Thursday, September 30, 2010

going down the queen

"packed your things. you'll be leaving for cebu today."
then the line dropped.
immediately, i opened my cabinet, sort fresh clothes from the laundry and stuffed it inside a small shoulder bag. no more time for second thinking of what i still need to bring.
in a matter of 5 minutes, i already caught myself hailing a cab and riding inside it.
two hours later, i was already walking along mactan international airport looking for my contact, where she later brought me in a hotel in cebu city.
i must admit, it was my first time in cebu. actually, it was my first out-of-luzon trip. alright, it was also my first AIRPLANE ride (roll eyes to geek and toiletots).
cebu doesn't have much difference from manila. if not for the language, i can wake up there believing i am still in makati or in quezon city. your manila signs obviously are there: the heavy traffic, rows of commercial establishments, fast paced commuters and of course, the ayala mall.


a friend once advised me, never ask in filipino/tagalog in cebu because most of the time, they would answer you in bisaya (he believes, it is cebuano's way of getting back to manilenos prejudices against their accent). he added that i should rather ask them in english. but being me, i still insisted in asking in filipino. luckily, i understood the language eventually.
other than food and hotels, the three major businesses in Cebu are:
1. water vending machines; 2. spas; 3. foreigners.

water vending machines
i guess, "ice tubig for sale" is already long gone. in cebu, water vending machines are almost everywhere, especially among busy streets. the concept is you get a sheet of plastic bag, located on the side of the machine; open it right below the water funnel, then drop a peso. then, water will just automatically pour and stop once it reaches it serving level. you then tie a knot above the plastic and bite a hole on the side. then the rest is just gulping.

like, water vending machines, spas in cebu are crazy everywhere. almost every street has one. they offer a wide array of services from full body massage to facials and foot scrubs, and it doesn't even costs that much. usually, it ranges from 150-250 php/hour.

if you try checking online and compare your results to other key cities in the country like manila or davao, you'll learn that the number of cebu masseues and masseurs are winning by miles.
now, it makes me wonder if either it is indeed stressful to live in Cebu or the people are just...
fond of relaxation.

it was also in cebu that i have heard (note: heard, not learned nor found out) the
linggam massage.


at first, i always believed that the huge number of foreigners are concentrated in Cafe Havanna in Greenbelt 3. but when i went to cebu, it appeared as if the entire Cebu islands were the main branch of Cafe Havanna.
unfortunately, for some of us, it seemed as if whenever we see a foreigner, they automatically register to us as stacks of cash; or whenever we see a foreigner together with a Filipino partner, we immediately connote that that the Filipino is a milker.

you can understand this by observing how aggressive and assertive certain subjects are towards foreigners, especially among malls and bars (particularly in Mango Square).

i guess, this is another part of colonial mentality that we failed to look into in our history and sociology classes.
when riding jeeps, people from cebu don't rely on the signage. they rely on the number-letter on top of each vehicle: 13C, 4B, 12L etc. as if they are map coordinates.
there are also cases, from which, when you ride a certain jeep going to a certain destination (for instance, 4C). but you will be needing to ride a different jeep (12L) to go back. or that was just me being dumb with directions again. hahaha!
after almost 4 months of no rice diet, operation: no rice diet was suspended in cebu. who can resist their presentation? and it only costs 2php.
but i guess, the bottomline is, you cannot fully enjoy cebuano food without rice along with it.
especially the cebu lechon and POCHERO aka BULALO (don't expect Cebu's pochero with tomato sauce).

looking for popular place to eat, friend suggested this place, where they serve the best grilled and raw food. so i hailed a cab and told the driver,

"manong, SHOOT-TO-KILL po tayo!"

i swear, i saw him laughing at me (eto pala ang feeling nang nadidiscriminate dahil sa accent).
i really enjoyed going to Cebu. infact, the supposed to be 5 days stay was extended to 13 days. i consider it as a working vacation, since our job there is to pose as a tourist. and they are planning to send me their again for a 2-3 month project. but if offered, im thinking of declining. for me, the time frame is just too long.
personally, cebu is for vacation, not for work.

but then again, kung malaki ang food allowance at may prospect love life baka ma- 'let me think about it ako.' hahaha!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

random thoughts over dinner talks

last night, on my way to trinoma, after work, one of my blockmates from san beda called.

"where are you?"
"on my way to trinoma. why?"
"meet us in figaro, quezon avenue.its urgent!"
"near capitol hospital?"

her response made me shiver while cold sweat gushed in all over my body. for some reasons, pictures from the recent bloody bar exam explosion came in mind.

"what happened?"
"its A's dad. he had another stroke attack."

in an instant, i asked the cab driver to take the u-turn in quezon avenue.

10 minutes after, i saw myself pushing the cafeteria's door and saw them laughing. if i didn't notice A's eyes wet and almost sore, i would think that its one of their silly pranks again (and if it was, its not a funny joke).

i took an empty chair near the wall, avoiding being in front of A.

"so what happened?"
"pwedeng mamaya na. hintayin na natin yung dalawa. hirap kayang magkwento at umiyak. magastos sa mascarra."

i laughed. relieved knowing she can still joke.

there were 8 of us in the table, another two were on their way.

but upon looking at them, i realized its been 4 years since we have been friends. despite the fact, that we came from different institutions and back grounds (five of us were from UP, another from Ateneo and a muslim from UE); we are no longer in the same school; and things have drastically changed, we are still intact and going.

in a way, i can say that we were no longer the same individuals 4 years ago. Four in the group, later became lovers. while k brought his new boy friend, who also happens to be his supervisor. the other two also have their dates and girlfriends with them. in short, it was as if there was on going multiple dates, from which i was the Nth wheel.

after a while, the two guys from La Sallle finally arrived and asked us to go else where for dinner. we decided to hit bite club in katipunan extension.

There, A told us what happened. she was already crying and more tears rushed down when she told us that they need to decide whether to proceed with an open brain operation to remove the clot that appeared in his dad's right brain or just opt in medication that would hoepfully melt the clot. both would be risky and would not assure anything.

everyone became speechless.

with no expertise in medicine, all of us tried contacting our separate contacts for advise and consulted it to A.

she would tell us her decision by the next morning.

then her partner arrived together with other folks from alabang. they were all lesbians. yes, A's partner is a girl. among all the relationships she had gone, this is the first time she commited to a fellow woman, and quitely honestly, they were damn serious about it that they even had their names inked in their bodies.

it was never an issue for us. in fact, she would even consult us rather than her other close friends whenever they are in the rocks; even the boys. we (A nd I) never thought they would give such advises for they are seldom silent.

then suddenly, the limelight was switched on me.

"ikaw, kelan ka ba may ipapakilala sa amin. ikaw na lang ang walang pinapakilala sa atin ah."

it was just then that i have realized that within the group, i am the only one who is currently single and not dating anyone.

there, i saw everyone's attention turning into me as if the same realization just dropped on their heads.

"ang dami-dami mong alam tungkol sa lovelife namin pero kami walang kaalam-alam tungkol sa iyo."

i felt something blinking inside me; alerting and reminding me that i just do not like this kind of attention.

"hindi ko alam. nahihiya daw SILA."

everyone laughed.

"eh bakit may sing-sing ka sa ring finger."

i lift my right hand "left kaya yung iniisip mo. eto nasa right!"

"eh bakit ngayon mo lang sinuot yan?"

"first year pa lang tayo, suot ko na ito. huwag kasi puro mukha ko lang tinitignan niyo."

laughter grew louder; from there i took advantage of changing the topic.

i dunno.

i remember the times when i was still seeing someone and they would invite me for dinner. i was dying to bring my date with me and comfortablly introduce the date to them. but its the uncertainty of how they would react that made me really scared. so i didn't and that fear grew in me.

later our bond went deeper and we have learned so many things from each other, i realized that i am still no longer comfortable with the idea.

perhaps, because there are just things that you do not really have to disclose. and such decision should also not have any bearing with your friendship. its just that, i have realized that regardless of acceptance, there are just things that we need to keep private. people and things that we need to keep to ourselves, regardless how selfish it may sound.

though i am not closing doors. i am still open with the possiblity that perhaps, someday.

but for now,

maghahanap muna ako ng proproblemahin at ira-rationalize ko! hahahaha...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

flying away (shabu city chronicles part 1)

as i find my steps along a dark corridor, a warm smile glistened out from the darkness.

the sound of the mild music in the background made me glide along the thin scent that romanced the air.

suddenly, a figure slowly appeared, held my hand by surprise and led me inside a narrow nest, where thin walls separate me from the rest who bravely ventured towards the same uncertain voyage.

the figure gave me a minute to take off all my hesitations while i, on the other hand, was justifying all my excuses.

as i stripped off all my pretenses, i realized, it was easier for a stranger like me to step into it. perhaps because i have nothing to chain against this soil, not even my soul.

when the figure came in, i lied against my back, stretch my arms as if surrendering myself to fate-- or perhaps it was my own volition.

then warm force fell on me, i almost moan. the pressure just hit the right spots, pushing the hollowness away, as if they already knew each other long ago; as if it understood where it really hurts.

the touch did not stop me from imagining a familiar loneliness; a figure quite vulnerable in such wonder how apathy fills these rooms every night, everyone are still deemed to be defenseless.

then suddenly, words struck out of nowhere until i caught myself getting acquainted with rare innocence and compliments. never thought such could also be commodifed. thinking if its the very necessity we pay for from the start or just another passing fad.

indeed, its hard to lie when you directly look at someone--- even in the dark.

ironically, it magnifies the truth that you keep on avoiding. the same face you kept on denying. but as i naive as it may sound, you will just then realized, it was just simply you that you are looking at.

so i closed my eyes and tried conjuring the characters from the hundred stories i have encountered and even the minute sound behind the walls i've heard.

one by one they came to life, not in front but deep inside of me. and in an instant, i became the character of someone else's story. i began to think like them, behave like them, and crave like anybody else. perhaps, this was the meaning of being human that i have always missed, after all.

suddenly, i felt my arms gently being stretched away from stiffness. then heard a voice to take the grip and so i obeyed. but in my surprise, it was not a wrist that i have expected, rather i caught my hands tangled in between irresistible warmth. then more images appeared. more than i ever thought it would be.

questions whimsically flew in and out of my senses. i was already thinking of a warm bath, as cliche as it may sound. but perhaps, all i really was that night, was just a confuse amateur in this frame, that allowed the tide to completely engulf him.

when the moon revolt to rest, i took the courage to ask the figure's name. but instead of hearing a name, i heard a gentle familiar chirp, the ones that usually welcomes the day as a response.

then behind the thin floating curtain, i saw a small and innocent weaver standing and making its last blank glimpse at me before flying away again, like it usually does.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


i miss this.

i miss writing what my lips can not utter.

i miss throwing out thoughts without having doubts and pull backs.

and i miss listening what other people just have to say.

well, i guess, i am just enjoying what i am having.

it definitely makes me think, that not even a second of pause can interrupt; to the point i am forgetting and losing even the few things dear to me.

though not as rewarding as it may seem, it still gives me a sense of fulfillment at each end of the day.

oh no,

it doesn't make me happy.


it makes me feel acquainted with contentment.

and for now, that is all that really matters.

though there are just so much things to tell about,

but as of the moment,

just let me be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

name game

i listen to this radio station as i carry myself to the the office everyday. one day, they came up with this segment where listeners call the station and just say the complete name of the first person they have slept with. the segment was a bit off for a radio show having that time slot. nonetheless, it remained its promise of being really entertaining.

i heard a number of names. some were popular, while others were just so complete that they even included the middle name of that person.

it just amazes me how names could give an idea who the person is, beyond matters of simple identification; and even to the fact, that some of us would really exert the effort of knowing such person right to the very minute details or to the opposite extreme end of not minding at all.

as i listen to the show, i then asked myself what if i hear a familiar name: a friend, an acquaintance, a relative, a family member or even my name perhaps, how will i react?

luckily, i didn't.

but then, after the show ended, i imagine how these people, who called in, have to hold and carry that person's name for the rest of their lives; or realizing how much value they have put to that person during that time until now. not that it really matters and life changing, but there are just some, whose names have already been tagged to another person, whom s/he (possibly) will never meet again. chance association, as some people call it.

later that night, i went for a drink with another friend in timog. somewhere along the stream of our conversation, i wasn't able to stop myself from asking and raising the same topic to him.

"whats the complete name, including the middle name of the person, whom you first slept with?"

there was a long thinking silence. i noticed his eyes moved from upper left to right, as if trying to look and pick the answer above his head. then he said, "i could only remember the first name."

"or at least, the first name he told you his first name was, right?"

"something like that."

then we both laughed.

we later agreed on a silly theory that is it possible to determine the level of promiscuity or sentimentality of a person basing from how s/he recalls the name of the person who s/he first slept with?

the accurate s/he is, the more we can say that the person is sentimental and vise versa.

good thing i still remember mine, including the middle name: J.C.B. AKO NA!!! hahaha!

now, someones thinking. hahaha!

Monday, September 6, 2010


it was an enormous explosion of countless charge that lingered into everyone's senses. bright and flashing light blinded the dark. while loud music left no chance for silence. indeed, it was the perfect sanctuary for escapes.

for a moment, i caught myself standing in the middle of a great battle, where everyone was trying to win attention. confused of everything that is happening, i didn't let my guard down. for deep inside, i still know my reasons for their whys. although choice could really be that hard to ponder sometimes.

with my age and experience, standing there felt i was an entirely different person. confused, naive and a bit vulnerable. as if the only way for survival was not to look, not to care. being apathetic is a way of marking one's territory, despite the extinction of mere space. its a matter of being the prey or the predator: or someone being or trying to be irrelevant.

i admit, there were countless encounters. familiar faces and even very familiar souls. some i recall, while some i ignore. left me wondering how big the circle really is? how the chains are link?

nonetheless, i just let the vagabonds ship them home. but it just surprises me how they greet each other with smiles, nods and hard shoulder taps; as if they only had coffee and banofee pie from the last.

when exhaustion kicked in, loneliness and confusion poured. then, i've realized this is not the attention, i am wanting--- that i am really needing.

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