Thursday, December 29, 2005


I am writing this as a reflection on my visit to Divisioria yesterday afternoon. We all know what that place means for many people: über affordable shopping paradise (I heard that 168 Mall has already earned the ire of the SM Group), where everything - and as in EVRYTHING - can be found, home to overstaying Chinese traders and all things legal and illegal. All this while PNP personnel keep watch over the pandemonium and mayhem of Manila's "new" shopping district: Divisoria.

My visit yesterday was brought upon by my wanting to surprise my Mom by getting her fresh peaches - the big, pink, crispy ones that she liked during her visit to Xian. She actually brought one home for me to taste but I told her that anything that you find in China, you can also find in Manila. Well, almost everything and I did recall seeing the same kind of peaches during my last visit to buy rice lights for the farm.

At any rate, JGC wished me luck and advised that I might get luckier in Binondo. Knowing how overpriced fruits in Binondo are, I insisted on going to DV because I do know the exact place to find them. Needless to say (but I'm still saying it), I did't find any this time. Must be the season or something, rain and all, but what were there were the usual ponkans (yawn..) , grapes and anything round to cater to Filipinos' new-found penchant for obtaining "luck" in whatever form. Streets are awashed with fruits of all sorts, lucky charms (Chinese characters embossed in faux gold with long red tassels) , clothing and new-generation firecrackers including those which I know are illegal. As I said, this is DV.

The area around Divisoria Mall was, to say the least, terribly cramped with stalls taking over what little street space there is left, squeezing people into several lines. Then there are the cargadors with their huge boxes of deliveries further pushing people out of the way. I can't say this is all fun. Any first timer would have fainted on the spot. But back to the fruits.

There are pears of all kinds, really huge ones to the point of being grotesque, from Japan, Down Under, and the common ones from China (yellow and green, though I prefer the latter for its juiciness and that it doesn't easily ripens). Kiwis sell for Ps 20 per piece, and dragon fruits from Vietnam go for Ps 120 per kilo (2 pieces by the looks of it). The huge, ugly pears sell for Ps 25 each. It was obvious that due to the mad rush for anything round, the sweet melons and pineapples (not round but it holds a special place in the list of lucky things) were harvested way too early. Tiny pineapples like those I buy in Dangwa for flower decoration purposes sell for Ps 10 each, while the melons were just about the same. They look terribly unripe and I seriously doubt if they can be eaten at all. Oh, well. Basta kumpleto ang 12 fruits, who cares?

What did I end up buying? A trusty, old-style marble mortar and pestle from Romblon at Ps 100, longgans (ps 100 per bunch), and atiezas (acheza?) which was one of the fruits of my Pampanga childhood. I saw them in this lonely stall where green señorita bananas, nice suha, and solo papayas were also displayed but largely ignored by everyone. At Ps 30 per kilo, they are sure to be a hit at home since we rarely see these Pinoy fruits anymore. I miss the mabolo a lot. I only know of one tree exisiting in Mexico, Pampanga because I used to pass by that garden in my elementary school days.

I decided to escape from all the madness by walking all the way to Tabora and catching a jeep to Avenida, from where I'd be taking a bus home via Sta. Cruz. What a day indeed. And I will surely be back.

By the way, 2006 is said to be the year of Red Fire Dog (Year 4703) to celebrate on the 29th of January. I wonder what it has in store for Rabbits like me.

I will edit this article on my next visit. I didn't get to write down what I really want to say.


This was sent by my Mom through e-mail. It's supposed to be a walking woman, and was created as an email drive to bring attention to the plight of breast cancer victims around the world.

This one goes out to my beloved Mother, to my very good friend Grace, and to JGC's sister.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I grieve because you misunderstand
Or you choose to not understand
Not to listen
Or if you do listen, you are deaf.

I seek solace in this ethereal space
Stare blankly at this screen
Of endless possibilities
Wishing that
Google will give me the
Answer to life’s questions

I can hear voices
See lives
The past
The future
The changes
And the things that never will be

Because minds are closed to
Stories, stories, stories
forcing themselves on to me

I am inundated by
interminable stories

stories, stories, stories, stories, stories and more stories
of every color and hue

coming from the sarimanok dreams.

Source: FROM THE SARIMANOK DREAMS by Dylan Yap Gozum, 2005

Monday, December 26, 2005


Recent photos I took of myself, the common desk at the mango farm, and an artsy-fartsy take on aluminum chairs against the red floor. I hope everyone is having a great time during the Holidays! A Happy Christmas and a Hopeful New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


1.) Haw flakes

2.) ‘Tintin and Friends’ comic books

3.) Tom Yam

4.) Fried chicken from Serenity
5.) Early morning flights
6.) Baguio City market

7.) Lolita Rodriguez in Chito Roño’s 'LUCIA'
8.) Spanish classes at the Instituto Cervantes
9.) Saturday movie specials at the Salon de Actos

10.) Hanging out in friends’ houses


I recall reading Ayn Rand's defining work ATLAS SHRUGGED in college and how I got hooked on the idea of objectivism. However, my mother chanced upon the book lying on the couch in our house in Pampanga and after a cursory check, asked me to stop reading it. Yes, she may be the in-house MTRCB of sorts (she has rejected several films from my collection from being shown in her presence) but she does have her reasons. Needless to say, I ended up reading THE FOUNTAINHEAD as well, and bought two more books by Rand - both collections of essays. I wouldn't mention their titles here as they are too high-brow and I honestly haven't had the chance to actually finish reading them. Suffice to say that I was on an Ayn Rand mode for a year or two, even used RAND as a chat username (how cheap!) and managed to get the kind of attention I wasn't actually asking for but a welcome one nonetheless. Came across a photo of this nice, nice sweater the other day and bham!, it was Rand-landia all over again. So much for reminiscing.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Working towards the UN Millenium Development Goal's 201 target is driving everyone in a frenzy these days, especially NGOs and social development agencies of governments around the world.

Since my Mom is working in the education sector, her NGO has used the CHILD FRIENDLY SCHOOL (CFS) as the central theme in achieving the goals set in education. She has travelled from Pangasinan in the north to Camotes in the south to lecture on this topic. Hopefully, everyone concerned should be able to come up with doable action plans in order to uplift the situation in their areas.
In some of my trips to these areas, I have heard people say that NGOs have become their direct source of support when it comes to funding their programs. In fact, local DepEd offices have become so dependent on NGOs for funding: from trainings to "exposure" trips. I've read somewhere that almost US$40 billion have been poured by several NGOs into Philippine development since the 70s. What happened?


It appears that the market for kidneys is still alive and well. A new report by PDI's Christine Esguerra here proves that what used to be a matter left between two families has become a black market enterprise.

I know this is not new to the Philippine setting. Many years back when I started watching social-related shows on TV, this has already been a major source of income for many people, mostly from those living near the sea wall of Manila Bay.

If i am not mistaken, the story was done by Cheche Lazaro herself in her multi-awarded show Probe Team, then running on GMA7. Just imagine how Ps 150,000 can go a long way in changing people's lives. But is it worth it? We may have to wait a few more years to actually find out. Soon, another dilemma will loom in the horizon: health costs for those who have one kidney remaining. By then, it would be too late to even think of regret.


And I thought mischief ended after the 2004 elections, but wait! Here come 4 boys based in Sacramento, CA who have upped the ante a little bit further by making music videos AND lypsynching to songs by original artists!

Called The Mischievious Boys ("mischievious" here is pronounced as "mis-chee-vee-uhs"), they have released several videos of themselves using original songs by Will Young, Madonna's (Hung Up), 98 Degress, Global Deejays, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston and Kenny Clarkson.

It's totally funny to see 2 Filipinos (Edward and Joseph), 1 Thai (David), and 1 Vietnamese (Tommy) full-grown boys in muscle shirts cavort, dance, and lip synch to Houston's TRY IT ON MY OWN. I really do not know what to make of these people, but the videos are fun and amusing!

Check them out here!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros has been making waves since it opened to commercial viewing last November 30. I saw it during its debut at the 1st Cinemalaya and I wrote the review that same day. The article was published in Yehey! Movies.

To add fuel to the fire, the makers of the film have also opened a blog supposedly written by Maximo himself. Hmmm...

Going through it, it appears that the boy actually is into, well, boys, flowers, cooking, Sandara and Claudine movies, “magsulsi ng damit, mag-shopping at mamalengke [darning clothes, shopping and going to the wet market]” though not necessarily in that order. Amusing.

See the blog here and the official site here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I never fail to make an entry on December 1. It's been a habit since my college days to always remember this day. In the university, there always would be a special exhibit in the Science Center lobby courtesy of the Biophilic Society which we headed.

Today, more than ever, the need for education and information sharing remains as crucial and important.

December 1, 2005. World AIDS Day. In honor of those who work so hard to give hope to those who are still living.