Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Perfect

you sit across
the room

as possible
as perfect
can be

unfortunately,
to have you is

as possible
as perfect
can be

Linger

your scent
is familiar –

pine
slicing through crisp air

it reminds me
of a time
when I knew of myself
as much as you
know of me
now

it should be
unmistakable –

there is so little
that has changed

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Baguio! Glorious Baguio!

Confucius says - “one never really realizes how much you miss something until you actually have it back again”

Okay, so I made that one up. My point is, Baguio can be so out-of-sight, out-of-mind for me. But every time I go home I realize how different my life could be if I decided to stay. Great weather, cheap food and wonderful people – what more could one ask for?

I arrived with Hide, Lachi and my mom just in time for breakfast at Café by Ruins. The rest of the gang - Bok, Dianne, Dada and Mimi – arrived later than night to a bonfire and a yummy dinner courtesy of my amazing mom/host.

We went about the usual tourist stuff – boating, John Hay, market shopping and the PMA. There was also the serendipitous Tam-awan Village the way to which Mimi and I discovered quite unexpectedly after hitting a detour.

I’ve done the tour guide thing so many times but every time it's still a unique experience. Take for instance the fact that it was possible for all the silver shops not to have ring sizes big enough for Hide. Or that one could row with so much poise like Dada. That Lachi (aka my darling afritadang manok) could sleep through anything. That Dianne would actually know someone in Tam-awan or the Bok could take a cold shower in the morning or that Mimi is not only hilarious but also a generous listener.

Thanks for the great vacation guys! Itadekemas desu ka?

My Just Recently Concluded US Trip Top 10


1. My amazing Family! I love you guys so much and I just hate the fact that I spent such a short time with all of you.

2. The Producers. Didn’t get to see the Nathan Lane-Matthew Borderick production but it was a blast.

3. The Hong Kong International Airport. Yes, it’s not in the US but someone stole my wallet while I was there and they found him with all my stuff in tact! That to me is just amazing!

4. The National Constitution Center. They have this deeply moving presentation on the US Constitution that made me almost want to be an American, almost.

5. New York City! Despite the rains, walking all over NY with my Ninang Jo was plain old fun. No trip to the US is complete without it.

6. The Washington Convention Center. Attended the AAP meeting there and the convention center was so much a part of my week that I just couldn’t keep it off this list.

7. The Bostonian, Gap and Old Navy. Talk about great buys! Shirts for $ 10?! And the shoes are so stylish and comfortable I regret not having known this brand sooner.

8.ACME. This supermarket is the hallmark of my first ever culture shock experience. Imagine seeing 8 varieties of the same brand of butter.

9. 522 Monroe Rd. How could I miss the house!?

10.Food, food and more food! Texas Sausages, Lindt Chocolates, Texas Pecan Pralines, STEAK, dimsum, phoa. Man, I must have gained at least 5 pounds.

Motorcycle City


Was in Vietnam about two weeks ago for the first time and 2 things struck me most.

First, there were motorbikes EVERYWHERE. If Beijing had bikes and New York taxis, Ho Chi Mihn had motorbikes. It was amazing how 4 people could fit in one bike or how they could balance a 4 foot glass pane while driving.

Second, the food was AMAZING. I love the "clean" taste of Viet cooking. You could really taste the textures and flavors of the food. Too bad I didn't get to eat at the famous Phoa place. Maybe next time.

Monday, November 07, 2005

From Condition A to 20/20

If you look at your Driver’s License, you’d notice a column that indicates Conditions. Mine have always had condition A – WEAR EYE GLASSES.

Thanks to genetics, I’ve had fuzzy vision for 15 or so years. It was never really a big surprise to me or to anyone. My mom’s side has quite a number of 4 eyes and I accepted my lot early on. In fact, it was cool being one of the few people with glasses in high school.

But as then as one grows older it dawned on me that my life would somehow be limited by the fact that I had Condition A. There was always that scamper to find my glasses in the morning. Even if I had wanted to, I could never really attempt scuba diving or learn to fly a plane. Contact lenses were a great sub, but then again it would often irritate my eyes since I’d forget to take them off before going to bed, not to mention the sheer effort it takes to keep them fresh. At a grade of L- 4.75/R- 6.25, without my glasses or contacts, I’m practically an invalid.

Condition A is a limitation. It’s not exactly a disability compared to not being able to see at all, but to not see clearly is a literal and figurative limitation in itself.

So, after some research and the cash windfall I got, I decided to explore the possibility of laser surgery. I went to the Makati Eye Laser Center three weeks ago for an assessment. After some tests the prognosis was simple – I was good to go!

I actually had a choice between the standard procedure (PHP 45K) and the newer, individualized CustomVue (PHP 70K).

Of course I had some apprehensions. What if something went wrong I went blind? I’ve heard urban legends. Is there really any difference between the two? PHP 25K isn’t peanuts.

After some more research and talking to people who’ve gotten the surgery, I decided to go for the CustomVue. So they gave me some antibiotic drops to prep me.

After flying in from Vietnam for work, I took the plunge and had the operation done on the Friday before the long break at 5:30 pm. I went there with a driver (as instructed) and in less than 1 hour (the operation actually just took a little over 15 minutes) it was over.

Yes, there was some pain a few hours after and the protective goggles didn’t fit me, but when I woke up the following day – OH MY GOD – it was a miracle! I could see clearly for the first time in 15 years.

I went to Dr. Dinglasan for my post op check-up and guess what -- 20/20 vision for both eyes!

The feeling is really incomprehensible and I’m just beginning to enjoy how this operation is changing almost everything I do. With such little down time and with little post op maintenance (just drops every so many hours for a month or so) I often wonder why I didn’t do this earlier.

To celebrate, I’m going to the licensing division of LTO this week. Condition A on my license (just like in my life) just isn’t true anymore.




check out the Makati Eye Laser Center at http://www.4u2c2020.com/

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

United Sucks!

Here’s a tragedy that even greek dramatists would be proud of.

It begins with me being 10,000 feet up in the air and pissed. Pissed at United and what will be the longest flight of my life.

It is an ironic take on the modern American nightmare of hijackers taking planes and passengers hostage and the sheer fear and mayhem that goes with it. This one however has the tables turned. It is the tale of the most rampant and legalized form of hostage taking --- Flying on United. No exit here. Heck you can’t even get an exit row seat.

The plot is simple. In fact, it’s one I’ve encountered dozens of times over the years. The one great detail is that this is, categorically, the worst ever. It starts off with cut baggage allowances. Then it continues with an undeclared 2 hour lay over in Chicago which of course goes on to be 3 hours delayed. This of course means that I’m in danger of missing my connection to Manila. As an added bonus, the seats are bad, the food even worse. Finally in an all out extravaganza of disappointment, in-flight entertainment is a single run down screen too far for me, and half the passengers, to see. Their saving grace is that the flight attendants were friendly and accommodating -- the one advantage they have over Northwest.

One cannot help but compare the service of American carriers vis-à-vis Asian or even European airlines. Thai and Singapore Airlines are miles and miles ahead. Great food, non stop drinks, in-seat, on-demand entertainment consoles with hundreds of choices. Most importantly, delays that happen as often as a greek story with a happy ending.

No, not even marrying your own mother and killing your father can match the human folly of being 10,000 feet up in the air and being unable to walk out. The message of the gods? I, like Icarus, must really not be meant to fly. Or at least NEVER EVER on an American carrier like United.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

7 Deadly Sins

Tagged by my best bud Toni!

Seven things that scare me:
Dark office corridors. Flying Ipis! GMA. Traffic on Friday nights. Car trouble. A clean room. Monday mornings!

Seven things I like the most:
IKEA. Papi hour! Reading blog posts. A warm cup of tea. Ateneo victories! Light rain on a balmy afternoon. Bumming with my friends!

Seven random facts about me:
I'm a mongrel. I love dogs. I am a Blue Eagle freak! I love spicy food. I am now bored to death in Singapore. I misplace keys at least once a day! I have to shave everyday.

Seven important things in my bedroom:
Alarm clock. A/C unit. Phone charger! Clothes. Medicine. My non bed. 3 pillows.

Seven things I plan to do before I die:
Live in Europe. Teach again. Join the Amazing Race! Plan my funeral. Make a real difference in the life of even just 1 person. Love passionately. Bunjee jump.

Seven things I can do:
Play the saxophone. Sing (a little bit). Stay awake for 24 hours. Watch TV for 24 hours. Do 200 sit-ups (at least I used to). Drive to Baguio in 3 and a 1/2 hours. Make pancakes!

Seven things I can’t do:
Cheer for La Salle. Sleep before 11:00 pm. Stay mad without laughing. Do calculus. See without my glasses. Wear skimpy underwear. Remember names!

Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex:
Sense of humor! Great skin. Nice smile. Cute hair. Wit! Nice legs. Passion!

Seven things I say the most:
Amazing! Talaga? Des ka? Oh my goodness! Stupid Friggin bus driver/taxi driver/jeepney driver! I'll call you back. Pota.

Seven people you want to see take this quiz: Wow! Don't think I even know that many bloggers yet.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Grandfather's Clock

I don’t know if any of you have ever heard of Ken Hirai’s (the guy on right) Ookina Furudokei/Grandfather’s Clock. D introduced me to the song one rainy Tuesday night at UPIC as L and I were bumming with her. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was but I found myself holding back tears at this deeply melancholic song, moved by its all too simple harmony and honest poetic lyrics.


By some good fate, D and I had accidentally traded CDs yesterday – her Ken Hirai for my Michael Buble. And so here I was on a hectic Monday morning listening to Ookina Furudokei and once again holding my tears back remembering. Remembering my bestfriend T and her Wowo who had just passed away some time ago. My own grandfathers who had died almost 15 years apart. My dad who died before he even became a grandfather.

As I searched for the lyrics I found out that it was actually a children’s song written by Henry C. Work in 1876. Imagine that. His words, coupled with Ken’s evocative rework of the melody reminds me what all of my philosophy courses taught me -- that the simple and familiar are truly the most profound and moving.

My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride.
But it stopped short, Never to go again,
When the old man died..

Ninety years without slumbering
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock
It stopped short, Never to go again
When the old man died.

In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know,
And to share both his grief and his joy.
For it struck twenty-four when he entered the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride.
But it stopped short, Never to go again,
When the old man died..

My grandfather said, that of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found:
For it wasted no time, and had but one desire,
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face,
And its hands never hung by its side;
But it stopped short, Never to go again,
When the old man died..

It rang an alarm in the dead of the night,
An alarm that for years had been dumb;
And we know that his spirit was pluming its flight,
That his hour of departure had come.
Still the clock kept the time, with a soft muffled chime,
As we silently stood by his side;
But it stopped short, Never to go again,
When the old man died..

lyrics from http://www.nhltc.edu.tw/~english/song.htm

Friday, August 19, 2005

I have been TAGGED!

Tagged by Anj

THREE NAMES YOU GO BY
Erik
Perik
Shmerik

THREE SCREEN NAMES YOU HAVE HAD
Cerberus
Sapientia
Yoshua

THREE THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF
Funny (I hope)
Generous
Crazy

THREE THINGS YOU DON'T LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF
I'm now a sloth
I procrastinate
I can be cruel

THREE PARTS OF YOUR HERITAGE
Indian
Chinese
French

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU
Heights
Flying ipis
Dying alone

THREE OF YOUR EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS
Sleeping
Reading
Making a mess of my room

THREE THINGS YOU ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW
A black Lacoste Shirt (a gift by a client)
A nice pair of brown Spanish leather shoes (EURO 15)
My heart on my sleeve (for free)

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE BANDS OR MUSICAL ARTISTS
just for today:
Astrud Gilberto
SMAP
Sting

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE SONGS
just for today:
Fields of Gold
Girl form Ipanema
Cetrain Sadness

NEW THINGS YOU WANT TO TRY IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS
bunjee jump
a day wtihout my mobile phone
sleep for more than 12 hours

THREE THINGS YOU WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP
3 is too little and too much at the same time

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order)
I own 3 dogs
I'm flat footed
I was a varsity player in college

THREE THINGS ABOUT THE OPPOSITE SEX THAT APPEAL TO YOU
a great pair of legs
a great sense of humor
a great sense of who they are

THREE THINGS YOU JUST CAN'T DO
not scream at crazy drivers
not have a midnight snack
stop singing in the bathroom

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES
travelling
watching movies
finding something wrong with my life

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO REALLY BADLY RIGHT NOW
go home and take a nap
have a real Chicago deep dish pizza
find a faster way to answer this tag

THREE CAREERS YOU'RE CONSIDERING
teaching
professional photography
priesthood

THREE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO ON VACATION TO
Brazil
South Africa
New Zealand

THREE KID'S NAMES
you mean goats?
Billy
Willy
Tilly

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE
seek forgiveness
find peace
date a model

THREE WAYS I AM STEREOTYPICALLY A GIRL
i cry while watching sappy movies (Duece Bigalow for example)
i can be melodramatic
i am downright romantic

THREE WAYS I AM STEREOTYPICALLY A BOY
i hate shopping
i mark my territory / oogle
i live and die by the remote control

THREE PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS QUIZ
Toni
Dianne
Ganns