December 31, 2012

Cheers to 2012!

Part of my task as the "communications guy" at the office is to put together the annual year-in-survey review -- Philippine history as seen through public opinion surveys. But just this once I'll try a quick review of what my year has been.


I haven't been moving around much. Hongkong and Macau were the only places abroad I've been to this year. I've let so many opportunities for foreign conferences pass by, only because I was too lazy to write a paper. Hopefully I come up with something for a chance to attend some conferences scheduled next year in abroad.

My domestic travels were just as dismal. Ninety percent of my work no longer require me to do fieldwork. It was only due to sheer lack of field staff that the office was forced to send me to Davao Oriental. It was a great deal, though -- it was so nice returning to that place.

But making up for everything was my first-time visit to Tabaco, Albay. I never realized Mayon Volcano, up close, could be so... mesmerizing. To see it for the first time was magical.


Four years ago, the doctor at San Benito Farm (The Farm) in Lipa City found my blood cells to be tightly packed and irregularly clustered, indicating my poor state of health.

Early this December, Joan and I went back to The Farm to celebrate her birthday. It was good to see my blood cells looking and acting more normally than before.

But this year has presented us with bigger challenges -- the soothsayer at the A-Ma Temple in Macau was very clear about this. Next year would definitely see us at full-scale effort to address this.


This year we lost a dear colleague and friend, Anna Krista P. Molina. It was sudden and unexpected, but in the end we content ourselves to believing that there is a reason for everything. Instead of questioning, we remember the wonderful ways she has touched our lives.

And for all out there who have touched my life in any way -- friends old and new, friends from long-gone past, and friends from other realms -- know that I am grateful you are there.


Uhm still there, and still loving it. ^^ But it's time to leave a sort of bigger legacy next year.


I'm thankful for the blessings life has kindly given everyone in my family. There had been many challenges, but we managed to cope despite the distance. Tonight, new year will find me away from my wife, again. But throughout the year I'm blessed to go home to the person I dreamed to be with in the years passed and years to come.

Happy New Year! ^^

November 17, 2012

Hulk is a form of pixie?

I blurted out this question while I was lying half-awake (or half-asleep) in our bed.

Wifey, ever so supportive of her hubby, treated it like a normal conversation.

"Wala naman siyang wings. Tsaka naging ganyan naman siya because of chemical reactions," she said.

"Ah okay." And I went back to sleep.

Just one of our weird conversations that pop up in the wee hours of the morning, with one of us in a dream-like state.

The most unforgettable of these conversations happened during our honeymoon in 2006, in Boracay.

"Wag munang gagalawin ang pagkain!" says wifey, loud and clear. But eyes closed.

I ventured on a question, "Bakit, pangga?"

"Hindi pa napipiktyuran," and she went quiet. Back to sleep.

Maybe someday one of us will recite the winning lotto numbers *fingers crossed*.


Of course my Incredible Hulk and pixie mash up was not without a basis.

I have been reviewing Marvel movies, in preparation for the Ironman sequel, coming next year.

At the same time, I have the entire Artemis Fowl series running in my handheld device, all eight books of it. I'm now at book five, and so full of fairies, sprites, elves, dwarves, criminal mastermind boy genius, and bodyguard extraordinaire imageries.

I guess every now and then I need to nurture the inner kid in me. ^^

November 04, 2012

Just now

Yes, it is just now that I am opening this little box of happiness hee hee. I got this on a sale during a toy convention before my boithday -- a gift for myself. Yep, I still love this sort of things.

It's just now that I get to breathe normally after completing another project from one of our biggest partners. It's uncanny how every year they come up with something big for us to do -- within the month of my birthday. ^^ Oh well, that's work and we're thankful for them.

And so, with my handy-dandy nipper and a smile on my face, I'm all set to have myself another Gundam. ^^

Thanks to long weekends.


Just now I saw another good news that a friend residing in the US East Coast is safe and doing well. Hurray to fezbook! Many are still affected by aftermath of superstorm Sandy, and I pray that things over there be restored to normal soon.

As usual, it's in this extraordinarily trying times what we get to see extraordinary acts of kindness. Cheers!

October 11, 2012


August and September went by so fast!

This election season is giving me very little room to breathe normally, much less write anything here.

So what's new at 37?

Let's see.

Over the past year, the most glaring change would be the exponential growth of my appetite, combined with a dwindling metabolism rate.

This lethal combination began during my visit in Davao last March. Apparently that two-week unli-rice spree left a lasting effect -- a chunk of blubber now has a death-grip of my gut, and it's not showing any sign of letting go.

Truth be told, I am not expecting this sort of bodily change. There is no evidence that my parents, and grandparents from both sides of the family, ever had issues with disproportionate mid-section.

And the effects are truly bothersome.

First, I had to overhaul my wardrobe. I used to just worry about getting the right trousers to address my non-existent butt. Now I also have to think about suppressing the bulky belly.

Second, I finally lost my battle against the office's curse -- the one that dooms everyone to gain weight the moment they become regular staffs.

I have been a regular staff for over ten years, and the last evidence that such curse can be defied. It was a good, long fight.

And finally, I get to post fewer and fewer photos on fezbuk. Curse ye, me big belly and double chin!

Anyway, the battle against the bulge is on!

Cheers to 37!

July 11, 2012

Farewell, Mang Dolphy

July 25, 1928 - July 10, 2012

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July 02, 2012


The Venetian, Macau. June 2012.
Last June 28 marked the fifteenth year since my wife and I became a couple.

During the first six months of our relationship, Joan had to go home to the province for a short break.

It was the analog age, and I remember the first time my monthly cellphone bills rose to near five-digit figures.

I think I turned pale at the sight of P9,000++ in the billing statement.

Those brief moments of being apart really messed up my budget nyahaha!

So you can imagine my happiness when she came back to Manila. ^^

After over fifteen years, it's still the same.

Not the phone bills, but my eagerness to be with her at the end of the day.

Some things will never change. ^^

Happy anniversary, Pangga!


Strange how right now I readily remember only the phone bills, and not the challenges we had back then.

Indeed, being happier has its perks. ^^

And happier is what I wish everyone be in the days and years to come.


April 07, 2012


I love ice cream, and I love chocolate. So when I heard about Magnum while in Davao, getting my hands on one the soonest I get home was my plan.

But two weeks passed, and still no Magnum.

It drove me nuts seeing Magnum-labeled freezers that were as empty as Edsa during a Pacquiao fight. Was there ever a brand of ice cream that is as hard to find as this one?

Luck finally struck this afternoon at SM Makati supermarket.

Finally... Magnum Classic and Magnum Chocolate Truffle.

Heaven. ^^

Cornetto can take me there, too, at half the price.

But just the same... Heaven. ^^

April 06, 2012

Re-visiting a nice place

I once asked Joan where would she prefer to have resided, and one of the places she mentioned was Davao City.

To that I wholeheartedly agree -- Davao City is one of the few places I wouldn't mind living in. It has all the amenities of Metro Manila, but none of the heart-attack pace.

My first visit to this city was over ten years ago, during a project that required me to recruit, train, and supervise the pool of field staff for that region.

It wasn't pure work at all. In between trainings, traveling, and interviewing, I was treated to great foods, sights, unlimited rice, and that strange feeling that the world is moving fifty percent slower than you are.

And it hasn't changed at all when I went there last March 12 for a two-week fieldwork.

The roads may have gotten better, the commercial establishments more pronounced, and the traffic more dense, but the people never lost that relaxed demeanor.

In those two weeks, I never saw anyone get remotely annoyed with slow-moving cashiers, jeepney drivers who stop in mid-traffic to ask for loose change from fellow drivers, and the never-ending pitstops during a trip.

No one there is in a hurry, and it seems nobody there is at risk of suffering hypertension or stress.

Except, of course, some visitors like me.

Anyway, two weeks was more than enough to learn, adjust, and love that kind of hyper-relaxed lifestyle. ^^


My first taste of real durian was at the Seaside, Mati, Davao Oriental on the 16th of March.

I had the arancillo variety, and the first scoop that touched my lips was a shock to the senses -- it was ten times more potent than any durian products I've tasted before.

When we transferred to Davao City on the second week, we were treated to another feast of durian. This time we tried out two other varieties -- the kobe and the native, my favorite.

With all the bountiful supply, I thought the locals would already be tired of durian.

But I was so wrong.

Eating durian is still very special in Davao. There are durian stands almost everywhere, people sit and eat there just like how others would have beer in their suking tindahan. Couples date there, and at the end of the day people order durians for take-home.

And when we gave our take-home durians to the hotel frontdesk staffs, their delight was unmistakeable -- they really do love them.

And yes, I fell in love with it, too.


When my officemate, Mear, told me about this place called Ponce Suites in Davao City, I never thought she was referring to Kublai Cafe.

So when we walked into the hotel, I was delighted to see the familiar works of one of Davao's most popular residents, and a former dorm-mate, Kublai.

It's already a wonder seeing just a few of his works back in undergrad days. Seeing a entire hotel with every inch of it covered with his masterpieces is certainly a treat to the senses.

Heck, even the rats at the rooftop seem to blend as part of his artistic installations.

Simply amazing. This man is an artistic genius.


We spent our last night in Davao at a KTV bar, and there, in my last song, I said:

Thank you very much, Davao!

It was nice to be there again. I will surely come back one of these days.


Speaking of nice places, since Perfect World's latest patch last month, I've been again wandering the cities of Pangu.

This time as a Hun Ling (Earthen Druid).

A very interesting class this is: it has the supportive healing abilities like that of a Yu Ling (Wingkin Cleric) and the pet-like companion like that of a Yao Jing (Beastkin Fairy), called Avatars.

This class is fitting me well so far, since I hate asking anyone to heal me. And with the Avatar as a sidekick, I've been able to solo major boss monsters -- something I haven't done with my other characters.

Of the four Avatars available to the Hun Ling, the Storm Mother is my favorite (shown in photo). Not only is she pleasing to the eyes, she provides major magical artillery support.

Hmmm I wonder if this new character of mine will catch the attention of my favorite clan, Sanctius?

We'll see. ^^

January 28, 2012


Thoughts captured in my laptop while I was in our old house in Aklan -- where big, colorful geckos are easier to find than an internet connection. Overdue for posting. ^^

31 December 2011, 6 pm: A few more hours and I will again be dancing the Rigodon de Honor at the town square with my mother.

And again I welcome the New Year with my wife some 50+ kilometers away as she celebrates it with her parents. It has been like this for Joan and I in two out of five New Years we had as a couple.

Anyway, I’m happy to dance with my mother this year as this will be her first time to dance as a retired DepEd Schools Division Superintendent.

She has completed a major phase in life with flying colors, and I’ll be darned if she misses this year’s biggest dance just because none of her two sons can be her partner for just one night.

And I can tell how much she’s been looking forward for this night.

It’s taking all her will to be at tonight’s dance -- a few days ago she injured her back during a ceremony in Cadiz City, and she can barely stand.

What makes this dance so special?

Mommy has made it her tradition to represent my late grandfather, who was Father of the Year 1975.

More than half of the dance participants are not the Fathers themselves, but their children and/or grandchildren who made it their tradition to keep their respective families visible in the town's biggest dance.

So as long as Mommy can walk and keep up with the rhythm, and one of her sons is available to be her partner, this is her tradition. ^^

I just hope that that not-so-traditional hilot (one who uses a copper rod that releases electricity!) gave her enough relief from back pains to last her the night.

Update: Mommy danced the Rigodon wonderfully, thank goodness. However, she had to turn down all other dance requests to save her back. ^^


Just last Christmas eve Joan and I were with good friends to share Noche Buena.

I can't remember the last time I had a wonderful time on Christmas eve. Thanks to Cez, her hubby Yodz, her mom, her sis, and her sis' boyfriend for being such great hosts.

And for that super sarap handa. Yum!

Traditions. Some are really worth keeping. ^^