November 15, 2011

52% of families feel poor

SWS survey: Filipinos think they're poorer | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

November 13, 2011

Wa-Pac!

Congratulations to Pacquiao! And congrats to Marquez for that splendid fight.

As Uchiha Itachi said, every jutsu has a weakness, and clearly Marquez has found (or rather, refined) a way to cancel out Pacquiao's.

I'm a Pacman fan, but I believe Marquez deserves another rematch.

And cheers to Maria Aragon for her beautiful rendition of the national anthem. ^^

November 12, 2011

11/11/11

Yet another binary date that generated so much interest. ^^

I grabbed part of this fanfare and secretly hoped for something special to happen.

Truth be told, since our old AUV was brought to the service center for maintenance, I hoped that on this day somebody will place a Jose Cuervo Gold tequila, salt, lime, and shot glasses on the common work table. And people at work will join in for a nice Friday night inuman.

That, for me, is special. ^^ I miss the days when I can do just that -- bring out the booze and effortlessly lead Tech into forgetting work for a while -- and ultimately forget themselves, literally hehe.

But morning went by without anything special.

Oh wait! I called my father-in-law to ask him something about our old Crosswind. He has a BS in Industrial Education, major in Automotive, so I run to him for a second opinion on anything related to engines, cars, and motoring. He may not be savvy with the cellphone, but he is updated with the latest in the automotive industry.

Maybe that would count as special. ^^

Other than that, morning went by like any other day.

Until 1:00 p.m. came and made 11/11/11 unforgettable.

***

Lately, Joan has been immersed in a new interest -- Naruto fanfics.

I learned from her a jargon used in fanfics: AU (alternate universe).

Wikipedia defines AU as "a type or form of fan fiction in which canonical facts of setting or characterization in the universe being explored or written about are deliberately changed."

"Stories that fall into this definition are usually what-ifs, where possibilities arising from different circumstances or character decisions are explored. Unlike regular fan fiction, which generally remains within the boundaries of the canon set out by the author, alternative universe fiction writers like to explore the possibilities of pivotal changes made to characters' history, motivations or environment."

***

11/11/11. 1:00 PM.

I became part of an alternate universe.

I exist, but not. ^^

November 04, 2011

Rock Lee!

If life be kind and Naruto Shippuden makes it to the big screen as a live-action movie, I pray that Rock Lee be as good as Brendon Huor in this fan-video. ^^

November 01, 2011

Aswang

The eight-year old boy was oblivious of the time, and continued playing jolens at the empty lot behind the school. The rest of his playmates have left in a hurry.

As if they knew the trouble that comes with the dwindling light of dusk.

The boy kept playing, unmindful of the darkness -- and where he was.

Until he felt his tummy aching. Only then that he got up and walked home.

He was already burning with fever when he entered their house. His parents gave him lugaw, biogesic, and sent him to bed.

He woke up screaming in the middle of the night, and his vomit shot across the room. Every little movement felt as if red-hot knives were being twisted in his insides.

Three days went by, and the doctors of Capiz Emmanuel Hospital in Roxas City came up with blank -- the boy is slowly slipping away, and they have no idea why.

The boy's family decided to take him home. As they carried him inside the house, two elderly ladies were already waiting by his bed.

The ueahab (wailing) sisters, they are called. They are the town's traditional healers.

They rolled a fresh egg on the boy's body, and broke it on a plate.

Dark-red blood oozed out from two holes in the yolk.

The sisters placed violet-colored herbs on burning charcoal, and rubbed the warm leaves on the boy's body. They then squeezed the leaves on the egg.

The dark sap swirled for a moment on the slimy egg white, and settled into a puddle that took the form a dog's head -- long snout with fangs, pointy ears, and long neck.

Aswang, one of the elderly sisters whispered as the other burned more leaves. The word aswang began going around the rest of the household and the curious neighbors who were waiting for news just outside the house.

The sisters were moving much faster now. Another squeeze with the herbs, and the puddle took on another shape -- a tree.

They made the boy sit in the middle of a banig (woven mat), and thoroughly covered his body with the herb's sap.

Barks of wood started appearing on the boy's skin, breaking out like huge pimples. It came out of the boy's scalp, eyebrows, chest, back, arms, and legs. When the barks stopped falling off, the boy's father gathered more than two handfuls.

"Igto imaw gin-angkit sa may mangga sa likod it eskwelahan" (He was at the mango tree behind the school when he got bitten), the sisters concluded. "Gin-buoe ro daywa nana nga gusok!" (His two ribs were taken!)

The boy was laid on his bed, and as the sisters rub their hands with a foul-smelling oil, they requested the father to hold the boy's feet down. "I-uli namon ro guinbu-oe kana. Medyo masakit ra." (We're going to get back what was taken from him. This will be painful.")

And the wailing began -- guttural and escalating -- drowning the boy's screams as the sisters systematically probed his back and abdomen with their bony fingers.

The boy passed out.

***

I woke up the next day feeling sore, but the fever and stabbing pain were gone.

This happened 28 years ago. As a Tagalog-speaking kid who knew so little of the dangers that lurk in the darkness in my hometown in Aklan, I was indeed an easy target.

I remember the dog -- which I paid little attention to back then. It was much later when I realized that that particular dog had a rather unusual shape.

Its hind legs were much longer.

Happy halloween.

October 31, 2011

Robot!

Since my exposure to Mazinger Z and Voltes V, this has been the only thing I have in mind every time my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday.

Robot.

By the time I reached high school, my parents stopped asking and took it upon themselves to give me more useful stuffs on my birthday.

At that point I already succeeded in making two toy robots out of recycled rubber slippers: a Voltes V replica (lost during elementary), and an original design which I called K-OS (nicely preserved in the province; photos to follow).

My mom wholeheartedly supported this little fascination of mine, and at some point almost push me to stardom. In a loving gesture, she even gave me a toy robot on my 21st birthday. ^^

And thanks to Atom of Real Steel, I'm all inspired and ready to make my third recycled robot. ^^

October 26, 2011

Sayonara, PW PH

Updated 10-31-2011: Added screenshots of fashion and mounts.

To my children in PW Philippines, I bid you farewell after over four years of wonderful gaming.

Rhapsody, the lightning fists. You were the first to show me the world of Pangu. You get killed a lot in quests and tasted countless defeats in duels. But in the end, your humility through it all earned you the respect and friendship I never thought possible in this game.


AgentXero, wielder of bows and slingshots. Solo hunting has never been so easy with you at my command.


Lordeaon, the anti-Soulless. You did nothing but dazzle me with your raw destructive power.


AgentLei, the fast one. You were the hardest to control, but such wonderful never-ending stuns you have at your disposal.


JadeLee and Blaize... you two never learned how to fly, but a lovely hammer-wielding female Wu Xia and a self-sufficient Fa Shih never fell short of showing me how fun this game is.


And finally, DarthLee.

Much has been written about you in this blog. While you were originally created as a healer for Rhapsody's friends, you exceeded all my expectations and ultimately became my final alter-ego in the land of Pangu.

You're the silent ambulance, AFK (away from keyboard) specialist, lonesome grinder, stubborn soloist, and Du Ruo-LMB addict.

While you may not have reached the highest of levels, nor explored the deepest of dungeons, you've already done so much for the average gamer in me. You gave this game a true breath of life, and some of the cool people of the clan, Sanctius, would remember me because of you. ^^

I'm sorry you never became even half as great as the awesome Yu Lings you've met along the way, like Razhklash, Gem, Jeyn, and Maharet.

Maybe someday.



Hasta la vista, PW!

October 16, 2011

Awesome

"I have loved you for five thousand years."

With that last line, Frank Herbert left me again -- this time with finality. Cheers to Brian Herbert and co-author Kevin J. Anderson for closing the original Dune series. I can finally move on.

I will forever marvel at the awesomeness of Herbert's works. Without a doubt, he and many others have made my stay in this world so imaginatively wonderful.

Indeed, great works live on.

And while I have yet to own any of his products, I'm sure Steve Jobs will be the stuff of legends in many years to come.

Such a wonderful time and age we live in. Thanks to visionaries like Jobs, the world is closer to the future as I dream it would be.

We're almost there. If life be kind, I still want to see flying cars, infinite, environment-friendly power source, thinking machines, biomechs, inter-galactic travel, solution to poverty and war, and maybe the cure to common cold.

I can only imagine how thrilling the times are to our parents' generation -- they who started out with typewriters and telegrams.

Awesome times, indeed.

***

Speaking of parents, last September my mother celebrated her 65th birthday, and her retirement from the teaching profession after 44 years in service.

She is awesome -- always has been, and always will be.

It was a great weekend, and we are so proud of you, Mamidir!

September 12, 2011

Ten years ago

I can't remember exactly what time it was when I heard the news, or how.

I do remember that the sky outside the window next to my desk was somewhat bright. Was it morning? Or early afternoon?

And then I remember tuning to YM to get hold of Cez.

Thankfully she was online. I remember some parts of our chat where she mentioned that she can see the smoke from where she was when it happened.

At that moment, that she was chatting with me already was such a tremendous relief.

Our conversation was all a blur to me now. But she remembers everything clearly.

I can only recall the horrific feeling as we watched the news at the office. It was surreal.

And I pray that nothing like that ever happen again to any people any where.

September 10, 2011

The ber phenomenon

Major TV networks wasted no time demonstrating just how early Christmas is in this country.

But somehow the first thing that came out my mouth that early September 1 morning, when I heard the Christmas carol, was

"Anak ng..."

It's not for lack of that feel-good, Christmas feeling. At my age, I think I've already succeeded in fooling myself that every day is Christmas and Valentines day.

It's that time of the year when the basic indicators for petty crimes -- robbery, theft/break-in, and physical violence -- take an upward trend.

And there's a fast-growing trend in crime in the metro: underage offenders. Every year these untouchables are bolder, more violent, and more creative.

Before, you might only worry about parting with your meal when youngsters gather around you, asking for your take-out drinks and Jolly cheeseburger. These days, you have to worry about your personal safety around kids that move in groups.

The "bukas-kotse" routine in Guadalupe along EDSA is just a sample of how the underage offenders have evolved. They know exactly they are immune from criminal prosecution.

This gives the line "Christmas is for children" a whole new meaning.

And I just don't like it. Anak ng...

September 04, 2011

My Miss U answers ^^

I'm going to take on Cez's suggestion to answer the three questions posed to Miss Universe candidates in their web interview.

Here goes. ^^

1. Do you believe in life on other planets?

Yes! Somewhere in the vast universe exist other systems that have the right conditions to support life. I'm also a great believer that there are highly intelligent lifeforms out there.

2.a Original version: What advantage do women have over men?

More superior physiological and emotional resilience. Most women have better immune systems that allow them to be highly resistant to diseases, and they have more efficient ways of coping with emotional stress. If I'm to write a science fiction novel, I see women as the key to mankind's survival.

2.b Revised version: What advantage do men have over women?

The dividing line is slowly fading, but men are still better suited in dealing with danger -- whether as an aggressor or protector, hopefully the latter. It is still a vital role in the rise and fall of societies. And whether the data showing more men dying of non-health related deaths is an indicator of men's adventurous spirit or just plain stupidity, the fact is that men will be where the action is.

3. If you were an animal, what will you be and why?

Tiger. Power and grace rolled into one, with a character that is designed to be independent. Tigers are usually solitary hunters, and are also capable of living in harmony with others in small units.


I thank you. Bow. Toink.

September 03, 2011

My three bets

Of the Miss Universe web interviews I've watched, here are three of my favorites based on how they expressed themselves: Miss Malaysia (Deborah Henry), Miss Indonesia (Nadine Ames), and yeah, Miss Philippines (Shamcey Supsup). ^^





September 02, 2011

Dune addiction (again)

While I search for a copy of the Sandworms of Dune, I might as well check out the second series of Dune, beginning with Dune: House Corrino (yeah, this is not following the sequence of the trilogy, but what the heck).

***

Speaking of beginning something, my wife's need to overhaul her diet spurred me to re-learn three very simple dishes: apan-apan (adobong kangkong), pinamal-han (paksiw?), and laswa (sinabawan).

Thanks to Nanay for the quick review on the last two dishes. ^^

August 30, 2011

36, and some kwento

I guess it's the way my head is wired -- my birthdays will always be special no matter what.

It doesn't matter where I am, who I'm with (if at all I'm with anyone), and what I'm doing (if at all I'm doing anything haha).

Life itself finds a way to make it memorable.

***

Last August 23, my mother-in-law and I accompanied my wife at the United Doctors Medical Center (UDMC) for her scheduled combined hysteroscopy and laparoscopy (CHL) on the morning of 24th.

The pre-operation procedure itself was already agonizing, particularly the enema. It would probably have been a bit tolerable had it not been for the IV drip that made movement so difficult -- but I guess it's the only way to keep the patient hydrated during the entire procedure.

When they wheeled her in the operating room at 8:30 AM of August 24, I was already briefed with the possibilities, and the scenarios where the doctor may summon me for my consent.

Three hours into the operation, the phone rang and I was summoned to the operating room. I was made to wear the complete surgical garb, and was welcomed by our doctor and five other members of her team at the operating table.

Joan was not visible under the green sheets. The doctor called my attention to a 30-inch screen showing a very clear live video of what the laparoscopic machine is seeing inside my wife.

Everything looked bloody, and I initially had no idea what I was looking at.

The doctor walked me through the procedure she has done so far, identifying the organs as she expertly poked them with the mechanical probes. She was able to address the cyst, and has done considerable work freeing the uterus and the bowels from adhesions.

She pointed to a group of organs that looked as if untouched. She identified the shiny, elastic flesh as the right fallopian tube, and the whitish lump next to it as the right ovary. I was glad to hear they are in good health.

With a few moves with the probes and adjustments in the camera, she then showed me the left fallopian tube.

All I said was "Oh my God..."

I couldn't take my eyes off the grotesque, bloody, discolored lump of flesh, swollen to over ten times its original size -- and it was getting so hard for me to hold back the tears.

The doctor described the status, and we agreed that it had to be removed.

Another two hours passed before I was summoned back to the OR. The doctor has already changed back to street clothes, and showed me the fallopian tube that was removed. It's as big as my pinky, only it looked like a misshaped longanisa.

An hour later, Joan was brought to the recovery room, shivering and crying. She was complaining about the cold, despite efforts of the nurses and doctors to turn off the aircon and warm her with an incandescent bulb.

Never had I felt so crushed. At that moment, I knew finally without a doubt what my weakest spot is.

Cheers to the nurses and doctors for keeping their cool even if my glares are getting a tad too murderous while I kept urging them to do something to ease her pains. In the end, they have to calmly ask me to wait at the room.

It was already past 7:00 PM when she was brought to the room.

Her first visitors, her relatives who live next to our house, came the next day.

On the morning of 26th, we received a text message that spurred Joan to have the catheter and IV drip removed: her boss and officemates are dropping by to visit by lunchtime.

Joan willed herself to wellness because of that -- she will never allow her officemates (and boss nyahaha) see her in such a weakened state. She succeeded in controlling her fevers and erratic bowel movements by the time her colleagues arrived.

Two more friends dropped by that evening.

We left the hospital in the afternoon of August 27.

Yesterday, on my birthday, we watched Cars 2 at Glorietta.

We walked a bit slower than usual, and had to be careful with what we eat, but it was my happiest birthday yet. ^^

Thank you, Lord, for this gift.

***

UDMC is an old institution better known for its cutting-edge technology in the field of laparoscopic surgery. We only have thumbs up for the excellent jobs of its doctors and nurses.

However, a downside of being in a hospital that is affiliated with a medical school (Southeast Asian College) is that you get subjected to the medical and nursing students -- and the not-so-impressive skills of some.

Three nursing students in particular stood out in terms of utter lack of bedside manners. Several times everyday for two days, we experienced what I dubbed as "The Terrible Trio".

They do not greet us when they enter the room. They do not introduce themselves and state their business until you ask them (creepy, really). They just slap the sphygmomanometer strap in Joan's arm and poke the thermometer under her arm pit without asking for her permission. They do not inform you of their readings (temperature and blood pressure) if you do not ask them. At some point, only one of them had a wristwatch.

And at all times, all of them wore makeup.

I pray to heavens that somehow these trio, all graduating on year 2012, develop some bedside manners soon.

***

Since I never post my birthday in any social networking site, it is easy to monitor the greetings I get.

The first greeting came a day early, but already it has a "belated" in it. ^^ A friend from Indonesia thought she missed my birthday. Hee hee thanks Lola!

The second came from Joan, as we woke up on the 29th.

The third came from a long-lost friend via email. Thank you, I. ^^

The fourth was a text message from my brother, and the fifth a phone call/song from my mother while we were driving to Glorietta.

On August 30, a former officemate posted a birthday app on my fezbook wall.

Shortly after that, my sister in UK greeted me through PM in fezbook.

Cheers to 36!

***

My prayers that everyone in the path of Hurricane Irene be safe.

August 13, 2011

FF VIII

A Sanctius member posted this at the group's wall, and brought back memories of the best role-playing game I've ever played.



I finished it twice - the second time with a walkthrough - for this ending:



Sigh... always leaves that happy-sad-happy feeling. ^^

August 08, 2011

Culmination

Almost ten years since I finished Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse: Dune, today I turned the first few pages of Hunters of Dune, the first of two books by Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert's son, and Kevin J. Anderson that will end the Dune series.

I guess I've held back long enough. After the exhilarating ride I had from the original six Dune novels, I used to think that no other Dune novel is worth reading if isn't by Frank Herbert.

But surely the years would have washed any fear of disappointment I had. I'm re-entering the world of Dune with fresh imagination.

It's time to end it. ^^

***

Today, mother stations is finally at the culmination of its Silver Jubilee. I feel sooo effing tired, and strangely so drained.

Just a few more days. I pray I have enough strength left for a good show on August 26.

There is something else with this fatigue, though. Something troublesome.

Very soon I will have to deal with it.

July 03, 2011

Unexpected

When the sports committee posted the team assignments a few weeks before the sportsfest, one team was expected to be the strongest, fastest, and the most winnable of all.

Because over half of its members are men.

I guess the organizers designed the teaming to be fully random, save for one condition that ensures at least one man per team. It did not, however, control for the maximum allowed number of men per team.

And so this team, which has four men and two women, was seen as the team to beat.

But after two rounds of bowling, and a delightful round of dodgeball, banana-eating race, t-shirt relay, and paper plane flying race, this said team had the least number of wins, and ended up at the bottom of the overall ranking.

Our team, composed of one man and five women (one of them still healing from a broken pelvis after an accident, while another has spinal problems), got the highest average team-score in bowling and ended up the overall champion.

The best bowler award came as a surprise.

The original rule was that the winner will be the one with the highest score in a single game. After two rounds, everyone knew who won.

And it wasn't me.

I didn't get the highest ever score in a single game. I was writing an urgent media release in between rolls so there's no way I could bring myself to break the 200+ mark (asa pa haha!).

The plan changed, however, when the stations' big boss pointed out a flaw in the original rule.

During the awards ceremony, the organizers announced that, after their meeting with the boss the previous day, the rule has been revised to put value on "consistency" instead of "one-time stellar performance".

And so the event's biggest surprise came that morning: I got the award, for having the highest average score.

I just love surprises. Is it obvious in my silly grin? ^^

June 11, 2011

On connections, and our good friend Mr. Penn

Since I got the 3G broadband wireless router at home, my old gadgets have been flexing their dusty Wi-Fi muscle: Sony PSP, Tungsten TX, Nokia E52, MSI Megabook VR 320X notebook, and Lenovo S10-2 netbook.

Now, whenever and wherever I am in the house, as long as the router is powered up, I can get connected to the web.

***

But with all this connectivity, I miss my connection with my family the most.

My daily interaction with my family ended when I started high school. On day one at high school, I lost my daily dose of dinner-time talks with the family, with everyone exchanging tales of how the day went, lending ears to my troublesome issues, giving advice, and keeping my inspiration burning at its brightest.

So I am forever grateful to the generous souls that kept me company around the dinner table at the end of the day for my entire high school life -- the Baylas family and the Badana family. ^^

They made the adjustment so much easier, and fun. ^^

***

It's been five years since our dear friend Penn passed away. I give thanks for the good man, the good and bad times we shared, and his legacy at the stations.

Cheers!

June 04, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Because I know just enough to agree, and not too much to complain, X-Men: First Class was a perfect movie experience for me. ^^

It was everything I imagined it to be, at least for the characters that I know of.

*Thumbs up!*

And oh, this time, a LOT of people stayed on for (possible) post-credits scenes.

The viewing public is learning. ^^

May 31, 2011

Inner... peace...

Yeah, Master Shifu's mantra is stuck in my head like a severe case of last song syndrome.

But unlike him and Po, I have yet to achieve this -- if at all it's remotely possible in my lifetime.

With questions about the past that I still have (most with no hope of resolution), the things I ought to do, nature's wrath, and the very society we live in, achieving inner peace would probably be as hard as getting my lifelong dream of six-pack abs nyahaha.

Every now and then, however, something or someone comes along that makes it possible, bringing me a tad closer to that inner peace.

And for you all, I am forever grateful. ^^

***

For the past four months since I took an alternate route on my way to work, I've been seeing the man exactly the way he is everyday: unkempt, dressed in dirty clothes, and constantly wearing an angry -- almost mad -- look on his face.

I've watched him wipe windshields during the red light, all the while muttering menacingly at no one in particular.

Last week he finally chanced upon me, and proceeded with his routine -- including the usual glaring eyes and angry snarl.

I rolled down the window, handed him the coins I found on the dashboard, and finally saw something different.

It was a peaceful face.

May 28, 2011

HungGRRR resolved

In public opinion surveys, the lowest points of public satisfaction with Philippine government are usually marked by two types of crises: one that affects the heart, and the other stomach.

The latter has a more direct effect, and despite my high tolerance for poor service, hunger broke down my patience and compelled me to write the email below:

From: Leo
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 10:34 PM
To: customercare@kfc.ph
Subject: KFC ______* branch's "10-minute willing to wait" advice

Dear KFC,

Please review the exact time it takes to serve your Fish Twister and California Maki Twister, because I am sure I have been waiting for an average of 20 minutes in all three separate occasions I ordered for these items.


If indeed it takes just 10 minutes to serve these items, then please review the KFC (name of branch) -- that's where all cases I mentioned above happened.

I am so willing to wait for 20 minutes, that's how much I like your Twister.

But please don't train the frontline staffs to deceive customers like me by making me wait for twice the AGREED time. It is definitely not a pleasant feeling. You can check with your frontline man Nestor* who attended to me this evening, May 16, at 8:20 PM (Transaction code: 112-0516**********), how miserable I was.

So my plea is for either:
- the said KFC branch shape up and deliver within the 10-minute promise, or

- change the frontliners' spiel and honestly advice the customers that the twister will take 20 MINUTES. Have faith in your products, do away with the deceiving "10-minute willing to wait" spiel.


Should this experience happen again in that branch, and I am not in a hurry to go home, be assured that I will raise this concern to the branch manager.


But since I was hungry and in a hurry to enjoy a dinner of twister at home this evening, I hope that for now this letter could bring this issue to your kind attention.

Thank you.

Yours in good quality customer service.

Leo



Thumbs up for their quick response:

Dear Leo,

Your message reached us. Thanks for sharing with us your service experiences with our KFC*.
We understand your disappointment and would like to extend to you our sincere apologies for the inconveniences caused.

While we look forward to the immediate resolution of your concern, we would like to assure you that it is our steadfast commitment to maintain the highest possible standards in customer service for all our restaurants. This incident will merit verification from our Operations team. On this note kindly give us a contact number where we could reach you for feedback at your most convenient time.

Thanks for your time writing us. We hope to have you enjoy a real KFC experience with us soon!


Best regards,
Beth*
Customer Care
KFC Philippines


A day later, I got a call from the Customer Care officer of the branch in question, and was apprised of the Operation Team's findings.

To summarize, on that fateful May 16 visit to that branch, the frontline guy failed to check his timer and followed up on my order waaay too late, causing a terrible delay in the entire process of serving my much-needed sustenance. I was told that the said frontline staff was "pulled out".

All in all, I'm satisfied with how they handled my issue. Tara kain! ^^

* real names and specific KFC branch withheld.
Photo from KFC Philippines (www.kfc.com.ph).

May 26, 2011

Restless

Over the past week, I've been reading reviews, trying out demo units from one shop to another, peppering sales reps with every possible question I can think of, and bugging my officemate about her own unit.

Yep, the tablet fever finally caught up, and I'm making sure all my anti-"mindless spending" safeguards are in place.

The first safeguard is easy enough to resolve: determining that the urge to buy is a function of "need" instead of just "want".

The second one, and the more time consuming, is choosing the right unit.

And here lies the rub.

You see, I have this genetic tendency to be attracted with the uncommon. Had I been a voter, my natural tendency would be to take interest in the dehado (underdog) rather than the llamado (favorite).

In the early part of the tablet race, I have unfortunately fallen in love with a dehado.

Of course, I weigh the pros and cons. With enough time and technical information, I too can have a change of heart.

And when my head and heart are at peace, I would be just inches away from saying "Miss, kunin ko na 'to."

But then again, there's a reason for the title of this blog.

Just before I decide to make the purchase, the final and most powerful safeguard I have in my head will kick in: it will tell me to go back to #1.

It's a character flaw, I know. ^^

But the fact that my Palm Tungsten TX is back in my bag -- and that this entry was drafted entirely using it -- is proof to just how powerful this final safeguard is. Haha!

Let the tablet wars begin. The major players are only beginning to show their weapons. I'm happy to wait a little longer and just watch.

May 22, 2011

The end

Harold Camping's May 21, 2011 end of the world prediction would probably be the nth doomsday forecast I've heard in my lifetime.

From a tidal wave that will cleanse a little town in Aklan called Batan (heard this when I was little), to one with wider scope such as the sinking of Metro Manila under water, to a more global, horrific scale involving extraterrestrial bodies. It would be lucky if a new year enters without some sort of prophecy involving loss of lives on a massive scale.

Whatever the method of ending -- whether by flaming God's wrath, planets forming into cosmic weapons of destruction, or alien invasion -- if you know it, then it's not the end.

Oh well. This world, my world, could end anytime -- as it will eventually. If Camping was right and it did happen, I'd be at peace because I was with wifey -- we watched Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, had pesto pasta and pizza for lunch, played bowling, had pancit luglug and halo-halo at Razon's, had our teeth cleaned, had full-body massage, and passed by the place where we got married (Paco Park).

There's much yet to be done, of course. But just making each day count. ^^

And as Jack Sparrow said, "better to not know which moment may be your last, every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all."

***

Speaking of endings, I thought that -- after a slew of new movies from the Disney and Marvel Studios -- moviegoers would already have developed that instinct of staying on for the possible post-credit scenes.

But still, both in the Thor and The Pirates... movies, hardly anyone stayed on, thus missing that precious peek at what's to come.

Oh well, thanks maybe to YouTube, most moviegoers need not stick around for the post-credit scenes while the guards and cleaning crew scurry around to clean up and search for any stuffs that were left behind the moviehouse.

So you see...

With so many good movies ahead (Harrryyyy Poootteeeeeerrrrr!), the world cannot end just yet haha! ^^

May 07, 2011

Happy Mami Day!

Mamidir with her anakis, circa 1990's.
Whenever my mother is with friends, she has two stories about me ready at hand: 1) I made a toy robot out of recycled slippers, and; 2) she learned the meaning of the word "sibin" when I was hospitalized for H-fever in 1988.

The first one is pretty simple. When I was in fifth grade, I drew a robot and from it made a half-foot, fully pose-able model out of old slippers.

My mom was so impressed that she thought of contacting the local media to have my so-called "talent" featured.

But I was too shy and passed on the chance at fame.

The second story was about the time a nurse told my mom, "I-sibin mo ang bata mo, Mam," to bring my fever down in case it gets too high.

For some reason my mom forgot to clarify what the word meant as she patiently tended to me as she had done everyday since I got hospitalized for H-fever -- feeding me, watching my condition, searching for blood donors, etc.

So when my fever suddenly spiked to 42 degrees C and I began making weird things with my eyes and body, my mother did everything except that mysterious "sibin" thing.

As the nurses rushed in with ice and wet towels, the head nurse asked my mother if she administered "sibin" on me.

Recalling finally what was amiss, my mom asked (in Akeanon), "Nurse, ano buot hambaeon ko sibin hay? (What does sibin mean?)"

"Amo ni ang sibin" (This is sibin.), says the nurse (in Ilonggo) as she proceeded with giving me a brisk sponge bath with ice-cold water.

"Aah, trapuhan," says my mom.

"Indi, Mam. Sibin," insisted the nurse. "Amo ni ya ang trapuhan..." (This is trapuhan...) and she took the mop and started mopping the floor.

End of story.

I guess these are two of the fondest memories she has of me.

The toy robot is neatly preserved in my old room, a reminder of how much my mother has been so proud of my accomplishments, however small they may be. She could have pushed me to fame at a young age (nyahaha), but she respected and supported what I wanted -- as she always does.

I spent seven days and my 13th birthday in that hospital (Emmanuel Hospital at Roxas City, Capiz). My blood was examined every three hours the entire time (that's about fifty skin pricks distributed in ten fingers), and the pain was surreal.

But my mother, my family, and all the good souls that kept me company in that hospital room made the experience a whole lot bearable, almost fun.

I never felt the misery or hardship of being sick. While the pain was a constant buzz, I remember the pretty nurses, one of my happiest birthday celebrations, and my mother being there constantly.

The "sibin" incident has become one of my mom's surefire hit if she needs to make a point about language differences and get a few laughs out of it.

In the end, I guess she did make me a little famous in her own way. ^^

Happy Mother's Day, Mamidir. Labs guid!

May 01, 2011

Blessed


July 2009: At St. Peter's Square, Vatican.
July 2009: The tomb under St. Peter's Basilica has a simple marble marker bearing the name IOANNES PAULUS PPII.

But it moved me in ways none of the artworks and places I've seen in Florence, Pisa, and Rome can compare to.

Paying respects to the man who has done so much for Christianity and people around the world was an indescribable feeling.

His charisma lives on, and it brought me close to tears as we knelt shoulder-to-shoulder with others offering prayers before his tomb.

May 1, 2011: He's one step closer to sainthood now. Blessed be John Paul II.

April 30, 2011

Amazing

*In my trying hard British twang* I must say it was a splendid, splendid wedding. ^^

Congratulations to the royal couple, William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Their wedding was a refreshing break from the not-so-pleasant news that has inundated media over the past months -- the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the execution of our kababayans in China, the anti-monarchy demonstrations in different Middle East nations, among others.

At some point I almost got fed up with the attention given to the wedding preparations.

But as the wedding unfolded on television, I finally grasped the reason for all the fuss.

Never before has the monarchy been so cherished. The faces in the crowds around the Abbey and the Palace can be described by Piers Morgan's one-liner, "I have never been so proud to be British."

And man oh man, what a nice parade of great cars!

***
Nothing is perfect, however.

Kate's gown and make-up, her sister Pippa (woohoo hotness!), the cars, the formations of the royal guards, the groom (shame on those who took shots at his vanishing hair -- bald is sexy!), the bond between William and Harry (great lip-reading job by the reporters), the iron-clad security setup, Mr. Bean, the two lovely kisses, the cute not-so-traditional couple get-away on a hot Aston Martin -- only a royal, fairy-tale wedding can deliver all these sorts of perfections.

As it did.

Even the weather was perfect.

But on the other side of the globe, hundreds died and thousands are still missing from the tornado onslaught in Alabama.

But hey this is just me over-thinking. My officemates had to shut me up because of the morbid scenarios I kept bringing up as we watched the wedding -- sniper shots, a desperate William fanatic breaking through the security cordon, bazooka fire from the crowd, or a grenade from an anti-monarchy activist -- those sorts of wild, far-fetched doomsday stuffs.

It's like me watching a wonderful Pacquiao fight, but half-expecting a lucky punch to hit him at any moment.

But deep inside I was enjoying everything, and feeling good about it.

In the end, it was an amazing moment for a lot of people.

April 24, 2011

Most important

Fifteen years of doing applied survey research taught me to not only respect diversity of opinions, but to also recognize that the majority opinion isn't necessarily the right one.

The First Quarter 2011 SWS survey found that about 6 out of ten (57%) of adult Filipinos "consider Christmas as a more important day than Easter Sunday".

Which is why I'm glad that Fr. Jun Sescon, Chaplain at the Greenbelt chapel, pointed this out in his homily.

Without discrediting the survey results (unlike the favorite reaction now of certain people in government), Fr. Jun set the record straight that Easter is the most important Christian holiday. While Christmas is the beginning of Christ's mission, Easter represents its fulfillment.

"It is what gives meaning to everything."

Joan and I like how Fr. Jun always say the right words. ^^

The majority preference for Christmas over Easter reflects the people's closer affinity to all that is traditionally more joyous and merrier.

Plus, as Fr. Jun also mentioned, it's during Christmas that one gets to receive gifts.

I'm not religious nor am I well-versed in my own faith, but somehow I believe Easter gives us a more important gift -- hope.

Happy Easter to all!

April 10, 2011

Choco

There’s a small portion along EDSA that treats me to a different kind of journey.

I call this little stretch of road Cocoa Drive. It’s where the Ricoa factory is located along EDSA, near Boni Avenue.

The factory is obviously still brewing chocolate big-time – the deliciously rich chocolate scent surrounding that area at night is strong enough to penetrate air conditioning.

So to heck with smog, I’d roll my window down and, for a few seconds, imagine champorado, Flat-Tops, tablea, and hot chocolate.

That little burst of sensory overload is all it takes to make the rest of the drive a little more pleasant amid monster bus drivers, bukas-kotse gangs, rugby-sniffing kids, and motorcycle riders who think they’re made of adamantium.

Mmmm… I’ll have Milo tonight.

January 29, 2011

After twenty

January 14, 2011: SDHSA's Batch 1991 hit the streets at the Kalibo Ati-atihan festival. More photos at Facebook.
2011 is sure quick to show how eventful a year it will be. It’s only January and already it got me to several events, each proving to be very memorable.

The first was the high school reunion.

If you ask me what part of my life I consider the happiest, you can bet that I will say… yes, marrying my wife. ^^

That, and high school.

You see, there are perks to going though high school brain-dead: I only had the good times and none of the emo stuffs that come with growing pains. In high school I learned, in college and thereafter I understood.

After twenty years, I realize that I am still learning, and still catching on with understanding.

The things I learned during the reunion were mostly about three things: who’s got a crush on whom, who went out with whom, and who went out with whom after graduation.

But the difference with this experience now is that understanding isn’t that difficult, and there was none of that uncomfortable feeling anymore.


January 15, 2011: At Saylo club and restaurant in Kalibo. Photo courtesy of Toto Tonel-M.
It was wonderful seeing over twenty of my old classmates. Very briefly I slipped into that long lost high school personality (or was it even lost?) – revisiting old memories – before bringing everything back to the present time and life.

I’m glad I went home for the reunion. I regret having hesitations earlier, mainly because of work. But in the end the experience was priceless.

I hope more can attend the fuller event next year.


***

The other delightful events that made my visit to Aklan worth every while were the chance to see four siblings pull the most elaborate and wonderful surprise for their mother in celebration of her retirement, and my mother’s family reunion in Batan.

Happy times. ^^

January 16, 2011: With mother-side relatives in Batan.