Hele | Duyan




Ang  dapat sanang muling  pagpikit ng aking mga mata ay paulit-ulit na napuputol dahil sa manaka-nakang pag-iyak ni Baby Lenin sa katapat na kuwarto. Inihabilin kasi siya  upang alagaan ng kanyang lola habang  ang mama nito ay nakiki-rally sa Mendiola. Pinuntahan ko ang mag-lola upang tingnan kung paano makakatulong. Nalaman ko na pinapatulog pala ang bata pero ayaw nitong dapuan ng antok.

Naabutan kong nakaupo si Lenin habang nakasandal ang likod nito sa dibdib ng matanda. Hawak-hawak ang laruang bola na binili ni Baabaa, ito ay hihikbi, iiyak at saka lang titigil kapag hinele ng kanyang lola.

Tumingin ang sanggol sa akin at waring nagpapabuhat. Ako naman na hindi pumasok sa trabaho sa pag-aakalang magkakasakit ay nagpaubaya. Malakas kasi ang pamangkin ko sa akin. Gawain ko na rin pati ang siya ay kargahin mula nang una itong nakatulog sa aking braso.


Buhat-buhat ang bata, nagsimulang umugoy ang aking katawan.  Nakadantay  si Lenin sa aking balikat habang sapo-sapo ang kanyang ulo.  Kung dati-rati ay kumanta pa ako ng Oyayi para lang ito makatulog, ang sakit ng katawan at katamaran ng isip ang pumigil sa akin sa pagkakataong ito. Hinayaan kong ang oldies music sa TV ang aming maging kundiman.

Ayaw  tablan ng antok ang bata at kahit wala man sa trabaho, nagpasya akong tutukan ang mga kaganapan sa opisina. Iba na talaga ang may Broadband Connection. Ngunit dahil ang computer ay nasa kuwarto, nagpaalam ako na isasama si Lenin. Balak ko ihele ang bata habang nakatutok ang isang mata sa system interface ng aming kliyente.

Nakakabingi ang  katahimkan kaya't binuksan ko ang aking music library sa paniwalang makakatulong ang Classics sa pagpapaantok ng aking karga karga. Noon pa man ay pangarap ko na itong maka-sound trip subalit walang panahon.  Gusto ko kasing ipasa sa kanya ang pagkahilig sa mga tugtuging hindi lang sa RX at Love Radio naririnig.

Ganito rin kasi ang palaki sa akin.

Nagpatuloy ako sa aking paghele, at habang nakatingin sa nakangiting bata, (na noon ay nakasubo sa bibig ang mga daliri) naisip ko ang kanyang  buhay paglaki. Matatandaan kaya niya ang aming mga bonding moments?  May magsasabi kaya na minsan ay nakatulog siya sa aking mga braso?  Malalaman kaya niya na ngumiti siya sa aking partner nang ipakilala  ko sila sa isa't-isa.  Magiging magalang at maaruga kaya ito sa kanyang mga magulang, at hindi gagaya sa pinsan kong nambubugbog ng sariling ina?



Sa sobrang daming possibilities, minsan ay hindi ko maiwasan ang hindi mag-alala.

Siguro ay sadya lang akong ganito dahil alam ko, kahit kailan ay hindi ako makakagawa ng katulad niya.

Tumugtog si Pachelbel pero mulat pa rin ang  mata ni Lenin.  Sunod naman ay si Bach na ang masiglang obra ay higit na nagpagising sa aking  pinapatulog. Matapos ang  ilang bigkas ng Aba Ginoong Maria (makaramdam po sana ng gutom ang aking pamangkin sapagkat hindi pa ito umiinom ng gatas simula pagkagising) at nang magsimula ang malumanay na Piano intro ni Jim Chappell, sa wakas ay nagsimulang pumikit ang mata ng sanggol at unti-unti itong inantok sa aking braso.

Bumagal ang aking pag-ugoy, habang ang electric fan naman ay pinatama  ko sa aking katawan para umakyat ang hangin patungo sa aking dinuduyan. Hindi pa man natatapos ang kantang  Gone ay nakatulog  na ang bata.

Hindi  ko na pinatagal sa akin si Baby Lenin.  Alam kong gusto na rin siyang makapiling ng aking mama lalo pa't bihira na rin niya itong makasama. Dahan-dahan ay binalik ko ito sa kanya. Mabilis itong kinuha ng may kasamang babala na hindi na masasanay ang bata ng pinapatulog ng nakaupo lang. 

Hindi nagtagal ay nakatulog ng magkatabi ang dalawa.  Magkayakap.

Habang ako naman ay muling humarap sa nag-iintay na trabaho ng may ngiti sa mata.




DESIGN: drop crotch-high waisted pants


This is an impulsive post. I am not sure why but I felt that I just had to show you guys these pants today. Like the last garment design that I posted, they are not a part of any upcoming collection just part of my on-going process. And of course when I design clothes that are not part of any collection, I make them  in my size so I am supper excited to wear them. They are 100% silk crepe and plain organza for the sheer midriff.


Dissonant Stars (Second Part)





I  would  like to write about my cousin and the tragedy that befell his family. But their back story deserves another entry.  In the course of their unwritten journey,  my hope is for them to have a happy ending.

In  these days of strife - where violent blows hit not only the wife but also the aging mother; where neighbors choose to keep mum at what's happening inside their hovel, and where bloodlines feel  helpless to come to the mother's defense, a glimpse into their life is all that I could spare.

Consider this my way of easing the pain.



Tia Corazon's household runs on "utang" from the sari-sari store. Her husband works abroad, but the money he remits is not enough to support a family of three adults, two infants and a nine-year old kid. Her son - my cousin has no work. He didn't finish high school, his heart problem requires permanent medication and on top of it, he decided to bring home a wife who has never stepped foot in college.

A life on a downward spiral must have been too much for my cousin. After all, their opulence used to outshine our wealth. Failure broods frustration, and in desperation, he vents his anger towards the people around him.

The day before I showed up to deliver boxes of notebooks for the kids in my aunt's shanty neighborhood, a fight broke out between my cousin and his wife. What irked my cousin was her refusal to follow his orders. The wife was busy doing house chores, and could not get herself to buy his medicines. Between the fist fights and verbal tussles, their kids were caught in-between. My aunt came to shield her apos and in doing so, she too was caught in the crossfire.

"Si B2 nasa sahig habang nagsusuntukan yung mag-asawa. Talagang nangitim sa pag-iyak." Tia Corazon recalled.

"Si Criselda naman napunit ang damit kasi hinigit ko at masusuntok ng ama." 

The couple was not around when I showed up.

Their absence has allowed my aunt to spill everything that has happened.  She told me that my cousin smokes pot and the kids got sick but he didn't spare a single dime for their medicine. When she got sick days later, it was his adopted son  - a nine year old kid - who went  to the sari-sari store to buy a hard-boiled egg for my aunt to eat.  This of course, would be listed as utang.

"May sakit ako pero todo kayod pa rin ako dito sa bahay."  Tia Corazon relates.  "Nanghihina ako pero ako pa rin naglalaba, nagluluto, naglilinis ng bahay, habang namumura ng 'putang-ina mo,' kapag wala akong mailabas na pera."

She told me that my cousin accuses her of  keeping the money they get from his father.

"Minsan hirap na hirap na ako at pinapasa-Diyos na lang lahat.  Pero wala eh, hindi ako makakita ng pagbabago."

I asked her why she can't leave my cousin behind.

"Hindi ko maiwan ang mga apo ko. Ayaw kong maranasan nila ang mga naranasan ko." At that point she began to cry. "Tumatalon ako sa bintana kapag binubugbog ng lolo mo ang lola mo. Umiiyak ako sa may kanto kasi wala akong magawa."


All I could do was give her a tight hug.

"Bakit ganun J, sarili kong anak hindi ako mayakap? Bakit sa ibang tao ko pa nararamdaman ang pagpapahalaga?" I too have no answers.

"Kumakain sila sa labas na mag-asawa pero ni minsan, hindi nila naisipan na dalhan man lang ako ng pasalubong."

Tia Corazon poured her heart out as the teens who were with me waited outside the house. I gave clear instructions to report my cousin to the authorities the next time he harms  her and the kids. I also warned her that the children would carry the scars for the rest of their lives should she fails to act now.   



"Kunin niyo po itong bigay ni mama."  In my hand were several Ninoy Aquino bills.

"Salamat dito sa limang daan ha. Itatago ko ito."

"Nako tatlong libo po iyan, hindi lang limang daan." The small amount was part of the compensation we got from the late dictator.

"Ganun ba?!?"  Her eyes glowed with excitement.  She was on the verge of tears.



I went home disturbed and incapacitated.


"Sana malaki ang kita ko."

Yun ang lagi kong sinasabi sa tuwing magkikita kami ni Tia Corazon. Sa totoo, mas nakikita ko siya bilang nakakatandang kapatid sa halip na tiyahin. Siguro dahil mas nakikita niya ang tunay na ako nang maging magkasama kami sa negosyo ni papa.

Sabi ni mama na siya rin ang may dahilan kung bakit naging ganoon ang anak niya.  Na-spoil kasi ito nang sila ay may kaya pa. Siguro nga, you spawn what you nurture. Hinayaan mong tapak-tapakan ka ng anak mo, kaya ngayon ay mas malakas pa ang loob niya sa iyo.

Madilim na nang kami ay makabalik sa bahay. Unang bumungad sa akin si Baby Lenin, na noong ay natutulog sa binti ni Mama.  Habang inaalala ang aking mga pamangkin sa aking pinsan, isa lang ang tumatak sa isip ko.

Lalaki si Lenin na busog sa pagmamahal.   




   

DIY: mustard and ketchup romper





Believe it or not, I found this Ike Behar man's shirt at Goodwill (a major thrift store chain) and was drawn to it because of the muted yet loud mustard color. My boyfriend hated it because of it's color so that made me love it more. I took it home with a vision in mind. The sleeves were cut off and hemmed, I shortened the shirt and used a ketchup colored silk jersey as the fabric for the shorts. P.S those shoes are the easiest things in the world to walk in because I am just elevated, there is no major arch to the heel.








Dissonant Stars (First Part)





 I


"Hello Mami, Sir Pie, I would like to request to work at home tonight.  My sister and her family are out of town and my mom is not feeling well. Rest assured that my Broadband Internet can handle the account supervision. Upon your approval, I will inform the team immediately..."


I was told not to panic in the face of her revelation.  But when the dreaded words bounced off her lips, it took merely minutes for terror to assemble. There are no conclusive evidence yet, but when she felt a stinging pain at the wrong places of her body,  it was easy to buy the readily assumptions

and scare us. 

Beneath  the poised discernment is a state of trepidation.  She fears a trip to a specialist, and prefers the solace, saints peddled.  She's not ready to hear the truth - one that puts mortality in doubt. I wish there is some other way aside from embracing denial, but if the symptoms continue, we have to tell the favorite aunt, at once.

Comfort takes in the form of frequent trips to the master's bedroom to give her extra attention.  Twice I caught her inspecting some semi-precious stones. She plans to sell a few to clear some space in her jewelry box. She also began contemplating making peace with her enemies, if she has one. We try not to talk about the issue beforehand, but I know, both of us must come into terms of the things that lie ahead.

I'm crumbling and that's the truth.

But like her, I too would prefer seeking comfort from the almighty before giving in to the intervention of science.

That afternoon, I accompanied her to hear the mass after many months of absence.


II


"Hetong damit na suot ko binili ko lang sa ukay-ukay.  Itong palda ko, 40 pesos, etong blouse ko 35. Pero sila kapag may pera, lumabalas ng hindi ako kasama. Nung may sakit ako, ni singko, hindi man lang sila bumili ng gamot para sa akin.  

Sawa na ako sa buhay ko."


Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I  was among the thousands who have seen on TV how Nanay Lourdes suffered blows in the hands of her own children.  My head was bursting with ideas on how to get even with the evil couple. I was thinking of hurling molotov cocktail at their residence, or even plastering shaming notices at their gate.  Heck, I even went to the couple's apartment in Mandaluyong  just to see the after effects of being exposed in public.

All for this belief that it would never happen to us. 

The whole time I set my sights elsewhere, something shitty was happening close to home. We always knew my cousin (from the father's side) beats up his mother. My aunt used to count the blue marks on her body when retelling the fistful episodes during phone conversations with my mom.

We thought the habit had ceased when he became a dad. But when cash doles from his TNT father began to dry up and interrupt their already hand-to-mouth subsistence, and his two very young kids could hardly afford a decent meal because the family has no money, the nasty periods returned with a vengeance.

This time dragging my niece and nephew into the pit.


-tobecontinued-


DESIGN: leather envelope clutch





What you will need: about two square feet of leather, a large envelope (or one that is your preferred  perfect sized clutch) and leather bonding Fabric-Tac.

What to do: use the envelop as your pattern piece and trace the outline onto the back side of your leather. Cut out the pattern piece and glue the edges together in order to form your envelop. Hand stitch a snap onto the center top of the bottom fold. If you wish you may add a button or some ornamental fixture (like I did) to hide the seems of the snap. There you have it, a very clean minimalistic multipurpose clutch that you can wear casually or to any major event. 





The leather paper bag (third image from the top) just jumped out at me when I saw it. I don't know who designed it but whoever it was must be a very innovative person. I wanted to copy it instantly but with Joe's help I resisted and created a leather envelope clutch using the same concept. I love that its is so unstructured and that I can fit standard American letter paper-sized objects into it perfectly. Although I do love my own design, you have to forgive me because if I don't find out who designed that leather paper bag soon I might have to make my own.

Fifty





I  am nothing but a second-rate trying hard copycat and I know that!  I will also be denying myself a lot of blog entries to write should I pursue this. Pero dahil feel kong maging sunod-sunuran kay Daddy Fox, gagawa rin ako ng blog kagaya ng kanya.

So, without much further delay, here are the 50 facts you should know about me.


50.  Sunsets bring out the sentimental in me.  Lalo na when my surroundings are moist after a brief drizzle. Then you would see the sun peeking between the parting clouds, one could almost catch me teary eyed.  

49.   I am a cat person. You would hear me say "Meow" when I come across a cat in the street.  Parang tanga lang diba?

48.    My room is so tidy, people often mistake my room as my sister's.  Ang gulo kasi sa kanya samantalang well ordered naman sakin. Hindi rin ako makakatulog ng magulo ang bed sheet. Baabaa could attest to that.

47.    I've gone to dance clubs since junior college. Unang napuntahan ko was Phenomena in Timog Avenue.

46.    I only got circumcised before I became a sophomore. Nung first year high school ako, successful ang pagtatago ko sa mga kaklase. I  revealed the truth (pinakita ko pa yata etits ko sa mga katropa ko) on the last day of the school year.

45.    Two weeks rin naghilom yung sugat ko.  Kasi naman, on the third day pa lang after matuli.  Nagtetebats na ako.

44.   Speaking of tebats. I couldn't last 2 days without doing it. I masturbate around 10 times in a week.  Kaya naman never akong nagkaroon ng nocturnal emission.

43.   Hirap akong mag-adjust kapag may mga lakad na hindi natutuloy. That's why I always keep back-up plans.

42.  Mami Athena told me that my leadership style could be compared to Mahatma Gandhi. Passive Resistance.






41.  Hate to admit it but I panic easily.  That's why in any leadership hierarchy,  I work best as second in command.

40.   I've  been raised playing strategy games.  I can be an excellent planner as long as you won't put me in the front line.

39.   I was never encouraged to play toy guns when I was a kid. Instead, mom would buy me lots of die-cast toy cars. Until now these matchbox cars are still with me.

38.  Isa sa mga una kong naging kaibigan nung bata ay bading. His name is Edwin and kids in our neighborhood used to call him Strawberry.

37.   When  I was in Grade Six, I was able to assemble a rock garden outside the house.  It was thriving with moss and ferns.

36.   Earned some coins taking trash from the neighbors' house. In short naging basurero ako nung bata at hindi yun alam sa bahay namin!

35.   Nalaman ko lang na marunong akong magsulat nung 4th year high school na ako. Hinahanap ko pa rin yung mga composition pieces ko nung elementary.  

34.   Nag put-up rin ako ng sari-sari store nung nasa elementary ako.  In fairness, kumita!

33.   Second year college pa lang ako, marunong na akong mag-drive.  Until now, wala pa rin akong driver's license.

32.   I had three relationships before Baabaa. A girl and two guys.  Friend ko na si babae at out ako sa kanya.

31.   Nung  first man-to-man relationship ko,  I was 20, the guy was 27. I was the obedient boy, but also the one running the relationship.    

30.    Naranasan ko makipag-break up ng February 14.  Ako na ang iniwan, masaya pa ako sa lagay na yun.

29.    I  always sleep naked. Madali tuloy ma-rape.

28.    May soft spot ako sa mga malalaking puno.

27.    Nail biting has always been a problem.  I've given up on  recovery.






26.    I  never had any handkerchief nor thought of buying one - ever.

25.    Mas mukha akong matanda nung 23 years old ako.

24.   Things that were written here are preview of my next entries.  Magiging wholesome rin ako sa mga facts with respect to my partner.

23.   Sobrang dali ko maging homesick, pero nung bata ako, kung saan saan ako nakakarating - minsan one week pa kung mawala ako sa bahay.

22.   I  see myself as very romantic. But I try to keep my actions subtle and seamless.

21.   I allude things to science fiction when I'm emo.  

20.   I was active in politics when I was in college. Kung  meron man na member ng Student's Democratic Party na nakakabasa nito, I was your Secretary General before.

19.  But never brought politics inside the classroom. Masyadong  mataas ang tingin ko sa Journalism na talagang  naging  neutral ako pagdating sa affairs ng class - even when I was their class president.

18. Bi-Pexers Unite was the first non-straight group na sinalihan ko. Nag-out ako sa sarili ko sa Pinoyexchange.com.

17. My first ever car was Isuzu Gemini. What I asked my dad though was Toyota Corolla. Sa disappointment, binigay ko sa ermats ko yung kotse.

16.  Isa ako sa mga mapapalad na bata na natuto maglaro ng langit lupa, bumtiyaya, text, taguan, patintero, chinese garter at shake shake shampoo.  Kawawa ang mga bata ngayon.

15.  I'm quite good in gayspeak. In fact, I correspond with my fag-hag superior officer using that language whenever I fuck up at work.

14.  My mom can't walk.  Part of the reason I work out is because of her.

13.  First most expensive thing I bought with my salary - Wheelchair.

12.  I  find New Age and Esoteric stuff really fascinating. Mas mag-eenjoy akong makinig sa nagkukuwento tungkol sa ghosts, UFOs, angels, telepathy etc kesa sa predictions ng isang tao sa magiging winner ng American Idol.

11.  I used to share an apartment with a girl and a boy and my parents didn't know about this until trouble began rocking our family business.

10. The most important object in my bag is my rosary.

9.  And it's hard for me to attend the mass.  I'd rather go to chuch when there are few people in.

8.  Especially now that I'm considered a heretic. Pro RH bill ako. In fact, each parent should be allowed only a maximum of 2 kids para sa akin.






7.  Mahirap maging wholesome kung pinalaki kang sexually liberated.  Pero wait, despite my exposure, I still consider my principles conservative.

6.  We were owners of a smut tabloid.  At 19, nakakahawak ako ng boobs ng starlet.

5.  I consider myself very elitist but at the same time, I have no qualms being seen with the masses.

4.  Ilang beses na akong nakagat ng aso at hindi ko sinabi yun kahit kanino.  Hindi rin ako nagpa-injection ng anti-rabies.

3.  Na-devirginize ako noong 20 years old ako. Sa prostitute. It was so traumatic, within weeks, ni-question ko kaagad yung sexuality ko.

2.  I  keep the cards and  letters given to me. Tuloy namimiss ko yung time na nag-eeffort talaga ang mga tao na sumulat sa mga kaibigan at minamahal nila.

1.  I'm afraid of the time I will stop writing.




Por Favor





3ow mga parekoy pohwz!

Hingi naman ako ng favor, if you got time.

Bentusi is doing a survey and she wants to know two things.  

  • Have you ever paid for an online subscription or membership?
  • If yes, what was the subscription or membership for?

Please send your responses to: badlaon@gmail.com or nanaynotebook@gmail.com.



Bentusi Reimagined




Thank you.  As a trade-off I will blog about that one time I used my credit card to pay for an online membership. It's to see the other members who viewed my profile. It's just a one-time deal and it really massaged my-then fragile ego.

Off for now.   




DIY: a little overdone





I know that these ripped tees have had their run on the top of the trendy charts lately.  And although I hate to admit that I like trends or even follow them, I do, and I have no choice, they are everywhere. I'm starting to realize that you can't dislike something just because the masses like it - especially if it is such a cool textured thing as this. Therefore I have embraced this particular trend (late and all). Doing the "ripping" myself made me love the idea and like the aesthetic of it even more. I was choosing what strings to pull and which ones not to change making this design original to myself. In the end I quite liked the results and would even consider doing it to another garment (maybe a pair of knit pants); ooohhhh, that sounds good! Ok, whenever I get another free second away from designing to commit to a D.I.Y. I think that knit tattered pants may be in the equation.

Evolution





When  my dad told me that a technician will swing  by the house to install a  modem on my computer, the initiative was met with indifference.  Barely two months after receiving a  Compaq Presario from him, being left alone with my computer games is all I've ever wanted.

Internet  then was a new and strange technology. It wasn't even commercially available in the country.  When average desktops still use Windows95 and Intel 486 processors, mine was considered advanced for its age.

Tapping  into the matrix for the first time is like entering a new world.   There were only few websites available though. I remember the technician showing me the NBA page, which led me to look at the time on the alarm clock. Codes for Firefox and IE have yet to be conceived, so we made the most out of Netscape Navigator, no matter how cumbersome and virus-prone it is. 

I remember the first website I  saw.  It was about the Face on Mars, which was taken when a probe surveyed  the planet's surface. Flustered, I thought the photos were real.  Many years later, science would prove otherwise. The images were produced by a combination of light tricks and poor image resolution. By then, the Internet would be swamped with hoax photos and videos that separated the gullible from the suspicious. Once in a while, these photos would appear in some rundown website and distracts people from their worldly affairs.

Internet providers then were varied and disunited.  However, data came from a single source which  was the telephone. Back then, I was pretty satisfied with the current technology, even if the occasional phone unavailability roused the ire of my father at least, I am connected. 

I never bothered to evolve.

Days  would  roll into eons while letting my network connectivity linger in a backward state.  Drive went to updating  my hardware to keep up with the games I bought at Datablitz. Miniaturization shrank the book-sized modem, allowing it to be directly plugged into the motherboard. I lied when I claimed no knowledge of WIFI and broadband.  A friend from Smart spoke about these technologies and how it would revolutionize information before they became available to these shores.

As fortunes steadily declined, priorities had to be made. Money went to the family, to the ex, to pay for my personal bills. While still capable of making a giant leap, determination to accept change kept me from growing.  I  got stuck with dial-up believing it was enough to provide for my bandwidth needs.  Besides, there was the Internet Cafes should I decide to speed up my access.  




source




Soon, I  would build my entire career around the idea that my brain is jacked into a computer port. The Internet  has never been an unfamiliar terrain and vast knowledge, which is just being discovered now were things I already applied even before they became pop ideas.

I was at the forefront of upheavals.  When  Wikipedia and Twitter were just setting up,  I was there to support these social media ventures.  Unknowingly, I  used SEO to make my first  Combatron tribute appear on the first page of every search engine. I was employed at a data mining firm before the practice became mainstream.  Lacking discipline, I could have learned html and css had I spent my time on it instead of writing.

Ironic that  for  someone who is highly capable, he got stuck using ancient technology. Blame my procrastination for it. I simply couldn't find the courage to take the giant step and switch to a much faster connection. Plans  have been drawn a few years back, but because our street was largely ignored when cables were laid around the block, I appeased myself buying Blast prepaid cards until broadband knocks at my door.

Technology  wasn't really unavailable. There were SmartBro and Sun Broadband which I could always plug in my USB port. Wi-Tribe came into the picture last year. Lacking good reviews however, I decided to withhold my application.

The problem sprung from the selection. With so many options to choose from,  I couldn't bear settling for less. Besides, with existing contracts with some of the best providers in the market, I thought of waiting  out of my belief  that I could gain more. 

So I  waited and waited until the fiber optic cables of Sky Broadband reach the home front.  There was PLDT MyDSL dangling like a carrot everytime I see the landline. But with the complicated instructions for application, (the phone isn't ours)  I thought of  killing the thought. Sooner or later, my patience will be rewarded and when it does, I hope there's no regret with my decision.

For we have been a Skycable subscriber for the last decade.        

Finally,  the waiting bore fruit last week, when a broadband representative perched a tent across the street. Soft-selling took merely minutes, and they promised swift connection in a matter of days.  It took only three days for the technicians to show up, and unlike the kid who once showed apathy towards the new technology,  this time, that technology promises unlimited freedom.

With  the opening of vast horizons denied to me  for a long time comes the pain of another bill payment. At P999, the price would cut deep into my already stretched-out salary.  For now, I would suspend my natural inclination to distress over budget constraints.   What time could still afford,  I would bask at the moment when I can forget about that 56K connection.   






This time, I have evolved.




Epic Fail





It  is quite different when two strangers are genuinely interested to know one another. However,  frustration begins when only one shows attention and the other seems preoccupied with other things.

Day  three of the blind date arrangement and it appears that Fiesta Boy is losing steam.  Blame the mechanics for raising his doubts, but I guess his hesitation comes from having to use a pseudonym to introduce himself to the girl. 

I tried explaining the reasons, but he was always unavailable. On the first day, I sent him a text message after work to ask if he was still up. A reply came the following morning. Attempting to make contact, I asked what time does he arrive home at night.  

The boy stopped replying. 

This behavior only hints of one thing:  That Fiesta Boy has other things in his plate aside from searching for a date. There is no doubt that I have vested interest for such pairing. Beyond annoyance and derision, I  really want to see the guy settled. I  want to see him on our next reunion bringing his girlfriend along, and that girlfriend is a friend of mine.  

You may want to ask why involve myself when I should leave him to his own diskarte.

Truth is, Fiesta Boy hasn't been in a relationship - ever.  The first attempt he tried, the girl became close to me. Rumors started to circulate that I stole the girl from him,  which was taken away from us by another guy who got her pregnant. Anyway, as the years went by, his interests - in movies, poetry,  in religious stuff and his overt dislike of sports made him the target of speculation. Much as I would like to cover-up his tracks, his soft-spoken nature would always make me the much butcher between the two of us. And even if  I suspend my own gaydar, my verdict would be absolute.

Our friends are getting doubtful. Much to Fiesta Boy's denial, they also began to speculate as well.

While there is nothing wrong with our collective assumptions,  I prefer that he should stay where he belongs. Coming out now may further taint the image of the group, which was known in our college as a ruthless gay basher.  Besides, I do not know how a gentle, Soxy Topacio look alike would fare well in this life.  Much as  I would like to be an optimist, histories tell me otherwise.



In  the end, it's not only Fiesta Boy who got a problem.  Even the chick, which I would call Carmen Electra for  this entry began showing signs of out of character too. Perhaps I  have underestimated her urgency to find a date, that she sounded too assertive at times. Gone are the days when her conservative views back in college made her quite prudish in class.  Maybe its out of desperation. I prefer not to know.  

But when she insisted that I should just let them meet so they could discover if there's a spark on their first date - after she was told that Fiesta Boy drives a car - left a bad taste in my mouth. 

I have just been reminded why man to man blind dates hardly work.

Fiesta Boy has until Sunday to ask about Carmen Electra. If he fails to make his presence felt, I would assume he is not interested.  News of this botched blind date would reach the tropa in December.  By geek standards, Carmen Electra is pretty hot. With her chinky eyes, long curly hair, tall stature and slim figure, she's always a good catch.

Not to mention, she has her own school.

And if  the tropa continues to speculate about Fiesta Boy's sexuality and ask me about it. My answer will be plain and simple.

"He's not interested with girls.  What do you want me to think?" 




VIDEO: Remember the PETALS project



Here are the results, we all (the contributors) worked really hard on this project and I can't wait to play and experiment more with video. It was such a fun experience plus Ansley & KJ both did such a wonderful job. Thanks guys and I am so looking forward to the next one.


Lifestream





Best comparison would be a flatbed trolley carrying two car engines being pushed across the corridor.  The vibration from the steel bearings as the wheels roll over the uneven floor could be felt  in our workspace. Only that, it wasn't a flatbed trolley rumbling. In a matter of seconds, the entire building began swaying. As our heads become woozy and our vexed eyes lock at the door, we know what was happening.

The ground was shaking.

Conventional wisdom tells us that we should put our hands over our heads and seek cover under the table. But realizing the urgency to share a reaction, to find relief  knowing that a collective alarm howls over the Internet, I left a log on Twitter to convey my deepest  fear.





Humans are highly sociable creatures capable of doing everything  to express their deepest thoughts.  I was in state of panic, scared that the temblor might get violent as seconds pass and the shaking never ceases. Instead of letting my self-preserving instincts take over, processing went to letting my fingers tap the keyboard - all  - caps, just to tell what was happening at that moment.

When the tremor was over and saw  how the timeline on Twitter was suddenly got flooded with Tweets about the earthquake, I realized how technology changed the way we react. Gone are the days when we would scream on top of our lungs to show our distress, or mum about something  than  let things go overboard.  We now  tend to speak more with our mind, rather than convey our thoughts with our mouth.  The state of alarm I channeled online was more evident than what my agents felt.  When two of them asked to have a break, I was already calm and composed to allow them to go.

While this blog entry talks about my musings after the earthquake and how our frantic nature increasingly manifest themselves in social media in the face of  such events,  I'll end this with some funny scenarios where the urge to broadcast oneself overrules what instincts and sensibilities have taught us.





   


*Miss Phuket picture borrowed without permission from Miss Chuniverse.

DESIGN: knit top





 This is the newest garment that I have designed for myself - and not for a collection. Its a 100% cotton kimono knit top that is very soft and supper comfortable. It is feminine, minimalistic and sensual and I love wearing it.



How To Set Up A Blind Date




Playing matchmaker has been a spare-time activity I embraced  with much zeal to aid friends in search of love.  Once I was a wing man  to a  tropa who courted his pretty classmate back in college. 

They became lovers after a year of constant dating.  

The same calling led me to help a college tropa deliver a box of Ferrero Rocher when he wooed a chick he met during  a career seminar four years ago.  

They too became lovers after going out for several months.  

Both  these couples tied the knot last year.  I  was the best man in one of  the weddings while the college tropa asked me to become a groomsman in his nuptial.  

Aware of my successes, I  would  have pursued my pastime to cover up for my blessed singleness. But the embarrassing setbacks in the gay world lead me to believe that my luck had just ran out. Meanwhile,  my  attempt to set up Miyaw-Miyaw  (the ex-gymbuddy/de-facto boytoy) with a chick didn't even make past the texting stage. After the failed attempt, I stopped matchmaking  people out of fear that it does more harm than good to love seekers.

So imagine my  reluctance when I said yes to a chick friend from college.  She would  leave private messages on Facebook reminding me of an  old promise of introducing him to a guy.  (Hello!!  I don't deal with straight guys gurl!)  

Another friend who was  shoving  his Ford Fiesta down my throat seems in need of a real girl to distract him too. Nearing his 30s, his mom had asked us to find him a date when the college tropa got married last year. However, with our friend showing softness only a feminine guy would  reveal, girls leave him for someone else.  Fiesta boy would then move on by posting pictures of him with female celebrities.

Introducing  them to one another might put a stop to my annoyance, and perhaps, even an end to a lifelong searching. But  before a blind date could  take place, preparations must be undertaken to make sure both girl and boy get each others attention.


How To Set Up A Blind Date


1.  Choose a deserving candidate. In  my case I will be playing matchmaker to straight friends.  Both have no experience being in a romantic relationship.  

2.   The candidates are my friends from the university. No prior contact exists between the two.  However, since common friends abound, both claims each other's acquaintances.

3.   To discourage the two from checking each other on Facebook and other social media applications, the candidates will be given names other than their own.  This would also raise the thrill factor of the blind date since the discovery of common friends and histories might - prematurely -  spoil the fun.

4.  Scrapbook questions will be thrown to both candidates.  During the first phase of the blind date, all means of contact must pass through the moderator.

Another  idea would be to let each candidate throw questions to their blind date. Inquiries that require delayed revelation include the following:

  • Batch
  • Major
  • Section
  • Common friends in the university.


5.  Knowledge of the planned blind date must never get out among the three of us. Common friends might not approve of such idea.

6.   After a week of getting to know each other, both  candidates would be asked if they wish to trade numbers or email addresses. From there, the mediator would have to pull back and observe everything from a distance.

7.   Another  idea would be to arrange a friendly meet-up for the candidates.  Depending on the agreement, mediator presence might be required.


So there. I do not know if the plan would work, or my own idea of a blind date will do wonders for these first - time lovers. Should I succeed in making them agree to a meeting, I would follow the step by step procedure and arrange a blind date for my single non-straight friends.




The couples I helped before knew each other before I stepped in.  Attraction was there and so was the chemistry. What was lacking was support. A little push, a sprinkle of encouragement, a cheerleader behind the scene and off they go courting and declaring their love for each other. Pairing  two people who don't know the other entails a lot of risks. 

There's always the aesthetic expectation to contend with.

To be honest, the blind date has selfish reasons.  One is to make Fiesta  Boy realize that he should be better off revealing his true colors.  Meanwhile, I could introduce my college chick to another guy.  But her repeated inquiry and my lack of connections with straight guys leave me no choice but to match her with someone readily available.

I've been showered with love and affection in many ways my cynic self  would never believe.  Stepping up to make this little venture work gives back a little of what I have received.. If it means ridding the world of two less lonely people, then by all means, the blind date should be supported.  No matter how silly and (possibly hopeless) the idea is.  There's no harm in trying.  

Love works in mysterious ways.





Underground Railroad





Between management duties and occasional agent jobs, I preoccupy myself sorting out music files I recently found in my workstation.

The work station once belonged to the team leaders before me. Bored out of wits looking after a bother-less staff,  they spend the day playing disc jock to a quiet crew.  Their preferred sounds bounce across the floor raising howls and nods depending on the music taste of each discriminating agent.

Since I  prefer a quiet workspace, (except at night,  when the threat of agents falling asleep forces me to tune in to Love Radio to keep them awake)  the accidental discovery was born out of need to free as much disk space for my personal needs.

To delete the music files without playing them denies me the chance to acquire some rare finds. My music library is ripe for expansion and transferring them from the workstation to my personal desktop will save me time from sampling and downloading songs on 4shared. I also worry about the unforeseen breakdowns which, the technician might resolve by re-formatting the hard drives. Therefore, music copying was a noble cause.  Who knows what hidden wonders I would discover from the cache.

The cache was a rich mix of old-school alternative, emo, classical and rock ballads.  The classical alone could increase my own collection by three-folds. I will leave the emo and metal to their fate, since I seldom play them in my iPod.  But the old school alternative was a big surprise. How could I worship the old bands without knowing a lot of their songs.

An entire shift is not enough to sort out the files.  So I created a separate folder to put  the songs I will copy on my flash drive. D-Day was yesterday and half-way through the intensive transferring, the flash drive went kaput.






I  know a nasty virus was at work and a reformat was in order. However, when I clicked the button giving way to a speedy erasure,  the operating system said that the drive was write protected. How could that be, the flash drive has no lock feature.

In  the end, I was able to retrieve the files that were already copied.  Though Avast doesn't register a Trojan, I suspect the virus has already infected my hard drives.  Meanwhile, as my sole flash drive stays corrupted, the transfer will grind to a halt.  Until I find a way to take down the virus, the music files on my workstation would stay un-deleted. 


The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause.

- Wikipedia


LIFE: Neimans is sporting Azede Jean-Pierre S/S 11





This week my dress is featured in Neiman Marcus Atlanta's window, as you can imagine that is supper exciting and I am of course honored :) Thank you to N.B.A.F for awarding me & my good friend Stephaine Waldrip the emerging talent award for 2011.

Manboobs





Madalas siyang  tawaging  Jog-Jog ng mga kaklase ko noong high school.  Ang akala ng mga taga-ibang section ay mula iyon sa dalawa niyang pangalan na Joshua Gregorio.  It makes sense daw kasi.  Subalit sa oras na malaman ng mga nagtatanong ang tunay na dahilan, ang mga ito'y magtatakip ng bibig upang pigilin ang pagtawa.  Ang iba naman ay walang prenong mang-aasar makasakit lang ng damdamin ng iba.

"Jog-Jog, ang laki ng dyoga mo!"

Ang binata naman na nakikipagkuwentuhan sa labas ng classroom ay walang imik na magtutuloy sa pagkukuwento na parang walang narinig na insulto.

Hindi  naman katabaan si Joshua. Pero sadyang itinakda ng kanyang genes na ma-concentrate ang baby fats sa paligid ng kanyang dibdib.  Nakadagdag sa pang-aasar na mas malaki ang kanyang utong kumpara sa iba. Para sa isang nagbibinatang lalaki na nakikibagay sa mga tao, ito ang pinakamalaking sagabal para respetuhin at tanggapin siya ng mga nasa paligid.

"Jog-Jog mag bra ka nga, mas malaki pa yang dibdib mo sa akin eh!"  Sabay tawanan ang mga nakakarinig. 

Sa buong panahon na kasama namin si  Joshua ay iniwasan niya ang magtanggal ng damit sa harap ng iba - lalo na tuwing oras ng Physical Education.  Nang natapat na Swimming ang aming PE ay kamalas-malasang na exposed ang kanyang nakalaylay na utong at ito ay naging tampulan ng kanyang mga kasama.

Naroon na may mandadakma, manglalapirot na pagkasakit-sakit at minsan ay akmang mandidila na para bang sumususo sa dibdib ng dalaga.  Minsan ay makikita ko siyang badtrip na para bang ginahasa sa shower room. Pero sa oras na makabawi ay nakangiti itong maglalakad mag-isa palabas ng campus na para bang balewala sa kanya ang nangyari.

Nagsawa rin ang mga tao sa kakatawag sa kanya ng pangalang Jog-Jog.  Lalo na nang mapabilang ito sa isang barkada na tunay na nakisama sa kanya. At ang baby fats ay tuluyang  napalitan ng laman dala ng lingguhang CAT noong kami ay nasa Senior.



Wala na akong narinig kay Joshua simula nang tumuntong kami sa Kolehiyo. Balita sa aming batch na nag-aral ito sa isang unibersidad sa Sampaloc kung saan nakatapos ito at tuluyang kumawala sa radar ng aming mga kasama. Ang mga tumatawag sa kanya ng Jog-Jog ay nagsipag-alisan na rin ng bansa.  Maliban sa ilan na naniniwalang iyon ang kanyang tunay na palayaw, ang pangalang Joshua ay nakalimutan na.



suckmahboobies pareh



Minsan ay iniisip ko pa rin kung ano ang nangyari kay Joshua matapos ang kanyang pinagdaanan sa high school.  Nagkaroon kaya siya ng bagong palayaw noong kolehiyo dahil sa kanyang nakalaylay na utong at bilugang dibdib?  Natanggap kaya ng binata ang kanyang sarili at natutunang pagtawanan ang lahat?  Ang kanyang alala, pati ng aming mga kaklase ay muling nabuksan nang minsang nagawi ako sa TNL at nakita ang litrato sa itaas.

Kung nasaan man si Jog-Jog ngayon ay nakalimutan na niya sana ang lahat.  Kung siya man ay nangibang-bansa, nag-asawa at nagkaroon ng anak ay hindi sana maranasan nito ang pinagdaanan ng kanyang ama. Kung siya man ay tumandang matabang binata, naging bading at nagbabayad maka-iskor lang ng lalaki, makahanap sana siya ng paraan na tunay na makakapagpalaya sa kanya.    

Hindi ko alam kung ano ang tunay na nararamdaman ng matabang lalaki sa litrato sa likod ng kanyang nakaka-asar na ngiti, pero kung ako ang iyong tatanungin, ang hirap siguro para sa isang tao ang  tanggapin ng buo ang katotohanan na ang kaisa-isang dahilan kung bakit mas madalas na layuan ka ng iba ay dahil  hindi akma ang iyong bilugang kaanyuan sa nais i-project at pinapangarap ng lahat.




Waiting For The Big One





When I look at buildings and bridges these days, the first thing I ask is if these structures can  withstand a powerful jolt.  The Sendai Earthquake last week has left a powerful mind-aftershock, that it keeps me thinking how ready are we to deal with a magnitude 8 quake.

This thought is driven by memories of  July 16, 1990. I was in school and our science teacher, Miss Cabacungan was about to introduce her lesson for the day.  Suddenly, the earth shook with such force,  all I could hear were the high-pitched sound of steel beams grinding against one another. The very bones of our classroom were being put to a test and my young mind could only grasp the seismic temblor by seeing  it as "two invisible giant robots having a sword fight at the quadrangle."

The city was spared from the destruction, but Baguio and Nueva Ecija were not.  Hotels collapsed in the city of Pines, while a school crumbled in Cabanatuan. The aftershocks were so frequent, we got used to the movement a week after the ground first convulsed.

I would like to think the city would be spared the next time a quake happens.  But simulations and projections - from expert city planners to seismologist - tell of a different story.  With high-rises sprouting like stale mushrooms, unchecked, and  open spaces being gobbled to make way for new structures. With money changing hands with government officials - the  same wad of cash that could be spent to improve the materials used for building construction. With building codes substandard and tainted with self profit, there is reason to get scared these days.



The day the big one comes with its epicenter at the Valley Fault, first to go will be electricity. As buildings and houses shake, Meralco has to cut the power supply or fires will burst out across the city. Poorly-built dwellings would collapse in minutes trapping thousands under the rubble. Phone lines would be jammed and depending on our digital infrastructure, Internet might be down too.

There will be no Facebook and Twitter to rant our emotions

Knowing our values, panic ensues.  The next day, supermarkets, groceries and even sari-sari stores will  be swamped by people hoarding basic necessities.  Long lines form around working ATM machines since many people keep their money in banks. Hospitals - those that remain standing after the quake will be hard-pressed to attend to the needs of many. Some might even turn down patients being not able to handle the injured anymore.   

Unimaginable scenes - from tsunami engulfing towns and cities around the bay, to an exodus of people flooding bus stations and ports to flee to the countryside, to wholesale looting of stores and homes as soldiers try to push away starving masses, to a ruined, burning cityscape, without water, without electricity and rotting with corpses that was once the heartland of the country.

Letting  this off my chest has somehow eased my troubles. But drawing up plans and applying it - to make sure my loved ones will have a good chance of getting through the big one leaves me disturbed, still.       




OUTFIT: take a break for- spring- is in the air





Gosh, it has been so long since I last post. Usually I am unapologetic about late post because I consider myself a frequent updater, so when I drag a little (its not so bad). The past two weeks I've been extremely busy with projects and work, but i am back on the wagon now. The S/S 12 collection is coming along very nicely and I am tying up some lose ends. Spring is here finally and that means I'm taking a short break from work. I'm very excited about this because I plan to indulge in life's little indulgences - I don't know if black people can tan but I plan to be in the sun long enough to find out. [in photo - thrifted dress that I redesigned]



Beyonce





Minsan sa inuman ng mga engkantos maraming linggo na ang nakakaraan ay napag-usapan ang love life ng isa naming kasama. Tanong ni Daddy Fox kung bakit hindi pinapakilala ni bunso ang kanyang kabiyak samantalang mukhang masaya naman ito sa kanyang relasyon. Kahit si Pilyo ay tikom bibig rin. Marahil ay alam niya ang sagot ngunit dahil nalimot na niya ang kanyang simula,  (at puwede ring hindi niya ito tinahak nang maging sila ni Papa Dingding) ay pinili niya na huwag munang humusga.

Hindi biro ang umibig lalo na sa kapwa lalaki. Naroon ang pride, ang pangamba ng pangangaliwa, ang pagsang-ayon at hindi pagsang-ayon sa ugali ng isa,  ang demand sa attention na madalas ay ignored ng isang lalaki. Nasanay kasi na sa kanya umiikot ang mundo.

Dalawang taon ang binilang ko bago naturuan si "dear heart" na mag-stay put. Sa dami ng kailangang isuko, hindi mo alam kung saan  magco-compromise. Sa oras pa lang na kadalasan ay wala ka sa sarili ay kailangan mo pa hatiin sa kabiyak, kung hindi ay hahanapin niya ito sa iba. Maraming kumplikasyon na pilit natin ginagawang simple. Ngunit sa huli, ang mga maliliit na bagay pa ang nagiging dahilan ng malalaking away.  

Kaya naman naroon ang barkada para umalalay. Sila ang nagiging tulay upang lubos na maintindihan ang iniisip ng kabiyak. Aminin man natin o hindi ngunit may mga bagay na tanging ka-tropa lang ang nakakaalam. Depende ito kung gaano tayo ka-open sa  partner. Pero sa simula, totally dependent tayo sa kaibigan nila upang malaman ang kanilang state of mind.  

Lalo na sa oras ng di pagkakaunawaan.

Naging ugali ko - noong unang panahon - na ipakilala sa kaibigan ang seryosong ka-date. Marahil sa iba ginagawa itong  pang-inggit  (lalo na kung super hot ang iyong bagong boylet)  pero sa akin ay naging batayan ito kung ano ang magiging feel ng ka-tropa.  Tutal, when all appears to fall apart, isa sa kanila ang inaasahang magda-damage control gaya ng ginawa ni Papa John (ni Baabaa) nang una kaming nag-away ni mahal.

Don't get me wrong,  mayroon tayong mga pansariling dahilan kung bakit pinipili nating hindi ipakilala ang kabiyak sa katropa.  Naroon ang pangamba ng ahasan at bonggang-bonggang intrigahan (na balita ko ay nangyayari sa ibang grupo)  ang iba naman ay may motibong hahayaan ko na lang manatiling bulong sa hangin kesa maparatangan ng maling assumptions. 

But if there is one thing I've learned and practiced sa buong time na ako ay umiibig. Iyon ay ang maging connected at friendly sa kaibigan ng asawa sa paniwalang your common bonds will reinforce the relationship.  Within a month nang maging kami ni Baabaa, nakilala niya ang bestfriend kong si Jolliboie habang ako naman ay nag reach out sa mga kaibigan ng aking kabiyak. Hindi  ko alam kung gaano ka-effective ang we-against-the-world na set-up pero dahil sa liit ng inyong mundo (at dahil sa dami niyong kabangga) I think it doesn't work most of the time.

"So bakit nga hindi pa pinapakilala ni bunso yung partner niya?"  Tanong ni Dadi Fox.

"Eh kasi hindi rin sigurado si bunso kung handa ba siya sa long term relationship." Sagot ko, sa aking pagkatanda. "Besides, assured rin ba siya na hindi kaliwete at malandi itong bago niyang dyowa?"

At  dahil sa pang beauty pageant kong sagot  ay ginawad sa akin ng mga engkanto ang Baklameter, na mabilis ko rin sinoli nang dalawang beses akong pumalpak habang custodian ng nasabing device.

Subalit mukhang tama ang aking hinala.  

Tatlong  buwan matapos ang inumang naganap ay unti-unting nakarating sa akin ang balita.  Anuman ang aking nalalaman ay mapapatunayan sa pagbabalik ng aming bunso. 

At kanina ngang madaling araw, ito ang text message na bumungad sa aking telepono:

"Single ladies na ulit ako aka beyonce. Confirm na!" 

Hindi man ako nakapagreply,  ngunit dahil wala ni-isa sa amin ang nakakilala sa kanyang ex, we're most happy to get our bunso again. 

At dahil sa bawat heartbreak ay may nag-iintay na kalayaan - na makahanap ng mas guwapo, mas mabait, mas madasalin, mas faithful, at mas good catch kesa sa nakaraan, ang break-up ay tinuturing naming pansamantalang setback lamang.




Solace For The Forsaken





Fear is that I am already sedated by the horrific scenes continuously being aired from Japan.  The wall of  mud, debris and  sea water - the  first  TV footage of a country  rocked by a powerful earthquake - swallowing acres of  farmland embeds itself in my head.  There was a sailing boat under the bridge carried by a torrent towards the city, scores of  spectators shell-shocked from the earlier tremor watched helplessly on top of the bridge.  

Air  raid sirens wailed ahead of the tsunami.  Buildings engineered to hold out against the seismic shaking might have saved lives. But this was not enough, even for a  country  like Japan to cope up with the tidal devastation. In the aftermath of Friday the 11th, countless lives were lost, communities disappeared, and a stunned people finding ways to accept the lost walked aimlessly in the mornings on  mud-washed streets.

Recalling past lives.

Images of  collective destruction bid themselves to stir up empathy. I  plea guilty of  half-insanity after news of the earthquake broke out.  Beyond  the threats of  tsunami, terror was  fanned by the idea - the ring of  fire picking us as the next target: the major fault line at the periphery of the metropolis suddenly slipping beneath the crust and shaking the earth like it has never shaken before.

But after the panic had subsided, I was catatonic like everyone else.  There is no escape should the big one comes and no hope. For the planet has spoken and these powerful jolts - from the Armageddon in Banda Aceh to the ruins of Port Au Prince; to the Lambada in Christchurch to the ghost city of Sendai must be understood as warning.
Meanwhile, may peace finds its way to the broken and the suffering finds solace in these harshest of the nights. The rest of  humanity maybe trembling but in our heart we weep.       





Embassy In My Head





The  itch to go clubbing  begins with a recollection of  scenes from the past week:  the nicotine smoke swirling in mid-air, the half-empty bottles of San Mig Light and Tanduay Ice on the bar table,  the dance anthem played when the set starts to pick up, the after-party rumination inside the cab on my way home.  Most of the time, I  begged off from ever returning. But when the repetitive drums and hypnotic beats commence assaulting my head,  I  long to return to the club with much zest to dance the weekend blues away.

What  others didn't know is that this clubber has already been  fired up before he hits the dance floor. The laser lights were addicting, and so was the heavy and constant pounding from overhead speakers. But before this could ever happen, the stubborn mind has already set its goal in sight.

"Manong Malate po tayo." That would be my queue to the cab driver.

The addiction was so intense,  I could plot my course anywhere in the city and still reach my destination in less than 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, the driver usually listens to slow rock or anything that calms the senses. Never has he expected that a passenger like me  would disturb his peace and impose his own brand of euphoria.

"Lipat natin sa 107.9. Pampagising lang."   I was referring to U-Radio. The station that plays non-stop club music 24/7.

Small  talks emerge from such distortion.   The cab driver comments that he tunes in to that station  to fend off drowsiness. Others would reveal the discovery from passengers off to their parties. Attracted to the uplifting sounds, these cab drivers would claim the station as their own.




sampu na lang diretso na po tayo sa encore.




I  have always thought of  Trance, House and its minor derivatives as music for the elite. The masses have their Hip-Hop, Rap and those run-of-the-mill Techno that were first played in clubs over five years ago. Trance is so unique that it has a small niche in the country. It's no wonder that whenever a global DJ spins in Manila, the ticket price shoots to a thousand bucks.

Much as I would love to rub elbows with the rich and glamorous,  my parsimonious upbringing would  never allow me to cross over to their world. Beyond the stereotype of coke-snorting, partee-swallowing sub-culture.  I embarked on my weekly night-outs under a very strict budget.  Catching up with my socialite brethren is beyond my taking.

For this reason,  I  learned to appreciate their music from a distance. Gone are the days when I would  boldly embark on a bar tour, which would still probably end up in O-Bar. This time, there is no wish for a repeat performance. The eclectic mix of club sounds I get - with heavy doses - from U-Radio is enough to satiate the inner clubber in me. 

And at times when I  bump into kindred souls who know something about  Dash Berlin, Paul Van Dyk, Alex M.O.R.P.H and a couple of other DJs aside from David Guetta,  I try my best to connect.  For seldom do we proclaim our love for fast music, dizzying lights, dazed crowd and wanton feeling that comes with the experience.



I was on my way home at past midnight when I  rode a jeep that was strangely different. Normally, drivers are tuned in to Love Radio's sleazy "Wild Confessions."  Passengers snicker as Papa Jack asks the caller titillating questions about his or her sex life.

But last night.

Between the occasional glitches brought by a low power radio frequency, the stereo blares the same music that hasn't left my headphones after the exodus from the dance floors. Characterized by quick successive drums and looping synthesizer subdued by ethereal voices, another kindred spirit was discovered.

U-Radio's sound bounced inside the speeding vehicle, and the driver was our party boy.


  

Evergreen





There is something about Diliman that keeps me returning.  It is not the academic upheavals, or rubbing elbows with the demi-gods. The sublime attraction goes beyond fame or intellect, and rests at the belly of one human need we tend to overlook these days - trees.

Growing up at  the heart of Manila, where every spot of earth spawns the construction of  apartment buildings, I was robbed the joys of running under a foliage of evergreens at a young age. Sure, there was a dense shrubbery across the house - a place we used to call gubat-gubatan.  We had a great time picking Yellow Bells and use its milky sap as Elmer's glue substitute, or tapping the old Karmay tree with a long stick for its sour berries.  I even had a chance to pull out the filaments of Santan flowers and taste their sweet juices, and run towards the house after being chased by the octogenarian landlady when seeing her garden being trampled.

These were some of the fading memories kids like Baby Lenin might never get to enjoy.  At least we had more trees back then - in schools, in little patches of open spaces, along the sidewalks and at the middle of four-lane boulevards.  But the more we embrace our dreams of progress: behemoth malls that swallow up everything, stick-like skyscrapers competing for the attention of clouds,  concrete open grounds where anecdotes of human failures glare everyday, and farms transformed to poor-man's subdivisions, the less we tend to see our lives ahead. Death hastens with each tree fallen to the ground and it's a sad and tragic tale that we only get to realize our fault when the city gets deluded by torrents of mud water. 

The landlady across our old house passed away and in less than a year, her garden, the gubat-gubatan we knew was no more.  Trees were fallen and converted to firewood, the scorched earth was dug and Gabi tubules planted in places where Santan flowers once bloomed. They too disappeared after being consumed by the jobless house tenants. The anguish of seeing my patch of paradise senselessly destroyed (a fact I denied when it was still around) would haunt me for years that in Grade Six, I commandeered every available space outside the house and turn it into my own garden. Opposition had won over, unfortunately. I was bribed by anime and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Many years later, my heart still weeps when I see wooden trunks abandoned on streets. I still regret doing nothing - not even a eulogy - when the centuries-old Balete trees in Balara were cut down to give way for the Katipunan expansion.

Seeing  tree saplings planted in pot-sized concrete blocks - to make it appear the local government is doing something for the planet leaves me befuddled.  The same goes for the declaration of a total log ban just when green advocates are being gunned down at the frontiers.

For these reasons,  I try to keep the memory of gubat-gubatan alive, as a fitting reminder of what we have lost, and hopefully we could find again. Same goes for this odd behavior of feeling the bark of old trees - and treating them like esteemed grandparents, when I get to find one while walking down the streets.  Finally, there's this vision - of a watershed enclosing the city:  A time, when the hills of Sierra Madre are covered with trees again and the streams flow with clear water everytime it rains.  





 
I still live in dreams.

And each time I hear news that make these dreams closer to reality, I never hesitate to embrace what is left of the memory.


MANILA, Philippines—Weeks after ordering restrictions on commercial logging to help prevent flooding caused by severe deforestation, President Aquino has ordered students and government employees to plant 1.5 billion trees on 1.5 million hectares of public domain under a national greening program.


Under Executive Order No. 26, President Aquino required students identified by the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education and all government employees to each plant at least ten seedlings a year.


To be covered by the greening program are forestlands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan of the LGU’s, inactive and abandoned mine sites; and other suitable lands.


“Part of the plan also seeks to integrate the various tree-planting initiatives such as the upland development program, Luntiang Pilipinas (Green Philippines) and similar activities of the government and the private sector,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.


 - Philippine Daily Inquirer.