Tuesday, December 29, 2009

one night, in tsim sha tsui

we just got out from the train, walked up the grey tiled steps of the subway and out onto the greeting streets of tsim sha tsui, the slicing, yet ever welcomed winter wind chill greeting us as we emerged from the underground. the sights, the smell, the energy, the frenzy of the whole place was overwhelming, almost like the sudden intoxicating rush of rum taken on an empty stomach. tsim sha tsui was just how i remembered it, almost a year ago with its the huge shops and the multitude of shoppers drowning you in a sea of people.

kuya saw the gaze on my face as i lost myself in my reverie. i think he finds slight joy in the fact that i could always turn to my sense of nostalgia to keep me readily entertained. he tried testing my memory and asked me to lead the way to harbor city, the most prominent mall complex this side of the territory. HK is as familiar to him as the back of his hand, the signs of a serious shopper. i, on the other hand, am not as well gifted and would have to often follow him around, hoping i wont loose him amidst a throng of similarly faced orientals in what must be the world's largest chinatown. "lead the way!" he smilingly commanded, as i navigated thru streets and corners until i found my landmark, the beautifully decorated facade of the louis vuitton boutique, flanked by other luxury labels like chanel, ferragamo, hermes and gucci. you really cannot miss it.

to cross to the mall, you would need to traverse thru a short underpass that goes under the main road. this being the shortest route from our subway station and the only route we had taken since as far as i can remember, walking thru this passage almost felt like a tradition for me, like a ritual before you proceed to shopping nirvana. as i approached the entrance to the passage however, my memories of this place got further rekindled, catalyzed by the haunting sounds of a familiar voice, echoing from the foot of the underpass stairs. they were old chinese jukebox tunes, happy songs to be honest, even love songs for some, i can only presume, yet sung by a most melancholic of voices, so sad, you cannot help but try to ignore it. this old lady, singing her heart out, sporting a never waning smile and a practiced twinkle in her eye, together with her small sound box, a red plack card containing the names of some twenty something chinese songs, and her plastic bowl, sang for alms. taking advantage of the acoustics of the underpass, she sings here continuously, song after song after song, from morning to night, everyday. i presume thousands pass her daily, yet basing on the amount of money in her bowl, most of them, like me, chose to make her simply disappear behind the dizzying cityscape.

to ignore her would be effortless. to push her existence into the background and have her voice blend in with the ruckus of the bustling city would have only been too easy. indeed, my kuya and i only found ourselves briefly acknowledge her, stating that she was still here, then quickly moved to a different topic. however, as we slowly walked away and began to hear the fading sound of her voice, in mid song, this old lady, found herself in a coughing fit, triggered probably by the intense cold slicing in the air. i don't know about my kuya but i bowed my head all of a sudden, walked faster away, partly hiding my shame, exposed for being so calloused, partly to hide the fact that hearing this lady cough suddenly made me begin to cry.

* * * * *

"i want to do a good deed today." kuya said as he took his wallet out of my bag. we were making our way back to our hotel after finishing a scrumptuous dinner, chinese naturally. "i want to do a good deed too!" i said in retort. the day was almost over and the winter night and the slight drizzle brought the temperature down even more. kuya and i casually walked back, the path already familiar. we barely spoke during that night stroll, maybe because there was nothing much more to talk about. maybe because both of us already knew what the other was going to do.

her voice reemerged from the curb of the passage right on cue, still singing the same years-old tune. i approached her plastic bowl first, bowed in front of her and dropped in a portion. kuya, walking not too far behind me followed suit. she did not break from her song. she continued singing with her consistent disposition. i stopped and look back at her, kuya walked past me already and was now waiting at the top of the steps. i stood there and watched her from a distance, this short, old lady, both hands clasping her old mic, singing her heart out, panning the underpass corridor until she turned towards me and her eyes met with mine. i saw the twinkle in her eye again, and her lovely smile. i smiled back, turned away and walked to meet with kuya. this time however, i didn't mind showing people i was crying anymore.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

the line

i have always loved the sight of a crisp, straight line. i marvel at how such a simple, plain element can be so powerful in dictating how we see, perceive, and appreciate a lot of things around us. this is probably one of the reasons i love wrapping gifts.... in a way, with each fold of paper, with each run of my fingers onto sharp edges, i pay homage to the line, thanking it, acknowledging it, for making the world, despite all its uncertainties, a bit more defined.

and since we are already on the topic of love, and 'tis the season for giving love, allow me to say, from the bottom of my heart... (in no particular order)

to outednarnian. i love you. thank you for the crazy times and all the salacious stories of your very interesting life. thank you for all the insights and for all the wacky, scandalous comments. thank you for running. for having me to join the singapore marathon and for convincing me to run the 21k. thank you for the heart felt hugs, i feel you broux! LOL

to misterhubs. i love you. thank you for being my friend. thank you for being hilariously funny and for your (rather presently dormant) blog. thank you for your wit, your intoxicating smile and for your positive attitude. getting to meet you that one xmas party not too long ago was definitely a highlight in my life. when i said i was a fan... i meant it.

to joel mcvie. mader.... you are my mother goose with facial hair. ahahahahaha! thank you for all the nurturing and all the truth slapping you offer me when i need it the most. thank you for keeping me in line and for being my "auditor" when i begin to stray from reality. you may have your weaknesses, but you have always been strong when i needed you the most. thank you. i love you much.

to ian. munchkin. mahal kita. bwisit ka lang na binansagan mo akong aslan, pero, keri lang, nagpagupit naman ako so no one will get ur joke anymore... sadly, u cant correct ur LITTLE predicament. ahahahahaha! i love you to bits!!!!! i can't help it. a pramis is a pramis... magpapakasal tayo!! ahahahahaha. missing you always dear.

to ewik. just so not to cause trouble, i won't say i love you, but know that i do. hehehehehe. thank you for being my friend, for giving me those side splitting laughing trips that only a deranged nutcase like yourself can provide. thank you for all the good times and for all the better times. for introducing me to so many people and for allowing me to be part of their lives as well (chismoso ka kasi... bwahahahaha!)

to jaybeecc and jc. mahal ko kayong dalawa, and now that you guys are together, masmahal ko pa kayo. i just LOVE you guys, to the point, gusto ko kayong paguntog-untogin!!! ok lang jaybee, fluffy naman si jc. ahahahaha! thank your making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside whenever i see the two of you in your simple existence. jaybee, you have one of the kindest heart i know. jc, i love to be lost in your hair (GANUN!???) ahahahaha....

to syoti. alagaan mo 'tong puso ko, sa piling ng iyong maliit na palad. datapwat alam natin na may hangganan 'tong oras nating magkapiling, gusto kong malaman no na mahal kita. pwede na to. oks na ako. ayaw ko nang humingi pa sa tadhana. natutunan ko nang maging masaya. sana ikaw rin.

to all the friends i have met, to all the new ones i have made, thank you. i love you all as well. thank you for making this year special. i count my blessings this year in the form of faces, for i remember them more. looking back at the year, i can only be overjoyed by how many i can recall. your lovely faces, how they shine brightly in my memory, gracing me with happy thoughts and filling my small heart with the most unspeakable thanfulness.

happy holidays!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

countdown to 2010

goodness me, it's almost the year end yet again! i almost didn't even feel the year go by and lo and behold, it's christmas again. whatever happened to all the months before december?

i (officially) have two more days of work, after which, my kuya and i are flying off to spend the holidays in the mad christmas shopping rush in HK. not really saying wer going there to participate in the rush (i still have to recover from the singapore trip), wer really just going there to experience the weather and get to finally use the winter gear we have strangely accumulated through the years. why we have winter gear while living in a tropical country is beyond me, we just do!

i can almost taste HK now and smell the city air, perfumed with the scent of steamed dimsum and pots of noodles glistening in oil.

before that however, i am bracing myself probably for the two most toxic working days in my (recent) professional life. details aside, i think trying to squeeze in demands of THREE jobs in such a tight schedule is a recipe for disaster, but i don't really have a choice. BAHALA na si BATMAN, as people often say. there's going to be trouble eitherway, anyway, so might as well just do what can be done and hope for the best.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

in my arms

despite the harrowing start to my day (involving an inconsiderately idiotic jeepney that swerved through 2 lanes and almost SMASHED into my car and STILL continued to drive off like nothing happened), i am choosing to mellow myself down with a dreamy wish....

i would like to sing this song one day, if God permits, to my future child, when i have a family of my own. to the future recipients of my undying love and devotion...

In My Arms by Plumb

Your baby blues, so full of wonder
Your curly cues, your contagious smile
And as I watch, you start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight

Knowing clouds will rage
and storms will race in but you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down, waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Story books full of fairy-tales
Of kings and queens and the bluest skies
My heart is torn just in knowing
You'll someday see the truth from lies

When the clouds will rage
And storms will race in but you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down, waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Because I will always, always love you

When the clouds will rage
And storms will race in but you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down, waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

wanted: a shrink

someone once told me, in all his wisdom, never to air my dirty laundry in public. so taking heed his advice, i won't... i'll just hide my ranting in symbols, codes and if needed, tell my story with interpretative dance!

bwahahahaha! ugh. damn this sickening feeling.

must be the season. all this residual, materialistic, jovial atmosphere filling the divisoria air is causing havoc to my equilibrium! this year seems to be extra special compared to the years prior. theres extra traffic, extra stress, extra drama, extra inis.... extra, extra, extra.

(sigh) i'm sure hoping the year won't end on such a dismal note for me, for next year's sake.

so what has been the catalyst to all of this pent up agitation? a boy. (mader-faxing-gad!!!! of all things, right?)

i honestly have no idea why i feel so affected when on any given day, i could give a rat's (pardon the rats) ass, which i guess is adding to the reason why i feel even more peeved that i'm peeved!

ok. (lamas breathing...)

the entire scenrio is actually super lame, more on my part really. it's so lame and pathetic that its too embarassing to even say. AAAARRGGH, just thinking about it wants me to hit my head on this brick wall.... or even THAT one over THERE!!!! huhuhuhuhu.... what's wrong with me???!!!

why did you have to message me you effing prick!!!???

why couldn't you just leave me in peace, in my life of solace, instead of me now contemplating on stalking you and downloading programs just to know ur VISIBLE even if your INVISIBLE on YM!!!!!???

see what you turned me into??? SEE!!!!!

i just HATE IT!!! i hate it so much, it's exhausting.... and yet, i can't stop. it's like that curse where you get cursed to dance forever, even after you die.... or whatever if even such a story of a curse exists...

LECHE KA!!!!! why do u have to be so intoxicatingly stalker-worthy!!!!

and get this, everytime i muster the strength to be rid of you, u suddenly make paramdam and i find myself going thru the roller coaster ride of getting rid of you ALL OVER AGAIN!



i need therapy, bad.

Monday, December 14, 2009

traffic mayhem

you know traffic is bad when even the motorbikes and pedestrians find themselves stuck.

two hours. two, long, bladder bursting hours. that's how long it took me to get myself home, when normally, it would only take me a good 20mins drive. good grief!!!

i knew something like this was going to happen. i was kidding a few hours prior with my secretary about dreading going home since i had a feeling traffic was going to be bad. Christmas always makes coming home stressful for me. it did not help when i read from a blog that approximately 1,000,000 people flock to the streets of divisoria everyday. ONE MILLION!!!! of course while i was joking, it never occurred to me that the FATES would take my jest seriously.

as i took off on my usual route home and emerged from one of the side streets, lo and behold, chaos greeted me with open arms. there was a raging fire that broke out at the tondo hospital. tongues of flame licked the dark night sky, forming an ominous orange halo around the burning building. the road was blocked and frustrated motorists lined up as far as the length of the avenue, honking in their agitation. frantic traffic enforcers tried to ease the gridlock but did miserably. i had to take a LONG u-turn and get myself to wrack my brain for other alternate routes. i wanted to get home badly. it had been a long day and i really needed the rest. this obstacle was not what i needed and the sooner i get over it, the better. sadly, this little hiccup was just the start.

a million shoppers in an already congested neighborhood certainly will never do a place any good.

after some traffic acrobatics and driving like a maniac, i was able to get myself on what i thought wud be a free street to at least take me near home. i knew there was no escape from the traffic jam but at least, i thought, i could make the experience far shorter than what was necessary. however, it seemed like tonight, EVERYONE had the same idea of taking this very same road. vehicles were locked tight in an interlacing knot, only made tighter as pedicabs and ambulances tried to squeeze their way through.

to say that i was exhausted would put things lightly. i tried to keep myself calm and focused since people go on survival mode when under these stressful conditions. cars were inches away from each other, trying their best to occupy every bit of space they can, hoping that by doing so, they are closer to their destinations. it was like this for a good hour and a half more. i soon found myself inching into divisoria, soon to experience the climax of this entire ordeal. need i also add that in the midst of this harrowing experience, that i DESPERATELY NEEDED TO PEE!!!???

i finally got home without incident. i immediately rushed into the house, dropped my bags and ran straight into the john. i think i peed out my intestines as i let loose what could have been enough fluid drown manila in another ondoy catastrophe!

GOD. let me not have another experience like that again!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

the standard chartered singapore marathon 2009

i couldn't believe i was actually doing it. i was falling in line at the gate to board the plane... to fly out to singapore to join my FIRST ever international marathon. to say i was excited would be an understatement. i kept telling my kuya and narnian (who was the main reason why i was "duped" into joining, hehehe) that i can't believe i'm flying to singapore just to run!!! people often jest that i'm a running addict and i have always been quick to dismiss their teases, but after this, well, i guess i am officially owning the brand!

hi, i'm jamie, and i'm a running NUT!!!

in the plane, i could not help but notice the gazes i keep getting, particularly since i feel like the entire plane was full of runners and people were already sizing each other up as early as now. every passenger wearing running shoes was a suspect. every passenger wearing mizuno waves and a garmin watch was a definite give-away! come immigration with luggage in tow and you see all these serious faces emerge. kuya, narnian and i were definitely not alone. indeed, a lot from our flight were in singapore specifically for the race. i never felt so intimidated.

we were graciously greeted (with matching jumps for joy and tight-cheesy hugs) at changi airport by another running buddy, ian, the rainbow runner, who is now based in singapore. seeing him after all these months and running the marathon were the two main highlights of my entire trip.

the standard chartered singapore marathon is an annual event that has been attracting worldwide runners every year to the lion city. this year, there were around 50,000 registrants with 17,500 running the full marathon and 10,000 for the 21k. at first, i thought this was an exaggerated amount, surely there can't be THAT many people right? there really was THAT MANY PEOPLE. my kuya booked us at a very strategic hotel, just a block away from the esplanade bridge so it would be easy for us to get to the venue, and from our room, you could practically see the ENTIRE country lining up at the starting line. it was insane! i commented later that the most people i saw in a race here in manila was probably the condura run which only had around a few thousand participants. the amount of racers at this race made the condura run look pathetic. kudos for the singaporeans to keep things orderly still despite the immense numbers. runners lined up according to their expected time of finishing so that people dont scramble and push come gun start. leading the pack were the kenyans, as always :) how do i know all this? THE ENTIRE EVENT WAS ALSO BEING BROADCASTED ON LIVE TV!!!

the 21k run started an hour later, after the full marathoners. standing near the starting line, i had the weirdest cocktail of emotions, which i guess was normal. though interspersed with some dread, i was for the most part really happy. the weather was cool, the sky was clear, the energy was high as everyone was just excited to run. narnian and i bid each other good luck and awaited for the gun start. BANG!!! 10,000 runners from 40 different countries began inching forward. no pushing, i noticed, since we were wearing chips so there was no rush to start. THIS IS IT, i told myself. singapore, toured in sub 2 hours ( i hoped!) i began my run with a light jog, as i always do, taking great care not to shock my legs too much of the grueling task ahead. i can't really say i prepared that well for this race since days owing to singapore, i had been feeling rather ill. despite wanting to condition myself, i thought it was wiser to rest than to jeopardize my trip.

the first few kms i use to acclimate myself to the run. gross as it may sound, this is the only time i enjoy being drenched in sweat since the moisture keeps my clothes glued on to me like second skin. i managed to get myself new running tights a few days prior to the race and am now enjoying the full compressive support they offer (no laughing on my squeaky voice because of it!). i was trying to use narnian as my pacer since he tends to run more consistently than i, however, i quickly lost him in the sea of people. i was on my own again. i was running down the tips i had made for myself, a sort of mantra i had learned through the many runs i have joined. it's all about control more that speed. i had to be conscious not to waste my energy overtaking or accelerating. there will be opportunities for that later. a few kilometers later and the runners began to clearly get divided, the more serious runners emerged at the front, the leisure runners trailed behind. i quickly found the open spaces i like to situate myself into and with some overtaking, i managed to find my spot. this would be my space for the remaining third of the race.

the run, compared to the other 21k i have joined was pretty easy with lots of flat ground and gradual inclines. i recall cursing everytime i find myself along mckinley or bayani road when racing at the fort since the terrain there is just so hostile. here, everything was smooth. even the weather was cooperating. humidity however became a source of challenge as the day progressed. somewhere around my 17th km, i found myself practically gulping air because it felt so thick. i so wanted to do explosive breathing but felt embarrassed to do so since NO ONE seemed to be doing it (unlike here at home where ppl have screaming matches, hehehe). i had to content myself with brief coughs instead.

since the terrain was generally flat, i didn't stop as much, only doing so everytime i reach a water station. i would slow down to reach for 2 cups of water, one for me, another for my overheating shoes. i was hoping they would offer more energy drinks but that was only available at the latter parts of the course. no fruits for 21k runners as well. i guess according to international standards, we dont need it, hehehehehe.

my body had been pretty patient with me. no major complaints yet. no shortness of breath. no aching joints (yet) and no struggle to stop. that was, until i reached km 19. humidity reached the peak for the race and it was getting difficult to breath. i was slowing down as well since my feet felt like it was burning. i am now wearing anti-blister socks and though they free my feet from chaffing, they leave so much space in my shoes that my feet slip and slide inside, adding more friction. all the water (and sweat) that found themselves in my shoe helped cool it down but unfortunately added undue weight to them as well. i was also making lots of noise while running since my shoes now made loud squishing sounds with each step. people kept looking at me as if the noises i made were distracting them from their run. nakakahiya!

when i finally saw the marker for the last 2kms, i began to accelerate. by this time, we were joined by the 10km runners as well so i immediately found myself in a denser flock. whatever energy i had left, i was mentally shunting them all to my legs as i inched closer to the esplanade. i'm near the bridge, the finish is RIGHT THERE, i tried to psyche to myself. upon reaching the end of the bridge and seeing the starting point, i was greeted by the worst surprise, the bridge wasnt the finish line!!! we still had about 100 more meters to go. hahahaha, i literally though i got lost and heard my entire body scream in protest! what kind of sick joke is this?!!! where the F**K is that finish line. we made a turn at the Fullerton hotel and dashed towards the old city hall. FINALLY, someone cheered from the crowd "don't give up, one more curb and your there!" that was the on-switch for me. RUN, jamie RUN!!!!!! run like ZARA IS ON SALE!!!!!

the mad run to the finish

the manual that came with the race kit said not to sprint to the finish, to savor the moment when crossing the finish line. HELL NO!!!! i had a time to beat and i wasnt wearing a watch!!! whatever energy the running gods could spare me, i availed of them ALL. seeing the clock and the crowd of cheerers at the end was the most joyful sight in the world!!!!

my official time, 1hr 52mins. finishing at 283rd place among 10,000, putting me at the upper 3% of the finishers. i feel sooooo proud!!!!! :)

i hope to run again next year! hopefully a 42km. also, masmarami na sana ang contingent from manila!!! what you say narnian, misterhubs, jaybeecc?!!! ian!!!! lets lets next year!!! rainbow runners, unite!!! :)

kuya and i, displaying our finisher's medals

Monday, November 30, 2009

the opposite of eloquence

there must be a word for it, surely there must...

this, when all your thoughts don't matter;
this, when you feel transcendent in the free fall;
this, when the past and the future disappears;
this, when you wish now could just last forever;
this, when you feel safe in your weakness;
this, when you find shelter in another's strength;
this, when hope and fear smash into each other;
this, when the wreckage feels surmountable;
this, when pain is a reasonable asking price;
this, when you are willing to die for gain;
this, when you sweat in the cold;
this, when you shiver in the heat;
this, when you tear in pleasure;
this, when you smile in grief.

this, when you finally have something you've wanted so badly;
this, when you still realize it's not yours to keep;
this, when words now don't seem to matter so much;
this, when you feel satisfied in it staying vague, lost and unnamed.

Friday, November 27, 2009

the tao of the run

i arrived at UPD shortly after 7pm. i parked at the same spot i always park in, right in front of this building i never really bothered to learn the name of. i had always favored this spot for some reason. it was dark, semi-secluded, under the cover of the university's many gigantic trees. as i got out of my car, the heavens suddenly opened and it began to rain. "great timing" i mumbled, just when i BADLY needed to "do this". i decided to pass the time in the car and wait for the rain to let up. no amount of precipitation, unless of ONDOY-proportions, will stop me from having my run tonight, i determined.

"... feel free to join me tonight." i texted one, but didn't get a favorable reply.

"... wanna come with?". i messaged another, but never got a response.

"ei, are you joining me?" "i can't. my client just invited me to thanksgiving dinner." answered the third.

the rain stopped almost as suddenly as it started. i changed to my running gear and began my warm up jog, running in the opposite direction as everyone, like i always do. i took extra measure to control my pace, remembering that it was at UPD that i injured myself the last time. i paid attention to my foot placement (i should land on my mid foot. that my shin should be at least perpendicular to the ground. my heel shouldn't strike the pavement so much); my breathing (pacing was the key. i shouldn't hyperventilate and remember to take deep full breaths to stretch my intercostals to keep them from spasming); my running form (don't slouch. don't lean too far back either. i am an inverted pendulum. running should be automatic and effortless).

i tried to concentrate on the road, on the runners, on studying the technique of other joggers as they came, and as they went. i tried to soak in all this information, hoping that by overloading my brain, i can be made cerebral again, when my mind is at its strongest, and when my emotions are rendered insignificant.

running does this for me, i have learned. it makes "feeling" loneliness far more bearable.

Friday, November 20, 2009

TIMEX race, 2009

two and a half hours of dizzying scenes of chaos, heroism and catastrophe later, i found myself exhausted despite not having moved from my seat. this is what you get when you watch an action-packed film from the third to the front row of the cinema. i can't really complain, kuya's friend had to wrestle people for these tickets and seeing friends i haven't seen for a while is worth the vertigo and fatigue.

i had second thoughts of watching 2012 that saturday night actually. it would be the TIMEX race the next morning and thought that i would really need the rest. however, it bothered my conscience and the social butterfly in me that too many weekends of mine had already been laid to waste, not having seen friends because of (*cough* work *cough*) one reason or another. so against the psycho-running-freak in me, i went ahead to have my leisurely saturday night. kuya had suggested that i stay at makati with him so we would not be too pressed for time the next morning. truly, my last race, i got to the assembly point just at the nick of time. considering i like to acclimate myself, it need not be said that my anxiety level that day was very high!

TIMEX would be my second 21k run. why do i feel like this one will be quite different from the last? i couldn't shake the feeling off. though i wasn't as nervous anymore, there was still that feeling nagging within. 2012 ended near midnight. we bid our friends goodbye and kuya and i headed towards his flat. after all the necessary preparation for bed and the race, it was near 1am when we went to bed. 3hours of sleep. i wondered how this will affect my performance, hopefully not for the worse.

my alarm rang at 3:45 am. i got up. took a warm shower and donned on my gear. i decided to wear the singlet kuya bought for me and my nike compression tights. i really liked how the tights kept my legs warm and how they supported my legs from too much jiggling. the tights however didn't feel as snug as the first time i wore them. it could be a slacking of the elastic or i could have lost some more mass, either way, it got me a bit concerned. kuya and i departed at 4:30 and got to the fort not too long after. we arranged for a meeting point since we were joining different races, him a 10k run. after agreeing to meet at the gym, i went off to join the gather crowd of 21k runners. i was trying to look for narnian but could not spot him. i was hoping it would be nice to run with a friend and keep each other company. 21ks are LONG, with lots of boring stretches. being distracted with great company is always welcomed. however, i could not spot him (or his nadia auermann legs) anywhere. i later found out he got to the race late.

the starting time was a few seconds away and narnian no where to be found, i realized this race will be a long and lonely one. hunky papa piolo gave an opening prayer and a speech from coach rio later, papa P fired the gun shot, sending the wave of runners bolting forward. rather, sending all of us runners to run after the KENYAN leading the pack!!

as i did on my first 21K, i took my time running. i wanted to use the first few kilometers to find my resting rhythm and get all my muscles in tune. however, in the mad dash to break away from the crowd, i think i needlessly accelerated to much ans wasted valuable energy. mistake number one. a few kilometers down and i could feel that something was already amiss. i was beginning to fatigue and i could sense my heart was beating faster than my normal PR. lack of sleep, definitely, i thought. mistake number 2, and i wasn't even at the first U-turn. i had hoped that i could compensate by taking more stops and rehydrating as often as i could. i had hoped too that this race would have ample supply of bananas like my last race. sadly, it was only water and energy drinks for me. the frequent stopping also affected my run since u expend energy to stop, and expend more energy to gain back ur running speed. i didn't care though, i needed to listen what my body was telling me and right now, i needed to fuel up.

despite efforts of rehydrating as often as i could, i was sweating BUCKET LOADS. so much that my sweat could not evaporate fast enough, soaking my tights all the way to my socks. since my tights weren't as snug as well, it left ample room between the fabric and my skin to accomodate excess fluid, leading my legs to feel uncomfortably heavy. soon after, i noticed salt stains forming. this was not good i though. salt stains meant i was loosing electrolytes as well, then i did the math (pardon the geek). lack sleep + dehydration + electrolyte imbalance = cramps!!!!! my worse fear was looming its ugly head, this and the 10k mark was still a long distance away. it certainly dampened my spirit, but i'll get there when i get there, i thought.

i met the wave of 10k runners (with GORGEOUS papa P) not too long later as i was running back up the buendia overpass. i finally saw narnian, a few friends and kuya later. spotted carlo agassi as well but could care less about him. reaching the end of the hill, i saw tessa prieto-valdez ina cute pink number, cheering fellow races to not give up. seeing her adorableness, in FULL make-up made me forget for a brief moment that my body will soon give way. it happened sooner than expected actually.

essense, mckinly road. another long incline and my hip started to complain. my knee began to buckle and my heel hurt like hell. the life of my shoe decided to end while i was in the middle of my run, its advanced cushioning rendered useless as my feet pounded the pavement. the fatigue caused me to loose good form, resulting to undue stress on my legs, made worse for by my now uncooperative shoe. but i trudged on. no stopping now. cannot stop now... PHOTOGRAPHERS ABOUND!! curse you piolo and the starpower you bring! hehehehe.

lawton and bayani road were long flat stretches of uneven hard terrain. so long, i regretted not running with an ipod! there's nothing really more discouraging than to see endless stretches of road in front of you and realizing how much more you have to go. by this time, my right calf was already hinting it will be seizing soon as it would tighten occasionally, to which i would try to shake it off. it would relent, thankfully, probably responding to the surge of adrenaline triggered from my worry and panic. the course took a turn into the heritage park, to which we ran the entire perimeter, THE BIGGEST U-TURN EVER! it was a beautiful memorial park with lush, well manicured greens and a spectacular view of the fort. exiting the park, we were finally given our first banana! huhuhuhu. this won't do. i was tired. i was hungry. i and i had to make do with this pathetic little fruit. i gobbled the thing down as fast as i could and continued running, hoping i could replenish my electrolytes from another drinking station.

my calves finally had enough. they started seizing as i was running back lawton road leading to essensa. the intervals became shorter and i was bracing myself for the worse. my leg had salt stains all over and i knew my efforts to rehydrate were useless. i walked every time i felt a surge of pain, never allowing my muscles to cramp. as soon as i felt it was safe, i would jog again to recover the distance i lost. i know i really should not feel ashamed but i do. i could not help it when you see these runners run past by you, leisurely keeping their form and pace. looking almost impervious to fatigue while here you are, almost limping, defeated and exhausted. as soon as the essensa towers came to view and knowing the finish line was near, i began to run again, praying my legs would allow me to finish strong at least.

the final leg was the hardest. i guess my body realizing the race was almost finished, began to relax, adrenaline and endorphins began to run low. suddenly, my body began to hurt and i felt the full wave of my impending cramps, now in both legs. i stopped dead in my tracks, the pain, unimaginable! what made it worse, i only have about 1km to go. mustering all the psycho-running-freak that was left in me, i stretched my muscles to lengthen and relax, and made my made dash to the finish line. my legs continued to seize but i ran anyways, a few meters to go and it will be all over i said. in my head i was screaming. at the last moment, my body pumped me with the last bit of adrenaline to dull the pain.

the last leg. i tried to smile for the photogs, really, i TRIED.

passing the finish was emotional, exhilarating and euphoric. i wanted to MURDER someone!!!! i tried to look for a water shower, something they usually provide in runs to cool down but could not find any. my kuya spotted me soon after. just in time as i was was starting to feel faint. he gave me his energy drink and later accompanied me to get my loot bag.

overall, this race was to be my template for singapore. now at least i know what i need to prepare for that run. i was slower by 2 mins from my first 21K, finishing at 1 hour and 56mins. not bad considering what i had to go through.

2 more weeks to go and it the standard chartered marathon na!!! good luck to me!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


ugh. mornings.

worse, mornings after a long night and not getting much sleep. you wake up to a dark room, too dark for it to be day yet but basing on the cacophony outside, you know that you having woken up earlier than expected is just wishful thinking. you lay there for a moment, lingering a bit longer, waiting for something to happen, anything, to maybe give you that JOLT to make you pry yourself off your bed, your body snugly nestled under its pile of blankets and pillows. you hear yourself breathing, the turbulent roaring in your ear. your mind then goes on a conversation with itself, well, mine does anyway. it ponders, whether to be victorious to the first challenge in the day, the battle against inertia.

the ticking of the clock against the quiet of the room becomes irritatingly apparent. a quick glance at it only shows that i have been immobile far longer than i usually should. your mind gives off a sigh. your muscles tense up. you take a deep, expanding breath and grab the surrounding air. inertia overcome. you release a steady groan, the reign of stillness comes to a violent end.

the day awaits.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

small things

details. they say that you will eventually find God in them. that in His vast greatness and multifariousness, it is strangely yet ever so sweetly ironic that you learn to appreciate Him in the most minute of things. the curl of a lip, the texture of a thumbnail, the cleft on a nose, the slant of the eye, the shape of a chin, the smile, the grin, the gaze, the beating silence that exists between two people screaming inside.

i have often wondered why it is that i notice these things, more so, find significance in them rather that the more overt displays that we humans are so keen to do. considering how much more effort one has to exercise to process these many minuscule accounts, surely, i would sometimes think, surely there is something more to these things than them just being mere incidentals, by-products of the lives we lead.

maybe i just like to be difficult, and add a few more layers to the abundantly complex life i already lead.

maybe i just like to be different, and do things others don't do, even if it's utterly unnecessary.

but as i spot and observe the million and one small slivers that we humans unconsciously give out amidst the gamut that is our gross actions. as i sense and feel and realize and appreciate the small things that i do see, i cannot help it but feel glad that i do, for in learning to acknowledge what people often do not pay much attention to, you learn many things people also do not know:

like how a brush of the knee can be excruciating and yet, euphoric;

like how a hug can send you to heaven and then to hell at the same time.

* * * * *

amidst a tumultuous sea of uncertainties, finding this one nugget of truth in all of it was truly worth the arduous swim.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the weekend past

two days of no internet at home can drive someone insane... and fat, that was what my theorizing brain is currently formulating. restless waiting, agitated rummaging, pacing the house, grazing, fridge opening, grazing some more, and finally, indiscriminate devouring. those were pretty much the activities of my weekend, thanks to a failed internet connection by my very reliable (and over priced) internet provider. i was already close to screaming my head off this morning to the unlucky operator who would answer my very irate call when all of the sudden, my twitter gave out a beep... darn. internet is back on i guess, and just when i was just itching to be evil this monday morning.

anyway, discoveries during the weekend. surprisingly, not until you take something away, do you realize how many more other things there is to do to pass the time. going out this weekend was out of the question for me, for reasons too personal and too emotionally laden to write about, so that's out of the picture. um..., i ran again sunday morning at the Fort. i realized it has been a week since i last ran and that i have 1 more week to go before the Timex run, so i had to train for that. i haven't read a book in a long time, so i am now starting to read this new Dan Brown novel, The Lost Symbol. i also found out that i haven't been watching TV in a long while. the shows currently on bore me to death and since we don't get the discovery channel, there doesn't seem to be anything mind stimulating enough to see. i usually end up watching CNN or if i'm lucky, catch a BBC documentary.

tried text messages as well, hoping to strike some decent conversation. however, i can't really say that endeavor was successful. besides kinky responses, nothing much proved to be worth the peso i spend. don't get me wrong, i don't mind the responses, it's only that it was not what i needed. there will be time for that eventually... er, i hope.

sigh... what a wasted weekend.

i also realized. i need to update my wardrobe. all my clothes are so ill fitting now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

the willow - study

will be inking this tonight. been working on it, on and off, for almost a week now. i needed the distraction.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

this made my day

you all know russel right???!!!!

bwahahahaha!!! i LOVE IT!!!!!

thanks narnian for posting this link....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the catalyst

it started with a change of plans, rather minor if you really think about it, and very manageable. simply shift this day to that, move this schedule to there, inform some people here that you can't make the appointment anymore and inform others there that your day suddenly had a vacancy. see... minor. but no. it did not feel simple to me at all. in fact, this rather small matter left me ruined. don't let me even bother mentioning what it did to my day. blame it on the indiscriminate hatred that suddenly found itself surging up out of me, triggered by what may have seemed to be a very benign act, but then, so is pulling the pin off a grenade.

a few very heavy messages to someone vacationing in another country later and several pounds worth of sweat in the gym, i find myself so-so sane again. i was ok enough to look at the people involved in the eye and not want to have all ties with them severed. but then, that lingering feeling, those ugly residue of unresolved emotion still sends a bitter aftertaste to my tongue.

"how inconsiderate!" "how presumptuous!" i wanted to unshackle myself already of this lot, of all this and yet, i find myself tightly bound to my predicament. there felt no way to get myself out of it, which i guess added more to the frustration. i felt cornered and every intrusion to what little sacred, personal space i had left felt like a violent invasion, to be met by an equally violent counter attack.

i did this to myself, or to a lesser degree, allowed it to happen to myself for no one treats you a certain way unless you let them. all it takes then to remedy this was to train them to treat me differently. easier said than done i'm afraid. when one's obligation becomes one's sole purpose, and other people's value becomes more than one's own, how do you change without destroying what has been your entire life, more so, the lives of others?

* * * * *

an unassuming apple dropped into a still pond. the ripples it caused spreads out evenly across the silvery pool, kissing the awaiting banks. it dropped slowly through the murky depths, sinking slowly pass visions and dreams and wants and wills, pass thoughts and fears and piercing eyes and sharpened ears. pass it all until it finally found itself on the silted floor, disturbing the peace and, beholding the deafening silence within.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

abnormally normal

"why do you find my life so interesting?" i asked a friend last night.

"kasi iba kang magisip." he replied.


i recall one conversation i had with a friend, back when i was in high school, about how i should conduct myself in the world. i know, it's quite a strange question posed at such a young age but considering my background and my upbringing, presentation, rather, testimony, is something we are made conscious of very early on. my friend then told me, be normal among the abnormal. of course back then, i had no idea what "normal" was, more so, what was "abnormal". it wasn't really as simple as good or bad, tact versus rude, proper versus improper. i think my friend knew i too didn't know what to do with what he said but expected that i would eventually learn and discern along the way.

* * * * *

"but you're nothing like the normal PLU", mcvie once told me, while having casual chitchat over coffee one weekend evening. this was his conclusion i guess about how i didn't conform to the typical gay lifestyle that a lot of my friends have. though it is true that i don't really share delight in the same activities my friends have, i don't feel necessarily any different from them. i simply have a variation of preference, something all normal people have technically, gay or straight. i'm pretty sure there are those who share the same inclinations as i. however, if i were to consider what mcvie said and really do acknowledge my atypicalness... would that then make me abnormally gay, i.e., that i'm even possibly straight after all (OUCH. brain spasm...)

* * * * *

"did i change? i mean, after i came out, did i change?" i asked kuya one time. he said i did but not too much. he said i'm much louder, a bit more flamboyant than usual, and he blames that on the fact that maybe i find the behavior acceptable since i see this with the friends i keep. though my folks don't really object against the people i hang out with since i have assured them and have reassured them that i keep descent company, still on certain, very rare occasions, when i would decide to just let my hair down and allow circumstances to take me where ever, it would be the company that i keep that would be the first to get attacked. the "equally yoked" subject would then be brought up. trust is always a constant balancing act, always teetering on an unstable fulcrum. one minute things are fine, the next minute, you find yourself picking up shattered pieces and try to start from scratch again.

" i told myself i would not change". i told my friend.

"being gay should not be all that defines me."

being gay, now that i think of it, never did.

Monday, October 26, 2009

adidas: king of the road 2009, 21km

it felt like it was my first race all over again. almost exactly a year ago, i joined my first marathon, running a 5km course. the race was Run for Life. they had it again this year but was set the day before the adidas marathon. despite wanting to have joined it, i could not since i had work that day. i recall back then, i could not sleep the entire night owing to nerves. i was awake as early as 3am and was already pacing around the house, half eager, half dreading the race that was about to come.

now, it was like deja vu as i found myself awake, yet again, at 3am for the adidas king of the road 2009, my first 21km run. i had never thought that i would reach this point this quick since my venture into long distance running, considering that not too many months ago, i found myself injured and limping in pain. i had developed sheer shins due to improper running as i trained and thought it was the end for this hobby. thankfully so, stubbornness and muay thai (yes... muay thai and all the kicking and bruises that came with it) helped me in my recovery. after a few months hiatus, i started running 5kms again, and then 10kms. i had also, by now, convinced my brother to take up running as well. now we join races together. the adidas race is his first 10km run.

to say that i was anxious is an understatement. i could not keep myself still the entire night prior, up until the start of the race. the dread of running a course that was more than double the course i last ran (10km eco-dash) kept lingering in my head. studying the race map, i could not imagine i would have enough stamina to finish such a long route considering i would most often than not be already exhausted at around the 9th km. thankfully so, i had a boost of support from a great friend and running bud, outednarnian (ON). this would be ON's 3rd 21km so i could not have found a better running bud. pacing was key and considering i have a propensity to speed up unconsciously, i really needed an "anchor" of some sort just to keep me from going roadrunner! it was also a great comfort to know that you are enduring something with a friend and feed off each other's support.

the countdown began and i gave myself a quiet prayer. i was really worried of getting injured since i really didn't feel i had trained enough. ON was also recovering from an injury himself, so i was concerned for him as well. one minute to go. this is it, there was no turning back. quitters never win. rio dela cruz (marathoner extraordinaire with an afro) turned around and gave both of us a nod. what an ego-boost that was, i thought, considering that i would be DYING in just a few hours from now. last 10 seconds. the runners were now bouncing as you could palpate the euphoria building up. BANG! the gun shot heralded hundreds of runners bolting forward like bunnies towards infinity!

i was running beside ON and tried to run according to his pace. he has ridiculously long legs so it was rather difficult to synchronize to his rhythm. my brontosaurus thighs were complaining that they could not keep up. i later then decided to just run slower than my pace and just keep visual track of him. the advice of this australian runner i met on my last race then came to mind. he said "running should be effortless and automatic, like walking". and so, i "walked". runners soon started zooming past me, young and old, male and female. the spaces between us started to increase and i could feel myself have the urge to run after them, but i did not. we were barely on the first few kilometers, i told myself, there will be more chances to catch up. i could not risk tiring this early. there was still a long way to go. a very LONG way.

a chunk of the course was familiar to me, around the fort, the kalayaan flyover, buendia. i have never ran past reposo though and as i crossed that intersection and found myself inching towards ayala avenue, i could not help but feel ecstatic. i have never RAN this far before. the lead runners were now coming back, headed by this kenyan (who won the QC marathon the week before). he was amazingly fast!!! i soon saw rio run by. again, he gave me a nod as he zoomed past me. ahead, i could see the first u-turn at buendia-osmena intersection. HOLY CRAP was i tired, 1/4 of the race down, and more to go. ON was 3 runners behind me, keeping his pace. i had not realized that i was running ahead of him already since i was looking at the road most of the time. i noticed i would accelerate when i focused on the runners so i had to stop doing that. running back to the fort felt shorter this time and surprisingly, after the U-turn, the fatigue went away. the endorphins kicked in i guess. as i approached the kalayaan flyover, i was greeted by the SEA of oncoming 10km runners. there were soooo many of them! so many, they took up almost the entire width of the course, leaving just a sliver for the 21k runners to course through.

entering back at the fort, we started heading towards the second part of the race, running towards mckinley. i recall ON mentioning how terrible this leg of the race was so i was bracing myself for the worst. he was not mistaken, the mckinley-bayani road leg was hard!!! long flat stretches, uneven roads, and long inclines soon took it's toll on my legs. i started feeling my knees hurt and my ankles began to feel sore. i began to get nervous. i was very much tired by this point as the climb back up the flyover exhausted me. i soon stopped and began to walk. i fought the urge to run after the people running past me again as i did not want to risk having fatigue set in. i knew i still had some juice left, i just needed to find it. i began running again, keeping my rests to my 10-20 second time frames. jog, don't run. don't speed. stay focused, i kept telling myself again and again. ON was no where in sight and i didn't really know where i was already. all my brain was telling me was "forward". soon, i found the lead runners running back. i anticipated the U-turn to come soon but didn't realize how much farther it was still. reaching this U-turn at the end of bayani road was the hardest for me. by this time, my body was on an uproar! my knees buckled a few times and my shoulders were starting to spasm. my ankles felt like i had lead weights strapped around them and my chest felt like it was going to explode. 15kms down.... 6 more to go.... 6 EFFING MORE!!!! ON soon appeared beside me, looking just as exhausted. he urged me not to stop since (apparently) we were doing great time. he exclaimed we could finish the race under 2 hours!!! with that idea in mind, despite the pain, i started picking up my pace again. this was the communal mantra, it seems, as the runners who would see ON and me slow down would urge us forward to finish under 2 hours! blame it on my sense of humor and maybe the endorphins, i kidded back at one of them that i had change with me to take the jeep back. my joke was received with some chuckling, the laughter helping distract me from the pain.

the fort soon appeared on the horizon again and ON and i were now running side by side. a few minutes later, the sound of the cheering crowd at the finish line could be heard. the group of 21km runners soon joined the stream of 5km runners as we all inched towards the finish line. ON and i decided to walk for a bit to gather energy for the final mad dash. we turned the corner at serendra and gave the race all the energy we had left. all the energy i had. all the emotion, all the thoughts, all the frustration, everything i had, i focus to one singular burst. it truly was a mad dash as i felt like a crazed driver running after someone who just clipped my car. the pain i had been feeling disappeared. the fatigue i had carried for almost 2 hours, gone. all i had was the vision of the ticking clock and seeing that i was going to run under it before the hour turns 2!

and i did. my unofficial time, 1 hour and 54 mins.

stopping after i crossed the finish line, i felt my entire body burn. i immediately went under the shower the race provided and cooled myself down. as i felt the cold water run down my clothes and soak into my shoes, i could not help but feel relieved and glad. i had overcome another hurdle. i did what i thought i could never do, and all the bad things i thought would happen didn't happen. getting out under the water spray, i started looking for ON. he crossed a fraction of a second after, his fastest time YET! i found him and we congratulated each other for a fantastic race. what happened after that is a bit blurry now since i think my brain walked out on me, hahahaha. all i can recall clearly was me congratulating him and then turn away to look for my kuya! (sorry ON if i came across as rude!!!! SORRY!!!).

i found my kuya by the stage. he had a great 10km run and was beaming with pride for how good his run went. he asked me how mine was and without batting an eyelash, i said "painful!" :) my dramatic self was on apparently and now needed to be validated. hahahahaha!

thank you LORD!!!! till the next 21km on november 15 for the timex run!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

3 micro posts

"i'm a rather hard person to convince but, i think i just got sold by what you said right now." that's what one of the owners of the company i was applying for said when i told them i was not confident on my salesmanship. they asked me if the ridiculously expensive furniture pieces i was to sell (if they hired me) was worth the price they were charging. i bluntly said no, much to their amazement i guess. i later explained that for some articles, it's not really just the pieces that you pay for but also the process that went behind it, as well as the image it projects. you actually buy the image more than the piece itself. it was an honest answer. it was an answer i never thought i would give since i had always had this idea that being blunt during a job interview was practically commiting suicide. i guess, there will always be instances like this that will prove that not all you believe may turn out to be the only way things can be done.

dad's word of wisdom suddenly came into mind. "if you can't get in thru the front door. try the back." somehow... i cannot help but think of a double meaning for this.

* * * * *

"good morning andrew!" andrew is my favorite server at my favorite resto. i sincerely doubt he knows my name but i'm sure he, and maybe the rest of the staff at that restaurant, already know my face. ever since coming back from dubai and having worked in the service industry, i had started calling people who serve others by their names. not only does it get their attention faster, but for me, it's a way of offering respect for the job that they do. though i am pretty sure there's nothing derogatory with using "boss" or "kuya" or "miss", i just feel that the extra level of familiarity, coupled with a smile is so much better. it diffuses that barrier. frankly, i'm actually more comfortable knowing my server is comfortable with me. i certainly would not mind receiving smiles and being called by my name myself. so far, i have not received any untoward reaction to my new habit. on the contrary, i get a lot more perks by doing it i think.

* * * * *

when i was younger, back in school, when you'd ask ppl who i was, they'd most probably say "ah, jamie? he's the artistic one. he loves to draw." indeed, until today, those people still know me in that sense. if you would bump into the people i went to college with though, they'd most probaly say "si jamie? yun nerd. pwedeng maging teacher!". again, those people till today see me still in that light. they're probably wondering now why i am not in med school or in the states earning in dollars (and spending in pesos, cheap that i am). then there are the people i went to design school with. artistic skill wasn't just the measure we were gauged upon, but rather, innovation as well as O.C.-ness. i was called "bibo" by a good friend back then, a term until now i still do not understand. then comes the people i met after design school. i wonder what impression i have on them?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the month of X

since coming out, i think i have had three "almost" relationships, all of which obviously did not materialize for one reason or another; too young; too much in love; too self-centered; too many issues; may girlfriend... yada yada. my foray into the dating scene was my willful attempt into testing the waters of this identity that i am embracing. i thought to myself then, this is what i needed to be complete (very CENTRUM, indeed), to have a relationship and share love and be loved back. but interesting enough, and though i have to admit it was fun to have someone during those moments wherein we would connect, though my heart went pitter-patter with kilig, my brain on the other hand, was not all too amused.

it was my brain, in the end, that stepped on the brakes for all three of them. well, technically, just two since the last one... well... basta na.

so why am i babbling about all of this by chance. i really don't know. maybe it had something to do with the fact that i am now communicating with all three of them again, all contact re-established within a span of just two weeks. fate has a weird way of moving things for me.

i wonder where im headed off to now?

Friday, October 9, 2009

an elementary rhyme

i noticed it without trying,

five fingers flared out to me.

to a brilliant note, corralling,

“oh my god!” “come look!” “come see!”

this news that’s very important,

a great story? It must be!

my full attention, I gave it

as I listened intently.

it was a tale full of “oh my!”s

of “uh-huh...”s and of “hee-hee”s.

i’d tell you more about it, but

i just have a bad mem’ry.

Friday, October 2, 2009

bone picking

i would have been pacing the room, freaking out ballistic, if it weren't for the fact that i was sitting down. my brain tried it's best to wrap around the words i was reading, while a greater part of me was keeping my temper at bay, but the sharps words kept coming.

years of struggle seemed to have been reduced to mere whining and great efforts to keep the peace, discredited to a petty display of inaction. i wondered to myself why was i feeling so attacked? i have had people judge me before, criticize me before, hell, i even had one falsely accuse me of something i didn't do in public before, and yet in all those times, i did not react nor felt anything against the persons involved. yet here i was, seething, feeling mocked.

maybe it was because i didn't know those people. more so, because i knew they didn't know me. i pick on whatever wisdom there is to gain from the experience, then brush off the dust and move on. there's nothing really much more to expect from strangers acting blind. but to the people whom i thought knew me better, whom i expected more from...

i rarely take offense. i really rarely do. but i am offended now.

never, ever presume. you tread a dark and uncharted road if you do. wiser people would only linger around the path where light can still reach it, and even then still exercise caution. to go deeper is not brave but reckless and downright foolish.

never try to shed light on something you don't fully understand. you might just disturb something you are not ready to handle.

never be over confident. the small piece you hold may not be part of the whole you think you have. blanket judgments have cost people dearly. not all symptoms are by the same malady. wiser people take time to be sure before they act.

never underestimate silence. a lot of times, the quiet is more productive than senseless discourse. if words are indeed necessary, chose wisely, else, you just might regret the things you say.

pardon me now then, i hope you don't mind but, i will be quiet now.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the good of "ondoy"

I called up my cousin after learning that he was finally home. He had been stranded in Cainta, on the second floor of his friend’s house for three days due to the floods that has wrecked so much havoc to the city and its neighboring provinces. As I spoke to him and asked the usual questions (How are you? How did things go? Were you safe all the time? How was the damage?), his voice, jolly person that he usually is, slowly took a more serious tone. He kept mentioning how bad it was, how bad he felt, how mad he was that all of this had to happen. He was frustrated for the damage, for all the loss, for all the destruction. Then he mentioned he got angry with God, but immediately felt sorry that he did, but still… why did He allow such to happen?

* * * * *

I got up early that Sunday morning, despite spending the night before wondering what tomorrow would bring. I guess it was due to all the physical and emotional fatigue I had that fateful Saturday when I witnessed the entire city slowly sink under an unforgiving sea of mud and rain. I fell asleep effortlessly, deep and dreamless. Waking up to the morning sun the next day felt unusually eerie, even out of place to a degree as if i wasn't expecting it to be there. The air was still heavy with moisture, saturated I presume from all the rain that we have had the past 12 hours, notably, as much rain as what we would get for an entire month. My uncle and aunt busied themselves with their usual morning routine. They had just come back from a quick drive around Quezon City to scope out the damage. Basing from their expression, it was no where close to what they were expecting. The drive to church was a quiet one, the silence only broken by exclamations of disbelief as we passed by buildings and homes and meter high walls washed clean by an obviously strong surge. Ironic actually, these structures are now scrubbed spotless by the raging current and yet, in the waters wake, strewn about are mounds of mud and garbage. Tires and debris hung like banderitas on roofs and fences and second floor balconies. The roads had relented to the current and the asphalt peeled off like chaffing skin. Container trucks and mud-caking cars litter the streets as if some gigantic child threw a tantrum in his playpen. People, with empty gazes and expression-less face start emerging, watching dazed as what must have been all their worldly possessions now are reduced to a worthless heap of trash.

Someone prayed out loud that morning, thanking God for the flood and the rain. Someone then prayed, praising God as our wind, our joy, our rest. Indeed, it was a strange prayer, but then I realized, after a fellow brother shed light on our circumstances, that God, in His great purpose, can also use such tragedies as tools to work out His good purpose, for His good pleasure, that is, to save us all. I then recalled the life of Job, and Jonah and that also of Paul and Silas and too eventually admitted to myself, yes, truly, the Lord will work out all things for the good. I said my amen’s.

* * * * *

“why did He have to do this?” my cousin asked again. “why this?”.

“because.” I replied. “sometimes, I think, God gets tired of being ignored”.

“but don’t ever presume, that with our limited comprehension, that He has no purpose nor reason in His ways. God is righteous. Good always issues out from His works, God could even use the works of the devil to carry out His great plan. I have been following tweets these past few days and I am simply amazed as how people have mobilized, like an army, to help out all those in need. It gives me goosebumps reading about all the “good” that this tragedy had caused, a good that I doubt, we would not have seen if it were not for this tragedy. I had a discussion with a friend not too long ago about how I felt we lacked a sense of community in this country. That we practice a culture of apathy. I am glad to stand corrected however, after having witness people being so selfless these past couple of days, even to the point of sacrificing their lives for the sake of others.”

I then told him the story of muelmar magallanes and other tales of heroism and kindness from strangers.

“you are frustrated because you were caught helpless. God made you feel helpless and futile. He put you in your place in the great scheme of things and you did not like that, that’s probably why you feel like that now. But consider this, there are people out there more helpless than you. I suggest you use up all that energy you have pent up inside and do something positive with it. Volunteer. Donate. Do something. Pray even. Pray for good weather. Pray for more kindness. Praise God for His good purpose.”

for those still wishing to help, please contact the national red cross for details. you could also find the nearest donation site to deliver goods to give to those who badly need it the most.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

spring awakening: the half review

so there i was outside the carlos p. romulo auditorium, watching people trickle away to their seats while i loitered about at the lobby waiting for my "broux" to arrive. pooped out from work, he woke up late and got caught in friday-night makati traffic, made worse by the incessant rain. an hour and a full act later, he finally materializes... together with our tickets. as we got to our seats, it was just when actor joaquin valdes was doing this rain dance of some sorts on top of a flimsy looking stage which eventually (and very quickly, i might add) progressed to him doing the horizontal mambo with actress kelly latti. one boob exposure and joaquin mooning the entire audience later, it was intermission.

and so here begins my half review.

considering i didn't get to see the first act and have absolutely no idea who the characters are or what the primary plot is, allow me to give my impressions based solely on the powers and my observation and my imagination filling in the blanks. i presume the setting was in turn of the century germany basing on the costume, the set, the character's names and well, the values being portrayed, conservative and very narrow. the story revolved (as far as the second part, that is) around melchior and wendla, their story being he fucked her, she allowed him to fuck her and now she's pregnant which apparently during those times is a big no-no. scandalous shit that he is in, melchior gets expelled from school (the cast are portraying teens going thru puberty i think, hence the title) and so the story goes. there are other subplots that flank this main story like a budding (bading?) gay relationship, and a suicide. i think there were some more issues tackled from the first act but since i didn't get to see any of that, no point in me telling.

so where do i begin when your first vivid memory of a play is someone's butt? quite everywhere but (no pun intended) the play, really. i sat through the second half and found my eyes and ears start to drift and wander. pardon me for my lack of attention but puberty and the taboo of sex and all these teen issues is old news to me, and no matter how you repackage old news, its still old news. i could not help but notice however the reaction of the audience. they were for the most part captivated. i recall studying this one member sitting on stage (part of the seats were on stage) and how she looked and followed the cast, almost as if dissecting them with her eyes as she sat, legs crossed and eyes focused. there was also the old lady seated behind me who remarked a lot to her seatmate. though i often dislike people giving unsolicited commentary, i however found myself eavesdropping since i found it interesting, even entertaining as to how she reacted to some of the graphic scenes on stage. thankfully, she was not your palengkera manang variety but conducted her expressions with controlled and much appreciated poise (pa-chuckle chuckle lang).

my appetite now stirred, i began taking notice of the play (finally). this was at the point wherein frazzled moritz came out (played by an adorable looking nicco manalo with his lyle lovett hair). playing a kid wound up to the point of breaking, the actor did his role well since i definitely felt his frustration. his singing on the other hand, well, lets just say, i liked his acting better. actor joaquin valdes was just as good as how he was the first time i saw him. i am still impressed by how well he executes his role, singing-wise and acting-wise. who would have thought beady eyes could be so expressive! same holds true with the lead actress, kelly latti, playing the naive and now pregnant wendla. i however found her singing weak and actually had some difficulty understanding some of the words she sang. jett pangan and cheska inigo played all the adults on stage (and i do mean ALL) and i found it amusing how they shifted from one character to the next like a pair of hyperactive schizophrenics. their presence provided me some comic relief from all the weight these kids were serving. not surprisingly, it was the adult's performance that i liked the most. there was another source of humor in the story, from the blossoming gay love between a very cute jc santos and nar cabico. again, it was a momentary break from all the loss and strife, something that i appreciated (especially with such eye candy). i just however wish the actors payed better attention to diction since i found myself get distracted every time a word is "mis-intonated". for gay germans, medyo matigas dila nila :)

overall, my impressions of the play were so-so. i think the plot, despite it being rather cliche, still had great story-telling potential. it deals with issues we are all familiar with and undoubtedly, issues with still much social relevance. this is rather advantageous since all the actors needed do is rekindle this memory and they have the audience in the bag, HOWEVER, it was just that that i found them lacking in. though grossly, their performance conveyed the main sentiment, it was in the details that they missed out a lot. they didn't, to me, feel troubled enough, agitated enough. their movements, for me, fell short of the edginess as well as the abrasiveness, crass, almost obscene explosion of emotions one would expect from repressed teens. i could not help but feel a sense of restraint with them. funny actually, in some parts, the adults felt more real in letting go of their inhibitions and acting more like teens that the "teens" themselves.

song-wise, they were ok. quite modern with a lot of the feel almost reminiscent to RENT. again, however, their delivery lacked the oomph! i had wished they had. they were able to do it in some parts but weren't so successful in the rest. i just hope they do better in their future runs.

so there goes my half review. "spring awakening" wasn't as awakening as i had hoped despite the awards and the reviews. considering that i only saw the later part of the musical, i could only wish that the part that i didn't see would make a significant difference in my eventual musical viewing experience.

"spring awakening" runs from september 25 until october 18 at the carlos p. romulo auditorium, RCBC plaza, makati. For tickets, call 8927078 or 8401187

Friday, September 25, 2009

in no particular order

in no particular order...

1. HAPPY dry roasted garlic peanuts. family size.
2. riding on the passenger seat of a car.
3. smiling to greet.
4. someone taking a second glance and smiling back.
5. hearing a friend mistaking someone for gibbs cadiz.
6. having the same friend almost mistake the same person for gibbs a second time.
7. the tweet "Good morning universe, world, earth, Philippines, tourism, photogenic, and congeniality!"
8. watching Avenue Q.
9. witty remarks.
10. being greeted by friendly strangers while i run.
11. triple mousse chocolate cake... which a friend ate.
12. breakfast after a marathon.
13. finally meeting (you).
14. chatting with zoe while i decide on which shoe to buy.
15. watching UP and feeling like a child again.
16. nanbantei chicken skin!!
17. meeting curly fries.
18. coffee at baang.
19. wearing my copper shoes.
20. falling asleep.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the horizons of change

was chatting with a friend last night, touching base and trying to keep ties, something that i am rather guilty of not doing well. while in the middle of our conversation, he inquires about how i am doing currently. though i often answer such questions with an almost reflex "i'm ok... i guess", i found myself last night going into more detail. though my standard answer, i believe, does hold true to my situation as i really was ok, it however felt short of what i really felt inside.

funny. i know i talk a lot and like to share my opinion about almost everything under the sun, but when issues are turned towards me and i find myself digging deep into myself for answers, then words suddenly become scarce. i guess this is what people call "walling up". i however, would like to think that i do this gracefully and mask my discomfort by becoming more cerebral in my mood and apathetic in my tone. logic and sense, i guess, had always been an effective security blanket, even though i am sure if faced with a Vulcan, i would definitely look like an utter fool.

last night however, i found myself digging deep. rather, what had been resting deep surfaced with ease. though i never really shared so much of myself to this friend of mine before, he suddenly became the recipient of my inner overflow.

"so how are you?" he asked, that was all i needed to hear (read... since we were on YM).

i suddenly had a semi-vision. i saw myself to be like Abraham, when God brought him up to the mountains to show him his inheritance, pointing to the endless land, the stars and the sand... i felt like i too was on top of a mountain, but instead of feeling a great sense of thankfulness, i could only feel a springing sense of daunt. i said, i am now at a point in my life when i can actually look into the future and decide. it used to be rather unrealistic back when i was younger since i think i still didn't know what i want and dreading about the future was just a waste. but now, now that i am older, the future is here. i am catching up already to what fate has destined for me.

the path is clearer. the choices i have to make are beginning to be realized, and though i know i can handle a lot more now, a good part of me feels unwilling all of a sudden. ironically, despite the future now being more certain and concomitantly, less stressful, i am now finding myself struggling to be freed from it. a part of me thinks that i had given up so much to prepare for today and for what tomorrow brings that i have not enjoyed my life because of it. now that i am just beginning to reap the "fruits of my labor", here comes the the real test and now i don't want it. i don't want to be enslaved by it anymore.

"sacrifice" is a word i see and hear in my family very often. if ever there is one trait i inherited, it is this, to be long-bearing. but to be able to perform such feats of endurance requires as well mental fortitude and a strong will, both of which i think i have either depleted or have exhausted needlessly a long time ago.