Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't Let's Ask for the Moon

Friday, January 30, 2009

A few nights ago, I saw some pictures of a friend of mine – pictures that showed how she glows with that certain glow only mothers-to-be have and how she has settled down and made a good home with her husband. I suppressed a faint swell of envy as I looked at those pictures. I asked myself, when will my time be? When will I have that kind of life? Though I like how my life as it is, I can’t help but wonder if that kind of life is more fulfilling than what I have now. Should I not let myself desire for that “settled down” life but instead just be content with my life as it is?

Don’t let’s ask for the moon; we have the stars.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Or does it? The exquisite pain of wanting something unattainable—for the moment or for a limitless time--is something that most of us are willing to unwearyingly endure. Again and again we allow ourselves to want things regardless of the risk of disappointment. We cannot yet have what we want but we patiently and assiduously work for it until we finally have it. We know that we can never have the moon, but we still ask for it. We have the stars, but we reach for the moon, still.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Transforming Pain Into Honey

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nothing that happens to us after twenty is free from self-consciousness because by then we have the vocation to write. Writers’ lives break into two halves. At the point where you get your writerly vocation you diminish your receptivity to experience. Being able to write becomes a kind of shield, a way of hiding, a way of too instantly transforming pain into honey—whereas when you’re young, you’re so impotent you cannot help but strive and observe and feel.

The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me.

John Updike, The Paris Review, 1967

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Celebration

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The office threw a party for us three January birthday celebrants (Rose, Cris and I). It wasn't just a birthday celebration though. It was a celebration of friendship and of staying as a family through the years.




Monday, January 26, 2009

Habit of Poverty

Monday, January 26, 2009

The rickety makeshift ladder made from raw planks of wood that connects the ground floor to the basement of our old house must have felt hard and coarse against my young skin but I didn’t feel any discomfort as I sat on its bottom rung for hours and hours devouring the ancient, musty-smelling, brittle-paged books stacked haphazardly in our home's lone bookshelf and, for those that won’t fit it in, packed tightly in threadbare boxes, waiting to be set free. With uncontained relish, I removed those books from their boxes, shook them off free of dust, and uncovered the riches buried in their pages. Only now do I realize that it was I who gained freedom when I set those books free. From this childhood habit, I gained freedom from poverty of the mind.

There weren’t any other sources of entertainment while I was growing up aside from those that can be found in shelves and boxes. Whatever money we had was just (and sometimes not even) sufficient for life’s bare essentials. Austerity wasn’t just a choice for my family; it was our way of life. We never had the chance to play with the latest toys, go to amusement parks, have swimming, piano or ballet lessons, or wear clothes in fashion. All my sisters and I had were our books. In retrospect, I’d never exchange my initial immersion in the world of Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara for any Barbie Doll or Nintendo video game.

Now that austerity can be merely a choice, I find that I am still making it my way of life – a life grounded on the habits of poverty. Having lived most of my life in material deprivation, I still cannot shake off the ingrained penny-pinching and frugality I learned as a child. Though I can already afford some bits of luxury in life, I always think thrice before spending on anything. The spa I thought of having for my birthday, I eventually discarded, rationalizing that it’s just vagarious froufrou I can do without; and I’d be happier reading a book, anyway. The good thing when you come from destitution is that even the simplest things make you happy. Happiness and contentment come cheap.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pilak Girls

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One is in Japan, another in Taiwan, another in Singapore, two in the US and one in the Philippines. But still we remain the Pilak Girls:


Friday, January 23, 2009

Honest Scrap

Friday, January 23, 2009

I thank Wits and Nuts for giving me this award:

According to her:

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion is brilliant.

And the rules are:

When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to said person so everyone knows he or she is real.

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have 7 friends. Show the 7 random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Weblog.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!

Here are ten honest things about me:

  • I take the stairs to and from my 7th floor unit everyday.
  • My self-imposed curfew is 7 o’clock pm.
  • Having a child is not among my short and long term plans.
  • I have a Blackberry which I use only for incoming calls. I rarely text. I rarely call.
  • My social life occurs mainly in the virtual world.
  • I keep a daily record of what and how much I spend.
  • I have remained friends with a girl I met in Grade Two. To this day, she is one of my closest friends. We talk almost everyday.
  • The unabated meltdown of the global economy fills me with complete terror.
  • Listening to our school song brings tears to my eyes.
  • I can be really bitchy at times.

Aside from Wits and Nuts whose blog I also find brilliant, I am passing this award to:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 22

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two dozen lovely red roses and a box of chocolates were delivered to the office today. They came from D of course.


I went home and immediately arranged them in vases.


To D, my family whose greeting roused me this morning, and all of my friends who sent their birthday greetings, thank you. The H-A-P-P-Y in Happy Birthday won’t be there without you guys.

It’s fun to be thirty-one!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kafkaesque

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It’s close to nine in the evening and I have just finished reading Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1925), a book which I have been reading intermittently since New Year’s Eve. The first paragraph of the book's last chapter goes like this:

The evening before K.'s thirty-first birthday - it was about nine o'clock in the evening, the time when the streets were quiet - two men came to where he lived. In frock coats, pale and fat, wearing top hats that looked like they could not be taken off their heads. After some brief formalities at the door of the flat when they first arrived, the same formalities were repeated at greater length at K.'s door. He had not been notified they would be coming, but K. sat in a chair near the door, dressed in black as they were, and slowly put on new gloves which stretched tightly over his fingers and behaved as if he were expecting visitors.

Reading such passage the night before my very own thirsty-first birthday is, in way, Kafkaesque in itself. I just hope there won’t be any men wearing frock coats and top hats knocking at my door tonight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Walk in the Rain

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The day was enveloped with a pearly overcast, but in the absence of the sun everything around us dazzled. As a fine misty rain began to fall lightly, the oneiric atmosphere of the deserted Walled City became more intense. Arm in arm we continued to walk on top of the centuries old walls and along the old cobblestoned paths--cocooned in the surreality of the moment. The historical magnificence of those ancient impenetrable bulwarks and Spanish style structures witnessed how something as prosaic and tiresome as a walk in the rain could turn out to be a string of moments of pure beauty that would, at all times, bring sparkle to our existence.


Several offers to ride in a horse-drawn carriage we all refused. We walked on, minding neither the rain nor what others might think. I listened to him as he unraveled the mundane yet lovely details of his childhood. With each step, we fell into the rhythm of our personal banter – a collection of nonsense utterances that makes sense only to the two of us.

We walked several kilometers that day, but despite my exhaustion and the pouring rain I wanted to walk a hundred kilometers more just to make the moment last. A small bubble of time together was all we had then, and I didn’t want it to end.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy, Excited and Terrified

Monday, January 19, 2009

A colleague of mine has just announced her engagement to her boyfriend of four years. They are to be wed in April of this year. Despite my misgivings about marriage, hearing the news made me so happy for her, for both of them. I asked her how she feels about it. She replied, “Happy, excited and terrified – all at the same time.”

A good, loving relationship may not always have to lead to marriage. But for others, it does. Marriage, for them, is the culmination of what they have right now as well as the start of something even better.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Habitat Completely Unlike the Rest of the World

Friday, January 16, 2009

They made for themselves a sanctuary… a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn’t have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler’s felt so that we should never hear it…Love me, because love doesn’t exist, and I have tried everything that does.


- Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated, 2002

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Self-Indulgence

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I am turning thirty-one in seven days, and I am thinking of giving myself a treat. Anybody who has managed to maintain his or her sanity for eleven thousand three hundred fifteen days surely deserves a treat. And the fact that my age is about to be bumped off the calendar calls for a celebration, too.

So what kind of treat do I give myself on my birthday? Hmmm.. I can buy a cake and put up balloons in my apartment; or go to a spa for a much needed pampering; or buy myself a fabulous pair of shoes; or go watch some show; or just sleep the day away.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lost Identification Card

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I got a call from my mother yesterday. She said that a certain Romy sent her an SMS saying that he found my ID card. I wasn’t even aware that I lost my ID (because I never wear it, to the consternation of our building’s security guards). I checked my bag and it’s not there. I must have dropped it when I was on my way home for lunch. I got the person’s number from my mother then proceeded to call him. Our conversation was brief. I asked him if he could drop off my ID card at our office building but he insisted that we should meet at the Shangri-La Mall on Saturday. Without my asking it, he even added that he is into filmmaking and is busy with a “shooting” nowadays. While he’s telling me all those stuff, I decided to forget about that lost ID and just have it replaced with a new one. If he really wanted to return it, why didn’t he simply go straight to our building which is merely a few meters away from where he found it lying on the sidewalk? My office address is just right there. Why did he have to keep on calling the office and texting me till close to midnight last night? Why go to that extent? Applying for a new ID card is much safer and less burdensome than having to meet a stranger who claims to be from the movie industry.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Princess and the Pea (Me and My Marbles)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Since I was a child, I always loved Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea. It’s the tale of a prince who has looked everywhere just to find a ‘real’ princess to be his wife. But he never found one. Then one evening, a young woman soaking wet and claiming to be a real princess, arrived in the castle to seek shelter from the storm. To verify her claim, the queen:

"..went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses."


The girl claiming to be a princess lay on this all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.

“Oh, very badly!” said she. “I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!”

And thus they proved that she was indeed a real princess. Nobody but a real princess could have felt the pea right through those mattresses and eider-down beds! And like all fairytales, the prince and the princess lived happily ever after.

What I love about the story is its sheer absurdity. 20 eider-down beds over 20 mattresses? Come on. Even as a child, I imagined how tall the bed was, and its silliness always fascinated me. The princess must really have sensitive skin, I wondered. Getting black and blue all over because of a single pea? Until now, it makes me laugh whenever I think about it. My kid sister knows how I love the story that she sometimes puts marbles under my mattress when I sleep over at their place. She says that’s how royalty is treated in their house.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Before the Year Ends

Monday, January 12, 2009

I should have:

  • Mastered at least three piano pieces
  • Started with the online course I’ve been planning to take
  • Saved enough to go for a vacation outside the country
  • Spent more time with the people I want to be with
  • Weighed approximately the same (or even less!) than I did last year
  • Expressed my appreciation for people more
  • Read at least 55 books
  • Managed to stay away from the doldrums
  • Spent less on ‘wants’ than on ‘needs’
  • Learned the basics of Photoshop
  • Focused more on what’s going well than on what’s not.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It is when times are rough that you realize how much you love a person.
It is then that you know you are willing to fight whatever obstacles come in your way just to be with him. When it looks as if you are going up shit creek without a paddle, that is when you know you are going to stick it out with him, anyway. It is when you know that the only person you want to sit beside you in that boat is him.

And that ride up shit creek with him will turn out to be the ride of your life.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Frantic Friday

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fridays are usually slow at work. But today proved to be quite a busy one. I attended a meeting that began in the morning and lasted past noontime. Though a bit weak from hunger, I had to rush back home to heat up the chicken soup I planned to have for lunch. And then in the afternoon I had to squeeze my brain to remember the exact way we were taught to interpret the results of psychological tests. I'm sure it's called Psych 115, but not that sure if I can remember everything that we took up in that subject. And when I got home a couple of hours ago, the eerily spectacular sight of the Black Nazarene devotees on TV greeted me. Watching them sent shivers up my spine.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bumblebee Sunglasses for the Future

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It’s been gloomy since the first day of the year. Every morning I wake up to overcast skies, with nary a hint of sunlight peeking through. With the economically and environmentally perilous times we now live in, I’m afraid it looks like the future could even be gloomier.

My being a reluctant pessimistic worrywart taught me one thing though. The things I worry about most never happen. With or without my worrying about the ifs, buts, could, would or should, the future is going to take care of itself. By the law of averages, whatever bad is happening now is ineluctably going to turn around. And as one sensible person told me, “Don't fret. The best is yet to come. The future is so bright that you'll need to wear your bumblebee sunglasses.”

Though it involves a radical dismantlement of everything I have known or a lifestyle that doesn’t require any sunglasses, I am avid for the future. I embrace life however precarious it is.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Good Way to Live

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

…life can be lived selectively, as one chooses from a menu, or picks a polished fruit from the bowl. Here…food, exercises, and sleep, no longer squeezed into the margins of the day, swell to a sumptuous importance. The smell of fresh coffee drifting to greet him as he walks still wet back from his swim; the kiss of morning fog through a rusted window screen; the sight of her with bare brown feet…; the blue jay switching stances on the porch rail; the smooth rose-veined rock holding shut the upstairs door that has lost its latch…. the very texture of root riddled mud and reeds where the fresh cedar dock pilings have been driven: he feels love for each phenomenon and not for the first time in his life seeks to bring himself in harmony with the intertwining simplicities that uphold him, that were woven into him at birth. There must be a good way to live.

-
John Updike, Rabbit Angstrom: A Tetralogy (Rabbit is Rich), Everyman's Library, 1995


Monday, January 5, 2009

Ascent Idol

Monday, January 5, 2009


Like other company gatherings, we had lots of fun during our Christmas party last December 17. Last year it was prom inspired; now it's all about the search for the Ascent Idol.

Here are some of the pictures.

(from L-R) Cris, Denise, Rona, Alonzo, Rose, me, Jac, Lorenz, and Kennedy

Ricky, me, Cris, Jac and Jim

The three judges:


The Idol Contestants with their hilarious yet superb performances:


All photos are courtesy of Rodrigo Belleza Jr.

Click here for more fun pictures.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Days Spent in Joyous Boredom are Now Over

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The long vacation is about to end. The days freely spent in joyous boredom are over.
No more of those luxurious afternoon naps that leave us feeling both refreshed and lethargic at the same time. Waking up late in the morning--after a night spent gabbing and watching too much TV--and wondering, “Hmmm, what do I do today?” will now be replaced by perennially lacking enough sleep but still having to drag oneself out of bed, day by day, and exclaiming, “Oh no, I have to meet today’s deadline!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Look for the New Year

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Carla says it looks like a wig. (And it does too, doesn't it?!)

Jennifer says I look demure. (Do I really?)

Jac says it's nice. (Oh yeah.)

D says I look very classy. (Because this is his idea!)

And I say my hair looks like that of a preschooler. :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

To the Pilak Girls - Carla Grace, Christine, Jennifer, Hazel Martha and Leah

D, my macushla

My colleague friends, Jacqueline, Rodrigo and William

My sisters, Jennica and Monina and my nieces, Mariel Janina and Moira Pauline

My school friends, Artemis, Dina Marie, Marifren, Kayni, Natalie

My blogmates, AKD, Metropolis, Jo, Sinta and Wellamaria

Gilbert and Jack Angel

And all other readers of this blog,

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Happy 2009 everyone!

 
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