Thursday, July 03, 2008


Stolen from Dodo .

1. Go here. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2. Go here. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

If you want to do this again, you'll hit refresh to generate new quotes, because clicking the quotes link again will just give you the same quotes over and over again.

3. Go here. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Go here. The first ten links you end up in (minus the .coms) are your 10 song titles.

And the results are...



Album Cover:

Song Titles:


Monday, June 09, 2008


June 8, 2008.

Sunday morning.

The car radio plays that Matthew Sweet song from 1995. The car itself had been released by Mitsubishi in 1997.

And since it was early on a Sunday, I drive like it was 1999.

The only thing that ruins the 90s themed ride are the very contemporary gas prices.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Over the shoulder of some other passenger in the shuttle, I caught a glimpse of a headline in the tabloid he was reading. It said something like:


For a quick, headline-ish translation:





Seeing the headline made me wonder.

What is Metro Manila supposed to smell like now?

And, since the time people thought it was a good idea to build huts along the banks of the Pasig River, did it ever actually smell good?


It seems like I was just wondering where my holidays had gone when, all of a sudden, people were walking around with crosses of ash on their foreheads (some of them probably with no idea why they do). And I got to have a plate of tikoy for the Chinese new year -- even if my family isn't Chinese, or, for that matter, neither was the neighbor who gave the tikoy.

And now, delivery boys bearing...well...bears and flowers are back on the streets. While the red cartolina cut-outs of hearts, victorian lovers, and winged infants armed with projectile weapons are back up on store windows.

The days sure had flown for the first few months of 2008.

The paydays, however, did not.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The overcast sky makes it look like it was 6 PM instead of 6 AM as I drive through Makati. Streetlights automatically switch off by the row. I keep the headlights on and make my way home through roads populated mostly by taxis empty of passengers. I turn up the radio to drown out a certain tune playing in my head.

A possible case of mild food poisoning had been the party pooper for December 25, 2007. I realize that even a day after Christmas, it could still cause enough trouble for me at work.

As the first droplets of rain spatter across my windshield, the DJ over at NU plays that song by Ben Folds Five.

And I grin, and I give in to that certain tune playing in my head.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


The chatter died down to a murmur with the first boom, and heads were raised towards the fireworks.

It was the 24th of November. The Araw Awards ceremonies had just been concluded, and gathered just outside the Subic Bay Exhibition and Conference Center were many of the rising stars, superstars, legends and deities of Philippine Advertising. And me.

The 20th Advertising Congress was over.

Four days of network-sponsored catered food, raffles, games, open bars, free buffets, unlimited cans of soda, entertainment, and literally more freebies than I could carry (or want) that I actually gave some of them away. Oh. And yeah, there were the lectures.

Along with the other delegates from the office, I got to stay in a rented house where U.S. Navy personnel probably lived. It was easy to imagine American flags hanging from windows. The neighborhood was so uniform it seemed there was a coconut tree assigned to grow on every lawn. The place even had a murder of crows and not the usual quarrel of sparrows.

Charming as the place was, it also meant a 15 minute drive to the convention area. In Metro Manila, that travel time can cover anything between several blocks and a few inches. In Subic however, where traffic only builds up outside the convention center as vehicles load and unload Metro Manila folk, 15 minutes meant a considerable distance and driving through bits of jungle.

The numerous trips between the convention center and the house, the duty free shops and party venues were exhausting. Sitting through hours of lectures proved grueling.

By the fifth meal that inevitably included fish fillet, a random pasta dish, and beef slices in gravy, I felt queasy. And by the time I realized that “finalist” was as far as my entry would go for the awards (I’m proud to say it wasn’t a scam), I was downtrodden.

Then the fireworks started.

They were okay.

However, the context I was seeing it in made them quite special.

I was with Kitty. Just behind us stood Trisha who was clutching one of the trophies they bagged that night. Scattered all over the hushed crowd were my friends. Rivals. Colleagues. Winners. Losers. Scammers. With the exception of those still desperately trying to peddle themselves off into a new agency, we all were watching the Subic sky.

It was invigorating to see that I was part of a group that still had a sense of wonder.

I felt the accumulated stress of four days capped by a disappointing evening fading away around the time the spell of the fireworks was broken, and only puffs of smoke remained.

The 20th Advertising Congress was over.

There would be more.

I would be back.

As the crowd started to break up according to agency affiliations and party destinations, I was pleased to learn about what I’d think of as the last batch of Congress treats.

They were handing out free beer in the lobby.


Tagged by Dodo.

Last October. Heh.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


One of the city’s largest cemeteries is just a street away from where I live.

It serves as the major landmark when I tell people how to find my house. I stand before its whitewashed walls whenever I wait for a jeep or cab. The usual parade of hearses, followed by the mourners is part of my Sunday afternoons. When I finally got my own room in the old house (the former library which became the former laundry area), before the row of small commercial establishments popped up on the neighboring compound, my view had been an assortment of tombstones and mausoleums around the ancient acacia.

Unsurprisingly, All Saints Day has always been the major event of the year in this sort of neighborhood. Our street would be transformed into a parking lot/tricycle terminal/bazaar. Because of its proximity to the cemetery, our house had always served as the relatives’ pit stop since the time my maternal great-grandmother, their Mama, was alive.

Todos los Santos is like the Mexican celebration Dia de los Muertos, but with less of the festivities and more, much more of the feasting. Aside from being a school holiday, I’d look forward to November 1 because of the food stalls – which would eventually range from some of the neighbors selling ketchup spaghetti to global food chains offering value meals and pizza slices – that magically appear on the middle of the road. This was about the only time when I could find grilled dried squid near my place.

Like every other kid visiting the cemetery, I used to pass time at the clan mausoleum (well…more of the clan plots since my grandmother and her siblings never got around to adding in walls, gates or a roof) gathering candle drippings into wax balls. Several first of Novembers later, I had a wax ball the size of a small melon. When I felt I was too old and too cool to be collecting candle drippings, I turned over The Ball to a younger cousin so she can continue the tradition.

Being a typical member of the family, she immediately sold it to some guy who'd melt it down into floor wax.

She’s lucky I felt too old and too cool to care.

By that time, I was hanging out with my friends. We would squeeze past the obstacle course of tombs, candles, floral arrangements, coolers, umbrellas, tents and foldable furniture to see if there were any cute girls among the (living) people in the cemetery. Upon closer inspection, the alleged cute girls would more often than not turn out to be girls from the neighborhood dressed up for the occasion. Whenever girl hunting failed, we’d end up looking into abandoned graves and discarded caskets.

More November ones passed.

When I was in college, I realized that I was tired of being ordered by older relatives to stay and guard the bouquets from flower-snatching miscreants prowling about, and to keep candles safe from wandering urchins who had far better excuses than my cousin to sell candle wax. And by the time I was working, I preferred to be dead to the world, and to enjoy my own version of resting in peace as I napped in my room rather than sweating it out in the cemetery.

This year, I had helped my mother sort out the refreshments for relatives and guests at the house, said hello a couple of times, and that was that. After sunset, I lit some candles on the front terrace, and from behind a screen of bougainvilleas, watched the street and the cemetery gates beyond.

There were fewer stalls. Tighter security. Less people than the year before. Though still enough to be called a crowd.

I had visited the cemetery the day before, and would visit again the day after the first of November. I could afford to. After all, it is just a street away.

As the last of the light faded from the western sky, I saw the cemetery as it would look just once in a year.

When the scorching rays of the sun on bleached tombs had given way to the soft glow from thousands of candles flickering in the night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I have four umbrellas.

There's the small, foldable, midnight blue one that's always in my back pack.

There's the long, navy blue, wood handled piece of work in my room.

There's the medium-sized, matte silver and black corporate Christmas gift I keep in my office.

And then, there's the big black one I have stashed in the trunk of my car.

Which was why I had only one question last night: why on earth was I stuck outside some bank in Makati Avenue, waiting for the rain to stop?

Monday, June 18, 2007


Let's see.


Or Hong Kong.


I'm not quite sure how Osment popped-up in the second set.

Is it because sometimes I sense dead people?

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