September 29, 2008


The management of this Malate mall should review the admission price of their relatively older cinemas. Despite the shabby appearance, they charge the same admission as the newer and fresher cinemas of Glorietta and Greenbelt.

But I can forget the old seats, the poor airconditioning, and the dusty-looking walls and ceilings if the cinema is featuring one of the biggest collaborations in recent movie history.

Righteous Kill features Robert de Niro and Al Pacino -- two of my favorite actors who have in their disposal the finest devils I've seen in the movies.

These men played their roles flawlessly. De Niro as Turk was the transparent, angry, and righteous devil all throughout, while Pacino the cool yet sinister and more dangerous Rooster, playing the good guy until he reveals Mr. Hyde in the end.

Yet another great movie to remind us that appearance can be deceiving.


Sometimes it takes time for questions to be answered, if at all such questions deserve this oh-so-ideal conclusion.

Perhaps triggered by paranoia over my hereditary tendencies, lately I've been keeping a watchful eye at my memory.

I seem to be forgetting a lot of things in the past. While I still could remember the What, it's the Why that seems to be fading so quickly.

So now I have been asking... again.

And the marvelous thing about this is that it somehow reveals more than what you knew before. Subjected to a different kind of light, the past could bring forth a whole new perspective.

Some things really do take time.

And though whatever I learn or understand now may not even be a fraction of the so-called truth, I am forever grateful to all who've taken time out to answer my questions.

September 24, 2008

Happy birthday, Mamidir!

You have a hundred and one nicknames for your children -- all calls of endearment -- but you need only to call us by our real names to tell us that it's time to behave.

You're the first ambidextrous person I've known. At night when I refuse to sleep, you'd tell me "Pagod na ang kanang kamay ko sa kapapalo, pero ang kaliwang kamay ko, hindi pa." And when you do dish out physical punishment, your other hand would be ready to soothe the pain.

You gave me most of my right brain, inspiring most of what I am now when it comes to art, music, writing, and understanding human nature. We're forever proud and grateful of every little bit of what we're continuously learning from you.

You have always let us fly on our own wings, and yet remain the strongest force that binds the family together.

We love you, Mami dearest! Happy birthday and God bless!

September 17, 2008

Gut feel

The other day I left my desk for a few minutes and when I got back, my phone has two missed calls and a text message.

It was from my sister. I initially suspected something urgent -- for her to call me twice within barely five minutes was a bit unusual.

Her text message, however, contained her usual "Hi! How are you? How's Joan? Ingat lagi..." and so on.

I got another miscall from her while I was traveling home, and finally got to talk to her when I was about to sleep.

She had a rather disturbing dream about me, she said, and was just checking on how I am doing. No amount of prodding, however, could make her tell me exactly what she dreamed about.

Yesterday, I got another miscall from her. But no text message, and no follow-up calls.

She is making me nervous.


Have you ever felt that weird sensation where the world around you, or the cosmos-whatever, has conspired to let you in on something, and you just can't figure out what it is?

My sister's calls -- as well as the other small, seemingly random and idle signs here and there within the past month -- seem to sum up to a bigger picture.

Either I'm not good with reading the signs, or I'm too scared to see what they really are.

September 07, 2008

Snatches of happiness

The pace at work momentarily slowed down last Friday with the client's handshake at the end of my two-hour presentation, wrapping up the last of the projects I'm involved with for this quarter.

I've been looking forward to that feeling -- a light, cool sensation (and light-headedness due to lack of sleep) that filled me up little by little as I walked out of the heavily-guarded building in Makati and made my way back to the office in Quezon City via jeepney and mass transit.

Contact with the hustling and bustling masses during Friday weekend rush shook away the toxic residue of work, and by the time I reached my desk, the feeling was complete.

There's time again for the simple joys in life. At least, until Monday.

So I took the small bag under my desk, changed to my running outfit and went out to do something I haven't done in years: jog around UP Campus.

I charted a course that covered my most memorable areas: Krus na Ligas, Hardin ng Bougainvilla and Hardin ng Rosas, Math Building, NIGS, College of Science, the “Sunrise Cottage”, Marine Institute, the playground at Executive House, the UP Printing Press, Quezon Hall (Oblation), the Lagoon, Faculty Center, Palma Hall, Main Libe, the Sunken Garden, Grandstand and Vinzon’s Hall, UP Arcade, UP Chapel, the Shopping Center, Area 2, the Kalayaan, Sanggumay, Yakal, and Molave Residence Halls, UP Film Center, UP Theater, the Track Oval, the DMST/Vanguard Building, Ylanan Road, and finally UP-CMC.

It was the ultimate treat. Amid the flood of memories and pain of protesting muscles, I was reminded of my recent thoughts this past month.

I turned 33 last August 29, and for the third consecutive year, I spent my birthday at work. By spending I mean every hour and minute of it. In 2006 and 2007, I was out on fieldwork, and in both years I celebrated my birthday in the provinces with colleagues.

This year was no different – I woke up, worked, celebrated, and ended my birthday in the vicinity of the workplace.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that I have been used to celebrating my birthdays alone and away from family. The last time there was a family member present was on my 21st birthday, when my mother happened to be in Manila for a conference (back then she gave me the most unusual present for my age – a toy robot).

Anyway, there were a lot more reasons for me to be happy.

This year my birthday fell on the same day the office held its annual general assembly. It turned out to be a blast -- free food and booze for all, courtesy of the office, with videoke on the side. It was nice to see the new staffs share a little bit more of themselves when it was their turn to sing.

Thanks to my wife, another group was celebrating and giving thanks for my birthday with a simple salo-salo somewhere in Manila.

Birthday greetings came, on the day and days after, from people who mattered to me more than they would probably realize.

I had my first taste of Perfect World territorial wars (TW) yesterday. It lasted only for 15 minutes, and we lost to the defending clan. But now that the clan had its first taste of the TW adrenaline rush, I'm sure it won't be long before we'll be invading another territory.

I had a good chat with friends just recently, and was reminded of the simple joys that seem to have gone hibernating in my life.

And finally, yet another pleasant surprise when I get to chat with my sister in Liverpool for the first time. Hurray to YM and webcam!

Hurray to life's simple joys.


When I first saw Transformers Animated (TFA), I readily thought it would be tough to come up with a toy line for this series.

How will this series look, and transform, as toys?

I was never convinced until the first batch of TFA toys hit the shelves of Toy Kingdom in Ayala.

I was so impressed I took home Blackarachnia, and soon I'll add Prowl to my collection.