Friday, November 30, 2007

paris, the city of design and love....

an ingenious ad campaign launched by the Parisian tourism committee to attract Londoners into visiting paris.

coming to grips with my "pinkness"

decided to wow my folks with my new found cooking prowess yesterday and make lechon kawali, the way our maniac-of a maid used to do before. i started off with the recipe but kinda just bluffed my way through most of it since i only knew how to make it in theory. the finished product, expectedly did not turn out as planned. i put sugar in the marinade which caramelized when i started to roast the slab of bacon. we didn't have lechon kawali, but at least i now have the recipe for asado! hehehehe

while cooking, my mom brought up the topic of my being gay again. this time, worrying how we will break the news to my dad. she was also worrying with the fact that now, being openly gay mean that i will be alone since being with a woman is out of the question. she still tried to have me reconsider the option though, of finding a "very open-minded" girl. i think it was rather cute of her to try to help me, well, survive being gay. to be honest, i haven't really thought about what my life will be from here on. my coming out came so suddenly that it didn't really give me time to plan things well. so what now, really?

do i want a family? hmm, maybe. i know for a fact i don't want to be alone. do i want to get into a relationship then? well, dunno know yet. the thoughts of "dating" is just so weird for me, gay or straight. what if it was gay dating? would it be an issue to be seen in public since not everyone knows about my being gay? huh? if it was straight dating, well, i sincerely doubt that will happen anytime soon.

right now, i feel, i am still in that phase of trying to build myself as this new person. i believe i haven't changed that much. the only thing that is different i guess is that i am more comfortable of being who i am now that i was before. at least the internal struggle is over as far as knowing who i am. my mom told me when i came out that me finally admitting i was gay "made a lot of sense". i guess it put an answer to a lot of questions for her. as for the external aspect of my new life, well, that will be dealt with when the situation arises i guess.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

when democracy goes awry

today marked a dark day for philippine democracy. sometime this afternoon, an army tank barged its way into the lobby of the manila peninsula hotel to make way for a full army siege of a building being used as the command center of a few renegade army soldiers, headed by a newly elected senator, a (deranged) army commander, an (over zealous) priest, and a has-been vice president. the result, ANOTHER failed coup attempt to oust the only president to offer a solution (and stick by it) to solve poverty in the country, ANOTHER disgraced mark on our reputation as a stable nation to foreign investors, ANOTHER exercise of a plan not well thought of, ANOTHER show to distract ourselves with, when the most important issues in the country are being overlooked.... like, whose going to win in PBB?!!!

i swear, while watching the live news feed on ABS-CBN, i found myself livid with frustration!!! i used to respect antonio trillianes back during the oakwood coup attempt. though i reserve the right to disagree with his means, i believed in the sincerity of his intentions and how well he articulated his ideals. he handled the entire affair with respect and poise, not very common from a military man. he was very intelligent and confident, even in the face of inevitable defeat. it was, well, rather sexy and TV lapped him up like a horse addicted to salt lick! he was the poster boy of political defiance and in some respect, a hero as well. his brief act catapulted him to instant stardom! in less than a few minutes, the entire country knew of his name. in a few hours, the entire country knew of his life story. by the following day, people were claiming already to be close friends of his!... he was THAT popular.

despite being imprisoned (but of course, heroes need MORE hardship to solidify their, er, hero-ness), he maintained being defiant, never to bend (over?) to the pressures of the powers that be. his ultimate act of defiance was running for senate. the country, still starstruck by this not so bad looking, articulate, intelligent army boy, full of ideals, full of promise, back him up all the way. he won the elections, no cheating necessary (i hope).

with one leg already in to instill change in this government he so wanted to "cleanse" of its unconstitutional-ness, you would think he should now strategize how to get his voice heard even more. unfortunately, this is where the star fell from grace. after walking out of his own trial with fellow accused soldiers for their illegal uprising (well, doubt the government will take things sitting down after these "hooligans" called them unconstitutional!), trillanes and co. went to the manila peninsula and demanded, yet again, for the president to step down for her being, well, unconstitutional. he again said he will not surrender and that despite the threats and his 3pm deadline to lay down arms and give up peacefully, he will not give up until his demands are met. "One thing I can assure you is we have more than enough willpower, fighting spirit to bring this government down," he was quoted saying. joined by his band of merry men, he "camped out" in one of the function rooms of the pen and was surrounded by reporters, staff members, by-standers (mga uzizeros, very pinoy), and your friendly pirated DVD chinese sales lady (they probably thought they need entertainment).

but the stand off this time did not last long. there were no hi-profile negotiators, no hoopla here, no hullabaloo there (except from some rather sensationalized reporting from ABS-CBN, i swear, some should award these reporters for acting in a high tension film!!! the things they inflame for ratings!!), the government, much more so, her excellency the little girl with the BIG stick, unleashed their full force. shots were fired, a tank barged through, tear gas launched, and then it was over. at the risk of injuring civilians, of which trillianes was surrounded with, he gave up, AGAIN.

now, to assess this coup fiasco, WTF was he thinking in the first place?!!! there's a good reason why it DIDN"T work the FIRST TIME he "conquered" a hotel, what the hell made him think doing it a SECOND TIME would make any difference? my brother said he was lucky that all of those reporters and do-gooders were around him, cause if not, then things could have gotten bloody. i agree, the army drove a tank, a TANK for goodness sakes into the PEN!!! they wanted him that bad. i still can't believe what happened, the PEN!!! they destroyed such a wonderful hotel for what? for an over idealistic ex army boy who obviously got himself into more than his worth of shit. i think i would have felt a bit better if there was really some major fight that ensued, it would have at least justified the sheer vandalism, but all we got was a fart in the wind. all the army needed was to blast the place with tear gas! heck, if they used BAYGON, it wud have done the trick as well!!!

in closing (all this blogging is giving me heartburn...), trillanes was an idiot and a fool. he miscalculated his enemy, he miscalculated his allies. he allowed his emotions to over ride his head, and in so doing, wasted his potential in REALLY helping his country. not only did he made a complete fool of himself, he also ruined his credibility (for me) as a leader and a role model. that for me is his gravest mistake. to think that i was hopeful that at last, we have intelligent people back in government, then he does this.... i swear. i have never felt like this for politics before.

poor pussy

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

i love this song

Waiting in Vain
(Bob Marley, by Annie Lennox from the movie, Serendipity)

From the very first time I rest my eyes on you, boy
My heart said follow through
But I know now that I'm way down on your line
But the waiting feeling's fine

So don't treat me like a puppet on a string
'Cause I know how to do my thing
Don't talk to me as if you think I'm dumb
I wanna know when you're gonna come, you see

I don't wanna wait in a vain for your love
I don't wanna wait in a vain for your love
I don't wanna wait in a vain for your love
'Cause summer is here, and I'm still waiting there
Winter is here, I'm still waiting there

Like I said
It's been three years since I'm knocking on your door
And still I can knock some more
Ooh boy, ooh boy, is it crazy look, i wanna know now
For I to knock some more, you see

In life I know
That there is lots of grief
But your love is my relief
Tears in my eyes burn
Tears in my eyes burn
While I'm waitin'
While I'm waitin' for my turn, you see


Like I said-
I don't wanna, I don't wanna
I don't wanna, I don't wanna
I don't wanna wait in vain
I don't wanna, i don't wanna
I don't wanna, i don't wanna
I don't wanna wait in vain

It's been three years since I'm knocking on your door
And still I can knock some more
Ooh boy, ooh boy, is it crazy look, i wanna know now
Like I said, the tears in my eyes burn
Tears in my eyes burn
While I'm waiting
While I'm waiting for my turn, you see
Ooh boy, ooh boy, is it crazy look, i wanna know now
For I to knock some more
In life I know there is lots of grief
But your love is my relief

i'm actually familiar with the original marley version but annie lennox's version i feel, is so much better. don't know why, first time i heard of it was on vikki's laptop when she was going through the list of songs in her system. when i heard vikki play it, i was hooked immediately to the melody, the words and the recording in total. something with how annie lennox sang it, also maybe the words, hit close to home. i just loved it. i have been listening to it over and over again whenever i feel like i needed to "exhale" and it always did the trick for me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

back to the days of pain

before i start getting people concerned that i have fallen back to the good old melancholic days, i would like to put all of your worries at ease and say that this entry has nothing to do with that. i just re-enrolled in my old gym. i have finally gotten enough momentum to drag my fat butt back to hitting iron.

like most of the things in my neighborhood, nothing much has changed in my old gym. still the same trainers, still the same receptionist, still the same machines. same music, same decor, same smell, everything is exactly the same. i'm not really sure if i should feel happy or not that despite my long absence, everything stayed the way that they were before i left. you would think that i would feel some sense of ease knowing that everything stayed the same, however, it feels rather unnerving that nothing seems to be changing, evolving, improving. o yeah, one thing did change, the fee. it increased.

working out again after a long hiatus felt weird, though a couple of minutes into my routine, things started feeling right again. i guess it's muscle memory, my body just kinda kicked back in to the groove and i didn't have to adjust so much to the change. of course i was back again to lifting the lighter weights, puny i'm sure compared to the load these gargantuan body builders in my gym use. it felt rather frustrating that i was starting again from the beginning since it took me such a long time to loose all of the weight before, as well as achieve the tone that i had before i left. o well, no point crying over spilled milk, what's in the past is in the past.

i decided to start my routine today with my favorite muscle group, the back. i always believed i had a weak back, hence i made sure that i made my entire body ache before i would be satisfied that i had worked out every single muscle involved. also, since i have a wide hip, bulking up my back would give the width i need to divert attention from them, giving me the sense of a smaller waist (it's all about image). back exercises also consequently work out my biceps since the routine involves a lot of pulling motions. it's also the perfect muscle group to work out if you're short of time since the back exercises work out probably the largest muscle group in the body, the legs coming in a far second. i sound like i slew myself at the gym this morning but don't get any ideas, as i said, i'm back to beginner weights.

i ended my entire routine today in less than 2 hours. quite short considering before i used to spend like 3 hours at the gym. i'm deciding i'l take it slow this time around. pay more attention in doing slow controlled movements rather than the almost marathon like pace i used to do before. i would like to get lean mass and loose as much body fat as what is considered healthy. right now, my main objective is to be able to fit into the clothes i used to wear before. God knows how expensive it will be to redo my wardrobe again!

Monday, November 26, 2007

hail the underdog!!!!

bullies out there, eat your heart out. all you "freaks" out there, ad astra per aspera!!!

family sunday

got only about an hour worth of sleep yesterday since we had to start the day early to pick up my brother from the airport. he was flying in from new york and his flight arrived 30mins early, a rare feat from our chronically late flag carrier, PAL.

my insomnia was still at it at 3am that morning and by 4, my mom came in to my room to inform me that the expected arrival time of my bro's flight was at 530. i decided to just get up and take a shower and just consider this the beginning of my day. there has to be some good that will come out of this, i though to myself.

we got to the airport at about 545am and in no time, was able to collect my brother with no hassle. one thing i'm thankful for with PAL is since you guys have an entire terminal to yourselves, finding ppl don't necessarily take that long. we were out of there in 30mins or so and were back home in less than an hour, thankfully, roads are free on sundays considering it is the holiday season already. it also helped that i was driving at about 630am so a lot of the idiots who will make manila the sore that it is are still asleep.

we went to our church meeting later that day. met all the old faces that i haven't seen in a long time and had the greetings that is expected of a balikbayan. answered a couple of questions and kissed a couple of cheeks, after-meeting hobnobbing i guess. it was nice seeing so many of the same faces again all at once, yet i also saw a lot of new faces, as well as missed a lot of the old faces who were not there anymore. now i think to myself, i have material to last me hours on a get-together meeting with old friends, when that happens...

we had lunch out that day upon the suggestion of my brother at this chinese restaurant my mom recommended. the food was ok i guess, nothing spectacular but definitely filling. again, the activity did not take center stage, rather, it was the people who i was with that mattered more to me. we had cold cuts, hotpot spareribs, steamed hammour, sauteed broccolis, shrimp balls, winter melon soup and the ubiquitous chinese noodles.

after getting home from lunch, my brother wanted to bring me to the mall we frequented every week, back when i was still here, re-establishing old practices i guess. we went to greenbelt just to see what's new. coming from dubai and my brother from new york, two of the hippest shopping destinations in the world, both of us kind of had a good reference to assess if the local market can compete with other places as far as selection and prices are concerned. i'm glad to say we are not that far behind. selection wise, we have almost everything in the market people "are willing to spend on". sure the super hi-end fashion labels are not here yet (Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, Emporio Armani, etc.) but at least, the one's that count are (LV, Gucci, Marc Jabobs, Prada, DKNY, etc.) with the completion of GB5 where most of these brands will be housed, i'm sure the lure will be enough to make these other labels reconsider tapping into the local market and milk these posh snobs dry!!!! hahahaha, ehem. here are the store currently open and will be opening at GB5 (photos courtesy of the fash pack,

we ended our "mall tour" with a nice japanese dinner at Sugi. when i say nice, i mean "eating like there's no tomorrow at a japanese resto since if it's japanese, it's healthy so you could stuff yourself like the binging pig that you are and not feel guilty!!!!", nice. we kinda over-ordered and had too much on our table by the time all the orders came in. instead of having good conversation, my brother and i (mostly I) were busy gobbling down the food so the plates could be cleared for more table space. it was a small 60 x 60 table for two that obviously under performed. my brother told me later that the patrons sitting on the next table beside us were watching us eat. they were 3 on their table and only ordered a fraction of what we were consuming. i guess the have never seen 2 starving orientals before.

overall, sunday was great. i got to spend quality time with family and got to see old places again. i got to see old friends and have a new appreciation of the life that i had before dubai. to cap my sunday off, i got to talk to vikki's sister, who was in the country from HK. we had a blast chatting about life and plans for the future. i remember having great conversations with her last time we met in dubai when she came to visit vikki. she'll be leaving today for HK again and hopes that i can see her in HK before the year end. she promised to take me around!!! :) hopefully, i can take advantage of the promise. have to start getting my life in order!!!!

on a side note. my deepest condolences to frances joy and dennis on the tragic lose of their mom. she was a kind woman and a person greatly loved by all. even in her frailty, she exuded strength and greatly kindness. we all miss her. May the Lord grant your family strength and peace in this time of great sadness.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

an unexpected call

last night at around 12MN local time, i received a call from someone i never expected to get a call from. was kinda odd to have someone call me on my mobile so late in the night, to my surprise when i looked over my phone, it was the name of my zulu friend from dubai whose name was flashing.

it was sure nice to hear the same familiar voices again. he was out with vikki and hearing her voice was definitely refreshing as well, together with her signature grunts and complaints of how "hungry" she was. they just came from surya's place and were most probably talking about some freelance work. my zulu friend has quite an entrepreneurial spirit, you see.

i can't seem to believe that i was talking to an african zulu, last night, in dubai. that i was actually there with those people once and that they are my friends. here i am, on the other side of the planet, in the tropics, in the islands. i am surrounded by the same walls that sheltered me in my childhood, the same confines in which i convinced myself that home is here, between these walls. that the philippines is the place to be, that manila is the place to be, and yet since the day i arrived, all that seems to come out of my mouth is dubai.

am i regretting coming home? am i longing for the riches of egypt while i wander in the wilderness? or am i just having withdrawals of the life that i have made myself live for the last 16 months? manila has not changed but i changed. my home has not changed but i changed. my fear now is that, was the change necessary because i was in dubai? if yes, do i change back now that i am back home? if no, then how do i sustain the changed me?

i think i'm lost again. what concerns me is that i haven't even started yet. i need to regain my momentum.

on a lighter note, i stumbled on this clip that i just found too adorable not to share. careful, viewing the clip might cause your system to overload and your head to explode. i'm still picking up bits of myself.

Friday, November 23, 2007

lesson to learn

i spent the afternoon with my mom today. one thing i guess that i missed the most are moments like this when me and my mom would accompany each other just doing the most mundane things. today's agenda, the doctors. she had to get her periodic OB-GYN check up while i had to get my hormones checked (i had my goiter removed and am not consulting for hormone replacement!). she likes having me tag along during her doctor consults since i'm like her walking encyclopedia when in comes to medical inquiries and stuff. "what did the doctor say?", "what's that medicine for?", "what's anaphylactic shock?" and so on. either that or i'm just someone she can chat with to pass the time since more often than not, the doctors come in ridiculously late.

today was just supposed to be one of those NORMAL days. i was definitely not prepared....

we went to see her gynecologist today. i was sitting outside the doctor's office at the reception lounge while she went in to get herself checked. since we were the only patients there at the time, the reception room was awfully quiet. the doctor carried on with her protocol and started by asking the usual questions, all loud enough for me to clearly hear. "how are you doing?", "how long has it been since your last check up", "what seems to be the problem?", "how long has it been since you had intercourse with your husband?"..... all i could hear after that was my voice screaming in my head......

reunion over a wake

had a fun filled day yesterday when i met up with 3 of my friends, richie, mark and melissa. wasn't expecting to see melissa this soon since she's supposed to come home only later this year. sadly though, her grandmum passed away this week so she had to fly in for the wake and burial. it was a rather short reunion since we didn't spend that much time together due to our schedules. but it was definitely a good teaser of what is yet to come. you wouldn't think of having nutballs get at it at a wake, but what do you expect from nutballs anyway? we talked and talked about almost anything. dubai, NY, sex, work, melissa's cute BF, school, dubai, NY, work, sex... if mel's grandmum could hear what we were talking about, she would be blushing! it was a good thing we were talking in an enclosed room, if people could hear what we were talking about, they would SWEAR we were being disrespectful to the deceased!

anyway, it was great to see all of them nonetheless. it felt good to feel their personal presence again and not just settle for cyber chitchat or occasional cyber battery over facebook. nothing beats the real thing. seeing them also kinda made it sink in that time did fly. for the past couple of days, i have been trying to get used to the fact that i was gone for some time. it's hard to convince yourself that you were gone when your reference points did not change at all. i however didn't feel that sink in as much as when i met up with mark, mel and rich. so much was still the same, yet a lot has changed as well. they have grown, i have grown. they changed, i changed. i still have to give myself a bit of time to reconcile this in my head. coupled with my actual jetlag, i have to deal with the social jetlag as well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

visit to grandma

i went to see my grandma today. it was great seeing her again as the last time i saw her was when i left again for dubai almost 7 months ago. she looked thinner than the last time i saw her and she said that she lost 12 lbs. despite her being rather sallow looking, the magnanimity of her personality is still there and you cannot but just hug her to bits!!! my grandma, the progenitor of my family's chi, one of the pillars of my life.

while i was at her place, my eyes kinda wandered off to the collage of pictures she has of us grandchildren laminated under the glass of her writing desk and a picture caught my eye. its a pic of all of us "older cousins" back when one of my uncles got married and i was part of the wedding entourage. im posting a pic here but decided to blur out the faces of the others, lest they hunt me down and hang me on my toes!. i think i was 4 when this pic was taken and i was the ring bearer of the bunch. my other cousin was the flower girl. i kinda remember bits and pieces of the events, what i dont remember though was how atrocious my costume was!!! OMG! a satin bow tie, i look like those dancing monkeys in paris who begs for money!!!! what were they thinking, rather, what did they drug me with to get me into that!!!!!?

insomniac dreams

night metamorphoses to day, like an insect molting off its death shell.
the air clamors for life, renewed by the glimmers of golden light.
i wait in the dawn, wrapped in the frozen embrace of silence.
i wait in the dawn, surrounded by the screams of muffled dreams.

light crawls in, like silver mists, piercing like shards of ice.
it lingers on my flesh yet offers no warmth nor comfort.
no sight of hope, no sensation of forgiveness,
no emancipation from the curse of sleeplessness.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

an eventful 20th of november

i decided it was high time i get my butt moving. since coming back a couple of days ago, i have started to feel rather restless as to how unproductive my days are becoming. if in dubai, the days pass quickly, in manila, it's the hours that seem to fly pass you by.

i decided to start my day early, of which case i already failed at task no. 1. i have complained before of how this four hour jet lag seems to be more unmanageable than having the 12 hour one. i would fall asleep late in the night like an insomniac, and wake up at noon like a bum. pretty normal for someone in vacation. add to the difficulty in waking up is that my room doesn't get direct sunlight, the best way for me to readjust to the local time. so, i guess i am left with sheer will power again to overcome this hurdle.

my day basically started at noon with lunch, well, breakfast technically. i decided to go and get my driver's license renewed today so that i can be more mobile. i went to the transportation department near where i live with my dad (he had to get his renewed as well. he apparently has been driving with an expired license and didn't know until i asked) and spent the entire afternoon waiting. for those who are not so familiar with filipino red tape, waiting for almost a day just for your license renewal is normal. it's definitely frustrating if you are on a tight schedule but then, what can you do? either you get stressed about it, or just enjoy the wait, either way, it won't make these people work any faster.

i found it quite entertaining actually spending the afternoon there, amidst the throng of applicants. we had to first get a mandatory drug test where we had to pee in a cup. this part felt rather weird since i had to pee in front of a mirror while the officer is peeping behind you, protocol to assure that you are submitting your own personal pee. i understand that, but it's just rather embarrassing to pee in a cup with full knowledge that someone is watching you. sorry, i'm shy! then we got passed around from window to window at the department and wait till our names got called. lucky us, the system went down, so we had to wait extra long for our papers to get processed. all in all, we waited for about 3 or so hours for us to get our licenses. my dad was restless all through the entire process. he doesn't like crowded places, much more the chaos in government establishments. i on the other hand used this time to bond with my dad. i haven't had time since i came back to talk to him. i told him of all the things that i had thought about while i was in dubai, as well as all the stories and places i have seen. i would think he was rather amused of my stories since he was engaged throughout our entire conversation.

we got our licenses at about 5pm, just as the department was about to close.

the highlight of my day however was yet to come. we got word that the youngest son of one of our employees was rushed to the hospital. he apparently just fainted for no reason and hit his head on the floor when he fell. we tried looking for them at the hospital where he was rushed to but when we got there, they had already been discharged. we met up with them later at their house and asked what happened. the employee's wife was with their son at the mall when the kid just dropped unconscious. she then called her husband and they rushed the kid to the hospital where they checked him for fractures and what nots. they then discharged him and prescribed pain killers for the meantime and told them to come back around midnight so they could do a CT scan on him for any internal swellings. i did my own sleuthing as well. the kid is ginormous for a 5 year old, he looked like he was 10! he was definitely obese and sedentary. my fear is that he could have had hypoglycemia and could have diabetes. hopefully not though. anyways, my prayer goes to them. raising children is already hard, much more if they are ill.

to cap off this entry, i think it would be good to mention that i outed myself to my mom today that i was gay. not really the emotionally charged spectacle that a drama queen like myself could only concoct, but it was enough i guess. i outed myself over lunch while having my last serving of chicken soup (for the soul?, corney!). i was telling her about a gay friend of mine in dubai who i spent time with on my last couple of weeks. i guess we spend so much time with each other that ppl thought we were siblings. my mom then commented that my friend could have the hots for me. i then slipped and said that we weren't each other's types. she then popped the question, "are you saying you're gay?". asked her if it would bother her if i was.... then we talked.

to end it, my mom i feel took in this info to heart. i'm not sure how she will process this but she handled it with great love, and a bit of humor as well. i love her greatly for it. not that i loved her any less if she didn't.

Monday, November 19, 2007

the first fight

not barely on my second day at home did the first fight break loose. some drunk started screaming about killing someone and the women started screaming, or the dogs started howling, i don't know which went first.

to those of you who are not used to to hearing people threaten other people of murder on a daily basis, this would be considered the sights and sounds of tondo, manila's ghetto. my home. my house stands exactly at the corner of this "complex" of shanties built one on top of the other, like lego blocks, that soar up to the skies (well, if the skies were only 3 stories high that is). anyways, poverty and a passion for living i guess has driven some of the inhabitants of this colony into doing some rather stupid things, one primarily is getting one self drunk and still believe that one has a clear grasp of reality. hence, i hear these screams of adultery, betrayal, lies, lasciviousness, thievery, and whatnots so often, they sound like cock crows in the morning. living in tondo has to make you strong in a way. not the bully kind of strong but to survive in a place where violence can break out at an instant, you have to be super aware of your surroundings. it kills the conscience though sometimes as it makes you cynical.

pictures of my last days

i am finally back on home soil and with it, closing a chapter of my life. after 16 months of being away from family and friends, i am again back home. it feels weird to be sitting in my old chair and on my old table, in my old room, looking around for the details in my home that made it familiar. i am probably again trying to adjust to being in this place again, amidst the same sounds, sights and smells that i grew up with. i have to again get used to the sounds of the telephone ringing, to the horns of the jeepneys driving past our living room, to the children playing tag in the streets and the blaring of the TV coming from my dad's study. i have to remind myself that here, there won't be calls for prayers, no hindi music from the radio stations, no apple smoke from the shisha smoker, no thursday night outs, no arabs walking around. i would also have to remind myself of no vikki greeting me a good morning when i wake up, no leni calling me in the middle of the day asking how my day was, no macveen raving about the latest episode he downloaded, no rosemary asking me for the latest gossip, no surya to smile at me. no walks into H&M, no sitting in the beach waiting for the sun to set, no clubbing with friends, no craving for kare-kare and actually having it.

my heart aches so much i don't know where to begin. it beats to two rhythms, of joy to be with my parents and family again, but of sadness that i had to leave the family i had made for myself.

my last meeting my church mates

dinner with devrim, fatima and vikki at nando's

with vikki, leni and paul at uno's (o mac, im wearing the malo sweater na!)

breakfast with vikki and leni on the day of my flight at the airport. we befriended a swiss national who missed his flight, jurg, who just spent the past 3 months backpacking in australia. resigned from his job in zurich as an accuntant, flew to aussie and is now considering to be a ski instructor either in canada or argentina. now that's living!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

peppermint pictures

ehem, wonderful few who find delight in reading about my life, this rotund face and this fluffy body of mine has just been PUBLISHED on the net for the public to behold!!! allow me to bask in my 15 mins. of "fame".

just realized, i look sooo chinese. anyway, for more pics, check out the club website at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

4 days to go and counting...

i have four more days to go before this chapter of my life comes to a close. it has rather been a hectic week for me considering i should be taking it easy now. i only managed to get my last salary together with my severance pay just yesterday. despite having tendered my resignation two months ago, my company still took their wee little time to process my papers. following up, nicely i must say, doesn't see to translate to them how urgent my concern is, even if i have already told them that i am flying out on sunday. they give one unbelievable reason after reason, until you really have no choice but to loose your temper. only then do they decide to budge, only then do you get results. i actually had one of the accountants apologize to me and say that no one leaves the company loving it. sad....

met up with friends last night for dinner and some good ol' fashion chit chat. talked about life, work and the everything else in between, but mostly about work. funny that now i don't work anymore, and that my presence in 4 days will no longer be felt, people are starting to become more honest with me. people are starting to shed their false skins and showing truly who they are. either that or i am now more willing to see these people in the right light, since i don't have to work with them and share the same space with them anymore. no need to maintain workspace harmony, hence, the claws are out. apparently, their horns have been out a long time ago. it was good to have that night and get peoples' opinion of the the real situation we are in. who are those whom we can trust and who are those whom we should be careful around.

vikki, mahmood and i went to the park hyatt last night, overlooking the creek to have my first experience of shisha-ing. i was advised to have the grape with mint as this would be more soothing to a shisha novice like me. it felt funny that i was holding onto the pipe like i was the caterpillar in alice in wonderland. i took my first puff and it felt good... :) i described it like inhaling toothpaste with the minty aftertaste. it didn't really smell like grape though but the mint was definitely there. mahmood warned me that i might feel a bit whoozy after, of which i did when i inhaled too much. i found the best position to keep my head from spinning though, which is just to lay back and slouch. definitely, shisha is very laid back. i tried the apple after (mahmood's choice) and i quite liked it actually more than my mint. il remember to try it next time i shisha, back in manila of course. mahmood said that this will be his legacy for me, that every time i shisha, i should remember him. i most definitely would.

it was a beautiful night, sitting with great friends, experiencing something for the first time. i honestly didn't want the night to end. i will miss all of them terribly.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

my first luxury purchase

i am not all used to pampering myself, much more buying myself things. either it stems from a seriously contorted idea of the self or the exercise of extreme utilitarianism or being raised by an overly practical mom and a recluse of a dad, whatever the case, the end is the same. i'm not used to self pampering.

all however is going to change. lately, i have been allowing myself to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor. true, i am deeply gratified by having been able to fulfill my responsibilities. though these would be ego-indulging pats on the back, sometimes, it also helps to increase your self-worth my treating yourself to something luxurious. the exercise of your powers as a consumer, having the ability to choose whether or not to buy something, is definitely addicting. i, for one don't feel immune to such temptations.

despite my compulsion to account for everything i spend, since moving here to dubai, i have learned to show some laxity in certain expenditures, just that so life here won't feel like i'm working as a slave. i believe that since i work hard, that at least i get to enjoy the mindless task of playing hard, in this case, buying hard. don't get me wrong though, my purchases are still highly calculated but hey, i have to start somewhere. anyways, i was never really an impulse buyer.

meet my new watch. it's a louis erard timepiece that i have been eying for the past few months now ( o dear, did i just say months?). it's rather sporty looking but i still like the fact that there is a timelessness to its look. its rather versatile that i can wear either for formal or casual occasions. i love the thickness of the drum and the exquisite finish of the stainless steel. i was originally considering another model but when i went back to see it again this time, i didn't like it that much anymore. this one however still had me captivated. so there, my first luxury purchase. after more that a full year of work, i rewarded myself with this beauty.

Monday, November 12, 2007


i got home yesterday afternoon rather late, around 3pm already after wasting an entire day at my office, waiting, or shall i say, begging for my company to do their job and release my pay. despite tendering my resignation 2 months ago and following up with the concerned people to start working on my papers, i still fell into the unavoidable hole of my company's crappy service and sheer inefficiency. it bothers me so much that i am still feeling really agitated right now while i write this entry.

i also got to attend a seminar on walls and floors at the shangri-la, courtesy of one of our suppliers' invite. i just found it ironic that the industry starts to pick up only after i resigned and decided to leave, but then again, here is divine humor at its best. a pattern in my life shall we say, but thats for another entry.

saw this really cute guy sitting in front of my table. i hoped that he was only good looking on certain angles since he was sitting in direct line of my sight, just 4 feet away. i wanted to concentrate on the seminar you know and having eye candy in front of me is definitely not good competition for my attention. alas, he was adonis incarnate. perfect hair, beautiful skin, gorgeous smile, dark brown eyes, tall, lean, and worship worthy. he kinda reminds me of mark san diego only arab looking, probably lebanese. you have no idea how much will power i had to exert from not staring. i guess it helped that the two girls sitting beside me were ogling at him as well. the annoyance of them clucking like hens about to lay eggs was enough to keep me distracted, as well as focus on the seminar and topic at hand. i was a good boy. i did manage to coax some of the pinay ushers there if they could get his contact details, just for the kick, but he left immediately after we were dismissed. thought i wouldn't spot him again in the throng of people heading toward the buffet table for the after-seminar dinner but as i was leaving for the elevators, i saw him again. my reward for being a good boy, i caught him staring at me. unbroken stare all the way till i got into the elevator. of course he could just be staring at me for probably looking weird or being out of place (since arriving in dubai, ppl have stared at me like they have never seen a chinese guy before, found out later that that some really haven't), but i'd rather satisfy myself to the thought that i looked interesting. then i smiled. :)

vikki and i had a fight that evening. she was wound up for some reason and i couldn'd take it any more. i found myself shout at her at a tone i have never used before, much more with a voice i never knew i had. it was rough, dark and deep. my pitch usually goes up when i start to bicker and complain, but i would think i modulate my voice to a drone so that i can sound as objective as possible. but right then, i just lost it. i heard myself scream at her "why are you talking to me that way?!" and another person took over.

i remember why i don't like to loose my temper, because i never do. it is uncharted territory as far as i am concerned and i don't know if there is any part of me who is strong enough to restrain all that emotion bottled up inside. there was a lot of anger in my tone, a violence in my voice, and it was frightening to know i still had all of that in me. i turned livid at a blink of an eye. vikki went in the toilet to change to cool off outside and i sat on my bed, surprised at what i was capable of doing. at one point, i grabbed vikki's head and shook it because she wasn't listening to me. that action got me scared the most since that showed me that i CAN be violent. all the visions in my head when i got mad before can actually be exercised and that i did not hold back in letting them out. i grabbed her head out of frustration because she wasn't listening and she kept talking and talking and i couldn't make her stop. i know i could have done worse if i was still as livid. i know things could have been nastier.

once she got out of the toilet, we talked. more calmly now. we apologized for each other's faults and allowed the atmosphere to diffuse. we talked again this morning. apologized again. but i am still haunted. there is a darkness in me and it has been there all this time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

random accounts

i would like to think that i am a very observant person. i have always admired and have been fascinated by how some people simply have this gift, to see things people don't usually see. every single detail seem to jump out at them and grab hold of their attention, not willing to let go unless they are addressed. hence, i too try to make myself worthy of such "events". i make myself a willing audience to these seemingly irrelevant factoids. i take in these bits and pieces of information and just have them tumble in my head, my brain juggling thoughts, sequences, scenarios, possibilities, theories. calculating the millions of versions a truth can be, and finding which truth best suits me.


last saturday, my friends brought me to peppermint club at the grand habtoor. the club used to be at the fairmont dubai, but since Eid Al Fatr, they have moved to their new spot at dubai marina. the make-shift club feels like it is the same size though this time, the ceiling height is lower. the club rents out a ballroom of the hotel and turns it to a dance club every friday. i didn't really have that much expectation this time as i did when we went to trilogy the week prior. maybe since i am a creature of habit and have already programmed in my head a week before that this weekend would be a lazy one, i could not give myself enough notice to reprogram when plans changed.

peppermint felt different. not that it shouldn't considering the last time i was there, it was in a different hotel. the crowd felt different, the music felt different, and i felt different. i can't really put my finger on it as to what made the night feel off. things started rather slow. we got to the club near midnight and the place was still rather empty. the music was pretty disjointed and every time you'd catch a beat to dance to (not that i dance that much), the DJ would butcher it up into something that just felt like crap. the club felt bland. even after the place filled up to its jammed-pack state and the new DJ (bless his soul, he was wonderfully pleasant) hiked up the mood, the new peppermint, for me, still lags in comparison to its former glory. to be honest, after the night was over, i felt exhausted. in fairness to the night tho, i got to find out the place where the gay men of dubai hang out. hehehe, not that this would be useful info for me, now that i am leaving.


i didn't get to spend time with vikki this weekend since for its entirety, she was busy at work. poor thing actually since it would have been great to spend my days with all my friends together. this is my only regret for leaving actually, leaving people. i really could care less about memories, about work, about my possessions. but leaving people behind, friends and love ones are the most difficult. i guess it is true with most people as well.

spent the mid day afternoon on the beach, looking at people sun bathing and just having fun by the water. i felt unusually detached and could not bring myself to relate to anything in my surroundings. either i was just totally out of it or my coping mechanism has finally started. i have now started to become dead to the world and to everything i would be leaving behind. spare me any longings, any heartaches, any pain. the hermit in me has awaken once more.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

la opera

one of my most favorite operatic pieces by a true opera diva.... maria callas.

i love how she looks in this clip, definitely age with much grace. an interesting observation though, i just love how her hair was done. either it was the style of the time but it just looks SO jackie O! funny that maria callas' ex-lover MARRIED jackie, hence the O!

my friends and i were supposed to drive to abu dhabi to watch the opera "carmen" at the emirates palace hotel. unfortunately, the tickets on the day we wanted to see it got sold out. i always presumed that the locals here don't really appreciate classical theater, much more opera, but i guess i was proven wrong.

anyway, no biggie really. i am not too much disappointed by this since for me, on my last few days here with friends, it's really the company that matters. Carmen can wait, maybe i can watch it in a more spectacular place, in Europe maybe?

for now, YouTube will do.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

dubai nights

found myself tossing and turning early this morning. despite having been exhausted by my activities in the day and not taking a nap, i couldn't seem to manage getting myself to sleep. my mind was racing in full throttle and there was no way of shutting it down.

i was thinking of my dad. about the meat shop he runs (the charcuterie!) and about me redesigning it when i get back. i was thinking of vikki and how she will manage after i leave. i was thinking of surya. i was thinking of work, thinking of manila, thinking of dubai. idea after idea kept churning in my head. my body was exhausted and wanted to desperately sleep only that my mind was fully alert and was unwilling to cooperate. after a while though, i managed to finally doze off.

my mistake was that i set my alarm to go off at 2am. it was my dad's birthday and wanted to greet him first thing. 2am dubai time would be about 6am manila time, just when customers start to pick up at the shop. gave him a ring and greeted him a happy birthday. can't really say if he was surprised but i never really expected anything. my dad was really never good in expressions of emotions except in its extremes. but that is ok, i know him and i'm sure our short conversation made a mark in his day.

i again couldn't sleep after that. i layed down on my bed and stared at the dark ceiling, and then my mind started at it again. idea after idea, like a ferris wheel of never ending possibilities of what could be and what could have been. this time, my gut joined in the chorus and started making noise. not only was i sleep deprived, i was also hungry. i then decided to get up and leave the flat. i remember there's a grocery a couple of blocks down that's open 24 hours. it was also one of the thoughts that played in my head, to walk out in the streets on the wee hours of the morning and just see what my neighborhood is like at that time.

the streets were not as deserted as i was expecting it to be. i guess since dubai prides itself as being one of the "safest" cities in the world, ppl have no qualms of walking around at 230am. right outside my flat, the paperboys were congregating, receiving their share of the morning news and loading it on their bikes, ready to speed into the night and drop off their packages in their designated destinations. the 24 hour pizza place at the corner was baking as usual, catering to the hungry stomachs of the laborers working on the dubai metro, operation i presume runs 24/7.

crossing the streets at this time is probably the most enjoyable. wee hours in the morning are a pedestrians dream as there is a scarcity of vehicles on the road. if ever there are any, they are mostly cabs with their lights on. never have i seen, in my stay in dubai, so many unoccupied cabs. there is a huge round-about in front of where i live and it would usually take me a good 15 minutes to traverse this monstrous hindrance. tonight, it only took me a good 3 mintes to croos to the opposite side of the road.

it was nice to observe which establishments were still operating at this time in the night. besides the 24 hour places like the pharmacy, i was quite surprised to see that some of the restaurants were just closing. you see into their dark interiors people cleaning up. doing last minute chatting before calling it a "day". the shawarma stand was clearing up its equipment and the waiters at the lebanese cafe were having an end-of-the-day smoke. delivery boys were parking their bikes and the mangers doing their last rounds.

there was a police car stationed on the street i was walking on. added precaution i guess since the street was a financial district with 24 hour ATM stalls at almost every block. they would pull cars over every now and then, random check ups on dubious looking characters. i passed a couple of budgeted hotels on my way, their patrons just ending i presume a fun filled night of debauchery basing from their flushed faces and their unintelligent slur. i finally got to the grocery.

the place was deserted, except for the few staff that were manning the place. this was definitely a far cry from its morning state when the place was usually packed and the lines to the till were long. i don't really know why but seeing the place empty made me happy. maybe i was relishing the fact that i had the entire place all to myself. i went over the baked good section and could smell the freshly baked bread and pastries being made. i then went over to the aisles, taking a leisurely pace of perusing through every gondola. i was curious, really curious. like i was expecting the products would change, be different as to that in the morning. i was also waiting to see what kind of people would be attracted to a 24 hour grocery, besides insomniacs.

your occasional party people would drop by. taxi drivers, laborers, late-shift employees who just got out from work, and then you have the hookers.... yes. the hookers.

i have forgotten that the place that i lived in was notorious for its rather seedy crowd. despite being a residential area that caters to families, the presence of budgeted hotels in the area has also made the place where these nocturnal beings gravitate towards to. "creatures of the night" as a friend so aptly called them, they come in your asian and european variety. all like candy wrapped in light clothing, teetering on severely uncomfortable heels, waiting, waiting to be proposed at by willing patrons who are looking for a good time.

the patrons, like these nightingales of the night, also come in all forms. from curious boys to seasoned men, they lurk the streets like predators on the prowl. they drive by in their darkly tinted cars, lower the window and wait as the girls flock toward them like bees to honey. a transaction is made, a deal is struck, girl gets in, he drives off. all in less that 5 minutes. all in full view of the police car parked just 5 meters away.

as i walked back home, i thought to myself that this is a normal occurrence here in dubai. the lack of surprise in my person proved this point. in my head, i guess i was already expecting it. commerce by day, commerce by night. a sight not everyone gets to see, a fact not included in dubai's aggressive tourism campaign. i got back to my block to witness the paperboys starting to disembark on their journey into the night. went up to my flat, undressed and got in bed, exhausted from the walk, excited that i have something to blog.

day 14, the sequel!

as if cooking for lunch wasn't enough, my itchy cooking hands got a-moving again. with inspiration of stuffing my friend, macveen, up with lunch tomorrow, i decided to whip up another beef dish, asian, of course. the menu for tomorrow, spicy korean beef stew.

don't know how this one will turn out since i couldn't get my hands on ribs so i used beef cubes instead. they are rather tough and long to cook so i kinda scored them up to "butterfly" them, so to say. seared them up and proceeded to make my stew. this one isn't as ginger-y as my last attempt. also, its a bit spicy since i decided to put chili in it. il add the sesame seeds and the green onions tomorrow before i serve it so as not to loose the aroma of the ingredients from re-heating.

i also proceeded sunbathing my legs as planned today. thing there is, they didn't even tan, not even some degree of redness. this is considering i was out in the sun for more than an hour. drat... good thing i was alone by the pool. i could only imagine the embarrassment i'd suffer when ppl find out that my legs are so white, it reflects UV rays like butter on teflon!

before ending, i would like to greet my dad an advance happy birthday. my love to you pa, i will be seeing you in two weeks. you have a good one. i love you very much. (i sound like i'm greeting my relatives on some cheesy variety show!!!!)

ju kap di tong chay, kyu ju ho di chok hok. gwa ya ban tai tiya di.

Monday, November 5, 2007

day 14

good morning. i cant believe i actually got up at 10 today and had for my first activity, the gym! forgive me for relishing my new found bum lifestyle. i'm just enjoying it while i still have it. certainly a good way to end a year's worth of hard work. not really thinking of this as my vacation but more a hiatus from things to come. hopefully, when the next chapter of my life unfolds, i would be well energized to again seize the day.

decided to start cooking again after a long time. i used to cook a lot before but as stress from work started to build up, i no longer had the energy to think, much more to cook. if only that also meant i no longer had the energy to eat then it all would have been great. since i stopped cooking, i have been gorging on junk food as well as fast food. all of which have wrecked havoc on my body. my clothes don't fit me well anymore and my endurance has markedly decreased. i now have a built in lifesaver growing on my waist and i am starting to exhibit signs of gynecomastia! i therefore made a pact with myself that in the duration of my last days in dubai, i will be eating healthy again and working out to loose the flab. i am not expecting wonders and be in tip-top runway model shape, but any degree of firming up would be greatly appreciated.

today's recipe is beef with broccoli. decided to start my cooking re-debut with an all time chinese classic. not only does it combine two of my favorite ingredients (um, well, beef and broccoli), but it is amazingly simple to prepare and of course, reminds me of home. slice up the beef, slice up the broccoli, crush the garlic, stir fry with oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar and salt for added flavor and VOILA! a meal in less than 30 mins... well, ideally that is. i'm a really slow cook so i'm pretty sure it took me more time. besides, i was also in on the phone with my friend while i was cooking so i really had to slow down.

i received a call from my mom this morning while i was at the gym. she just told me how excited she was that i was on my way home. i'm glad that at least she is. i'm pretty sure after all the stories she has heard of my anguish here that it's a relief that now i'm on my way back.

thinking of doing some sun bathing later, just for my severely pasty legs as there is now a sharp contrast between my arms and my legs. either that or i might walk to karama and look for knick knacks for me to bring home as gifts. would be nice to give away stuff... just that most souvenirs here feel so kitschy!

the first week

it's early monday morning now and i am still wide awake, the reason, i had the great luxury of taking an afternoon nap today, a sunday, what was used to be the first day of my work week. yes people, i am now officially UNEMPLOYED!!!!

it would be common notion that one shouldn't find such pleasure in the fact of not working, just that in my case, i have been trying to get myself out of work for the longest time. hence the joy. o unspeakable joy. after sixteen difficult months of toil, i am finally out of it. no more anxiety-filled calls, no more panic attacks, no more disgruntled clients, no more idiotic suppliers, no more MORE idiotic consultants, no more, no more. i can finally say, this is when i start living the life.

of course i should not really allow myself to get spoiled by being unproductive. to be honest, i spent the entire day pacing in my flat trying to find, er, productive, things to do. i cooked, i cleaned, i packed, i re-packed, and well, cleaned some more. i started working out again since i am now severely deconditioned from not exercising in a long time. i'm sorting out my clothing and have dry-runs in packing my things for my trip back home. o yes, i'm leaving dubai as well. enough of the desert for me, back to the tropics i go.

despite all things said, i kinda miss going to work on my first day out of work. i miss getting to work early and checking my mail while the office is still dead quite. i miss the sound of footsteps as my staff slowly trickle in. just recently, dima comes in first, heavy footsteps, quite unmistakable. then aimie and noreen. angelique follows closely, usually a couple of minutes later. then christine would peek her head in and say her "hellos" then invites angelique in afrikaans to have coffee. then ran would pop in, dressed to kill as always. then beloved surya with his trademark smile. i would then get sms messages from all the late comers and their reasons for tardiness. how they slept in, they cant find a cab or the wife is sick or they themselves are sick... my morning routine. i will never get to experience this again.

i wont get to hear the jingling of rosemary's keys when she comes in to her cabin. the incessant ringing of sherryl's phone from ppl in the building asking for directory assistance by mistake. the irritating cacophony of pop, arabic, malayalam, pinoy and opera music blasting from every CPU of my multi-cultural staff. the boisterous laugh of allan and the hi-pitched exchanges of jasleena with jeshit.

sounds i will never hear again. noise that made and started my day. now all i have is the silence of my flat with the occasional echoes that ring through the corridors. 15 days of this, 15 days i guess for me to get used to the silence, to reminisce about my sixteen months of chaos, of memories.

this is my first week. day 14 has begun.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

the first post

i have decided to create a new blog since after almost three years of posting on "the design apothecary", i have noticed that i never really posted anything about design. i actually have been thinking of giving my old blog a new address since it just irritates me that my blog address had nothing to do with my blog contents. sorry, im fussy that way.

despite my blogging for the past few years, i havent still gotten used to the techy-ness of blog making (did that make any sense). i sincerely feel i am getting too old for cyberspace and would greatly appreciate it if someone out there could help me in making my blog look more interesting. these templates, i swear, are just a drag.

so here is to my new post in my new blog, the wandering polar bear. its basically the same as my old blog, just, that theres a new name. il still keep the old blog, hopefully, sometime in the future, start posting actual design articles.