Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reelizations: On Movies That Define Me

One look into my laptop's movie folder and my collection of less-than-legal DVDs will tell you that I'm nothing of a film buff. I do like watching movies; I regard them as one of my favorite leisure activities. Often though, I find that I'm not willing to part with the time and money involved in watching films. As a result, I'm more of an HBO viewer, or else I tend to watch movies on the basis of my friends' recommendations and coercions. This passively affectionate relationship I have with movies makes it difficult for me to name particular ones that define me, so I've decided to do it by categories.

Except for one, that is. I might as well start with the exception. I've recently watched Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, and it struck me mostly because lesbian couple movies are rare. Also, it reminded me of me and my girlfriend, with a slight twist. While I'm (quite obviously) the soft butch one with the Ellen Degerenes clothing preferences, she's the more accomplished and slightly workaholic one. And while I’m pretty self-directed (unlike Julianne Moore’s character), I’m the one who got delayed because of shifting; besides, seeing my girlfriend’s diligence can make anyone feel like a slacker. She’d cancel or turn down some dates or meet-ups for the sake of her thesis or org activities. Admittedly, it’s caused endless issues between us, but we work it out and we’re otherwise very happy—which is why we’ve lasted this long. (In fact, every time I tell people we’ve been together on and off for seven years, I’m greeted with either respectful awe or slight alarm, depending on how fearful of homosexuality and/or commitment they happen to be.) I’m too young to think about settling down and having a big old lesbian family like the one they have on the film (minus the cheating and all), but I hope that when both the time and person for it comes around, my family and other people dear to me would be accepting, or respectful at the very least.

Next up are chick flicks/love stories, which would tell you that I am a sap. Yes, there’s just no use in denying the fact. Love Actually is one of my current favorites, particularly the subplot about the best man (Mark) who is secretly in love with his best friend’s bride. He surprises her on Christmas and tells her how he feels, even when he knows there’s nothing else that can be done about it. I guess the hopeless romantic in me can relate. Among many others, I liked 500 Days of Summer, a non-love story; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a love story where each character tries very hard, and yet fails, to not be in love with the other; and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which I rather liked, despite unnecessary displays of Jason Segel’s…err…private parts. In hindsight, I seem to like bittersweet love stories, which I guess makes me an “emo” sap. Actually, it makes sense, seeing how I like to watch chick flicks whenever I’m depressed. Sometimes I just like to shut myself in my room, surrounded by comfort food, lamenting over the fact that—unlike most of the movie characters—I would probably die loveless and alone.

Last on my list are reality-bending movies such as The Truman Show. I only ever saw it once, as a kid, but the concept of creating an entire environment—an entire life—for a person really stuck. Then there’s Inception, the mind-bending film which also happened to be the first one I watched in a movie theater all by myself. I’m enchanted with the idea of subtly altering people’s perceptions. One of my ultimate dreams used to be to change the world—but with the jadedness that comes with growing up, I’ve settled for changing at least one person’s life, or even just a couple of people’s minds. Also, I love these types of films because they distract me completely, and take me away from the overwhelming monotony of everyday. 

After all, isn’t that why we watch movies in the first place? Escapism is a tricky thing, though. At the end of the day, all the films we watch and remember are reality-benders. Truly, we choose movies to take us away. But then, I think it’s about time we choose how much of them we take in, too.

[This was an assigned essay for my Audio-Visual Communication class.]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Skinny Bitch: On The Narrower End of Weight Issues

Ever since the age of ten, when I discovered the amount of time and money that one could save from not eating proper meals, I started growing thin. I grew thinner and thinner until I earned (along with unbearable amounts of ulcer-ish pain) the envy of my diet-crazy friends, and the concern of nurses and doctors whenever they reminded me of my woefully below average body mass index. I started eating properly again, but I just couldn't gain the weight anymore. Well, not until recently. I'm glad to report that my BMI just (barely) made it to normal levels, and all I need to do is maintain the weight.

Still, that's work for me. Yes, I am an effortlessly skinny bitch. To most, it may seem like a blessing. That's probably because you haven't experienced being underweight. It only ever comes in handy when:

  • You're involved in those team-building activities where group members need to carry or lift their team mates. I usually get passed around like half a sack of potatoes.
  • You're a trained ballet dancer. I was forced into ballet by my high school PE program, and it was one of the most awkward and embarrassing moments of my young life. Needless to say, I am not—and will never be—a trained ballet dancer.
  • Your carpool gets very crowded and sitting on each others' laps becomes a necessity. This is rather unfortunate for the person you have to sit on—in my case, my sister who's four years younger. Ha ha.
  • You're in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model. Sadly, not only did I use to have the weight of half a potato sack, I also happen to share its level of fashion knowledge.

On the other hand, here are some challenges I've encountered as a skinny bitch:

  • There's a reason it's called underweight. Just like being overweight and being obese, being underweight is medically not normal. 
  • You can't donate blood. The last time I tried, I came up short by half a kilo, I think. And it's something I've always wanted to do, too.
  • You're something of a weakling. Especially since my arms seem to gain no fat nor muscle, I could never lift things. Those carry-your-team-over-the-web activities? I proved pretty useless once I got to the other side because I couldn't lift my other team mates.
  • You get trapped outside with a signal #4 storm. Seriously, I've tried. I happened to be walking on a slanted surface during a really windy storm. I could feel my balance being affected. I imagine it would have made for a really bad Mary Poppins knock-off.
  • You're not even tall and you get mistaken for a kid. Which always, always happens to me. Either that or people mistake me for a prepubescent boy, which isn't comforting either. Damn it people! Do I have to wear my birth certificate on a chain around my neck?

But really, this is all for fun. To normal-weighing people who go crazy about dieting (especially by unhealthy means), please don't stone me to death. And please, stop trying to be those starved skeletons you see on the Internet.

Weight is just a number. Whether you have a little too much, or too less of it, should not run nor ruin your life. If you're really trying to gain or lose some pounds, you should do it for yourself, and not for those critical significant others, relatives, neighbors, or friends. 

And if you happen to be a self-imposed weight critic, please do the world a favor and STFU. You know what everyone hates more than a skinny bitch? A nosy one, I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bad Decisions

A week or two ago I watched this one episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted, one of the lead characters, has to tear down an architectural landmark (The Arcadian) to make way for a new building he was designing. He was pretty reluctant; at first he thought it was about the building. But then he realized it was really all about a girl who was protesting against his project. His friends then recalled the silliest things he'd done, all for the sake of dating particular girls.

I just love that show (you should watch it, it's awesome). And—not for the first time—I found myself being able to relate to Ted. Embarrassing as it is, I have to admit I may have, on occasion, gone totally out of my way for a girl I liked.

There's this incident from almost ten years ago that I remember vividly. I was in fifth grade, and I had developed a crush on this girl, who upon meeting me, apparently decided that she hated my guts. She teased me relentlessly, until one day she decided to stop; at that moment I realized that I liked her. Now, I don't know what that says about me, but (*cough* masochist *cough*) I guess I was pretty much a hopeless (and clueless) romantic at the age of ten.

So anyway, we were friends already, and there was a fair of sorts in school—with mini-rides, inflatable houses, and all that. I was with a couple of friends when she and a couple of her friends went up to us, joking around and asking to be treated.

And, before I knew it, I had my wallet in my hand. I wasn't a rich kid, so I handed her the remaining 50 pesos in my wallet. I got a sweet smile and a peck on the cheek, and I guess that made my day back then, despite the fact that I had no money left for the rest of the day. Later on she went on to be the first girl to officially break my heart, when she started dating a close friend of mine. Tss, kids those days.

Here I am, ten years later: about five inches taller, with a better haircut and better fitting clothes, but almost exactly the same attitude when it comes to my love life. I may not be tripping over myself in the haste of doing irrational things for every single girl I happen to like, but I can't say I've quit the habit entirely.

Over the years, in the name of dating, or simply liking someone, I have:
  • embarrassed myself multiple times by trying to pull off something I normally wouldn't even want to try;
  • been dragged into awkward events and situations wherein I knew practically nobody else;
  • taken impractically diverted routes home for the sake of being able to commute with aforementioned someone;
  • stayed up amazingly late, or woken up amazingly early to talk to said someone (depending on whether she's a midnight or morning person);
  • regularly attended classes which I wasn't enrolled in;
  • waited for hours, hoping to casually bump into said someone during her free time;
  • gotten lost multiple times, trying to find/buy things as gifts;
  • learned to play the guitar to impress aforementioned someone;
  • totally overhauled my wardrobe (yippee for me);
  • played nice (actually, I really am nice), even when it felt like torture;
  • tried/am trying to change my attitude toward things (yeah, that's mostly for the better though);
  • and some other things which are too specific and/or dramatic to disclose here.

They might sound like totally normal things to do. I guess that's because at some point, we've all done irrational—or, at the very least, uncharacteristic—things for the sake of love, or the faintest illusion of it. If you haven't...well, hang on, you'll find your match.

Does loving or liking make us foolish, or does it make us brave?

Hands down, I'd have to agree that it drives us to make some really awful decisions sometimes. But still, unless you'll end up getting seriously hurt physically or psychologically (or something horrible like that), I'd say go for it.

After all, bad decisions make for good stories. Or so they tell me, anyway.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Counting Years

If you ever read my older, mushier posts, you'd know about my ex-ex. We keep getting back together that my friends all tease me about not being single since I was thirteen, and thus being terribly out of the dating/flirting game. But we can't help it. We're just so much better at being together.

She's the most awesome person I know. And she's such a big part of the person I've slowly morphed into for the past years. She helped me grow up (haha) by growing with me. 

I try not to write about her, because--for all my love of words--I still know I could never do her justice. I'd either come up too short, or too mushy that my insides might melt--like how they feel even just as I'm trying. [See what I mean? B, if you're reading this, it's honestly the reason why I don't write about you much.]

Considering we first got together on her 13th birthday, it has now been 7 years of on and off bliss (for the most part), and incredible comfort and contentment (all the time). We've stopped trying to count because we couldn't agree on what years to include.

But if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that I've been in love with just one person for the past 7 years. Definitely no contest about that one.

Taken some years ago.
Okay, I look like a dog here. But never mind that.
*I'm sorry for the mush. It's my girlfriend's birthday, I hope you understand.

Friday, October 1, 2010


One evening, a few weeks ago, I sat caught in the middle of a traffic jam and the pouring rain. One of the (many) things that usually piss me off is riding jeepneys on rainy days. The windows are all draped with thick plastic and the general lack of air and space triggers my slight claustrophobia.

Luckily I was in one of the seats at the very end of the jeep. Staring out at Taft Avenue, I noticed a pedicab driver, singing at the top of his lungs as he pedaled by, completely drenched in the rain. He whooped as he swerved and passed under the torrent cascading from one of the LRT station roofs.

It's crazy to admit, but admired the pedicab driver--or rather, I admired the freedom he exuded. The image of me, crammed inside a jeepney for fear of getting wet in the rain, was one that I felt defined my life in general. I'm confined by rules, by things I've been led to believe I should be doing.

Click for source.
Lately I've been catching myself thinking about living more. I've grown tired of my rules and my duties, of always doing the right thing even when it makes me miserable. I want to do crazy things--dance in the rain (Gene Kelly style), stay out late, go on vacation, pretend to be a rock star, go on a road trip, or talk to total strangers. Or something, anything out of the ordinary.

It's the way I've been raised, and it grew on me, I guess. I've always had to be responsible--for myself, and for people around me. I've always been wary of letting people down, that I sometimes find myself in situations I'd rather be out of.

I have this fear that I'll be stuck in the routine my whole life. I know the responsibilities will just continue to pile up, and I want to get away--even just for a while--before I have to deal with them again. For once in my uptight life, I want to run away and come back, just to feel that I've changed somehow.

But for now I just have to make the best of what I've got, find small ways of escaping the ordinary. And someday I'll find the means, and or the courage, and maybe a buddy who'll go crazy with me.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Let me tell you about my clothing choices. Oh, no, I'm not going to pretend to be fashion-savvy. Trust me, I couldn't put a fashionable outfit together, even if my life depended on it.

It's just that the other day, I was wearing black, which I almost never do. As of my last tally, my closet contains exactly one black and two dark blue shirts, and about one shirt for each other color. The rest of my tops are white. I don't know when this started, but after four years in college, the white shirts have slowly piled up.

I really prefer white shirts, mostly because the weather is baking like an oven most of the time, and I, unfortunately, tend to sweat profusely and easily.So white clothes keep me cool and comfortable, while also keeping me from perpetually looking like I just came from a jog.

Click for source.
However, I've been thinking about how there's a lot more to my clothing choice than just comfort. I realized that I actually suit my shirt colors to my mood—and based on that, I'm pretty bipolar, I guess.

Most of the time I'm white; I'm bright. I catch the light, reflecting it, reaching out. This is me in my happiest, most hyper moods. I go out on impromptu drinking sessions, I dance around, and act like a kid with ADHD. This is me in my most sociable, most engaged moments. I laugh at anything and try everything, just for the heck of it. I breathe the air and sunshine in, like a silly sunflower in bloom (and mind you, the concept of me as a sunflower is silly in itself).

But other times, I'm black; I'm dark. I absorb the light, curling up, cowering in corners, shutting out. I refuse to talk to people, spending whole days shut up in my room, watching movies and reading.This is me in my most detached, apathetic moments. I watch anything—to distract me, because I think about everything—especially the unnecessary stressors. The air feels trapped and I feel too tired, too heavy to move. 

Lately I've been alternating between dark and light shirt colors; dark and light perspectives. Too many things going on, and I'm losing focus. As colors signify moods and emotions, I'm pretty much overloading on the whole spectrum every day.

Most days I come home tired and drained, and fall asleep feeling defeated. I wake up the next day hoping for the best; for the nearest I can get to a clean slate. Then the day comes at me again and before I notice, I'm stuck in the cycle.

But it's fine, I guess. I'll find a way around it, I always do.

We are all are light and dark, in our own ways. We all have the potential for goodness and positivity, yet we are at the same time inevitably flawed.

The thing about black and white is that they both are overloaded with the whole spectrum. One simply chooses to reflect it, seeing it as an opportunity to exude brightness, while the other keeps everything in, trapping the light.

Having choices is freaking difficult. And as we've all heard at some point, our life depends on what we choose make of our circumstances. No wonder life is such a pain in the ass. We'll just have to deal with it, then. If we make enough good choices, maybe we'll even turn into prisms and achieve states of rainbow-shitting happiness (very similar to Maslow's concept of self-actualization, except this has hints of substance abuse).

[Okay, I think I just pushed the analogy off the cliff. Don't mind that last bit. Just stay happy, folks.]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Torre Lorenzo

September 1, 2010

I'm in Torre Lorenzo, with a sudden amount of free time. I was supposed to be on an all-morning date, but something came up. Three hours to kill, and nothing to do. I'd brought no laptop, no books—not even paper, save for my psychology reviewers. So I'm living out the ultimate writer's cliche—scribbling on coffee shop napkins, and basically trying look artsy fartsy. 

I'm just kiddding about that last part. I look nothing like an artsy fartsy, mysterious writer—if anything, I look sleep deprived and too small to be a college senior. Anyway, what was going to talk about? Oh yeah, Starbucks Torre Lorenzo.

I figured I've never done a blog about places before, and if we're talking about favorites than this definitely tops the list. I know, Hollywood and the endless stream of rich kids have made coffee shops overrated. But Sb Torre and I go a long way back.

I first became acquainted with the place in high school. I grew up in a school in Vito Cruz, and Starbucks was my usual source of treats for my girlfriend, or of payments for lost bets. Don't get me wrong—I'm no rich kid, though. I still see this as overpriced coffee. (Side note: actually, my wallet /was/ actually considerably thicker back then—now I seem to be stuck in a financial crisis all the time).
I remember this one time, I was with some of our high school faculty members. I'd developed an unlikely friendship with one of my teachers, and I remember how good it felt to be able to talk and laugh with those teachers without being the target of petty gossip. I haven't talked to that particular friend in a while, and Starbucks always reminds me of how much fun we used to have. A love of coffee was one of the things we had in common, and one of the things we immediately agreed on—even though she'd always, always disagree with me, just for the sake of disagreement. Despite the eleven-year age gap, she treated me more or less like an adult, a real friend whom she could trust with real issues and problems. I actually kind of miss her.
Torre Lorenzo also played host to various rendezvous with various friends, even with my college friends. We would take the jeepney ride from Faura to Vito Cruz. Starbucks Rob just doesn't have the same feel—it's always full of foreigners and their "exotic" dates. Dates and meet-ups with my girlfriend also end up here when we run out of ideas, or time, since it's nearby. Aside from the usual dearth of seats, Torre never fails.

But what I love most about this place is the time I get to spend here by myself. During moments like this one, when I 'm bored, I go here. People-watching is always fun. I'd sit at the long tables fronting Taft or Vito Cruz, and watch passerby. I'd think up stories for them. I'd never actually written down any, I just suck at finishing stories. But really, it makes for a relaxing time-killer.

Also, whenever I feel frustrated, I turn to coffee instead of alcohol. It's harder on the pocket, but I'm sure my liver will thank me for it later on. And besides, drinking alone makes me even more depressed. Alone time here just makes me relaxed, then sleepy after a while.
October 17, 2009
Another flashback, to almost a year ago. I'd planned a surpise which had miserably failed. I was worn out from all the relationship stress and I didn't know what else to do. I hung out here for around three hours, until I felt better. I wrote, I read, I texted my friends. That, for me, was the defining moment of my coffee-fueled relationship with this place. Okay, weird. Maybe it's just the coffee—it actually makes me sleepy.
And then there's this last thing about the place—they never get my name right. They've generated more nicknames for me than all my friends and relatives ever have. I've been dubbed RG, RJ, AG, Arjie, Arci, and Liza, among others.

That is, except for today. They finally got my name right. Well, granted that the barista asked me about the spelling, it's still a first. I think my favorite coffee shop is starting to like me back.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Horror Vacui

I've never been afraid of empty spaces. In fact, you know how much I detest crowds and cramped spaces, almost to the point of claustrophobia. There's a certain unpleasantness in having to compete for space and having to get stuck with people I don't know—especially with relationships.

I've always thought of myself as a lone wolf. I manage best on my own. Friends are great, but the freedom of making decisions for myself and not having to depend on anyone appeals to me. In the last couple of years I've managed to train myself in the art of self-sufficience. I've gone from clingy to detached. Don't ask me how or why, but something changed.

Lately, however, I'm starting to become afraid again. Those careless, costly mistakes are taking their toll. I'm running the risk of losing you—and despite my best efforts, I'm absolutely terrified.

You see, you are an exception. To others I'm calm and collected. I laugh and I'm silly, and I care deeply for my friends, but even my closest friends only go so deep. It's gotten to the point where there's an automatic barrier that they can't simply cross. I'm also the best quitter there is—when something annoys or disinterests me, I walk away. I avoid, I resist, and I hide. But you I can never hide from.

With you I'm rash, impractical, emotional; totally irrational. I'm child-like—both when I try too hard to be cute, and when I forget that I'm not supposed to be too vulnerable. I don't know if that's the worst of me, but it's the part of me that drops my defenses. I guess it's also what allows me to feel most contented and at peace when I'm with you.

But with what I've been doing, I've been shutting you out. I apologize for being selfish and stupid and uncaring. It's far less than what you deserve.

It's amazing how you put up with me for the last seven years, when every now and then I have to pull a major overhaul of my attitudes. But here I go again. Someday soon, I'll make it up to you and all that patience will pay off.

I'll make sure of that. Because there are some things I can't afford to lose.

It seems, that the only space I'm afraid to leave empty is the one I've reserved exclusively for you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Growing Pains

I know it's pretty late to blog about Inception or my birthday. Nevertheless this is a blog sort of about my birthday and it starts with me watching Inception.

I actually watched the movie a couple of weeks before my birthday. It was the first movie I ever watched by myself, and it was an awesome first time, I must say. I loved how intelligent the whole thing was. However, it didn't blow my mind as much, because I didn't think of the many interpretations of the plot when I watched it. Aside from the kick-ass zero-gravity fight scenes, what really struck me about the film was that it showed how easily we could lose track of reality.

The slightly depressing part is, I think I'm getting too grounded in it. This is where my birthday comes in. You see, I turned twenty barely a week ago. And while I don't want to be Peter Pan, I'm a teeny bit worried that I might be getting too caught up with the mundane things in my life. 

Actually, people never believe me when I tell them my age. I'm already used to being mistaken for either a boy, or a fourteen year-old (and on one hilarious instance, I was mistaken for both). I have no problems with acting like a kid either—you know, playing computer games when I'm supposed to be studying for exams, not cleaning my room, that kind of stuff.

But the thing is, I'm afraid I may have forgotten how to dream. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a detective, a ninja, and a magician. Later on I wanted to be a lawyer. Then I started reading the Harry Potter series and I wanted to be J.K. Rowling.

During my last year in high school, I seriously considered a degree in Humanities or Creative Writing. After doubting my writing prowess and having countless mini-debates with my mom, I decided to let it go. I personally settled for a degree in Computer Science, because it was a "serious, real" career—and the salary isn't so bad either.

And then you probably know the rest—I shifted out and landed in OrCom, which I think is an awesome course. It's where I want to be. Now my concept of dreaming is lusting over a job as an account manager for an advertising firm. I'd earn enough and buy my parents a house, buy myself a car, and then get my own place. I want a kid or two (but unless I start gaining romantic interest in guys then I'd probably have to save up for a costly, husband-less procedure, or for adoption). So far off, I know. It probably shows maturity, and having goals is a good thing. But where'd my other dreams go?

Sure, I'm gonna grow up. Who says I can't be awesome at it?
I know stability is a good thing, but I can't help but want to shake things up a bit. I just turned twenty, and now, more than anything, is the time to live life before my responsibilities start catching up with me. I mean, my mom's constantly on my neck about graduating ('cause I got delayed). I already have a family to support, and future hospital bills to worry about. So don't blame me for wanting to be young and reckless and stupid. I just want to be alive.

(Yes, I know that was incredibly cheesy and cliche.)

I guess the first un-adult thing I should do is to stop thinking too much and start doing (fun) things instead. So I'm gonna go now,and I'm gonna have fun. So should you.

Friday, July 23, 2010


The world is made up of and by stories. I think, that all we are are stories.

Some are happy, some sad. Some are irrational (like trying to carry on with a phone conversation while being ridiculously drunk), and some are well thought out plans. Some we tell, and some we don't.

There is a story that I haven't told you. I want(ed) to, but then there is the matter of whether I could, or I should. You see, I'm still quite confused.

Partly I believe that it doesn't really matter, because the detail I'm leaving out is actually such a tiny bit. Just think of it as a prologue. You already know the stories. They started in the ungodly hours of the morning, over time and space and being strangers, and they drew us closer into becoming friends. They were stories in coffee shops, nearby watering holes, crowded hallways—and once, even on one of those terrifying MMDA foot bridges.

I don't need to tell anything more because the stories are complete by themselves. On most days I'm certain that's all there is to them. [But I probably will tell you, the next time you ask.]

I value stories most, because in the end we have nothing else, except the times we shared with people who mattered. The biggest favor you did for me (which I would like to thank you for) was to build stories with me. The best thing about them is that they will never be lost, unless we forget, perhaps. But you can be sure that I won't forget.

This is not the end though. The next best thing about stories is that they go on, despite time and distance (and the lack of prepaid credits for making international calls).

So take care of yourself. And any time you need someone to tell stories to, you'll know how to find me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stage Fright

I'd rather hide behind the curtains
I don't want to be seen.
I'd rather watch, dim the lights,
or man the ticket machine.

But I would sing in the shower
when there's no one to hear.
Oh I could be a rockstar
if not for this fear.

You see, I dream to entertain
with swooning fans at my feet.
To get up on that platform
and lose myself to the beat.

But I shake and I cringe,
I run away from the spotlight.
It's just this terrible, weakening
incurable stage fright.

Quite an impromptu poem for a humanities class tomorrow, because I realized all my poetry are either mushy, crappy, or brooding. I'm not sure if this is a welcome change though, it still seems a bit morose or something. Anyway, even if it's quite hurried, it actually is something I've been wanting to discuss for a while. But more on that later, I'm too scatter-brained to blog. Man, school is tiring.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Okay, so I haven't blogged the whole summer. Needless to say, it was uneventful. Painfully uneventful, actually, that at one point I was almost convinced that learning to eat fire—with the matching inevitable hospitalization—would be a good way of spicing my summer up. But not really, I didn't plan to do that. Owing partly to the paranoia I inherited from my mother, and partly to my incredible laziness, I never learned to eat anything more daring than weird vegetables and moderate amounts of spicy canned food.

I never went anywhere, nor went swimming. I didn't learn how to drive, or even to cook a decent meal. Heck, I didn't even go out with friends. Probably the most adventurous thing I did was trying out for a summer call center job for ePLDT Ventus—I met a couple of funny people—but they never called me back. Thus ensued another summer of astounding levels of nothingness. 

That's changed now. To my huge relief, classes have resumed. My schedule still is prefect for bumming out—free Tuesdays and Fridays—which I kind of dislike, since I've had enough of my small house and my pink room to last me a couple of stressful weeks. I've been doing nothing for so long that the thought of spending nights sleepless and poring over readings seems almost appealing.

Writing is pretty. [Click the photo for credits.]

So what's there to learn from all of this? I have no idea. I just wanted to share, because today I came home from the first real, whole class session I've had in the semester, and tomorrow we're leaving for an overnight stay in Fontana with my parents' friends. 
I just feel like I have my life back. And apparently, me with no life means me with no blog either. I just realized how much of myself I really put into this blog—it's not that I didn't have any thoughts at all in the last two months, it's just that I was in a mood so lethargic that I couldn't seem to put them into writing. 

I'm reminded that writing is really a lot more than just a hobby for me—not just a way to release excess thoughts, or bitch about how the universe loves to bully me. It's not just a venue for my pseudo-profundity, or a grammatical exercise. Writing is really my life.

Back when I was fresh from high school, I decided not to pursue a Creative Writing degree because I was quite sure that with my moodiness and meager creativity, I wouldn't be able to make a decent living. And then the whole course-choosing-then-shifting thing happened. Through that and everything else I think I've proven that writing is my passion—something I'm sure I'll be doing for as long as I can, regardless of whatever career path I land on.

It's a good feeling to have something you can own. It's about time I claimed it, don't you think?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why Go For Gordon

I am a first-time voter. And yet, I am already tired. I'm tired of this hell-hole of corruption, poverty, deceit and chaos that our country has fallen into at the hands of selfish leaders. I am tired. And that's why on Monday, I WILL VOTE.

As for the matter of choosing the new head of our country, I WILL VOTE FOR DICK GORDON.

I will vote for him because he is competent. His track record says it all, and his experience in the executive department is unparalleled.

I will vote for him because he means well. We can all see that what he has done in Subic and as Red Cross Chair has been beneficial to many.

I will vote for him because has a strong character and sufficient political will to set this country straight. What others see as arrogance, I see as a good weapon against the corrupt, manipulative government officials who will criticize him and make efforts to thwart his reasonable plans of action.

If that's not enough to convince you, then let me tell you why he might as well be the best, and almost only logical choice.

I refuse to vote for politicians who exploit the poor. I cannot honestly say that I love the masses, but that may be as well if loving them means insulting their intellect, like certain orange-clad gentlemen do. I do not want the masses to remain the way they are—impoverished, poorly educated, and susceptible to despicable, bare-faced lies.

I refuse to vote for manipulative politicians. I've had enough of the current government's lies and cover-ups. That's why we don't need a president who can't even face up to legitimate issues during the campaign period. Imagine him in Malacanan—with every scandal uncovered he'll probably hire script writers to distract us with dramatic monologues from him and his supporters, or maybe even his mother.

I refuse to vote for mediocrity. Inspiration and good intentions are never enough. Remind me about inspiration three or four years from now, when we're six feet deeper into poverty and foreign debt because of a president who lacks the competence to efficiently address those problems. Good intentions will not fill the stomachs of the hungry families, nor the heads of children who are relying on the government to give them the good education they deserve.

We cannot sing patriotic songs and stand around waiting for miracles like EDSA to happen every time. We need a president who can do something about the seemingly miraculous feat of transforming our rotten political system into a real servant-leadership.

I refuse to vote because of lineage. As I have just read from Ramon Tulfo's column, "Don't vote for a candidate because of his or her lineage since that criterion is like choosing a pet dog". Breed your dogs, not your presidents.

I refuse to vote solely on the grounds of morality. I am a Catholic, but I believe that the voice of a dominant religion is not necessarily the voice of God, and that the church and the state were separated for a good reason. If you want morality, then let me tell you what our moral duty is—to vote for a president who will help us help each other by concrete means.

That being said, it seems to me that only Mr. Gordon and Mr. Teodoro are the feasible choices. Personally I will go for Gordon because he has had more experience, and because from what I've seen of him, he can provide us with the disciplinary action that our country desperately needs. We have great laws, but our officials greatly fail in implementing them. And that's where Gordon can step in.

On a side note, Teodoro can also have another shot in 2016. He's relatively younger. I believe that NOW IS GORDON'S TIME.

I think I've given you excellent reasons WHY GORDON IS THE BEST CHOICE. I'm sure he won't be perfect, but he's as close to it as we can get, given our options.

If you're not voting for Gordon then weigh the factors. And if you can't give me excellent reasons against him, then I suggest you give in and GO FOR GORDON.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pack Rat

I'm allergic to dust. Whenever I get near the stuff, I tend to sneeze uncontrollably and break out in hives. It's a fact as much as it is a lame excuse to get out of cleaning my room. My mom recognizes that, which is why we were still forced to clean the room and wax the floors a couple of weeks ago (it was worth it though, for mother dear bribed us with 2 14" pizzas and enough soft drinks to satisfy my RDA of sugar for a week). 

Now, room cleaning is a rare event for me—second only to trips to the dentist in the list of necessary things which I religiously avoid doing. So it came as no surprise when I discovered an assortment of mementos stashed in the various nooks and crannies of my small room, some of which I haven't seen in years, literally. My initial reaction was—well aside from the uncontrollable sneezing—a pang of nostalgia, which led me to reminisce about the said items and their history.

Among the objects I found were loose beads from a bracelet given to me by a former friend. You'd think that I would know how to hold on to my few friends, but apparently she grew tired of our company, as well as of the numerous issues we managed to get ourselves into. I remember the Wednesday morning more than a year ago, when the bracelet snapped as I was getting off the train on my way to our class. It seemed ominous, since we were already starting to fall apart/drift away from each other at the time. To this day she refuses to talk to us and barely acknowledges our presence—a tough feat,considering that she usually ends up being group mates with our other friend.

I also found my extemporaneous speech plans, nestled between the yellowing pages of unused bluebooks which I hoarded during my first year in UP, for fear of having to take an exam without one. I put the bluebooks to good use during finals week and reread the speech plans. I was taking that class during my GE days, when I first decided to shift out of ComSci. I don't want to go into details, basically it was a time when my whole life was in a state of flux (which is a polite way of saying "totally freaking confusing and chaotic"). That speech class was a breather for me, almost the only place where I more or less knew what I was doing. Later on my prof became a panelist for my OrCom admission interview (where she got to scold me for my habitual tardiness) and by God's good grace, I got in, and my life regained its direction.

Another notable find was a ratty band-aid (yeah I know they're called medicated plastic strips or something, but that's too long and too lame) given to me by a dear friend back in my awkward high school days. It was a bit dramatic, actually, a symbol for her declaration that she would always be around to help me cope with my emo issues. She kept her word, and she was a great source of comfort for me throughout that year. She gave me a letter during graduation which totally warped my mind—to date I consider it as one of the very few real surprises I've had in my life. We haven't seen each other in about two years, and if you're reading this Jek, well, I think we need a reunion.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find a notepad with short letters from my grade five friends. I remember we got a little sentimental at the end of that school year and writing notes became the in thing during our last day. The notepad contained messages, some affectionate, but mostly jokes—it was only years later when I realized how much my classmates back then loved to bully me. They would hide my bag and lock me out of the room, call me weird names, and even go through the effort of building up a showbiz career for me—they made posters of my supposed "concert" and all that. But it wasn't so bad. We stayed friends, and besides, I'd like to think that I wasn't such a nerd back then. At least they were laughing at me, not behind my back. I sort of enjoyed that too, I guess.

At the back of that notepad was a short note from my crush at the time who decided to go for my friend, much to my ten year-old heart's dismay. It merely said "Ei Rizza o last day na. Have a happy summer vac[ation]", but I remember how I treasured it (pathetic, I know). Thanks to my social awkwardness, we never became close—I would call her to spend almost an hour of not talking—and she eventually migrated or something. I wonder where she is right now, and if she's changed as much as I have. Lame as it was, it was the first in the book of my (un)romantic history. That's another story—which perhaps should never be told in this blog, for my own sake. 

I realize how much I've babbled here, and I'd like to apologize for wasting your time. I have no lessons from this, except that awkward teens need not despair since awkwardness can be outgrown—not that I've managed that, but well.

Photo from here.
I now think of how much of a pack rat I am, both materially and emotionally. I'm a sucker for nostalgia, and sometimes I find myself wishing for things to be the way they were before. However, I've been around long enough to know that there's no going back. I'm just glad that my life's pretty good right now, I'm thankful the people who stuck around. As for the awful times and the people who left, in the words of Fall Out Boy: thnks fr th mmrs.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I'm still swamped. Literally. I'm waist-deep in papers—though I'm usually seated on the floor when I sort through them—but well, you get the point. The hell weeks of college life are upon us once more, and the only thing I can do is to blog about it.

Actually, I meant to write this post weeks ago, at the onset of this semester's hell month. But it ended up being crammed, much like my academic work. I've gone through about two weeks of hell, and now I'm one week shy of being able to sleep normally again. I have one case study and three final exams left before I can close my eyes at night and not think of what I'll have to get done by tomorrow.

Of course, with tons of requirements come—well yes, great responsibility—as well several bottles of Red Bull, cups of coffee, and piles of junk food. But the word I was looking for before I got distracted was actually deadlines.

I hate deadlines. No actually I love them. (I'm clearly disoriented from lack of sleep and I can't decide where this blog is really going.) Well, it's a love-hate relationship I guess. I hate them because each deadline means more work and more internal panic attacks. At the same time I love them because they give me something to work for, a definite point in time when the effort (or lack thereof) put into a particular task will have to end. And of course I love being productive. Nevermind the fact that I haven't quite learned how.

So the thing is this: I love deadlines because I love productivity. But I hate them because I find that I'm never ready when they roll around.

I love Dali.

I know, it's my fault for being such a procrastinator. I wait around. A lot. That's why I've been dubbed as tambay idol (I have a seven-hour record as of yesterday). When I recall how I've been spending time recently, I imagine my days as a time-lapse video. There's me, sitting somewhere—in our ComSci tamabayan, or some place to eat, or some coffee shop—while everyone around me goes through life in full speed. I, on the other hand, am seemingly stuck in a time zone entirely of my own creation. I'm always moving too slow, waiting for something even I can't identify.

In case you weren't able to follow my pseudo-insightful mode, I'd just like to clarify that I've gone beyond academic work here. My personal life time management skill sucks just as much as its academic counterpart.

All my life I always end up trying to beat the deadlines. I got into a college course, and shifted to another one after two years—I waited one year too long. I often pile up a lot of transgressions against my girlfriend and I wait until she's tired and frustrated before I start trying to shape up. These were the times I got lucky, when I made it, even if it was just in the nick of time.

Other times, I haven't been so fortunate. I've shut people out until they're gone completely. Until they've left, until we've lost all contact. I didn't know there was even a deadline in the first place and I missed it.

So I promise myself to watch out for deadlines, and even prevent them, as in the case of my relationships. I may be a master crammer, but sometimes there's just too much at risk. The most important things in our lives shouldn't have to wait until the last minute.

Friday, February 19, 2010


So it's a Friday morning and I'm not supposed to be home. I'm supposed to be in school, listening to a report about organizations as cultures. But for the second time this semester, I'm skipping out on my "terror" prof's class.

You see, I got sick. I didn't know what hit me. I partied Saturday night, then pulled an almost-all-nighter on Monday, which made it quite understandable when I went to class partly wasted on Tuesday. I woke up on Wednesday feeling like I was going to have a cold, and by the time I got home from class, I was feverish. By midnight I had the flu, and my temperature was steadily rising. At around 5 or something, I had chills, and when I didn't stop shaking my parents brought me in for a check-up.

Turns out it was binat. It's one of those Filipino words which have no exact counterpart in English, I don't know, perhaps it could be relapse? I was sick since the first week of February, and I thought my cough and colds were all gone but apparently they weren't. So now it's back and it's worse. It's like twice the flu I had in the past two weeks, ugh.
But I guess it's not so bad—it did give me an opportunity to blog. I've been so caught up in stuff lately that it seems like the only time I can sit in front of my laptop and cough up a few paragraphs of thoughts (pun not so intended), is when I'm forced to stay home to rest and drink a cocktail of capsules and tablets.
I wish I could say that I had a life-changing insight during the time they brought me to the hospital and the nurses were sticking needles and drawing blood from my arm, but no such luck. It wasn't like it was a near-death experience anyway. I just got scolded several times, by my parents, by the doctor, and by my ancient pediatrician who happened to be around that time.
 Uh-oh. Sorry, I couldn't find anything better. Haha.

However, I did learn two simple lessons. One is to slow down a little. I haven't exactly been the busiest student—I admit that I spend a hefty amount of time everyday just idly loitering around, thus earning me the title of tambay idol from my friends. But all the same, there's no time to just breathe and rest and not think about anything negative, or anything I need to do for tomorrow. It's so fast-paced. Meeting new people, falling out with old friends, coming together, and growing apart. Spending every single day planning for the next few days and executing yesterday's plans. I've been so busy running around after eveything and everyone, and all the stress has finally caught up with me.
The other thing I learned, is about the concept of binat. It's not just about being sick, it's about all the other negative things in life that we keep inside, too. Sometimes we have ill feelings toward other people, or unresolved issues which we keep under the surface for too long, hoping that we never have to face them. But like my disgusting colds, we have to make sure everything is flushed out of our system, or else they'll keep mutiplying inside and finally take their toll some other time, seemingly out of nowhere.
Oh, there's a third lesson, too—and this is probably the most important out of all I've been yakking about:
Kids, always drink your vitamins. They really keep you healthy and save you the trouble of getting sick like I did.
Stay healthy, folks.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pre-Valentine's Fashion Party

I hate to commercialize, but hey. For the love of my org. Haha. I promise to do this only when necessary.

The UP Manila Junior Marketing Association brings you:

Velvet Kiss: The Red-Haute Couture
Feb. 13, 2010 at the Fuel Bar, The Fort Strip

FREE FLOWING DRINKS! Plus a Fashion Party featuring designs of Veejay Floresca of Project Runway Philippines, clothes by Poisonberry, lingerie of Lady Grace.

Pre-selling price: Php180 until Feb. 12.

For inquiries and tickets comment here, or PM me on my Facebook account. (Uhhm, pretty please? :P)

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Post That Has No Point

Aren't you getting tired of me saying "it's been a while, but I'm back" every month or something? Well, I am. I've now realized that I can't guarantee any regularity in my posts anymore. Fact is, I kind of have a life at the moment, and often I'm just too tired or preoccupied (with, say, my How I Met Your Mother Marathons) to actually write about it. I guess you could say inspiration took a break from me.

Man, I've been swamped. I could ramble all day about school work, or about the hassles of good old everyday commuting, but tonight I just don't want to. Tonight, I just want to relax and smile and breathe the world in.
Something happened last week. I kind of got into a fight. Long story short, I got told a few things about me that I wasn't so glad to hear about. But in retrospect, I know they're true, and I'm glad I heard them. My bubble does need a healthy bursting every now and then. The thing is, that fight was probably the first and last I'd have with that friend in a while--she's accepting a job offer abroad, leaving in a month. 
And then this week, just tonight, I was with my ComSci friends on an impromptu DPSM Film Fest Premiere Night viewing. It was fun, but honestly it did get boring. I realized the only thing keeping me there was that I wanted to watch my friends, the people I knew.

[insert One-Tree-Hill-ish background music here]

I also realized that year after year, a bunch of my friends turn into seniors and graduate. Others, still turn into professionals, breadwinners, or simply people with high ambitions for their careers, who take off in pursuit of those goals. The thing is, they usually leave once I've just gotten close to them. I don't know why, but I often end up bonding with people just some months before they graduate or leave the country, or move some place else.

Which is bad, since I'm the super clingy type of friend, the one who'd rather keep all the people I love near me forever and ever, if I could. But I'm learning that while it's sad how people come and go, it's also one of the best things in life, I think.

I've always been happy to meet new people and create new adventures with them, but I guess it's only now that I appreciate the beauty having to say goodbye to people. Some people just have to leave, because they've served their purpose in our lives and it's time to move on to new adventures with new people.

And even if I've only had what seems to be such a short time to spend with those people, I think that in a way, that's the exact amount of time I need with them, maybe. That way I get to treasure my adventures with them more.

So this has turned into the sobrang cheesy talaga! post with no point. All I really want to say is, you, my friends, are such wonderful people. Thank you for making me feel right at home with you no matter how stupid or crazy I get.

[end of One-Tree-Hill-ish background music]

Photo caption:  HIMYM is like a year2000something version of FRIENDS. ;)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Formspring Me!

Okay, so I don't have a year-ender/starter yet. I'm sorry, I don't get much time to get reflective and mushy okay? Haha. In fact, this blog is just a break from the monotony and utter stressfulness of my nearly-academic-again life.

Anyway, so there's this formspring thing, where people ask questions and you answer. Simple enough. And since I have the ability to be bored and incredibly busy at the same time, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Refer to the page for my answers too, I wouldn't want my blog to be some sort of Q&A thing. That was for Multiply, which I've gotten over. Haha.

Have fun.


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