoy





The latest news bulletin reports that super-typhoon Juan has changed course and its new direction now puts Manila within range. Earlier yesterday, CNN plotted the path of the weather disturbance and its trajectory will hit the Cordillera Region.  If liberal estimates are to be followed, Signal Number 2 could be raised in the capital region by six in the morning.  If we are spared from its direct onslaught, we can expect some heavy rains as the outer bands of the storm skirts the metropolis.


Every time a typhoon passes, we are reminded of the deluge that swamped the city last year.  Some of us have never moved past the horror that our collective memory is still haunted by the floods when a heavy downpour occurs.  I live in a place considered to be the catch basin of Manila. I maybe fortunate that my home stands far away from fluvial arteries, but the inconvenience to a way of life when the streets become submerged is the same.


like when we will ever learn?

We speak of the deluge like it had never left our midst.  Ondoy has been immortalized in our words and personal legends - telling people of our exact whereabouts while houses and streets disappear under the torrent. 

But one thing we have forgotten - and perhaps - have even learned to deny is that the floods have been our doing.  My hope is that it would not take another tragedy - like Juan could bring - for us to learn that the trash we throw away

is the trash that comes tumbling back to our doors.




Handle With Care





Mami Athena says that my eating habit is killing me. All the nutrients I require in a single day, squeezed in an Oatmeal and Banana meal. Assured that it could stand as my carbo loader, I would brisk walk from the office to the gym to have my thrice-a-week workout. Pumping iron makes me fit. The 15-minute walk from the main street to the office and back to the main street again serve as my cardio. But the moment I come home, the floodgate of gluttony is being opened. I pig out on whatever fat-coated dish is served on the table. Extra rice is a prerogative.

Sleep then comes after.

This method of deprivation would go unnoticed. The Patroness of Giggling Dogs however has become obsessed in living a healthy lifestyle that she even counts the pinch of salt that is added into her food. Twice I saw her freak out when she tasted too much salt in her dish. Two weeks ago, we would do a leisurely hike around Wilson Street and buy fruits, which we would then wolf down after returning to the office.

Our lives would remain idyllic except that my body has never accustomed itself to the ever-changing weather. What is unbearably hot to others still is comfortably warm to me. But when temperature dips a little lower, that's when the trouble starts.



Flu is in these days. That's what the lady in Mercury Drug has told me. I thought Mister Throatie was acting up, so I stopped smoking and pumped as much Vitamin C as my body could absorb. The road to perdition was halted, fortunately - but - then I started sneezing and my nose began to drip. Days rolled unabated. I even went to the gym last Thursday despite my severely weakened state. The tide was turning against the virus - I thought. My immunity has prevailed. But when the ruckus cough began to hurt my chest and I started having difficulties in breathing, I left a distress call and asked the favorite aunt what antibiotic to take.

Cefaclor. P65 a tablet. 4 times a day.



I used to believe that my active lifestyle has kept me from any illnesses. I thought I was strong enough to route a simple flu. But I was wrong. I pushed myself to the limit and I am now paying the price. The cause could be traced from the job application a few weeks ago. Possibly, the hour-long brisk walking with Mami Athena under the sun and then followed by a heavy workout drained much of my strength. Maybe, I am still reeling from the Infamy last week and it is only now that my body got the chance to respond to the blow.

These downturns were ignored: I let my body crumble further by turning my attention to the raketship instead of resting. I denied myself of precious sleep and instead went to work at 3 in the morning to train some agents for a project that would never come.

And as if I have never learned my lesson yet: I went to a tropa's house blessing and drunk beer and wine as if I was never ill. I was even planning to work out after and then meet the Encantos and welcome the kid into the group. But then, I had enough.



Sages claim that the body is the temple of one's soul. Savants decree that it is a machine that is prone to breakdown as it grows old and weary. Many times it skips my mind that I am approaching my third decade: That I cannot lay claim to the strength I once had.  For all the unbroken faith that I could get away with my wild abandonment, this most recent defeat of the immune system will leave a disclaimer that will break all  precedents about looking after one's health:

"Handle with care."




PREVIEW: The "NEWCOMER" Collection


 I want to know what you guys think, do you like the direction?








For those of you who don't know what the Newcomer Collection is: I am in the process of designing a mini collection of several garments which will only be available for sale on this blog. These are the concepts to the first three looks. 



McDonald's Twister Fries





May isang bata na ang pangalan ay Kulasa. Siya ay marikit, makulit at sobrang adik sa McDonald's Twister Fries. Tuwing umaga kapag papasok siya sa Mababang Paaralan ng Santa Ines ay dadaan muna siya sa tahanan ni Ronald McDonald. Tuwing recess naman ay magpapasama siya sa kanyang teacher na si Ditas (na nililibre niya ng Cheeseburger Meal) para bumili ng Twister Fries sa McDonald's. 


Comfort Food!! Nomnomnom


Paborito niya ang Twister Fries dahil malutong at spicy ito. Ubod ng dami rin ng patatas ang ma-eenjoy sa bawat fries. Minsan ay sinasawsaw niya ang fries sa ketchup pero madalas ang gravy ang lagi niyang kasama. Ayaw niya ng Fried Chicken dahil allergic siya sa manok. Ayaw rin niya ng rice dahil siya ay parating nagdi-diet. Tuwing uwian habang iniintay sunduin ng kanyang yaya ay gumagawa siya ng homework sa McDo. Kasama si Bentong walang brip na laging bugbog sarado sa sanggano ng Santa Ines, doon sila nagdadate habang kumakain ng McDonald's Twister Fries.

Masaya na sana ang kuwento nila, subalit dumating ang araw na ubos na ang lahat ng Twister Fries. Limited offer lang kasi ito. Kaya itong si Kulasa na adik sa French Fries ay nagpalit ng food trip.

"My mami says its unhealthy!" Hirit nito sa kanyang mga kaklase habang katext si Bentong sa kabilang classroom.

Abangan na lang natin kung ano ang kanyang next kaadikan.



I should be doing Bentusi's work order.

But I found it too difficult to resist what Nuffnang has sent to my email.

Twister Fries is back.

Like everyone who has an intense love affair with potatoes, the fries is also my guilty pleasure. Love it when I dip it in gravy. Enjoy McDonald's Twister Fries while supplies last. As for me, might as well follow Kulasa's lead and invite the Kambing of my life for a dinner date at Mcdo.







Picture stolen borrowed without permission here




OUTFIT: Watch out for nails on the road







a bump in the road on the way home






Shoes: D.I.Y 
Dress: My own design
Jacket: Thrifted
Bag: GHURKA


Don't worry, we're ok, it was only a nail :)I have to confess... I can't take all of the credit; i had help changing the tire (to tell the truth, Joe did most of the work). He thought it was so cute that i wanted to help. 



Foghorn





For June and the highlands escapades.
Immortality beckons beyond the fog.



The ascent begins at the base, near the picnic grove overlooking the famed lake. It will be a two-mile trip to the summit where thick clouds marching from the south have assembled to surround the prominent peak. The heaving dark clouds, like a dragon coiling around the hill is posed to swallow the crown on top of the mount, and we, as curious spectators is about to venture into the most outrageous drive of our lives.

Darkness shrouds the landscape as the Jimny revs for a steep climb. The narrow road twists revealing sharp bends whose deep ravine have already surrendered to the abyss. On cloudless days, the ledge reveals rolling hills and plains as far as the eyes could see. In the distance, beyond the lake, is the shimmering splendor of the sea, whose briny air beckons the marauding clouds to return to the depths.

But the path now, whose faint yellow lines is slowly fading into the fog. The silhouette of trees warn of an impending fall; the absence of specter of lights glowing from blurred lamp posts tell of yielding. Yet we must go on and never stop, lest a vehicle sharply turning on a bend might suddenly hit us from behind.



The Forks



Sliding the passenger window, wisps of clouds enter: the fog swirling gleefully to announce its supremacy . A whiff of arctic wind  chills our nostrils, while pearly beads of rain water splat on our skin. The road ahead is now veiled behind the haze but despite these trepidations, we crawl forward to continue our journey.

Halfway between the base and the summit, we parked, took a leak next to the ridge, and surveyed the hidden layers of our surroundings. Howling winds blow against our face as we stood our ground hoping for a heavenly parting. An icy chill permeates our skin knocking our bones to submission, yet we never faltered: A crown seeks to be discovered hidden above the hills.

We walked towards the final gate only to find it bolted. The wind howls and as the clouds encircle to make its final push to swallow our sanctified ledge, there is no choice but to rescind. With no place to stay and only the frosty elements to keep us company. We return to the Jimny and surrender our fate to the embracing mist.


A Repost:
Fullmetal Dreams
January 20, 2009




The Betlog Experiment





Grade Two.

I would like to remember Science as fun and exciting.   There were activities where we would dissect a Gumamela plant to identify what the pistil, corona and hymen were. Sometimes we would use magnets to explain a scientific idea.   But other than these hazed reflections, I cannot recall a time when Science had a profound impact on my childhood.

When I was in Grade Four, our Science teacher, Mister Gangan would teach the states of matter in class. Solid, Liquid and Gas. Every pupil knows the essence of each different states.  At the same time, he also reads those newsletters about sightings of Aswangs and hordes of Duwendes terrorizing a  miserable household. He would sometimes read the articles between lessons and the next thing we knew, kids would be swapping stories about a White Lady groaning in one of the cubicles of the girls' bathroom.  

The lack of  fond memories in my Science subject is the reason I accepted Bentusi's job offer.  Bentusi is my other boss; the online nanay who provides the raketship project a real sense of purpose.   The objective is to come up with science activities for children.  It will be published in a local magazine but I sourced the materials from the Internet.

The challenge of writing the experiments is not with the material, but with the manner of expression.  Bentusi explicitly said that I should use simple language and short sentences for students to understand the  proposed activities.  For someone who's favorite words are "conjure," "emancipate" and "transit," the shift in style poses a big challenge.

But I love kids. They remind me that my responsibilities lie not with the present but with the future.   Therefore, no matter how difficult it was to adjust, small words squeezed out of my head.

And so i began writing and found a piece of my childhood between the  puerile sentences.   I was right, the windfall would extend beyond my coffers and find its spot right at the heart of my blog as well.  Halfway through, I decided to try one of the experiments myself.   The challenge was how to make an egg float in a glass full of water.


Activity III: The Salty Experiment (Grade One)


Objects float better in sea water than in fresh water because of salt. Salt makes the water heavier and the more salt there is in a body of water, objects that are lighter float in it.


This activity answers how many teaspoons of table salt must be added in a glass of water before an object floats in it.




Materials Needed:


drinking glass
egg
a cup of table salt
water


What to do:


1. Fill the drinking glass with water. Make it half-full.
2. Place the egg inside the glass. It will sink.
3. Add a teaspoon of salt. Make sure to write how many teaspoons were added before the egg finally floats.


Questions:


1. How many teaspoons of salt must be added before the egg finally floats?
2. If the drinking glass is filled with warm water, would the egg float faster?


Like all jaded adults,  I was a non-believer.  Instead of the egg floating, it was my frustration surfacing.  I was wasting teaspoons of table salt for an experiment that had no proven results.  But there I was, in the midst of quitting and re-discovering the practical applications of buoyancy - for the first time - went on with the experiment.

My sister found it silly.  My brother-in-law, who was having dinner grinned at the table.  But at the back of my head, for this writing project to have a spirit, the writer must believe that something worthwhile would come out from such venture.

The result came after the thirtieth teaspoon of salt was added into the water.

"Ahh ang galing!"    Like the tip of the iceberg, the egg really did float.

With a grin similar to a pupil on a verge of new discovery,  the heart of the matter was finally revealed to me.




Assignment





receiving coded transmission from the raketship:


While all these talk about link-building, data mining, search engine optimization and content writing make you a little giddy these days, the raketship committee is sending some blueprints for a project you might want to take in your free time.

Choose a product you patronize. May it be a beverage, a radio station, or something that you can't live without in your daily life. Write an entry about it using all the keywords that would lead to your entry. Post it in your blog. If your entry appears on page one of Google, the committee will grant the Planetship the authority to conduct trade missions across the universe.

Meanwhile, the Bentusi seeks our services to write Science Activities for their saplings.

Proceeding with haste.


end transmission