Sunday, May 31, 2009

thoughts of the schulammite

i would sometimes wonder, like how i often do, what it would be like when circumstances would eventually take the space between us and, painlessly, put eternity in its place. i find myself asking maybe in the greater scheme of things, with the universe working itself towards a yet unforeseen better good, that our lives would be, in my own thinking, be how it should be, apart; simplified; uncomplicated; and even probably to an imagined ideal degree, peaceful. i wonder if in its doing, we would be made to walk the remainder of our days with a lightness in our step, enjoying the pleasure of having an absence of longing, experiencing the relief of having no burden for secrets, being freed from the threat of causing any offense. you would be now free to do whatever it is you wish with no need for concern or thought, as how i would also be, eradicating visions of you completely from my memory. i wonder if and when our lives eventually diverge and we two now take our separate, opposite ways, that we will, maybe, probably, be truly, genuinely, be happy.

but then, just maybe, despite my curious wonderings, i am already happy, now, knowing you are there.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

super lola

"bless this generation, and the generation after. may they be of service to You, be of use to You." she prayed in a melodic chinese, as this generation and the generation that came after were gathered around the dining table. she had started her blessing softly like how she would often do, in a quiet voice, with a soft tenderness that only a mother of ten can deliver. she praised God for being good, for Him for being our Lord, how it was an honor and a privilege to worship Him. she praised God for His virtues, for being our savior, for loving us, for redeeming us, for being our ever beloved. and as she prayed and praised and gave glory to Him who deserved it, the fire in her spirit burned brighter and brighter, stronger than any one else' i have felt. the tenderness in her voice was replaced by a more forceful tone. it drove her words, like daggers and spears, into the ones gathered around her. a connection was made. it strung us all together, bound us tighter than blood ties and held us to something that was deeper, more powerful. her prayer had reached its climax and i could only sit, listen and marvel at the awesomeness of her offering, how rich and blessed she must really be, how much life and love and knowing she must have had attained to pray such a prayer and even touch those around her. she overflowed and outpoured, and we all benefited in it. and as she gradually wound back down after reaching the height of her praise, everyone seemed to have given off a soft sigh, an exhale from the ecstasy. on her last phrases she gave thanks to the food, and we all confirmed with her with our humble "amen"s. as we unbowed our heads and slowly began to stir from our seats, i took a moment to reflect again on this very common event in my household. i smiled as i reminded myself how much i love my lola, and how much i love it whenever she kicks spiritual ass!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a discourse on veritas, by ling-ling*

truth could care less what you thinking of it. how you reason, what you rationale, what ever you concepting, mean nothing in face of truth! truth is truth. it remaining absolute even without you or your idea. it exists irregardless. its element, constant. its definition, uncompromising.

it like tip of BIG iceberg. you only see what is sticking out. very small. but what you don't see is big underside, almost as big as your great uncle's belly after he ate hotel buffet and would not stop because he want to eat his money's worth. anyway, you may not see the big underside of small tip iceberg, but that not mean it's not there. it does not mean it's not true. that is truth.

truth is sound of tree falling in forest after illegal loggers cut it down. you may not hear it, but sound still there. it will always make sound. government official may say it never happen and no tree fall there as well but then, we here talking about truth... government not really best example.

truth is like calories in your favorite quadruple shot caffe americano. i don't know why you like it but even if you don't taste it, calories still there and you should not be surprise that you get fat because of it. better drink tea. no calories... like splenda!

truth like you buy rolex at greenhills from your suki. it look real, it feel real, it sound real. it tell real time. it may even have real diamonds. you bring it to rolex service center to check and they say it real too! they say it real, you think it real. you show your friends and they say "wah! you so lucky and rich, you be able to buy rolex with diamonds!" you feel proud because you own a real rolex. so pretty and so rich, noh? but that not the truth. the truth is somewhere in china, someone just really good in making good copy, so good it fool everyone. either that or you went to bad rolex service center. that is the truth.

this is truth. it no matter what you think. it no matter what people say. it no matter what you believe. it will not change the truth. you not make the truth any more true, it is true on its own. you do not make the truth. it will not bend to you. ok?

* ling-ling, my hairbun sporting, karate shoe wearing, hairy moled chief accountant, who occupies a third of the trinity in my psyche had a sudden spark of insight while i was walking home one morning. it was hard to keep her quiet, being the way she is, hence i felt it was only proper to publish her thoughts, praying that by doing so, my quiet mornings will be once again be, quiet.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

bicol bukols... finally.

my incessant nagging finally paid off it seems since my trigger happy shutter bug friend this morning at church handed to me the disc that contained the prime precipitate of filtering through 700 or so pics consolidated from three different cameras from three different people who went with us to our trip to bicol not too long ago. (breathe) perfect timing since i am just beginning to wonder if that trip ever happened considering it felt so long ago and that all evidence i had of the trip is slowly disappearing or is long gone already like the pili nuts i bought in legaspi that was consumed in barely a week and my tan of which i so pain stakingly tried to apply on myself evenly. (breathe) thankfully all is not too late for i now share with you the pictures my friends took that documented our days in that fun and interesting journey to the south from which we all had our first encounters with geological marvels as well as majestic giants which was reason why we went on the trip in the first place. (breathe) hope you all enjoy them well as much as i had while i was there since i am now toying with the idea that since my friend had already heard enough of my subtle hints as well as my more overt whining as to the whereabouts of these said pictures and whether or not they would eventually appear in my lifetime and that i may never get invited on their trips again. (breath)

maybe next time i would be wise enough to bring my own camera.

(see what difference punctuation marks can do?)

Friday, May 22, 2009


dear blog,

sorry for the neglect. you must feel absolutely livid with me right now for totally ignoring you this long. despite the many things that have been happening since my last entry, i am afraid i just could not find the time, nor the energy to write. work as you may well know (or not, since i really don't write about it) has practically taken up my days and since it's a family business, duties extend way beyond your standard (and humane) 9-5 hours. my social life is obviously suffering due to this shift in my routine but like a mantra we have in the business, everything comes with a price (even with discounts, the price is still high). i still have vestiges in my day to enjoy non-work related activities, or so i call them, like go the the hardware store and buy locks and tiles for my OTHER job, or enjoy a cup of java at 1am on a weekday while battling sleep and trying to have some QT with my folks. but i really shouldn't complain. work is only just work, and family will always be a bit more lenient than the typical slave-driving boss. i really shouldn't ask for more... SO. to appease you for my very unforgivable absence, dearest blog, allow me to give you a synopsis of the highlight of my days.

* * * * *

i was able to watch ANGELS & DEMONS last tuesday, miraculously considering how late i leave the office, at trinoma with the cousins. had a sinful dinner comprising of spinach and cheese penne with uber deadly granny smith apples and cream courtesy of my gourmand aunt before rushing to the mall to hopefully catch the second to the last screening. we arrived 15mins before the show. fell in line at probably the slowest ticket queue ever (i'm not exaggerating, it was ridiculously slow) and got to our seats just before they finished showing the trailers. the theater was packed despite it being a weekday. it was supposed to be a stress-free evening, enjoying a good movie; savoring still a good meal; in the company of cool family. stress free... that was, until the entire row behind us suddenly decided it was their God-given duty to give a point by point commentary on the movie, as the plot unfolds. NOT ONLY DID THEY COMMENT LOUDLY WITHOUT EVEN BOTHERING TO APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THE WHISPER (which, in a movie house, i still would never encourage), THEY ALSO DECIDED IT BE THE PERFECT TIME TO GOSSIP AMONGST THEMSELVES WHEN A MEMBER OF THEIR "HERD" GOT THEIR ORDER FROM THE FOOD KIOSK WRONG AND WAS THREATENING TO "SUE" THEM FOR THE INCONVINIENCE THE CAUSED. i swear, sharp looks and "shush-es" could not quench their disrespect. a bazooka maybe, too bad i left mine in my other bag! these people had hides thick as the great wall of china and the conduct of nicaraguan howler monkeys... um, maybe not. i really shouldn't be so mean.... the howler monkeys don't deserve it. UGH!

* * * * *

notice currently that some young boys (and men who think that they're boys for that matter), in lieu probably of the latest hip hop craze that i really never bother myself with, wear these uber designed baseball caps and have them "float" on top of their heads. i mean float, since they don't really wear the caps, just have the lightly rest on top of their heads as if they have something large hidden underneath. this new manner of dress give these fellows an extra umph to the heights of their craniums, probably paying homage to the classy pouf madame marcos made vogue before, or even marie antoinette before that. anyways, though i really shouldn't comment on other people's fashion (or lack of it) sense, i have to draw the line if said sense becomes the major cause of me not enjoying my stress-free night. as if the row of turkeys sitting behind wasn't enough, we had to also contend with this moron who sat in front of us and his utterly inconsiderate cap. dude.... it's PITCH BLACK, no one will take notice if you have a bad hair day, or even if you have any hair to begin with since its, well.. its PITCH BLACK! also, the theater is the last place for one to try to look fashionable, unless it's a premier and if you're a celeb worth people's attention. now, since we are NOT at a premier and you are NOT a celeb, and that no one will give a rat's smelly ass that you are trying (desperately) to look cool since the theater is PITCH BLACK, explain to me why instead of robert langdon zipping in and out of rome, all i see is this mountain of a pain in the form of your cap in front of me? besides the fact that you are a moron?

explain here ..........................................................................................!!!!!!!!!!

* * * * *

we had a last supper of some sorts for my cousin, who is now back in the land of maple leaves, last wednesday at the cafe at ACE WATER SPA here along del monte. the food was so-so but the facilities of the place, after giving it a brief scan, i have to say is pretty impressive. the water spa of a european concept and according to my friend, is similar to this facility in bali wherein to go along a series of pools where jets of water massages you and practically, wash all your worries away. i wasn't able to try it out yet since i didn't have my swimming gear with me (you have to be in skin tight trunks, no shorts and shirt for the more discreet here) but i definitely wouldn't mind giving it a try in the future. most especially after that trinoma experience....

* * * * *

due to my utterly stubborn sheer shin, i am afraid i have to hang my running shoes for now and put my dreams of running a full marathon on hold. i have been suffering this sharp ache on my tibia for almost 2 months now and have done almost everything i know to get rid of it, from resting; taking anti-inflam meds; deep tissue massaging; even buying a new pair of shoes. unfortunately, like it's owner, it too doesn't know when to quit. so with the risks of suffering more serious injury if i choose to ignore the pain, i go on a marathon hiatus. my heart breaks when i see people run and my limbs now bear withdrawal symptoms of running long distances, but such is life. it was fun when it lasted.

* * * * *

since i now have no sport to challenge my endurance, i'm deciding to resurrect an old fascination of mine again, kickboxing. i had my first session of yaw-yan, or filipino kickboxing, last night at sarreal boxing gym here along banaue and almost died from my trainer. he was this short, lean, cut little bugger with the stamina of a bull! despite the fact that i couldn't understand him most of the time (he's a bit poor in giving uncoordinated people, like me, instructions) he was still able to have me do everything he wanted to knock the holy wind out of my lungs, that and probably half my weight in water since i was dripping wet by the end of our 2 hour, one-on-one session. did i mention this was my FIRST SESSION?!!! needless to say, i really did enjoy the workout. sure i was exhausted near to delirium, sure i was bruised and scratched and blistered from all that punching and kicking, sure i was wondering how i could get myself down 4 flights of stairs, sure i was apprehensive if i could manage to drive myself home, but the adrenaline and endorphin rush i was in was all worth it. can't wait to go back!

so there you have it, blog. the few highlights of my days. the same ones i have not had the time to document since, like what i should be doing now as i write, i should be working.

really.... i should.

lovingly yours,

jamie, the polar bear

Monday, May 18, 2009

the attack

it came to me almost like vomit, a regurgitation of sorts of things i had long wished would just leave me alone. in the back of my head, i had anticipated something like this to happen since one can only repress so much, yet what caught me off guard was the force that it came to me, almost like being punched in the gut, making my insides collapse and leaving me hungry for air.

i often brace myself of anxiety attacks such as these during my drives to work. they are the aftershocks of the clear thoughts i get during my morning walks, during the moments when i am ironically at my most quiet and most peaceful. how something so serene can bring about such turbulence is still beyond me, but then again, i should learn how to not be surprised of these things anymore. the attacks have almost become a daily fixture of my day now, almost routinary even though i would most definitely still wish it were not so. despite my efforts to calm myself and even convince myself that my fears are baseless, the waves of panic still come. though often they are weak enough for me to brush them off as mere nonsense, there will come days, like today, when they come stronger than normal, as if trying to make up for those other days when they failed to make a dent in my demeanor.

it usually starts out as an idea, quite benign, almost insignificant really, nowhere near the onslaught it would eventually become. it floats around in my head, bouncing off the other ideas now slowly filing themselves into orderly piles as i also begin to sequence the tasks i have to do for the day. somewhere during this process of mine, this unique idea, minor as it it, finds itself a welcoming nick in my psyche, issues as mcvie once mentioned (the same ones that would rival that of TIME magazine). it lodges itself tightly onto it, irritating it, setting off a catabolic chain reaction that pushes my mind to go on hyperdrive. it feels like opening pandora's box wherein all things scary and dark comes out and shoots into your direct vision, not in the cloak of darkness unfortunately but in clear, broad daylight. my mind troubled now, my body follows suit, like the gullible idiot that it is. it reacts to the imaginary insult and sends my heart racing, my head spinning, my chest tightening almost till i have to gasp. there will be a surge of extreme emotion that would well up inside me, overwhelming me and at the same time, draining me of every bit of will power i have left to fend this attack off, for it seems, my attack's main goal is simply to rob me out of hope and permanently send me onto a death spiral of despair. hands now tightly clenched around the steering wheel and trying my best to keep myself still, i scream in my head and i pray unto God, desperate for some reprieve before i am completely exhausted. and just like that, almost as how instantly my world came crashing down on me, it ends, leaving me to pick up my broken pieces on my own, driving to work, tired, breathless and a little more closer to giving up.

i can only dread what tomorrow will be like.

* * * * *

this shouldn't mean anything really. it really shouldn't. but on the moment i had a thought about you and started to reach for my phone to ask how you were, on that moment when your message beat me to my intention of contacting you first, a little bit of hope was added to my stores. a little bit of hope was enough to pull me back, just enough, to keep me safe. for this, i am grateful. thank you so very much.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

stringing random thoughts

"you must be a very old soul" she candidly mentioned, our newest addition to our every growing circle of friends, as i babbled on and on about how i wanted to immerse myself in imperial architecture while walking the winter streets of beijing. "good observation. i swear, i can still remember back in the days when i still had my pet T-rex, fufu." i retorted, before falling into an unexpected introspective silence. an old soul... how true.

"one thing life and age has been teaching me, it's learning to be mellow." my tidbit of wisdom about life, love and living. learn to live life not controlled by extreme emotions but instead, manage them, like any mature adult should do.

"are you mad at me? just tell me." the last (hopefully) message i received from a guy i am consciously deciding once and for all to cut all ties with. managing the guilty feeling of ignoring his messages and calls since i really don't feel it's right to ignore people... even if in certain cases (hopefully, like this one) it is your best recourse. maybe because i myself know what it feels to be disregarded and that loneliness should never be punished. emotional vampirism on the other hand and feeding one's narcissism...

"when are you going to marry?" ah, the question of all questions. "when i can afford it." the answers of all answers. never mind that i'm not even in a relationship yet. ah, relatives, so impatient.

"be careful with innocence. recall how we were all once pure and genuine, that was, until life broke us all." a clear thought my spirit whispered on an early morning walk from gym.

"jamie? isn't that the name of a girl?" no, it's just that there are less chances of you massacring it compared to if i use my real name.

"J-A-M-I-E" how i would spell my name out loud every time i am asked. why then do i still get faxes and quotations with it spelled "JEMEY"? people need to learn how to listen, and listen well.

"haaaay." i have realized that listening can be a gift. not everyone who chooses to be a friend can be an effective one. i should probably learn to be a better friend to myself. it's only fair.

"i'm weaning". and winning at that as well. nothing has ever felt so bitter-sweet. the craving is dying and yet, i sometimes force myself still to have pangs for it since, it was during those times when i felt most alive, strangely even, most normal. brewed coffee grande, black, 4 packets of splenda, starbucks eastwood walk... you will always have a special place in my mind.

"yes, we all need a good brother." the last thing i said before my cousins and i burst out laughing. internal joke. writing about it for posterity.

"you're so unforgiving." my brother said as i exhaled loudly while driving home one night. true, but i chose not to compromise. stupidity should be outlawed.

"to be angry is to punish yourself for the mistake of others." said a bumper sticker of a car i once tail-gated. it saved his life from being deafened by my horn.

"we missed you." said my client as i gave her a peck on the cheek. "i love coming here. it makes me feel so relaxed. too bad you guys are light-years from quezon city." she just looked at me with her smile as i allowed myself to get lost in the interiors of my first project since coming back from dubai. this place always made me feel loved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

food trip... as in! (WARNING: deadly pictures!!!)

since it is taking almost forever for my trigger-happy friends to share the bounty of our trip to the south (blame it on our schedules and me not bringing my own camera... sigh), might as well publish pics of my most recent trip, coincidentally also to the south, but not that far down :)

not too long ago, kuya dearest had the greatest idea to give my mom a most fabulous of mother's day gifts... a food tour. he found the tour in one of the food sites he frequents and after careful consideration (which, knowing him only took a good 2 seconds), booked the three of us on what would be a culinary escapade to the summer city of the south, tagaytay.

the entire trip took us the whole day of sunday, starting at 7am till 10pm, going to 6 places in total of new and not so new food-finds. though ideally, i would rather just stick to one place and savor my food at a leisurely pace and not feel like i joined the amazing race, i doubt it would have been much of a food tour if we just ended at one. so, with the risks of suffering appendicitis or really bad indigestion aside, we hopped into our vans and with our gracious guides, ivan and his companion, er, ivan, had ourselves shuttled from one place to another of what was to be A ULTIMATE epicurean expedition.

in the beginning... there was loumar's buko tart. small but lethal. also try their equally deadly mango tarts.

joel magsaysay of almost-Utopian ilog maria bee farm... living proof you can be happy and green anytime!

introducing the ilog maria beeezzzzzz....

raw ingredients for our appetizer at bawai's vietnamese resto.

... and the finish product... a viet cong sausage?

meat on a stick. rather, a cane.

vietnamese salad greens

the heavy pho. rice noodles in the cleanest tasting beef stock i have ever tasted in my life!

vietnamese sapin-sapin. layered glutinous pudding made from rice and mung beans.

at chateau hestia, an austrian restaurant, having home made italian lemoncello in the philippines!

picollo tarta della ciocollato and mango napoleon. desserts good enough to make you want to learn a different language!

commercial break muna: why we're here.

who made it happen.

dahil bihasa kumuha ng self-pic using his camera phone.... O DI BA!!

@ yoki's farm. organic romaine lettuce grown hydrophically. not for the faint-hearted carnivore.

a sea of lola rosa. turn away meatr eaters... turn away while you still can.

packers packing fresh oyster mushrooms @ P20 a pack. how much are they selling these in the supermarket again?

and finally...

the piece d'resistance....

the welcoming porte t'cocher...

the sentinels by the foyer...

the elegant dining hall...

our awaiting spread... here at antonio's.

bottomless dalandan juice.

scallop sampler with greens

oyster creamed soup

guava sorbet.. to cleanse the palate in preparation for...

the entree. angus beef tenderloin medallion, served with pasta and a bed of arugula.

dessert was a slice of the densest chocolate ice cream i have ever had, with toasted pistachios.

happy mother's day mom!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

through imperfect eyes

and at the end of the day, you are older. you gaze into the unforgiving mirror and inspect your reflection. how time had been cruel to you, you must have thought. years have gone by so quickly, almost in an instant and you wonder what have you done to behold the image you see right now.

your skin had lost its luster. it hangs loosely upon once firm muscle and tough bone. it bears now the texture of dry parchment, a far cry from the suppleness that even the spring peach would envy. you observe your curves. you frown upon how unsightly they have become, how years of neglect have made them unshapely and grossly unflattering. you criticize your shoulders, how you find them weak and low. you complain of your wide hips and how difficult it is to now find clothes to wear. you lament over your legs, how you feel so conscious of others because of their paleness. you cringe at your aging profile and ask yourself how else can this be beautiful. you must have sighed with the thought and consoled yourself for, indeed, beauty is but a dream and dreaming is only for the foolish. on your last moments of this harsh inspection, your attention falls upon your face. you question it, every part of it. it's deep-set eyes, its narrow nose, its loose cheeks, its wrinkled lips, its grey hair. you must have felt saddened by the vision for all you could come to see was that of a person, old, and slowly wasting away.

life, can be truly brutal. but then, allow me to offer you a momentary gift and lend you my imperfect eyes. forgive me if they be defective but trust that youth still renders them useful and valid. allow me you show you what i see when i look into the same unforgiving mirror and behold the same honest reflection.

to what your eyes may deem as an aging vessel, i see a ripening fruit, its hard shell finally beginning to relinquish its tight hold on the greatness lying within. it seeps through this weakened prison and sits waiting in fissures and crevasses, gathering, adorning you with a crown only the seeking can see. you glow with a tremendous light that casts no shadow. you shine with a spectacular intensity that never wanes nor burns.

you mock at the signs of wear this body now exhibits but know that like forged iron, it is these marks that signify undeniable strength rather than inherent weakness. your low shoulders can attest to the burdens you have carried throughout your honorable existence. indeed, the load you bore is enough to incapacitate a healthy man and yet you remained unbowed, and yet you remained steadfast. your wide hips were the home your sons have called as they waited for their time to share in your world. there they laid patiently for you while you also waited patiently for them, nursing them, nurturing them even before they saw the light of day. and though worldly garments may not drape you as well as how other less figured women do, know that the glory you wear is something no cloth could enhance nor couturier can ever replicate. and as your legs tire and show evidence of fatigue for all the miles you have walked, all the steps you have climbed, all the places you have been, i am sure they, your legs, bear you with greatest pride for no one could have walked the path you have tread, nor climbed over the heaps you have overcome, nor traversed the expanse you have traveled. for this, your legs would venture you to the moon and back, if that was what your good heart desired.

you finally rest my eyes on your face again, your heart bracing for what you expect to see. alas, time has had its way with it, like how it is fair to everything finite. but yet as you study each line that graces your skin, as you view the pallor of your cheeks, as you pine over the puffiness of your eyes, the narrowness of your nose, the thinness of your lips, know that to these, my mortal eyes, you are the most beautiful. and though you may laugh at this and choose still to believe what you choose to see, know that despite their flaw, my eyes can out perform even the most perfect pair. for my eyes not only gazes, sad to say, with a set of shiny orbs that take in light, it sees as well with a heart, smitten by the image of the one woman who owned it from the moment of its creation. this image is loyal and preserved, impervious to time, locked in to my life. and this image is still what i behold and will behold, year after year, renewed, refreshed, like the love i have for you.

happy birthday mom. if you could only see what i can see.