31 December 2005

happy new year!

The holidays are over and it's back to our ordinary lives again.
I hope you don't miss the magic this time.
Have a great 2006, I know this year's going to be a blast!

29 December 2005

why criminals abound in the philippines

I always thought I was impervious to the inefficiencies of government offices. After all, I came from UP -- I've had 4 years experience waiting in insufferably long lines that I've managed to become numb to it all. Until I tried to get an NBI clearance. I'm so agitated I feel like I'm about to have a heart attack. I need to cuss. Maybe even throw things. Or ram a table down an NBI employee's throat.

December 22. 10am. I went to the NBI satellite office in Pasig, which was supposedly "equipped with a computer and could release clearances within 30 minutes." I paid, filled up the application form, smiled for the camera, and got fingerprinted... then the nightmare started.

The moment I queued at the releasing area, the girl at the counter looks at me and says, "Miss, diba kaka-picture lang sa iyo? Mamaya pa yan. Bumalik ka na lang ng 1pm."

What?!? It took less than a minute to type my name into the database and check if I had a 'hit' or not. But I'm nice and polite, so fine. I sit on a bench and wait, until I realize that the girl behind me in line was already able to claim her clearance.

So I go back to the girl at the counter. "Miss, bakit sha, nakuha na? E nauna pa to inapply?"

She takes a look at my receipt. "Santiago pala last name mo e. Bumalik ka na lang after three working days." Great. Three working days na ngayon, just because of my last name.

"E ano ngayon kung Santiago? Bakit, alphabetical ba pag-process niyan?"

"Common name kasi ang Santiago e." What the hell?!? After bugging her more, she finally checks the database (which, as I said, took less than a minute).

Unfortunately, I did have a hit. I figured it was because of my DOST scholarship, so I showed her a letter from DOST stating that I was allowed to obtain a clearance. She doesn't even glance at it. "Hindi pwede. Record check talaga to. Bumalik ka na lang after three working days."

Fine. Fine.

Dec 29. 10am. Today, no one is at the releasing counter, so I go inside the office to find an NBI employee. When someone finally attends to me, lo and behold: "Miss, quality control po. Kailangan niyo pumuntang main office sa Carriedo, iinterviewhin kayo dun."

"E wala naman po akong kaso a. Dahil lang sa DOST scholarship yan, may letter naman ako from DOST dito na pwede akong kumuha ng clearance."

"Wala pong nakalagay sa computer namin kung ano ung kaso e. Basta nakalagay lang, may hit. Sa Carriedo na po aayusin yan. Wala kaming authority dito sa Pasig mag-clear ng pangalan."

What?!? They ask me to wait for three days for record checking, only to tell me that they don't know what my case is?!? So what what the hell was the three-day record check for?

But again, they refuse to budge, so I have no choice but to go to Carriedo.

Dec 29. 2pm. After getting lost and stuck in heavy traffic, I finally arrive in Carriedo. My friend was right when he told me, "Mamamatay ka dun." The place was sensory overload -- stalls selling all sorts of things cramped the street, shouts of vendors, paputoks, and jeepneys filled the air, and both sweet and putrid aromas assailed your nostrils. All these were topped by the maddening crowd pushing you in every direction. I remember thinking, Oh my golly gosh. I think I really am going to die here.

The NBI Clearance Center was big enough to accomodate a large number of people, but was extremely understaffed. Only two of the ten or so counters at each processing step was open. We go up and down and up and down and up and down the office looking for the people who needed to work on my clearance. Almost every step of the way, I get told "Ay, bakit ganito to? Bumalik ka ulit dun, kailangan mo pa ng <insert name of requirement here>." Yes, today, I was the lucky person who would become NBI's ping-pong ball.

After more ping-pong trips, we end up at the Quality Control section where they conduct interviews for people with so-called "cases." Fortunately, my tito knew an interviewer who assisted us. They found my record (which clearly stated that the only "criminal" record I had was my DOST requirement to serve in the country). He took one look at the letter DOST provided, and approved my clearance for release.

At looooong last! I finally had an NBI clearance. So off I went to the LRT... then to the MRT... then to my office in Ortigas so that I could finally fax all my requirements to the immigration consultants for my business trip. That was when I realized something.

For a moment, my blood was boiling so hard my eyes couldn't focus. NBI's encoder had made not one, not two, not three... but four typos out of the five fields she had to type on my clearance. She not only mispelled my name, she also wrote an incorrect address and place of birth... and to top all the stupidity off: she writes February instead of May as my date of birth.

Freaking shit.

I never thought it was possible for a government agency to be more inefficient than they already are. How infuriatingly stupid can they get? Ang layo naman ng February sa May?!?!? Their section is called Quality Control, for god's sake. Dammit. Now I have to go back to Carriedo to have this fixed. I'm so pissed I'm close to murdering someone.

Our country is going to hell.

19 December 2005

ready when you are

The truth is, it made me cry.

It's not that I'm not happy for you. The news is wonderful -- someone deciding on something like that is always a good thing. Except with it came the knowledge that you were growing up. And that meant I was, too.

That scares me, because we're not in the same stage in life right now. Here you are all grown up and taking on the responsibilities of the real world... and I...

I am not ready.

I hope you are.

what does your handwriting say about you?

Handwriting Analysis

Mine says:

  • You plan ahead, and are interested in beauty, design, outward appearance, and symmetry.
  • You are a shy, idealistic person who does not find it easy to have relationships, especially intimate ones.
  • You are diplomatic, objective, and live in the present.
  • You are a talkative person, maybe even a busybody!
  • You enjoy life in your own way and do not depend on the opinions of others.


16 December 2005

count your blessings, not your gifts

come, they told me... pa ra pa pum pum...
Three in the morning.

Somewhere down the street, a neighbor is playing Christmas songs. On an ordinary day, someone playing music at such an ungodly hour would strike me as incredibly inconsiderate. Tonight, though, I find myself listening to the strums of The First Noel as they float lazily in the air. The voices are angelic, almost ethereal in its quality. I do not know my neighbors, but something in the way we are both listening to the music while the whole world sleeps feels like we're bound by some invisible thread.

I suppose that is the magic of Christmas, isn't it?

It's a time when we all take a break from our busy lives to appreciate the people around us. Sure, it's supposed to celebrate Christ's birth, but sometimes I think maybe God really planned Christmas so we'd have a reason to celebrate life itself. For a moment, each person you encounter is no longer a face in the crowd, but someone to reach out to.

It's time to slow down, look, and really see.

13 December 2005

of holidays and wishlists

The other day, someone asked me what was on my wishlist.

Strangely, nothing came to mind. Sure, I could use a new electric fan for the office, or maybe a map of Metro Manila with all those one-way streets and flyovers listed for the directionally-challenged me -- but nothing I couldn't live without.

That night, as I lay in bed racking my mind for a wishlist, I couldn't help but smile as a feeling of immense satisfaction came over me. Nothing feels better than realizing how very, very lucky you are.

And my only wish is that other people would be as lucky as I am this Christmas season, and the rest of their lives.


Okay, so I haven't exactly made the lives of those people asking me about my wishlist any easier.

As much as I would like to say that I've become one of those people who have sworn off material things for the rest of their existence, there really is nothing more thrilling than finding the perfect gift for someone and the presanticipation* of unwrapping a present that someone really thought of. After all, what's Christmas without the flurry of giving and receiving?

So, without further ado, here is my attempt at a wishlist, from the absurd managinip-ka-na-lang,-iha ones, to the cheap thrills of life:

an electric fan for the office
a trip to Paris (gorgeous Frenchman optional)
a plastic bin for my trolley, so that the blasted 14th floor rat/s will stop eating my food
a E-Z Map of Metro Manila (the one with all the one-way streets and flyovers listed) for the directionally-challenged me
a pint of BTIC's Kahlua Brownie & Haagen Dazs' Strawberry Pecan ice cream
Good Housekeeping's third cookbook (sold at stands carrying Summit Media magazines), because I want to be a domestic goddess.
a cure for eyebags and insomnia
the Starbucks holiday set containing peppermint chocolate/mocha mix, because I will miss peppermint mochas when the holidays are over.
flannel pjs, because it's so much fun to snuggle when it's cold
Ghirardeli Mint Chocolate bars
ice skating sessions at Megamall + people to go skating with (malapit na sa office e!)
Oracle DBA lessons. harharhar. I wish there was some kind of mind osmosis where you would wake up one day and know database administration already.

Oh, and I wish Canon would fix my camera already. It sucks not having a camera during the holiday season.

Happy Holidays, folks!

[n.] 1. the feeling of excitement you still get when opening a present, even if you know what the gift already is inside.

09 December 2005

december rain

i've been watching your world from afar
i've been trying to be where you are
and i've been secretly falling apart

The place is empty.

We sit out on the patio, surrounded by the clatter of tables being cleared and the obnoxious honking of buses from the highway nearby. You stare at the flurry of activity on the street, watching mutely as the rain turned the world gray.

"It's raining," you say. "In December."

I nod, as if I understand what you mean.

Your eyes follow the slow crawl of the cars in traffic, then the people crossing the street, umbrellas upturned toward the rain. You are still watching when you ask, "Have you ever gotten that feeling, where you could just put a gun to your head and shoot yourself, and it wouldn't matter?"

You turn to me now, and flash me a pained smile. "Last night, I had that feeling. And in one terrifying moment, I realized I could do it. I could end my life now. I'm worthless. Nothing seems to matter anymore. Everything is disposable.

"I'm scared, because I always thought it would take one extremely depressed, psychotic person to think this way. I'm supposed to be normal. I work, I laugh, I function as any normal person would. How could I possibly think like this?"

You stare at me now, searching my eyes for an answer.

I look away.

sometimes, the last thing you want comes in first
sometimes, the first thing you want never comes
and I know that waiting is all you can do
- Strange and Beautiful, Aqualung

29 November 2005

a strange place

goodbye, makati: the last sunset at manila bay


That is how this place feels now, devoid of all the familiar faces that once walked this floor. The business is growing, and along with this came the need to relocate. Everyone has moved to the new office in Ortigas, with a few of us left behind for meetings with customers.

The office is quiet, empty except for a few people tapping away at their workstations. I try to work as I normally would, but something feels off. A heavy feeling descends upon me, and suddenly I am awash with sadness.

Things will never be the same again.

Goodbye to Makati, a city brimming with possibilities and a life of its own. Goodbye to fifteen minute travel times and the extra hours of sleep before starting my workday. Goodbye to glorious sunsets and views of the Manila Bay, which always reminded me that there was a whole world out there. Goodbye to random shopping trips and late night conversations at Greenbelt, where bonds were formed and countless secrets were spilled.

Perhaps I am being overly dramatic here. This isn't goodbye -- I just need to move offices and the same people I've grown to love will still be there. Yet I still feel like I'm saying goodbye and leaving some things behind.

What scares me is that maybe the things I will miss the most are the things I may never have again, in Makati or anywhere.

Things will forever be different.

17 November 2005

red coffee cups and full moons

Tonight, the full moon shines on me as I sit in our veranda, enjoying the cool November breeze.  The street is still, except for a few tree branches swaying in the wind.   Everyone else is asleep, long gone to the land of dreams.

I sip on my peppermint mocha, taking in the contrast of mint against the fuzziness of chocolate and coffee.  I shiver slightly in the cold wind, but as the hot liquid goes down a comforting warmth spreads across my body.

There is something about red coffee cups and full moons that fill me with hope.  It's something incomprehensible, even to me.  Perhaps it's the memories each one evokes; of happier days and of better times.  Perhaps it's the lull of doing something as fundamentally mundane as watching the night sky.

Tonight, it dawns on me that Christmas is here again.  For the longest time, I despised Christmas because the holidays only served to remind me of that gaping hole I had inside.  But I was wrong, because, above all things, Christmas was a season of hope.  Amidst all the holiday rush and madness, there is the promise of something better -- a promise to share a part of yourself with the world, and a promise of wonderful moments to come.

And tonight my spirits tingle with the hope that there is something better for me out there, if I only know where to look.

Sometimes you can find happiness in a coffee cup and a full moon.

13 November 2005

off the BEEten track

On the way home from Tagaytay, there is small dirt road that branches off from the Aguinaldo Highway and leads to the Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm.  I had heard of the bee farm countless times, so I decided to see for myself what the fuss was all about.

It was almost closing time when I got there, so I went straight to the store to check out their wares.  (The best part of any trip, after all, is what you get to take home!)  The store sold an array of items: from food products such as honey and coffee grounds; to a variety of personal care items such as handmade soaps, lotions, and lip balms; and even decorative items like beeswax candles.  I decided to try a bottle of honey (PhP200 for 500ml) and a few of the handmade soaps (ranges from PhP30-70).

My verdict?  The honey was delicious -- I was never a fan of honey, but this one was seriously good enough to eat alone.   As for the soaps -- they smelled good enough to eat!  I have to resist the urge to bite into my spearmint and oatmeal soap bar every time I take a bath. Hehe. Quality wise, they're mild enough for sensitive skin (I have sensitive skin so if I use harsh soap I end up looking like a beehive), but still soap-y enough to get all the grease and grime and stinky smells off.

The prices are a bit more expensive than other local stores, especially since you have to go out of your way to get to it. (The farm is 800 meters away from the main road, and is only accessible through a narrow dirt road with talahib growing wildly on all sides.) But then again, Burt's Bees retails its products for so much more, so these are a steal.  I'm definitely going back for more if ever I'm in the area again.

12 November 2005

how to be dead

If the storm breaks out all over you
Teardrops from the sky aren't something new
As the drops grow fuller, you know that it won't be over soon
War of the skies is what you face

It's over. I made a choice.

In some ways, the choice was made for me. I tried to be logical about my decision, and chose mind over heart. Then I curled up in a ball and waited.

What I thought would be a simple, matter-of-fact decision turned out to be one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. Somehow, it ended up not just being about the decision itself. How can you choose between two dreams? When you give up a dream, something in you always dies.

My hopes and beliefs were challenged. My trust was shattered. And through all this soul-searching, I found some friends and lost some along the way.

I guess it's what made this decision the hardest. While I have been blessed with a lot of people who cared enough to listen, some people I expected to be there for me failed me. The disappointment is unbearable.

When your pillar crumbles, you lose all your strength. And the moment I realized that they were not going to be there for me, I lost all mine.

My choice has been made, but this is far from over. I'm not going to say I'm okay. But I'm on a mission to find myself again, and to pick up the pieces that have chipped away. The other night I found myself wandering alone on the streets for hours, eventually ending up on a park bench watching people pass me by. Strangely, I found comfort in my solitude. I realize I hadn't done that in a long time.

And while I know that there will be many more moments of quiet desperation, there will also be days where I'll find refuge in myself.

One day I will finally be able to say I'm alive.

I've been asking questions
Looking for direction
But something tells me to listen as though
The wind knows where to go
-War of the Skies

04 November 2005


What the HELL am I doing with my life?!?


I know I promised not to rant in my blog, but I just had to write this one down. I wish I could buy one of those lightbulbs they have in cartoons, where all your questions and worries are resolved with a single ding! and a bright lightbulb hovering over your head.

Looking at the bright side, I cannot be thankful enough for all the people I have in my life right now. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being patient with me. Sometimes, I think I'm so lucky I should just be banished to hell for never being satisfied with what I have.

I know that whatever happens everything's going to be alright.

30 October 2005

c'est la vie

"It's hard to let go, isn't it?
That's life. What can I tell you?"
- Bill Parrish in Meet Joe Black

Ah. Life.

One week later and I am lost as ever. It's true what they say. When it comes to the weightiest decisions, you should always take your sweet time. Because you may just be having a fit of temporary insanity. Or, in my case, a month of insanity. I'm just not sure how much more agonizing I can take.

My horoscope says that when it's easy, it's right. Does that mean I'm making a big mistake? Aren't the most important decisions the hardest?

I guess I'll just have to wait and see. I read somewhere that there are two types of prayers. One, where you pray to God and tell him what you want. Except God doesn't always do what you want because he has other plans for you, leaving you with the doubt that your prayers have gone unanswered. Then there is that second type of prayer, where you submit to God's will and allow yourself to be. Thy will be done. I pray when the time comes, everything will just fall into place.

This, too, shall pass. That's life.

25 October 2005


2am & im still awake writing this song
if I get it all down on paper,
it's no longer inside of me
threatening the life it belongs to...
-Breathe (2 AM), Anna Nalick

It's funny how a chance encounter with a stranger can turn your life upside down.

One moment, you're ambling along in your own existence, then... WHAM! Life hits you with a baseball bat in the form of a complete stranger. And suddenly, as if recovering from a bad case of amnesia, you remember.

You remember a little girl who had dreams larger than life and the courage to pursue them. A little girl who believed hard enough to reach out and touch the stars. A little girl who sparkled with all the magic life held, and treasured it with the fragility of knowing that dreams, once lost, can never be found again.

But the little girl is gone, and you realize you have wasted a quarter of your life on things that no longer seem to matter. And that stranger beside you is a reminder of who you could have been; of what life could have been if you had held on a little bit more.

For the longest time you have been wandering aimlessly on the plateau of forgotten dreams. Now your future is unfolding before you, dazzling in its simplicity. As that stranger smiles at you, you thank the heavens for sending you the angel you had long been asking for.

It's time.

14 October 2005

bright lights, big city

This city needs no introduction, so just sing with me now...

tat-tat-tararat.. tat-tat-tararat...

start spreading the news

i'm leaving today

i want to be a part of it

New York, New York...

these vagabond shoes

are longing to stray

and make a brand new start of it

New York, New York...

i want to wake up in the city that never sleeps

to find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap

these little town blues

are melting away

i'll make a brand new start of it

in old New York

if I can make it there

i'll make it anywhere

it's up to you,

New York, New York!

07 October 2005

the city by the bay

San Francisco from Treasure Island

A white blanket of fog chills the air as I gaze out the car's windows. Postcard-pretty houses line the streets, shaded by trees the color of autumn. As the wind blows, I can almost hear these houses whispering to me, each with its own tales of a bygone era.

Cable cars toil up and down the steep hillsides, bells clanging. In the distance, the Pacific Ocean shimmers, bringing stories of heartbreak and sailors shipping out to sea. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge frame the peninsula, standing guard as the years pass by.

Wandering the streets of San Francisco feels like a walk back in time, to a genteel existence where towns were small but life was grand.

People often talk about how places had souls. I never understood what they meant.

Until now.

the san francisco checklist

1. Go house-hunting. The Victorian houses are so pretty, they almost don't look real. It’s amazing to think that most of these houses are a century old!

2. Get a 360-degree view of San Francisco atop the Twin Peaks. From here you’ll see a breathtaking view of the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

3. Take a whiff of the air in the Ghirardeli Chocolate Factory. Here, the air is literally sweet. Indulge in the sinfully delicious chocolates and ice creams (my personal favorite are the mint chocolates), or, if you're tight on a budget just try the caramel-filled samples in the chocolate shop.

4. Act all touristy and go to the Fisherman’s Wharf... of couse, use the most tourist-y way to get there: cable cars! Catch the steepest line, Powell-Mason, on the turnaround along Powell and Market, then head off for some tacky tourist action on the piers. (Think rows and rows of souvenir shops, canned music, and wildly colorful displays.) Hidden gem: Just a bit off the wharf is a beach with an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

5. Escape to The Rock. Just a short ferry ride away is the infamous Alcatraz, where you can relive the horrors of prison life. Ironically, the view of San Francisco from Alcatraz is one of the most magnificent ones.

6. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Enough said.

7. Channel your inner European in Sausalito. Across the Golden Gate Bridge is Marin County, where you can drive off into the sunset until you reach Sausalito, a quaint little town with a Sorrento vibe. Enjoy some gelato as you window shop in the chic little shops and admire the uber-expensive houseboats on the piers.

8. Stand in awe under the giant redwood trees in Muir Woods. Quoting Robert Frost, "the woods are lovely, dark, and deep." Walk in the shade of thousand-year-old redwoods that tower to stunning heights, and watch as autumn leaves drift slowly down to the ground.

greetings from a sweetie cow

Happy Birthday, Euge!

It was almost two years ago, when I discovered that he could "figure-ski", that I fell for Eugene. Actually, I didn't fall -- more like I crashed through the fence, tumbled down the hill, and plowed through the snow. Bwahaha. Since that day I professed my undying attraction to him, Eugene has been the object of my... erm, harassment. I hope your birthday was fun, even if I wasn't there to harrass you, Sweetie Pao! Mooo-wah!

P.S. Doesn't he look like such a Sweetie Pao in this picture? :P

26 September 2005

on to the next chapter

Since I won't be here to give Carla a proper send-off before she flies off to Canada, let me do it by way of this blog.

Good luck, Carla! Although we got off on a somewhat rocky start, I'm thankful that we were able to move past that and get to know each other better. You're one of the most thoughtful, vibrant people I know. Here's to all the happiness in the next chapter of your life -- you deserve it. Cheers to you, Jay-Ar, and Sophia! c",) Mark G. will surely miss one-half of his Silly Girls! (On a side note, shyeeeet, do you realize Euge made us pose like this in front of all our customers?!?!? Haha, nagpauto naman tayo.)

intramuros: the walled city

For someone who goes to even the lamest tourist spots when abroad, I have never really explored Intramuros. So, when my Toronto colleagues visited us, I finally got the perfect opportunity to do so.

We took a walking tour called If These Walls Could Talk, which I had discovered while blog-hopping. Carlos Celdran, our tour guide, was quite a sight. He took us around the city within walls like the Pied Piper of Intramuros, clad in a barong and playing songs reminiscent of the historic period on a small radio. A messenger bag filled with pictures and whatnots hung on one shoulder, with a speaker wrapped around his waist and a microphone taped to his face. But even more interesting were the stories he recounted and the animated way with which he told them.

The tour started at Fort Santiago, where we heard about a prehistoric Manila and how Spain conquered it; learned about how Jose Rizal was the 'it' guy, even if he was actually just as tall (or rather, as short) as President GMA, and saw the spinal column of Jose Rizal with a bullet lodged in it. Next was a calesa ride around Intramuros, which took us to the 400-year old San Agustin church and convent. Here we looked for turtles in a pond, visited tombs, and learned more about the Spanish, Japanese, & American colonization. Lest you be discouraged about having to hear about Philippine history again, I tell you -- this was not boring at all. Carlos was such an excellent storyteller that a group of priests doing the rounds in Father Blanco's Garden decided to stop and watch him, cheefully waving to us as Carlos announced "The Church was our enemy!" Haha. History lesson done, we then traipsed over to Casa Manila to take a peek into the extravagant lifestyles of the Filipino elite of the era. They threw their poop out on the streets. Nice.

Owen, me, Rose, and Michael at Father Blanco's Garden.

Binondo Church. This wasn't part of the tour, but Sweetie Pao, being a
Chinese mestizo (bwahaha!), kindly offered to tour us around Chinatown.

Busy, busy Chinatown. That's Sweetie Pao, Owen, and Michael
in the middle of the street.

21 September 2005

there's no reason to complain

I am exhausted, for all the wrong reasons.

The night bore a sadness that floated heavily in the air. Perhaps it was the rain that patterred on the windows of my car or faint glow of the lamps in the hazy darkness of rain. The road was filled with cars, people on their way to the rest of their lives.

And then a child, not more than six years of age, started tapping on my window, holding out a bunch of sampaguitas. He was drenched, his bare feet covered with mud. "Sige na po, ate, pangkain ko lang po."

I didn't want any sampaguitas, so I just gave him a twenty peso bill I found crumpled up in my purse.

"Salamat ate."

I had never heard such a heartfelt thanks as the one that came from that child... for a twenty-peso bill that would normally have gone to something useless like toll or parking.

Suddenly, I felt like crying.

Here I was on a way to a dinner, where I would indulge gluttonously in a buffet when I was not even hungry. Here I was complaining that my work was messing up my schedule, when this child had to sell sampaguitas in the night to get his next meal. Here I was complaining that I did not get enough sleep, when this child probably did not even have a proper bed to sleep on.

I am angry, because I was lucky and this child was not. My life and my future has been handed to me on a silver platter. Sometimes I complain about not having enough, when so many people could have a better life if only they had even one fourth of what I have been blessed with.

I am angry, because the world is unfair, and I am part of it. Because much has been given to me, and I deserve none of it.

20 September 2005

second childhood

"Arcade tayo!"

I scrunched up my nose snobbishly. What would a bunch of twenty-somethings do at Timezone? Besides, why would you pay so much for a game you could play at home on your Playstation? (Or your Family Computer (teehee) or whatever you have at home.)

Being the sophisticate I am, I opted to join my friends just for dinner. However, work kept me late in the office and dinner was over by the time I arrived. I found myself wandering through the psychedelic maze of arcade games and other machines, coolly eyeing Timezone with an uninterested air.

And then I couldn't resist anymore.

The pull of air hockey and foosball was too much. A minute later I was jumping up and down and squealing with delight, all traces of poise gone.


14 September 2005


I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You
Colin Hay

I drink good coffee every morning
Comes from a place that's far away
And when I'm done I feel like talking
Without you here there is less to say

I don't want you thinking I'm unhappy
What is closer to the truth
That if I lived till I was a hundred and two
I just don't think I'll ever get over you

I'm no longer moved to drink strong whisky
'Cause I shook the hand of time and I knew
That if I lived till I could no longer climb my stairs
I just don't think I'll ever get over you

Your face it dances and it haunts me
Your laughter's still ringing in my ears
I still find pieces of your presence here
Even after all these years

But I don't want you thinking I don't get asked to dinner
'Cause I'm here to say that I sometimes do
Even though I may soon feel the touch of love
I just don't think I'll ever get over you

If I lived till I was a hundred and two
I just don't think I'll ever get over you

Love. Passion. Obsession. It's all those things that everyone searches for, but few ever find.

I was lucky enough to find you.

Don't stop to pity me. I don't want you back. I miss you, but I don't want you back. What I really miss is who I was when I was with you. Before you, I was living, but I was never alive.

I'm not over you. If that was what living should feel like, I'll never be over you.

But we've had our moment, and that is enough.

13 September 2005


Luis, our Costa Rican colleague, wanted to experience Filipino culture. When Karen said we were going to Intramuros, I had visions of quietly strolling along the cobble-stoned streets under a starlit sky.

Of course, the fact that Karen organized it should have been a warning sign. The rows of girls whipping out their compacts in the washroom gave me an inkling that it wouldn't be just a casual stroll. But when Karen came out of the washroom in costume change #1 (ready to show her, erm... signature dance moves), all my visions of Intramuros quickly popped into thin air.

And what a Filipino culture Luis got.

luis, our centerpiece! (hehe, rhyming!)

We ended up somewhere in Malate watching a group of flaming gays called The Raging Divas parading around in spandex, wigs and high heels. Que horror! Don't get me wrong -- I have nothing against gays, but they were scary. Luis started running for the washroom every time one of the divas ventured near him.

After feeling a bit ripped-off for a glass of watered-down Sprite, I did get my Mastercard moment eventually. Comic Lab entrance fee: One hundred pesos. A glass of Sprite: 70 pesos. Watching Drei get Virgo-ed* by one of the Raging Divas: Priceless.

Oh, and on a sidenote, Luis told me that I actually do look like a Latina. Pout. I don't want to look like a Latina, I want to look like Angelina Jolie!

* virgo (vur-go) 1. n. the sixth sign of the Zodiac in astrology 2. v. past tense of virgin 3. n. what happened to Drei in Comic Lab.

03 September 2005

bakit sm foodcourt model si gary?

Because Gary can pose for loooong periods of time.

See Exhibit A:
Ang dami nang nangyari sa background, hindi pa rin gumagalaw si Gary!
Kahit facial expression hindi nag-iba! Bwahaha.


25 August 2005

23 August 2005

a poem for bosing jay

me and bosing jay

because it's my one and only boss's birthday....
who's also a certified choy-harrasser, by the way

even if he's quite busy with scampi-a
he'll always be portal's bosing jay...

Happy Birthday, Bosing Jay!

Now wasn't that nice? Please give me a promotion. Heehee, kidding! :P

22 August 2005


“Time pushes at our backs like a centrifuge, forcing us outward and away, until it nudges us into oblivion. That, I think, is the only explanation for what happened to my father and me, just as it happened to Taft and Curry, the same way it will happen to the four of us here in Dod, inseparable as we seem. It’s a law of motion, a fact of physics... Like all things in the universe, we are destined from birth to diverge. Time is simply the yardstick of our separation. If we are particles in a sea of distance, exploded from an original whole, then there is a science to our solitude. We are lonely in proportion to our years.”

 -The Rule of Four

So I cracked open The Rule of Four. I was prepared to read a suspense novel, something ala-Dan Brown that would entertain me while the humidity made me too lazy to crawl out of bed. A thriller set in the halls of Princeton, I was fascinated by bits and pieces of Ivy League life and Italian history (courtesy of one of the character’s thesis).

I was totally unprepared, however, for the subplot of the novel -- the story of four friends, of how circumstances and time’s passage will take its toll on their friendship and eventually tear them apart.

Is it really inevitable, losing one’s friends and the people you love?

'The Rule of Four' is about four friends in their last year at Princeton.  These are my friends, in our last year in college. :)

17 August 2005

bring home the cow

Here's a big GOOD LUCK to Ate Sym, who's off in a couple of days to Moab, Utah as part of Team Philippines in the Marlboro Adventure Team. Only girl pa yan ha. *applause, applause*

So... while I'm here trying to conquer Sweetie Pao, there's Sym off conquering the desert, and a few other artista's hearts along the way. Baka naman pagbalik mo, pang-Hollywood na ang blind item mo ha. Heehee.

Don't forget to bring home a cow.

Ang Marlboro Country, merong cowboys, so siguradong may cow... Riiiight. Someone's going to shoot me for being corny now.


15 August 2005

a dream is a wish your heart makes

The party was bustling, filled with throngs of people milling around. The cold night air and bright lights add a note of festivity to the air, reminding me of the Christmas carnivals my parents used to take me to when I was a child. I cross a bridge hanging over a small pond. The water glistens in the night, reflecting the colorful light bulbs strung all over the garden.

Suddenly, I catch sight of you, standing on one side of the bridge.

I didnt know you were back. I'm stunned, but try not to act surprised. Your head turns as I pass by you, but I look straight ahead and pretend not to notice. Maybe I was just imagining things. Maybe it was just someone who looked like you.

I'm too much of a coward to look back.


The party is over. I am alone on the sidewalk, heading towards my car on the far end of the street. I feel the strange sense of emptiness that I always get when I go to parties. I push it out of my thoughts, and instead listen absently to the clack of my heels against the sidewalk.

I hear someone say my name.

I look up, and there you are, standing a few feet away from me.

I freeze. So, it really was you I had seen. I quickly regather my composure, and continue walking.

"Talk to me," you say, following me.

I ignore you. I wasn't ready to talk to you.

You hand me a sheet of paper. There, scribbled in your handwriting, are the words 'I'm sorry.'

I continue walking, but you hand me another sheet of paper. I realize you are holding a sheaf of paper in your hands.

I stop, and slowly turn to face you. We stand there mutely under a street lamp. You hand me note after note, waiting patiently as I read it before handing over the next. I am silent as I read each note, telling me the story of us.

When all the notes are gone, I look up. I realize only then that I had been crying. "Okay," I whisper. "Let's talk."


We talk over coffee. We talk about everything, from what happened to us, to what happened when we were apart. We talk the whole night through, making up for all the lost time and all the lost moments we had let pass.

I smile for what seems the first time in ages.


I wake up. There, in the darkness, my heart plummets as I realize it was just a dream. My hope crumbles into pieces.

I'm not over you.

09 August 2005

the mystery in the attic

There's something in the attic.

I am tapping away at three in the morning, when all of a sudden I hear loud noises coming from our attic. I initially think it's my dad, since he's always fixing something around the house.

Then I realize, it's the middle of the night. It couldn't possibly be my dad.

BLAG! I hear something fall to the floor, followed by some scrambling. And, I tell you, it's not the faint sound that a mouse usually makes -- the noises are really loud.

a) there's a mumu in the attic
b) robbers are in the attic
c) a humongous rat is in the attic

I go with c. I hope the rat doesn't fall on me while I'm sleeping.

♥ By the way, congrats to Simon and Rina, who, at 4:35am, became the proud parents of Ada Ledesma Villalon. Happy birthday Ada!!! :) ♥

15 May 2005

grey sky morning

I stare at you as you sit before me, devouring your dinner with the hilarious speed that was always one of the quirks I loved about you. You catch me staring at you, and you smile. "So, how are things?"

I shrug. "Same old. You?"

"Same old boring me," you reply in that adorably humble way you always had. "I haven't seen you in a long time."

"I know. I'm in self-exile." I laugh, then turn serious. "I've missed you."

"Aaaaw. I'm touched."

It's funny how we're just friends now, how we can sit here and talk about mundane things like nothing ever happened between us. It's strange how our conversation seems so forced and awkward, when you used to be the only person in the world I could bare my soul to. It's scary how easily we let each other go, when we both knew what we had was different.

If soulmates are real, then you were mine. But you've moved on, and so have I. We've grown. Apart.

You're suddenly serious as well. "That day..." you trail off.

You don't have to say anything else for me to understand. That day. How could I not remember?

"That day -- why did you walk away from me?"

I'm caught by surprise. I glance at the other table, not wanting to meet your gaze.

The silence hangs in the air. You're waiting for an answer.

"Do you really want to know?"

"Yes. It's not that I want to start this again. I know it's over. But there's this nagging voice at the back of my head that keeps asking me what went wrong between us. I guess... I just want to understand why, so I won't make the same mistake again."

I swish my coffee cup around, watching as the dregs of coffee slowly settle on the bottom of the cup. Finally, I dare to look up and meet your gaze.

"I was so in love with you it scared me."

The doors of the restaurant swing open before you can react. She walks in and waves at us.

She doesn't know.

She thinks we're just friends.

But we are friends. That's all we are now. That's all we can ever be.

I gaze at her and see how much better she is than me in so many ways. "She's wonderful," I say, setting my cup on the table and gathering my things. "You two are very lucky to have each other. Have a safe flight back, okay?"

You reach out for my hand. My fingers entwine with yours -- but our hands no longer seem to fit perfectly anymore, the way it used to. We let go quickly, because we're nothing more than friends now.

So this is what good-bye feels like.

But it's not so bad
You're only the best I ever had
I don't want you back
You're just the best I ever had
- Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)
Vertical Horizon

28 March 2005

the subway

10am. The girl stares blankly outside the train's windows, watching as a blur of fluorescent lights and dark tunnels rush past. Beside her, a man, almost the same age as she, is indifferent to the world as he scribbles on a large notebook on his lap.

The train stops abruptly, and he drops his pen on the floor. The clatter draws her from her oblivion. As he stoops to pick his pen up, she catches a glimpse of the pages of his notebook. Sketches fill the page, colorful and yet darkly haunting.

She is strangely drawn to this man's work. "Those are really good," she blurts out, unable to contain herself. "You're an artist?"

The stranger looks up, surprised. "Erm… yeah, just as a hobby." He hesitates for a bit. "I've done these other stuff, too," he adds shyly, flipping through the pages of his notebook. She peruses the sketches, each one painstakingly drawn using ballpoint pens.

"Do you draw?" he suddenly asks.

"Oh-- oh, no." It's her turn to be surprised. "I don't. I mean, I can't draw," she stutters. "I wish I could, but I can't."

He smiles at her.

She smiles back.

They lapse into silence, and once again the stranger turns to his work. She turns back to the dark windows, occasionally stealing glances as the stranger weaves magic across the page.

Later. The subway train slows down as it approaches the next stop. "Well... this is my stop," she tells the stranger as she gathers up her things.

"Mine too," he replies, following her to the train's doors. She fidgets with the strap of her bag uncomfortably as they wait for the doors to open. The seconds tick by like an eternity.

"Thank you," he suddenly whispers to her as the doors swoosh open.

She shrugs and smiles at him as she steps out onto the platform.

"No, really," he adds, following her. "It's just that… no one's ever told me that before."

She's surprised by the honesty in the stranger's voice. "You're welcome," she replies softly. She begins walking towards her exit as the stranger turns away.

"Hey," the stranger calls again, almost as an afterthought. He touches her shoulder lightly with his hand.

She turns, and finds herself staring into his soulful gray eyes.

He opens his mouth to say something, but hesitates. "I… erm… do you know which way goes up to Sheppard?"

She looks down, trying to hide her disappointment. "I don't know," she replies. "I'm not from around here." She couldn't understand why she felt that way. She didn't know what she was expecting, but his eyes seemed to tell her more than what he was saying.

"Oh." He stays rooted to his spot, biting his lower lip as he tries to think of something else to say.

They stare at each other then, words failing them.

And in that moment, they made a connection.

But she looks away, because she believes that moments like these could not possibly happen. Because magic only happens in stories, and never in real life. "I have to run," she whispers, turning away.

And she walks away from the man that could have made her believe in magic.