Friday, August 31, 2007

i can't even remember

Friday, August 31, 2007
As they say, if you have to think about it, it's been too long.

Last night I was trying to remember the last time I went out on a real, romantic date. If I recall correctly, it was sometime in July of last year. It’s been more than a year now! It was when Tom and I went to see the art galleries and had dinner at the Shang. Happy times, then; now all gone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Some Semi-Blasphemous, Semi-Agnostic Thoughts

Thursday, August 30, 2007
Why, if god was the creator of all things, were we supposed to "praise" him so incessantly for doing what came to him naturally? This seemed servile, apart from anything else. If Jesus could heal a blind person he happened to meet, then why not heal blindness? What was so wonderful about his casting out devils, so that the devils would enter a herd of pigs instead? That seemed sinister: more like black magic. With all this continual prayer, why no result? Why did I have to keep saying, in public, that I was a miserable sinner? Why was the subject of sex considered so toxic? These faltering and childish objections are, I have since discovered, extremely commonplace, partly because no religion can meet them with any satisfactory answer. But another, larger one also presented itself. (I say "presented itself" rather than "occurred to me" because these objections are, as well as insuperable, inescapable.) The headmaster, who led the daily services and prayers and held the Book …, was giving a no-nonsense talk to some of us one evening. "You may not see the point of all this faith now," he said. "But you will one day, when you start to lose loved ones." Again, I experienced a stab of sheer indignation as well as disbelief. Why, that would be as much as saying that religion might not be true, but never mind that, since it can be relied upon for comfort. How contemptible.

– quoted from Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baguio Heaven

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
There’s this particular song we used to sing in grade school. It goes like this: “Oh Baguio, heaven for all people. For you we thank the Lord and God of all..” Speaking for people who have lived in Baguio and truly known its beauty and mystery, Baguio is heaven. Not to experience its wonder is to live a diminished life.

Having spent almost two years of my life in Manila and the rest in Baguio, the distinction is quite clear. Compared with Manila – where flooding is a norm and people do not sleep; where people do not walk anymore but would rather take tricycles to go some place only a hundred meters away; where everyone is in a rush and everything is fast-paced; where the concept of trust, trees and trench coats are non-existent; where the heat is unbearable and the air, deadly; where traffic and two-hour daily commutes are a way of life - Baguio is, indeed, heaven.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In relationships and almost everywhere else, they say that honesty is the best policy. Or is it? Coming clean to your partner for whatever wrong you have done, isn’t that just an act of selfishness? Is it really for your partner or for yourself? Coming out into the open and admitting everything – is it really about honesty and upholding the truth? Or is it more of unburdening yourself of the guilt that’s tearing you apart at the expense of piling inevitable wounds, welts and bruises on your partner?

Monday, August 27, 2007

My All Time Favorite Novels

Monday, August 27, 2007

In our "profiles" we are always asked to name what our favorite books are - a thing I find a bit difficult to do. For lack of space, I end up just writing a few titles at the top of my head. Here’s a list of comtemporary and classic literary fiction that blew me away; A lot I revere; several I found amusing and a few, terrifying. They come in no particular order.

1. Ulysses, James Joyce
2. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
3. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
4. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
5. Sons and Lovers, D.H Lawrence
6. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
7. 1984, George Orwell
8. Henderson the Rain King, Saul Bellow
9. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
10. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
11. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
12. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
13. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
14. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
15. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
16. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
17. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
18. Sophie’s Choice, William Styron
19. Noli Me Tangere, Jose Rizal
20. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
21. The Brothers Karamazov, Feodor Dostoevsky
22. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
23. American Pastoral, Philip Roth
24. Atonement, Ian MacEwan
25. Beloved, Toni Morrison
26. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
27. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
28. Rabbit, Run, John Updike
29. Sabbath's Theater, Philip Roth

Can anyboby out there share what their favorite novels are? I'd like to know what YOU are reading.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Learning How to Write

Sunday, August 26, 2007
I am now preparing modules for a two-day company-wide business writing training. I am not an expert on this. I am neither English major nor a Communications graduate. The only formal training I had was from my English subjects in grade school and high school, and Communication Skills (1-3) and Advanced College Writing at UP. I am not sure if I am capable of conducting such training. Until now, I still have trouble with prepositions and commas!

So what makes a person a good writer? I believe that attending writing courses won’t just do. One doesn’t become good at writing by taking such courses. It doesn’t just happen. Writing is a life-long learning endeavor. It starts from the day we are taught the basics of grammar, spelling vocabulary, and punctuation; to the endless compositions, essays, papers, and thesis we are forced to write in school; to hand written letters of old; to the text messages, blog entries, chats, and emails that now rule our world; to the documents, reports and all written communication that make and break our careers; and ends only until we lose our mental faculties.

A well-known writer once said: To write well, read well. There is no better teacher than the greats of literature – Steinbeck, Faulkner, James, Morrison, Garcia Marquez, to name but a few. Reading gives us a sense of how words, sentences, and paragraphs are strung so beautifully together. It tells us, this is how writing should be.

We write for different reasons. It can sometimes be a way of somehow taming the demons that haunt us or a way of expressing emotions that cannot be spoken; it is a way of giving life to stories that exist only in our imagination or a way of communicating things to move readers into action. In these we see how powerful writing can be.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

beau ideal

Saturday, August 25, 2007

He belongs to that dwindling band of intractable eccentrics; he shares my passion for learning, classical music and great literature; he understands that for me, books are sacred; he has the admirable ability to express himself in complete, fluid sentences, using precisely chosen words; he is absolutely secure of himself and totally into what he is doing; he knows more about culture than that rigidly circumscribed by television; he is one person I can count on and turn to for solace, comfort and strength; he is so into me that everything else is secondary and has no qualms telling me and the world about it; his intellect and maturity stand out amidst the brazen simplemindedness of youth; he is sensitive to my needs and handles my neurosis even better than I, myself, could; he gets tremendous happiness in making me happy; above all else, he loves me with every fiber of his being.

Someday he'd come along. Perhaps not exactly the way I described him, but close.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My UP Baguio Library Sanctuary

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I used to cloister myself inside the library. During our time, there used to be study areas – desks and chairs - in between the shelves of books in the Circulation Section. My favorite was that rarely visited spot amidst the books with calls numbers starting from P to Q – the literature section. There
I used to spend time in between and after classes. Never can I be seen hanging out in the canteen, in the numerous tambayans, or in any other place but the library.

I can still remember how excited I was the first time I browsed through the circulation books in my freshman year. I found a tattered, maroon colored, hardbound copy of Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Oh wow, I said to myself. It’s slight musty smell and flakey feel was intoxicating. Intending to borrow it, I carefully removed the book card from the back cover. What I saw made me smile. The last time the book was borrowed was way back in December 1972!

The silence, interrupted only by the clacking sound of the rolling wheels of the books carts being pushed by the manongs, has always comforted me. Surrounded by books and away from the noisy banter of my classmates, I felt at peace.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Why He Found Another

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Her insecurities, he found irrational.
To him, she still had to prove her worth.
She broke his trust once and he never forgave her for it.
Her family background, he deemed questionable.
Her being maternal, he found lacking.
The fundamental values he finds important, she did not have.
He found fault in her dysfunctional childhood.
Her aberrations, he could not accept.
Her tendency to do what pleases her infuriated him.
Her immaturity and emotional dependency smothered him.
Her agnosticism opposed his Catholic faith.
His love for her is less than her love for him.
It’s all part of his genetic code.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Heart Break Leave

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I am revising our company’s personnel policy manual. Each word, passage and section undergoes my scrutiny. The section I’m working on today is on Leave Credits, which include provisions not only on vacation, sick, maternity and paternity leaves but also on bereavement leaves. Employees are entitled to a five-day bereavement leave if he or she suffers the death of an immediate family member. This got me thinking.

We grieve and suffer for different kinds of loss. It may be due the death of a loved one, the death of a cherished relationship or the death of love, itself. What a nice idea if employees are also entitled to leaves in order to mourn for the loss of a love one, not by death but because of a break up. But then a five-day leave is not enough to mend a broken heart, right? Not even five months. Maybe five years.

"Tom and Angie" has ended

I received a letter from my spinster sister, Jennifer. She said, and I quote:

Are you and TOM officially over? He is so not worth it...And you are such a great catch...Looking and reading through your blog and pics , i must say you are in pretty good shape...Being your best self despite the emotional turmoil...

I guess I am, indeed, in pretty good shape. I cannot believe it myself. It hurts still but I have now learned to let go and be thankful for what we had. There is no reason to hold on any longer. I have finally accepted that “Tom and Angie” has ended.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Going Home

Friday, August 17, 2007
Thanks to President Gloria Magapagal Arroyo's Republic Act 9492 and her Holiday Economics, the nation will be enjoying two long weekends for this month alone. I can go home to Cavite and spend three whole days (times two) of bumming around, binge eating and bonding - with my family. Yipee yey!

Going home to my family. Nothing compares to it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

These Boots are Made for Wading

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
A quarter past seven this morning, I woke up to the heavy, staccato sound of the rain spattering against the window and the subtle murmur of the wind. All hell’s breaking loose, I said to myself. Wondering if there’s work, I rummaged through my clothes to look for the appropriate attire. Then it occurred to me, this day calls for The Baguio Look. I unearthed my ancient red wool sweater and camel colored skirt. And to complete the look I brought out my rarely used chocolate brown suede ankle boots. Oh what a beautiful day to finally be able to wear my boots and old Baguio clothes! This is one case of turning a dismal day into something exciting.


Then I rode the elevator - hoping that by the time I reach the ground floor of the condo the heavy downpour has turned into a light drizzle. But it didn’t! I waited for a while until impatience set it. Wearing my outfit for the day and armed with determination, I waded bravely through the storm, looking forward and ready to take on what this day has to offer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Today's Culture of Ranting

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
All over I hear (and read) people venting, ranting and whining about their sentiments, disappointments, resentments, and anxieties in life. I admit I’m at times guilty of it, too. Ranting against ranting, Michael G. Aurelio, a former philosophy teacher wrote in the Penman’s blog:

When I was a teacher (philosophy for third-year college students) I was confronted by the same problem of students going on and on about their anxieties and how the world conspires against them; their “feelings” or “emotions” (“I feel that...”); their supposed opinions which were merely appropriated as their own from newspapers and television shows; and how there was no “meaning to life,” no hope, no God.

It is on the one hand understandable for them to go through that “existentialist” phase (as appropriately depicted in the illustration of “The Scream”)—perhaps we all go through that sooner or later or in one way or another. But on the other hand, what strikes me as more “problematic,” if I may use the word, is what seemed to me an absence of reflection or thinking on their part that would naturally be expected to go with the tide of their doubts and the vicissitudes of their emotions.

I am in danger of generalizing here but I say that they do not think anymore, or better: no one thinks anymore. We no longer try to make sense of the world; we merely criticize it, expose its lacks, show its imperfections. And the one who rants the best, that is, the one who rants in the most “eloquent” (cursing) and “popular” way (to which others can relate) is thought to be the herald of our times but in reality is the oracle of doom. It is no longer fashionable today to think through the problems, reflect on the imperfections, or imagine a world other than this. After all, perhaps, that is the call of the poet, the problem of the philosopher and the cross of the Church. It’s not their “thing”; and so they (we) rant.

If I may be allowed to speak for myself, I think the problem behind this culture of ranting (and therewith all pessimism) is that while it may be successful in bringing everything down to the ground, it can never produce something or improve anything. Ranting, like evil, can only destroy; it can never build. It shouts out loud and in its shouting it is never able to listen. It pretends to speak to another whereas it is a monologue that never ends because it never begins. And if there should be any good to ranting, perhaps, it is that it can expose our vanities to ourselves and from there it may then be possible to finally begin to think, speak, and listen.

Relationships Matter

It took me a long time to finish my master’s thesis – with endless drafts going back and forth between me and my adviser and several other rounds including my reader and members of my thesis defense panel. In retrospect, it dawned on me that those 117 pages of academic blah can be summarized in two words:

Relationships matter.

That’s it. That’s the whole point of my paper. The relationships that we nurture with others, termed as social capital, is as (or even more) important as financial, physical and other forms of capital. What do we need material comforts for if we don’t have anybody to share it with? The basic idea of social capital is that a person’s family, friends and associates constitute an important asset, one that can be called on in a crisis, enjoyed for its own sake, or leveraged for gain.

The central element in maintaining relationships or building social capital is trust. In economic jargon, trust minimizes transaction costs by making the informal self-enforcement of contracts possible without the need for any third party enforcement, and thereby improving economic outcomes. In real speak, keeping and upholding trust is what make any relationship work. Without it, relationships inevitably crumble.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thirty-Eight Things About Me (updated, 3 August 2008)

Friday, August 10, 2007
  • I am skeptic about the idea of happily ever after.
  • Liver makes me puke.
  • I live alone but I look forward to going home to my family in Cavite.
  • I never leave the house without war paint (read: make-up) on.
  • It has been more than a year since I heard mass.
  • I graduated cum laude but all of my friends can attest that I am one stupid person.
  • I make a list of everything – things to buy, things to do, things not to do, books to read, everything.
  • I pay bills the moment I receive them.
  • My closest friends call me Jill; some call me Anj or Angie; my officemates call me Miss A.
  • My twelve-year old sister, Nica, is my most ardent fashion critic.
  • Coffee has become a matutinal necessity for me.
  • I love old movies and I hate those that involve aliens and explosions.
  • I can barely see without my contact lenses on.
  • I have 23 pairs of shoes.
  • I read the online versions of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the New York Times everyday.
  • I dream of becoming a classical pianist and winning the Nobel Prize in Economics.
  • It takes me 532 steps from my flat to the office, door to door.
  • I have been using the same mobile phone for four years now.
  • I’ve spent one unforgettable day exploring the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada.
  • I have never voted.
  • Daddo is and will always be the love of my life.
  • I keep a daily record all my expenses.
  • I am not affiliated with any group but one – the pilak circle of trust.
  • I have been in school for 23 years now and still counting!
  • I’ve walked ten kilometers all the way to the peak of Mt. Sto. Tomas.
  • I’ll be turning 31 years old five months from now.
  • I am a book worm and a couch potato.
  • I am five feet tall with a shoe size of 5.5.
  • It takes me six hours of travel time to attend my class every Saturday.
  • I find Raul Gonzales appalling and Russell Crowe appealing.
  • Incessant noise makes my blood boil.
  • I try not to be but I’m a high maintenance girl.
  • I have a thing for events, people and things that glow with the patina of a bygone era.
  • I do not know how to swim.
  • Listening to Bach's Cello Suites makes me concentrate.
  • I'm into cooking shows.
  • I've never been anywhere outside the Philippines (but i will be, soon!)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Settling

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I hear people say that finally they’re settling down. Are they settling down, or just settling?

Sometimes we settle for somebody who for the meantime pacifies our most immediate needs. We settle for somebody because he or she is there, readily available for us. We settle for a relationship that is going nowhere for fear of starting a new one. We settle for a person while anxiously waiting for The One. We settle for less though we know that we deserve more.

We know. But still we do it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

ways to lose weight while watching TV

Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Here are small but effective ways to lose weight while watching television:
  • Throw away the batteries of the TV remote control then sit at least two meters away from the TV. This way you will be forced to get up and walk every time you switch channels. Imagine how much calories you will burn as you surf channels!
  • During commercial breaks, do several rounds of stretching, bending, lunging and crunching.
  • If you feel like having a snack, go to the kitchen and munch on a carrot or any fruit available. Never give in to the lure of chips, cookies, anything fried, sweet, or salty.
  • Every time you see somebody with your ideal body size and type on TV, remember that that image you see requires a lot of sweat and hunger pains. Or a lot of visits to the Belo medical group or any other aesthetic center.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Blogging While in a Meeting

Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I have a confession to make. I usually let my mind wander during office meetings. People assume that I’m intently taking down notes but I’m actually scribbling down what's currently brewing inside my head for the makings of a blog post. This is multi-tasking-cum-time-management at its primest: trying to gather my thoughts, write a post, appear attentive, observe the reactions of others, and listen and digest what is being discussed – all at the same time.

Without these rare opportunities, how else can i write something down?

Hazel Martha

She is the only person I know who carries a name like Martha with such aplomb – and gets away with it; she cannot carry a conversation in even the most basic Ilocano but speaks Nipongo like a native.

She is one tough lady. She not only survived high school away from her family but was consistently in the top ten percent of the whole batch. She can raise hell like a wildcat – she once almost scratched the eyes out of one of our classmates with a spice-sounding, pesto-smelling name. She is in Bayani Fernando’s most wanted list for her crazy driving escapades.

She is the most astig, the most brazen Tom-basher, the most taray of all pilak girls.

With nary a kikay bone in her body, the geekest geek in high school got enamored with her but only the certified genius in our batch passed her standards.

Then she met her match – her one and only bulate. And now they’re getting married. At my most embittered moment, she magically restored my faith in love and relationships.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Girlfriend Material Versus Bed Material

Monday, August 6, 2007
What is it with guys who group girls as either "girlfriend-material" or "bed-material"? How presumptuous of them to make such conclusive distinctions by looks alone. These repugnant, interplanetary vermin, disguised as guys, are undeniably lacking in brain matter ability for they are unaware that by insulting womankind that way, the insult ultimately returns to them. There is something suspect in these guys who think of women as pang-girlfriend or pangkama. Such distasteful either-or labeling gives us a glimpse of how they perceive women. They tacitly reveal their hidden intensions – carnal or otherwise. For them, there are women whose only function is in bed. Has it not crossed their minds that their mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts are also women? They do not know how offensive such labeling is to women and how they, in turn, degrade themselves by doing so.

Do girls make the same distinction? Yes and no. Yes, we do make distinctions but definitely not based on their bed-ability!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

the pilak circle of trust remains unbroken

Sunday, August 5, 2007
The pilak circle of trust remains unbroken. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

people who keep blogs

Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I so admire people who have the passion and the patience to keep a blog. In this crazy, fast-tracked world - where the creativity, discipline and rigor of writing is relegated to undecipherable, SMS-like babble - who has time to ruminate and put his or her ruminations in writing?

My very high regards and admiration for Kayni and her meanderings – so profound in its simplicity, Niel and her bittersweet writing, Natalie and her few but ever insightful posts, Hazel and her wicked witchisms, and Kubi and her perfectly-written, oh-so-witty posts.

 
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