Thursday, October 28, 2004


Date: 2002

Location: Abbott Laboratories, Boni Office

What was on: After a business meeting, our District Manager took out a Hershey bar from her bag.

DM: "Hey, guys! I've got a chocolate bar. Let's divulge!"

My Reaction: Runs to the nearest bathroom.

Carol: "Uh, Ma'm, baka indulge po?"
DM: "Ay, oo nga pala! Sorry!"


I have always known that my name is of Welsh origin. Mother, who was a Literature professor, named me after one of the world's celebrated poets: Thomas Dylan, whose photo I am proud to post here.

Dylan Thomas, drinking his muse.

I also found out today that DYLAN comes from the Mabinogion, a collection of 11 mediaeval Welsh tales. The word means "sea". In the tale Math, the son of Mathonwy challenges Aranrhod, his niece who claims to be a virgin, to step over his magic wand.

"Aranrhod stepped over the wand, and with that step she dropped a sturdy boy with thick yellow hair; the boy gave a loud cry, and with that cry she made her way for the door.....

"Well," said Math, "I will arrange for the baptism of this one......and I will call him Dylan."

The boy was baptized, whereupon he immediately made for the sea and when he came to the sea, he took on its nature and swam as well as the best fish. He was called Dylan (sea) son of Ton (wave), for no wave ever broke beneath him."

So there. Fascinating.Since I just did copy-paste for the above story, kindly ignore the grammatical errors and triviality of the whole thing. Spare yourself the trouble, tee hee!

It probably makes sense, too, that I love the sea so much and with the exception of actually dipping into it, I recall with fondness the many times I've sat on the beaches in many places - from La Union to Bantayan Island to the Davao Gulf - and experiencing that rare moment of solitude poets like Dylan Thomas were known to indulge in.

I guess it helps people of our kind keep our sanity.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Stir-fried Yakisoba: the real thing!

I was with a friend one night, trying to figure out what food items we can make out of a 250-peso Gift Certificate in this Japanese fastfood chain in an old mall in Manila.

Oddly, it wasn't enough to get me an iced-tea. At least, one order of tuna misono, a mixed sushi tray, and a bowl of noodles after, it wasn't enough to get ME an iced tea. The heck.

Everything was fine until we got to eating the noodle. I suddenly had an apocalyptic experience, sort of a return-to-the-past thingy where i suddenly saw images of a classic film of a Filipino antagonist named Zuma (he was this bald man with two snakes coming out of his back).

I felt that the consistency of the noodles was like that of his snakes: rubbery. Or at least, that's what they felt like unless they were pretending they were noodles.

I suddenly took a pity on countless people who eat in this restaurant. They'd probably never get to experience what REAL yakisoba tastes like but at least they can be reminded of some childhood friend, er, fiend.


Had a great time with Mom last Saturday noon. Right after we got home from Manila Doctors' where she had her 4th cycle chemo the night before, I set out to prepare lunch while I plugged in ELVIS on the DVD. Since Saturday is usually video day at home, I was at a roll and played ABBA next. Now ABBA, this was probably something that connects Mom's generation and mine. In fact, it connects us both to far more younger people since my cousin, who is just 11, has taken fancy over this group since she was 9. Weird! I mean, talk about music breaking all age barriers

Benny Andersson, Anni-Fri Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog form ABBA

Seeing and hearing their songs again really reminds me of my childhood. I hope MAMMA MIA! is brought to Manila soon. Their music now serves a different purpose in our setting. Really, gracias por la musica, ABBA!


My favorite song of all time, ladies and gentlemen!

Andrea Bocelli performing CON TI PARTIRO at the San Remo Festival 1995, placing only 4th Place as he was distracted by the birth of his son on the very same day of the Festival. In 1996, when Bocelli released BOCELLI the album and featured the same song, it became a hit in Europe. It topped the French charts for 6 weeks, hitting Triple Gold. It also became the best hit of all time in Belgium, spending 12 weeks at No. 1.

F. Sartori / L. Quarantotto

Quando sono solo
sogno all’orizzonte
e mancan le parole,
Si lo so che non c’è luce
in una stanza quando manca il sole,
se non ci sei tu con me, con me.
Su le finestre
mostra a tutti il mio cuore
che hai acceso,
chiudi dentro me
la luce che
hai incontrato per strada.

Con te partirò.
Paesi che non ho mai
veduto e vissuto con te,
adesso si li vivrò,
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
no, no, non esistono più,
con te io li vivrò.

Quando sei lontana
sogno all’orizzonte
e mancan le parole,
e io sì lo so
che sei con me,
tu mia luna tu sei qui con me,
mio sole tu sei qui con me,
con me, con me, con me.

Con te partirò.
Paesi che non ho mai
veduto e vissuto con te,
adesso si li vivrò.
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
no, no, non esistono più,
con te io li rivivrò.
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
no, no, non esistono più,
con te io li rivivrò.
Con te partirò.
Io con te.

© 1995 Insieme Srl / Double Marpot Ed. Musicali

In November of 1996, Andre sang it with soprano Sarah Brightman in Germany under the title TIME TO SAY GOODBYE as a farewell song for German World Light-Heavyweight Champion Henry Maske's last bout (who unfortunately lost to American Virgil Hill). The new version shot to No. 1 and stayed there for 14 weeks, garnering sextuple Platinum awards.

In English this time, for better apprecation of the song.


When I’m alone
I dream on the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not with me, with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.

I’ll go with you,
to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer;
wjth you I shall experience them.

When you are far away
I dream on the horizon
And words fail,
and, Yes, I know
that you are with me;
you, my moon, are here with me,
my sun, you are here with me,
with me, with me, with me.

I’ll go with you,
To countries I never
Saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
Which, I know,
No, no, exist no longer;
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you,
I with you.


Monday, October 18, 2004


A gleaming Airbus A330 in Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport

I've always wanted to be a flight attendant. Yeah, no kidding. I'm very qualified on all counts except two: i can't swim that well, and i have bad eyesight.

But hey, I can identify an aircraft while it is on approach.

I can tell how many seats this particular flight has, and what all those international codes (i.e. PR, CX, TG) mean.

I know the names of the world's major airports.

I am tall enough to help put passengers' luggage at the overhead storage bins.

I know what to do with that emergency window you are so scared to be assigned a seat to.

I can say the usual lines, "Coffee, tea or me?", even in my sleep.

I know that you have to draw the curtains separating the Business Class from the Y Class when serving meals, so the people in the Y Class won't feel bad they're being served fast food.

I won't do the same mistake an FA friend did: throw a bun at a passenger for putting on his mobile phone in midair. I'd probably just detain him in the lavatory for the rest of the flight. Or deny him his food tray.

I wouldn't be rude to rude passengers because as they say, customer is King. There are ways, however, to get back at them like spilling coffee on their laps and blaming it on turbulence *apologetic grin* Come to think of it, nobody serves coffee during a turbulence, but heck!


If I ever did become an FA, would you fly with me?

Thank you for making Philippine Airlines a part of your day!

Thursday, October 14, 2004


I waited outside the house today, hoping to get a glimpse of the Eva Airbus A330 bound for Taipei carrying my friend Eliza, who finally is leaving for the US.

True enough, the beautiful green and white aircraft flew past at 12:40 PM, the fuselage ablaze in the noonday sun.

I will miss our "secret Manila" days, dearest friend.

Do take care of yourself always, okay?



Date: 1991

Location: St Mary's School, Cagayan de Oro City

What was on: a skit based on Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee (I think, let me recheck though the lines below do not sound like it's based on that work).


Son: "Oh mother, mother, dig me a grave. A girl died for me today, I'd die for her tomorrow!"

Mother, no facial reaction: "Okay!"

Reaction: Peed in my pants.


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet
Written in May of 1951

While on our way to Baguio, Mom left me instructions as to how to deal with her remains after she has died (if she ever does, from cancer). While I was totally quiet throughout the [one-sided] discussion, I cannot seem to believe that discussing death could actually be this easy.

Knowing that cancer can totally change your appearance at least a week before your actual death, we decided to opt for creamation to spare her the embarrassment of being talked about during the wake. You know us Pinoys. Tsismoso. Eh patay na nga ang tao, eh.

I asked Mom to stop the topic because I wasn't comfortable with it. I will state it here once and for all that I will never, never, never be able to accept Mom's death if it does come to pass (and it eventually will). So if it does happen, do not attempt to stop me from prowling the streets as a taong grasa. "Nuff said.

Anyways, since my High School days, I was never the one who was afraid of death. I've written about it in my poetry, even told Mom about it one time. It must have been my exposure to literature which romanticized death too much, I don't know. I am even more scared to be strapped to a wheelchair in old age than to die at an early age. What would have I felt - me, a party boy in my younger days, a runner, an active person - strapped all of a sudden to a wheelchair and wouldn't even be able to get my dick out to pee?

"That's not a bad idea, but how do you intend to kill yourself?", asked Mom.

Galing talaga ni Mommy. Bigla ako napaiisip dun ah.

So, I was talking to my colleague Jesy earlier tonight about how calm I was during the recent earthquake while everybody was literally screaming and running out of the building. I mean, what the heck?! I just kept in mind never to commit the mistakes regarding earthquakes: NEVER hide beneath things like tables. This would surely crush you to death.

Last Summer, I almost met death when our 5J 30-year-old DC9 aircraft towards Tacloban was making its approach from the sea when we entered turbulence. It rocked the aircraft so bad that I heard some friends give little yelps. One was holding on to his seat for dear life. His first time on an airplane and that was what he got. Poor guy.

5J's colorful Mcdonell Douglas MD-30s lined up in Manila's Domestic Airport

Anyways, suffice to say that I was rather calm about the whole thing. Aside from giving a reassuring smile to the foreigner across my seat (he look whiter than he already was), I just looked out the window and saw the bluish sea. It was so calm. Calming. I saw the fringes of the island of Leyte and I thought, God! What a wonderful thing to see before dying. I was just ready for any eventuality. Having flown on an aircraft since I was a baby, I know the procedures for water landing but what happened to us - losing altitude fast, dropping from the sky by the meters - didn't make the scenario of a water landing plausible.

Then I remembered the airport bombing years ago (See related blog).

When I come face to face with Death again, I know that I can just sneer back at him. Death, you don't scare me!


Date: 1996

Location: In LimKetKai Mall Cinema, Cagayan de Oro City

What was on: EVITA, feat. Madonna, etc.

Overheard: "Ay, bakit sila kumakanta?!"

Reaction: Spilled Coke.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I'm on a roll! I should be working for the United Nations if I continue to write about this topic. Maybe about time, too. The world is tired of wars, famine that has left millions sad, depressed.

Yesterday, I had a sad day reading about how 9 people in Japan committed group suicides with the aid of the internet. Yep, this very ethereal medium that is hosting my blogspot, has brought death closer to many people. Apparently, some people discovered that it was boring to die alone, thus some bright mind decided to invite more suicidal people to come together and have a groupie instead.

An average of 30,000 Japanese, most of them young, commit suicide in Japan every year. It's a tragic fact. It's a society of dying people, both the young and the old, in an amazing rate (and fashion) never before seen. Suicides, old age, gas attacks in subways. Welcome to modern Japan.

On another level, it was fascinating to watch National Geographic's PASSPORT program. Yesterday, they focused the spotlight on Asian transvestites, with special attention to those from India and Thailand. The disparity is just terrible.

Anyone who is familiar with Siamese culture knows how accepted transvestites are in Thai society. It's the Buddhism faith that allows them to be like this, for them to exhibit heightened acceptance (and not just plain tolerance).

In fact, an amusing exercise is done every year in Thai newspapers where the photos of the current Miss Thailand-Universe is placed beside that of Miss Gay Thailand, and the public is hitherto requested to decide who's prettier. You already know who wins the polls.

Nong Toom as played by actor Parinya Charoenphol.

A key figure in Thailand is, of course, Nong Toom - the muay thai-trained boy from Chiang Mai who recently became the topic of the heart-breaking film BEAUTIFUL BOXER ( Against all odds, "he fought like a man to become a woman", so goes the teaser of the film. Nong Toom has long given up the sport, and is now an actress and model in the Kingdom.

Nong Toom today.

If Nong Toom is lucky in Thailand, those who hail from Mumbai India are not. The Indian Penal Code has harsh penalties against homosexuals and transvestites are not allowed to take on jobs (at least, that's what I surmised from what I saw from the program. I have yet to read extensively on the topic).

They are reduced to begging on the streets, asking for a few rupees from nearby cars, tricycle drivers and business establishments during national festivals.

"What work can we do? People look down on us", says one.

Tsk, tsk.

I was once with Eliza, a friend of mine, and while waiting for the feature film for the 2004 Eiga Sai to start at the nearby CCP, we decided to drop by at the defunct Film Center and finally get to see and touch that accursed monolith for the first time. It was huge. I was surprised to realize that. It never occured to me how huge it was up close. It has this unsual air about it, like a sad building. Not eerie, no. Sad is more like it.

Anyways, when we reached the back portion to check if the "white beach" Imelda wanted to have is still existing, we were greeted by shrubs and scrap metal. And lo and behold, a group of transvestites actually live at the basement of this palace.

"Palace" or Palais du Festival, is really just damp quarters in this half-abandoned building. They've been living here because the palace has been turned over to them to use as a performance theatre. Gay impersonators, we call them. They were actually happy to see us, but we hid ourselves immediately as some of them were half-naked. One of them even bared "her" big boobs. They were, at the very least, fascinating.

From Bangkok to Mumbai to Manila, transvestites lead interesting lives, if not at all happy. It all proves that the world has become so unfriendly to its own residents, whoever or whatever they may be.


As my usual habit, I read when I get to work and guess what, the issue about Greenhills building a mosque inside the mall itself was literally spilling from page to page, from both sides.

I personally felt insulted, and ashamed of myself as a Christian when I read how residents of that area voiced out their opposition regarding the move to finally provide our Moslem brothers a place of worship of their own. After all, there's bound to be a Catholic chapel nearby, as well.

Heck, even the new Centennial Terminal Two has one, with zero consideration for Moslem travellers, even those of other faiths.

In fact, in a country that is historically Islamic (even Rajah Soliman, Manila's last King, was Moslem), it is a shock that Christians would insinuate that thievery is a trait exclusive to Moslems, thus their opposition to the mosque. They say that it might attract the bad Moslems to flock to that area, thus putting the Christian residents' lives in peril.

Uh-huh. Amazing logic.

I always tell friends who are afraid of travelling to Mindanaw that in my more than ten (10) years of stay there, I have never been a witness to violence as terrible as the one I experienced in Manila years ago (remember the Rizal Day bombings?).

I was boarding my flight to Cagayan de Oro that sunny, quiet Sunday afternoon when an explosion in the nearby cargo center rocked the glass panels of the airport. I was immediately sprawled on the floor with my cousin. The airport doors were being closed, and the other passengers from the parked Boeing 737-300 were running out, foremost among them was a college classmate who thought the aircraft blew up (yeah, right!).

I never looked at Manila the same way again.

By the way, it was the MILF who were suspected to have been the perpetrators but that's behind the point (say, I may have weakened my defense there, fuck.)

Suffice to say that during my University days at the Ateneo, I have met several nice Moslems with whom I continue to be friends with. I even remember when I was University Council President that Moslem students approached me to request for a "resting place" for them when they observe the Ramadhan and the Eid ul'Fitr.

The administration, sadly enough, turned down the request saying that no particular group should be given such a privilege. Hmmmm. I suddenly see that parallelism here between that incident and the one in Greenhills.

Where is this "fear" coming from? This feeling of uneasiness, this uncertainty? I know for a fact that Islam believes in peace. In fact, ISLAM is derived from the Arabic work SALEMA, which means peace, purity, submission and obedience.

Moslems in the Philippines, and those from all over the world, have suffered so much from the hands of Christians. Most of the Catholic Church's major expeditions in the East were directed against the Turks. In the Philippines, these efforts were against the Moros. Why, even the Virgin's titles commemorate events that recall Catholic victory over Moros (or even against the Chinese and the Ducth).

I strongly support Greenhills in their effort to bring together faiths in their establishment, and to promote racial harmony and peace. For the Christians, it is high time we treat our Moslem brothers with more respect and esteem. Only God knows who He will admit to Heaven. We might be in for a nasty surprise.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Radioactive Genius or Radioactive Mouse? Posted by Hello


You just have to give it to Dan Brown.

His research for The Da Vinci Code is just so astounding and dreadfully convincing that anybody who is weak of faith will find oneself never attending Mass again.

The Last Supper. Why does it have to have more meaning that we already know?

I have always enjoyed a good reading and although Brown is totally far from my last book by very young Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri, he sure made me sit next to an internet terminal so I can immediately check on things that he has mentioned in his book. The celice, for example. Or the Priory of Sion. Or the enigma that is the Opus Dei. Or the mystery that surrounded the Knight Templars.

The Madonna of the Rocks: Looking beyond the gestures could make you change the way you look at your faith. Or so Dan Brown claims.

So okay. The Holy Grail is no cup. The Holy Grail is a person and a woman at that, and she is no other than....wait, have you read the book yet? I'm not a killjoy. Go on, read the book.

What a coincidence really that I have always been fascinated with Leonardo da Vinci, and just two weeks ago, i chanced upon a sling bag that has his La Gioconda emblazoned on it. Nice, nice bag. Rare, rare novelty. I didn't expect to come across her again (Miss Mona Lisa, not the bag) in The Da Vinci Code.

The La Gioconde: Leonardo da Vinci in drag?

All in all, the book is recommended reading for those who are able to separate new ideas from institutionalized matters of faith. People may call me "un-enlightened" but heck, I know what I believe in and that's what matters most. Everything else is just fiction.


It's starting to become a habit, these earthquakes. Was at the water station when it happened and for a while i though i was just nauseous when a sudden movement almost made me topple over.

Fuck! ,I thought. Not another one! I mean, we just had a 6.3 last month, and this one is definitely stronger.

I stand corrected when i mentioned Mayon's activity last month as the reason for the movement. It actually was the Bataan Fault, and my friend who lives on the fourth floor of their house in Bataan, was said to have ran out of his room in his undies when it happened. Funny. Tonight's was caused by the Manila Trench, somewhere near Tagaytay, and is tectonic in origin. Magnitude of 6.2 and Intensity 4 was felt in Manila.

What's not funny tonight though is the realization i had immediately after today's 10.43PM quake:I actually am scared of earthquakes. I grew up learning to accept floods as part of life (I grew up in Pampanga) but NEVER earthquakes and fires.

Anybody out there who knows what to call the phobias I have? Leave me a comment.

Friday, October 01, 2004


Went out with a friend lately and had pad thai.

Actually, we were trying to take on the offer (nay, challenge) of a new restaurant in a Manila mall that says that it serves Manila's best pad thai version. So on we went. I am terribly disappointed to report that the version would not only put the original to shame, it would also shame the restaurant itself. Yep! Needless to say (but i am still saying it), the challenge fell flat and i am reduced to quoting a Titanic passenger (if he survived, i am in no position to answer) who commented that any ship who claims to be unsinkable is "flying in the face of God". Ditto for the pad thai. It flew straight to the garbage can.

I decided to go back to my comfort resto in an older section of this city which offers noodles from ten (10) Asian countries. The Philippines' Pancit Molo was our only representative in the menu though i would have loved to see the Visayan pancit called bam-i. The pad thai here is not only cheaper, it also is ten times better than The Great Pretender. You can actually try closing your eyes while eating if only to totally experience the many flavors, both subtle and assailing, of this Siam pancit.

On our second visit however, we decided to forgo of the pad thai for other asian noodles less we be branded as being too loving of anything Thai (not that we haven't transported half of Chatuchak Market into our homes yet).

Call it death by pad thai so we're giving it a break. For now.

Next on the list: which resto serves the best tom yam? No, we're obviously not fans of anything Thai, nah-uh.


Trivia: Bangkok in Thai is กรุงเทพฯ, กรุงเทพมหานคร, or Krung Thep.

The full ceremonial name of Krung Thep is

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit,

which means

"The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (unlike Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn."

It holds the world record for the longest town name. Local schoolchildren are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning because many of the words are archaic. Right.


I don't know.

It must be the need to reach greater heights or what but given the multiplication of stairs in the capital city of Manila lately, one is forced to think that this could be the newest fad or something.

As if life in these parts isn't shit enough, people in high places suddenly had the brilliant idea of making it more difficult for people to go anywhere. Simple: make them climb more stairs. Because Filipino drivers (with the connivance of idiotic traffic enforcers) completely ignore pedestrians and pedestrian rights, the MMDA (the bastion of all good ideas) decided that in order to save lives, pedestrians are now made to climb at least two flights of stairs to get to what appears to be an overpass in hideous pink and blue, simply to cross to the other side. Now, as if we don't have enough stairs to reckon with.

The MRT along EDSA, Manila's major thoroughfare, has several stations that require the passenger to wear hiking boots, bring along a rope, and pray that you'd walk up more than 50 steps just to get to your train. Okay, so maybe i was exaggerating. Anybody who has used the pre-escalator Shaw Station will agree with me that between climbing up and simply taking the bus, i'd take the latter without even thinking twice. I mean, jesus! Ever heard of escalators before?! Talking about escalators, it is pretty common to see many around the capital lying idle.

Once, and this really made me want to fly out of here like a rocket, the escalators GOING UP to the Ayala Station were not functioning but those GOING DOWN were! Aaaaargggh!

Sometimes i want to strangle someone's neck for making life hellish for us.

Just one of these days. One of these days....

*cracks knuckles*