Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ode To The Unknown

You darted into my heart and I am helpless. I never could quite remember another time when someone looked at me like you did. Like a shotgun and I was lying there helpless. Ashamed that you were able to see my desires I try so hard to conceal.

I was not wrong to root for you in that show you're in, where dreams are only as far as one's fears. Goodluck. The fire is in your eyes. And it lit up mine.

I Wish For You

R., to find what you have been looking for. The love of your life (your body clock is tick-tick-ticking ahahhaha) and lotsa "coins" to go with it ....

T.P., more wealth, more love, and a bright future for both Alex and Gabby.

N., to also find what is hopefully there between you and M.: respect that stems from genuine love.

K., more success, the kind that you want, defined by the desires of your heart.

A., more success too, for finding what you've been dreaming of, and the knowledge that you are more than equipped for it.

P., love ... of both the self and the capacity to love others because of it.

L., light, to know that our fears sometimes are monstrous only because we allow them to be. Courage, too, to know what your heart beats and to go for it.

G., love, too because that's the best gift this world has to offer.

H., self-confidence because you have what it takes to make good out of this world. You are not defined by the fates of your parents nor by the circumstances you are born into. Our destinies are shaped by our hands and that of the Supreme Being who believes in us. Remember, too that I love you.

To my friends in Lucena, more years of togetherness, in a way that distance defines togetherness because that's what we can afford for the meantime. When we're old and grey, I hope that the tequila wouldn't wreck disaster to our dialysis machines and that our lungs could still afford some puffs, and that our laser-cured eyes would be clear enough to recognize company.

To my family, more years of togetherness too because I'm just starting to know how to love.

Merry Christmas to all of you. Happy New Start for the New Year too!

To paraphrase a poem in Pablo Neruda's "Fully Empowered": Go on because you go on, because you go on. ( The original line goes something like: I go on, because I go on, because I go on).

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Around The Bend

Doing some last minute shopping. Christmas is just around the corner and although I wouldn't be going home to Lucena 'til the 30th, I don't think I would have enough time to buy all the things I need to.

It's the thought that counts, they say. Sometimes, the thought could really cost you. Hehehehehe!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


"...start over again ...."

Vodka Season

Seems like the vodka therapy is working. Been nursing a cold for three days now, and I've been treating myself with glasses and glasses of vodka. Hit off the week with a "one-rounder" (our definition by the way is more like 3 rounds ehehehe) of vodka with R. and we drank again last night, this time with TP, J., and R.

So far so good. I don't know if there's a medical reason for it or if it's really medically plausible to cure colds with vodka.

Or maybe, having a cold is my body's way of telling me I haven't been having alcohol lately. Hahahaha!

But well, no fear, Christmas is just around the corner and it's inuman time already. There are scheduled Christmas parties left and right starting next week. Couldn't wait. Hehe.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Tina convinced me to change my layout and try the new and improved blogger beta. So here it is. It's cooler. I conceded because I thought I needed a change. Not just in my blog but elsewhere. I'm definitely transitioning. Slowly but surely. I hope.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Why Mau Is An Idol

That last shot, before the CBB (closing billboard) was glorious. After Mau had sung her record producer song choice, Reymond Sajor went on stage and hugged a victorious kababayan.

It was glorious for two things:one, both of them are Lucenahins (like myself) and I couldn't be prouder of the two of them. That tiny spot of ours in that part of the Philippines called Quezon Province produced not just one, but two, idols.

That thing about being regionalistic has some virtues: for every dream achieved, another person is told that it is okay to aim for the sky. Mau and Reymond showed us that. I could only hope for better things for Lucena and my province. (Another Lucenahin, Jenny Miller a.k.a. Jennifer Rances is also making a name for herself in the entertainment industry).

And that's the second reason why the victory was glorious. My Mom, who's not used to staying up late (unless I told her to catch "Reporter's Notebook" which airs late at night) texted me after Mau was announced the first-ever winner. To paraphrase her, she said she was happy that Mau had won. Mom told me Mau did not manage to finish high school (subject to confirmation) and her life was really hard-up. She was from the same high school where I came from and was a year younger. "Buti na lang, milyonarya na s'ya ngayon," Mom said.

I couldn't agree more. I guess we all could relate to the struggle that one has to go through to reach and realise a dream. Mau was a veteran of singing contests and it is but fitting to have this crown on her head before she shifts into a full-pledged artist.

I've seen her sing in our Glee Club and several other school events in high school and I knew she was going to go somewhere. Talent is what God gives to people to aid them in fulfilling their dreams.

Somehow it seems, it is her destiny. Maybe that's why she had lost to Sarah Geronimo in the "Stars For A Night" several years back. She was destined to be an Idol for a lifetime.

Friday, December 08, 2006


There are intangible concepts that can be felt. Like love for example. Or friendship. Or trust.

Or God.

The trip to Tokyo nearly didn't push through because of the then impending promulgation on the Subic Rape Case on the 27th. We were to leave the day after, the 28th, and the office couldn't afford to let me off.

The next day, I learned, the promulgation was reset to December 4.

While in Tokyo, R. and I wanted so much to extend because we thought three days wouldn't be enough to see the sights and enjoy the sounds of Tokyo.

On our second day, we inquired about how much the rebooking fee would be. Japan Airlines said it would cost nothing. The three day trip soon became a five day hiatus.

The trip to begin with, was a product of luck. When I downloaded the U2 ringtone, I was not aware that there was an all-expense paid trip to Tokyo to watch the band. I downloaded it and when I was asked to register, I did.

God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes, He chooses to disguise himself as, luck.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tokyo Tokyo

Bono in an interlude during the U2 concert in Tokyo, said: "Thank you for a good life. It's just beginning!"

Monday, December 04, 2006


Back in the Philippines already. Got back Saturday night. I think I must've enjoyed my bed again that I got a stiff neck (hmmm, from where? Or how?) But anyway, I only had Sunday to rest and I'm back to work today to cover the promulgation of the Subic rape case. Tired. Will post photos soon.

Friday, December 01, 2006


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All we need to know. photo taken from the john lennon museum

U2 Tokyo!

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Drunk In Tokyo

November 31, 2006

Just got back from Shibuya, Tokyo where we met up Isao's Got drunk with Hobgoblin drink which was only available from this British pub. Martyn, who was from a Tokyo News Agency, paid for the first glass, which was great cuz it saved us a thousand yen.

Dada was also there, which was the first time I saw her in six years. We were together in Kule.

Staying at Ruth's cousin in Ikabukuru. Been to Shibuya twice. Going to Harajuku for the anime thingie. People there dress up in anime as regular clothes we were told. Hehehe. Going there!

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Sunset in Tokyo

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OFWs in Tokyo wehehehe

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Dada and I

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Same faces, different place ehhehee

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At the Tokyo Bayview Park. Sa Roxas hahahhaa

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At the John Lennon Museum in Saitama

Friday, November 24, 2006

Japan Here We Come

Now it can be told. We're flying to Tokyo to watch the U2 vertigo tour in Saitama. Won this raffle by Smart and it's a trip for two, all expense paid trip to Japan. We're leaving on the 28th and will stay there until the 30th wohooo.

Got our visas today. There were the jitters, we thought we lacked the requirements but Jojit pulled the charm card and convinced the embassy that we didn't need the ITR because it's their company which is shouldering the cost of the trip. Wohoooooo!

I'm assembling my three-day wardrobe (read: really thick jackets and nothing more hekhek).

Hay, muy excitado!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

With Or Without You

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you
Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait

And I wait without you
With or without you
With or without you
Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more

And Im waiting for you
With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

My hands are tied
My body bruised, shes got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you
With or without you
With or without you
I cant live

With or without you
With or without you

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Never Be Lonely

The Feeling

People in love they're fast and foolish
People in love get everything wrong
People in love get scared and stupid
People in love get everything wrong
At least they're not lonely
At least they're not lonely
They'll never be lonely
I think I'm going c-c-c-crazy
Why should I be sane without you (hahh)
They tell me to fight it
They can bloody well just try it
[ these lyrics found on www.completealbumlyrics.com ]
I'll never be the same without you (hahh)
People in love get special treatment
People in love get everything wrong
People in love their hearts get eaten
People in love get everything wrong
At least they're not lonely
At least they're not lonely
They'll never be lonely
I think I'm going c-c-c-crazy
And why should I be sane without you (hahh)
They tell me to fight it

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Old Life

I left my former life in my old room.

I didn't know packing up would be that symbolic. But it was time to write finis to the past. "What is lost is lost," a French film said once.

Amongst the rubbish I unearthed a letter I had written in October 14th and 16th, 2004. They were my letters to P., where I wrote goodbye. (It really was a day before my birthday as I recalled).

But the words are dead now. Writing that, I remembered was the most difficult I ever had to do. I was torn between continuing and ending the relationship, then. But I had made the ultimate decision of leaving, which, in hindsight, would leave me with a little regret.

But the words have no meaning now, as probably the relationship does, right now. It was somehow a relief to have felt being so far removed from the memory when I saw the letters. I have made progress after all.

And the dead words must be burned. From ashes to ashes. From nothingness to nothingness. So I crumpled the letters, after reading them for the last time. I read every word, every sentence, every period and comma as though they were parts of an old map of a city I suddendly found myself in. But which I soon, too, must leave.

Outside, I burned those letters. Remembering all that was and had been, wishfully thinking that the memories would go up in smoke as well.

The past has held me hostage for too long. And I had thought I was ready.

I wished for someone very opposite to P. but ended up looking for someone like him.

"You broke his heart," PJ told me. At the back of my head I knew I did. I had explained it to M. why I did what I did, carefully not causing more pain that I had already.

I thought I knew what I wanted, now I don't know what it is I'm looking for.

"I've learned not to wish for anyone anymore," I texted PJ.

At 27, it is as if I'm just starting to discover who I am.

A Series of Fortunate Events

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Me, third from left. Rova and her buddies were kind enough to invite us to a banana boat ride and a digital camera. Shot in Galera before one of those plunges hehehe.

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So this is how crashing into the sea feels like.

I finally fulfilled my wish of going to the beach. A much-delayed birthday gift Went to Gale with G. and spent two days starting Monday.

Sunday, I was bone-tired from all the packing I did when I transferred homes. Didn't want to push through with the plan but thought I might not have another opportunity in the next few weeks. So despite nursing a backpain and being sleep-deprived, I hauled myself to the bus station at 8 a.m.

You could tell I was a little brain-dead (it was early, so don't blame me hehehe) because I boarded the bus to Lipa instead of Batangas Pier. But it wasn't my fault, the security guard told me the bus would go straight to the Pier. But I didn't want to get off the bus. The pier is some 30 minutes away to the Pier anyway.

There was some tall guy who was sitting two seats away on the opposite side who was kind enough to remind the driver that I would be getting off in Lipa where a bus to the pier would be available.

"Baba ka ng Lipa, 'no?" he asked me smiling.

"Yeah. Thanks," I said half-smiling. But I was wearing my shades so I didn't know if he saw I was happy that he helped somehow.

So that more than compensated for the snaffu.

But there was another one.

The boat we rode was supposed to bring us straight to White Beach but there were a few tourist on the trip we were on. Actually, two. Just me and G., and another local. So instead of getting off at White Beach we found ourselves on Muelle (pronounced Muyle by the locals).

The place looked like Olongapo because there were a lot of old, fat Caucasians.

"Dito pala nagbabakasyon si Santa Claus," G. said.

"Yeah. Before he distributes the gifts on Christmas," I retorted.

So from Muelle, we rode a tricycle to White Beach. Found a place at Mendeluke. Got a reasonably priced two-bed room. And hit the beach immediately.

I bought one of those tie-dyed shawls and laid it on the beach. Got two beers and dozed off. Yeah, I did. Like a power nap. If I had not woken, I would have been literally burned.

G., said there was a nicer beachfront at the bend, so we walked there. True the place was more serene but the problem was the sea was deep considering it was just a few meters away from the shoreline. So we ditched it and went back to the main beach.

I'll abbreviate this entry:
We tried snorkling from which I got jellyfish stings (shit, they still itch right now as I'm writing this) and banana-boat otherwise known as torture-yourself-and-paying-for-it-for-P130. Hehehehe. Made new friends (Rova et. al.). I hope she emails the pictures soon. Tehehee.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The eyes are the windows to the soul. To me, they are my doom.

I've always said that the body part to which I'm attracted the most are the eyes. Sometimes, they're the only requirement. Look me into the eyes, and I shall be willing to forget everything.

They are, as though, doors to my prison.

Friday, October 27, 2006


"Trust your instincts," a colleague advised me today after a rather rough day at work today.

I initially had advised the office that I wouldn't be going to work but I changed my mind because there were things I needed to do (interview Gonzalez, write the story I pitched, etc. etc. .. life).

I was nursing an aching stomach (because of last night's binge) and had thought it would be better if I just rested at home.

But I did go to work and was, as expected, a little short on energy. I tried exercising (the way I understand it, which was to go to the mall to walk ehehehee) but that just left me a little more exhausted.

And now for the killer:
I did what I shouldn't have been doing since two years ago. Wouldn't be very specific about it here, suffice it to say that I've been warned.

And so, I'm back where I used to be. It's as if two years were only yesterday. But I guess, that's how I know how to learn my lesson, inflict the same pain over and over again until I am numb.

Until I am able to forget.

But then again, I may already have, and this is just a hang-over, in more ways than one.

I will be transferring to a new house in November. I will be sharing it with two other officemates. The prospect of a new environment and a sembleance of being in a home (actually living with other people) excite me. Planning to buy a new bed. Scouting for one already. I should find the best affordable one I could get. It's where new memories are made.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Time Will Reveal

I always told R., to get what you want, first, you have to know what want. Then you ask and with your fingers-crossed, you pray that God will be kind enough to grant it.

I thought I knew what I was talking about. But now, I don't know. I thought finding a significant other would be easy as finding a good shirt, the style grabs you, and you instantly know it's what you want.

But it's more difficult now. And the I don't know why.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Low Batt

I need some serious recharging. Every where I look I see the sea. Problem is I don't know when I'll be able to take a short vacation (2 days will do) because I have tons of things to do: look for a new house, then proceed to packing and transferring, some phonebill accounting etc. etc.

All I want to do right now is get drunk and get tanned.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


It's always nice to wake up to loving text messages from friends.

Today is my birthday and I'd like to thank those who remembered. I felt like a kid again though ironically I'm a year older. But age, they say, is all in the mind. Hehehe. Some wisdom from people who are getting old.

Monday, October 16, 2006


You know who you are:

The loudest noises, it seems, are those which are inside your head.
The biggest fears, are those you thought are hidden but are well-known to others.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Welcome Back

Been a long time since I wrote here. And frankly, I don't have anything to say, yet. I just miss the sound of keyboard. And nothingness.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


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I'm so happy Mau got into the Top 12. I was in Guimaras when we saw her get in. Pye and I thought she wouldn't because of the whole-looks-sell-thing in the music business. Good thing, talent prevailed. Planning to watch the show in Megamall.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cupid Without Wings

I finally saw you sleep. Like a little baby. No, like a cupid without his wings. I love your curly hair. Your almond eyes. Your eyebrows. And those pink lips.

You asked when we woke up how was my last relationship, whether we were happy. (You saw his picture and wanted to spill beer on it).

Ask not the details of my past. I tried so hard to forget. Now that you're here, none of those matters.

Here's A Real Talent

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(photo from Philippine Idol)

Please vote for Maureen in this year's Philippine Idol.

Maureen is from the same high school, Quezon National High School, as I am. She was a batch lower. I remember she was some sort of a protege of Ma'am Pionilla (of the QNHS Glee Club). She'd be asked to sing during special events in school and she'd pack the grandstand like no one could.

My friends and I were elated to learn that she made it to the top 24 of Philippine Idol.

She's one talented girl and we couldn't wait to see her be the IDOL!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Last Night

She was walking away, as though we've come from the same destination and were parting ways.

Hazel was giggly, wearing a red scarf and a white top. As she was walking away, she was heartily laughing saying: "Alam ko lahat 'yun. Ako nga 'yun ...."

And then my alarm clock set off.

If it was Hazel's way of saying goodbye, then I appreciate it. At least, even if it was in a dream, I saw her walk away ....

Godspeed ....

Last Night

She was walking away, as though we've come from the same destination and were parting ways.

Hazel was giggly, wearing a red scarf and a white top. As she was walking away, she was heartily laughing saying: "Alam ko lahat 'yun. Ako nga 'yun ...."

And then my alarm clock set off.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Goodbye, Hazel

Josie described it best, that feeling after knowing what had happened to Haze: crushed. Last Saturday, I knew what Josie had meant.

It was my first time to see Arlene (Farol) who were there in Bicol when the accident happened and who attended to Hazel and her crew's remain.

One of Hazel's friends was speaking about their group's memories of Hazel. "Marami kami memories ni Hazel," she said.

At that point, Arlene turned to me and said, crying: "Tayo rin naman, 'di ba?"

I could no longer hold back the tears, I sat beside her and we both wept uncontrollably. I felt being orphaned.

Before the necrological services ended, I presented a gift to Sacha (Hazel's baby) and her family on behalf of the Justice and Courts Reporters Association (JUCRA): a scrapbook we lovingly fashioned into a big diary. We named it the "Dear Sacha (stories about Mommy) album."

I couldn't contain myself, sitting before her friends and family. We were one in grief and longing for Hazel.

"Mommy," I turned to Hazel's mom, "this is our gift to Sacha. In it, we've written stories about Hazel and included photos of her. So when Sacha grows up, she'll have stories about her Mom, who had loved her so much, to live by."

It was our small gesture of immortalizing Hazel and making tangible which could only be felt, like love.

Words are a writer's currency. That has always been a secret source of joy for me.

And with words, Hazel shall live immortal, both in our hearts and our collective memories.

Goodbye, Hazel, however unacceptable, death always is.

You will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hazel, To You Who Showed How To Live Life

Last night came the inevitable.

Hazel's picture in a corner stood in stark contrast to the dead body in the coffin. It was impossible. It couldn't be her. She's still young, only 37 and full of dreams.

"I need this, Jiji," I told a friend when I convinced her that we should stay longer and wait for the body to be brought in.

I needed a closure; a point where reality shatters disbelief. She lay there, lifeless, and a tidal wave of memories came crashing in: that day when a saleslady mistook us for a couple; the spur-of-the-moment coffee trips, the singing, the banter, the fond dreams.

She was one of the first few trusted friends I came out to, long before the incidental coming out. She was there when I first fell in love with a boy. She was there to listen to my ramblings about my insecurity about my long-distance relationship. She was there when I broke up with him and long after the break-up. In all of these, she never judged me but always listened and comforted me.

Maybe that was why I was always excited to go to the beat knowing I would see her. After phoning in my summaries, we would cap our "days" with a short trip to the mall to share coffee, or perhaps to argue which shade of foundation would look good on her (was it the yellow-based foundation? Or the nude?) and what shade of lipstick would be camera-friendly.

If we didn't go to the mall, we would spend our days singing. Just singing. From her cubicle she would burst into a song, a classic preferably, that showed her talent. Or maybe Kenny Lattimore's "For You" and how we related to the message of self-less giving and loving. Or maybe Broadway songs and how it mirrored life's tragedies and mysteries.

We would dream of things we thought we still could accomplish: life in Paris for her, life in Spain for me. With her, nothing was impossible.

I remembered how proud she was of Sacha and how slowly she's taking after her: the temperament and the boisterous laughter when she's happy.

She was, very much, like a junior Hazel.

I told her, during the send-off party JUCRA held for those leaving the beat (Philip for Congress, Hazel for the General Assignment and Josie for Canada) that I resented her replacement (not the person but the idea) because a friend was taken away from me.

But now death has robbed me again.

It is hard writing about her in the past tense because I thought we would grow old to see our dreams come true. See Sacha blossom into a young lady and marry. And later on, much later on, die fulfilled in a faraway land carved out of our dreams.

But her life was cut off. God, they say, has his own time. But it would take time for me to comprehend this and accept. Maybe, I will never.

Looking at her last night, I wondered, if she liked the way the embalmer had set her hair. Or if the foundation and lipstick were the right shade. Or if the barong suited her (or would she have preferred a more lady-like garb?).

Looking at her, I tried but failed to reconcile my memories of her with the lifeless body in a coffin.

The reality I am looking at says Hazel is gone. But I guess I can never accept her passing away.

The tragedy of death, is that it is a tiny punctuation: someone you know will die, but the rest of the world will soon move on.

But for us who loved Hazel, our lives have taken a jolt, and its course are forever changed.

If there were lessons Hazel has taught us: it is to love, unconditionally, to treasure your friends and nurture them, to always dream, and dream big -- to live in the nowness of the moment, to burst into a song because that is the language of the heart that is alive in loving and to pause, once in a while, to make those near you, feel that they are loved.

Yes, sooner or later, the world will move on for all of us. But it will be a different kind of revolution, made beautiful and worthwhile because of Hazel.

Monday, August 14, 2006

August 13, 2006

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Back when death was an alien idea. Hazel (front row, second from right) still pregnant with Sacha at the steps of the Department of Justice with other reporters covering the beat.

Tanda ko pa, Hazel, nung dumating 'yung pinakamagandang balita na dumating sa buhay mo. Noong una, duda ka pa, nasa mall tayo 'nun, sabi mo lately nahihilo ka. Sabi ko, "neng, baka buntis ka!" Nagtawanan tayo 'nun.

Isang linggo pagkalipas, totoo pala. Napakaswerte ko na kasama mo ako 'nung unang pumintig ang isang nilalang sa 'yong tiyan.

Mula noon binawasan na natin ang pagkakape sa San Francisco Coffee. Trip natin dun, kasi parang nasa Amerika tayo sa tunog ng coffee shop. Ambabaw minsan talaga ng kaligayahan natin. Pero ang pinakamababaw minsan, siya ang nagbibigay ng pinakamatinding saya.

Mahilig tayo mag-mall at hindi naman natin itinatanggi 'yun. 'Dun tayo nagbo-bonding. Nag-aangasan. Nagpapalitan ng pangarap (ang plano mong sundan si Josie kahit maging mga DH tayo sa mansion ng lola mo). Ang mga sapatos na ilang beses nating susukatin. Ang mga pangdekorasyon sa bahay (hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa nabibili 'yung sabi kong bolang bilog na magandang lampara sa bahay ko).

Mami-miss ka namin. Ikaw ang nagturo sa amin kung paano maging totoong tao at totoong kaibigan. Para kitang nanay dito sa Maynila. Pero aminin, minsan napagkamalan tayong mag-jowa sa Black Shop. Habang ipinapakita mo ang sinuot mong damit, tanong nung saleslady (salesman?), kung boyfriend mo ako. Isinumpa mo ang shop na 'yun dahil akala nila matrona ka. Hindi lang matrona, lesbiyanang matrona pa.

Kung wala rin lang tayong ginagawa sa JUCRA, ginagawa natin itong music school.Sa sobrang hilig nating kumanta, nagdala na si Kuya Roy ng electric guitar para naman may accompaniment tayo.

Magkatabi tayo ng manalo si Fantasia Barrino sa American Idol. Mangiyak-ngiyak tayo sa kanyang panalo. Parang sinasabing, tinuruan tayo ng estrangherong ito na mangarap at abutin ito.

Mga pangarap. Kung siguro pera ang pangarap, tayo na ang pinakamayamang bilyonaryo sa buong mundo. Gusto mong pumunta sa Europa, sa Paris (para makapagkape tayo at ako naman mag-yosi).

Marami kang pangarap para kay Sacha. Nakakatuwa nang minsang ipakita mo ang picture n'ya. Wala pang dalawang taon, pero naka-one length na ang inaanak ko. Tanong ko, "wala pa bang boyfriend 'yan?"

Pero sa kasamaang palad, ipinagkait ng pagkakataon na makita mo pang lumaki si Sacha. Anim o pitong taon n'yo na hinintay, pero wala pang dalawang taon mong nakasama. Wala na sigurong mas lulungkot pa sa pagnakaw sa 'yo ng pinakamaliligaya sanang sandali mo bilang ina.

At iyon ang nakakagagalit. Sa isang saglit, bigla na lang ganun. Wala na.

Pero hindi namin papayagan na ang ninakaw na sandali ay sadyang mawawala na lang basta. Lalaban kami.

Pangako, Hazel, bubuuin namin, sa bawat larawan na meron ka namin, sa bawat ala-ala na meron kami, sa bawat kanta na alam naming kantahin kasama ka, sa bawat kwento ... Hazel, sisiguruduhin naming makikilala ni Sacha ang mommy n'ya na alam namin na mahal na mahal siya.

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Si Hazel kasama si Arnel. Kapwa sila nasawi kasama si Maeng nang banggain ng isang bus sa Pamplona, Camarines Sur, August 13, 2006, bandang alas-kwatro ng hapon. (larawan galing sa phlog ni Jove Francisco)

Bus driver in ABC-5 accident released August 15, 2006
ABC 5 crew dies in Bicol road crashAugust 13, 2006
3 ABC-5 crew members die in road accidentAugust 13, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bilog Na Buwan

Bilog ang buwan. Noong February 1, 1814 sumabog ang Mt. Mayon, alas-tres ng umaga. Bilog ang buwan noong February 4, 1814.

Hinatak na naman ng bilog na buwan ang lamang-loob ng Mayon noong February 2, 1993. Apat na araw pagkatapos, full moon.

Mamaya, August 9, 6:54 pm, magiging bilog na bilog ang buwan. Nangangamba ang mga taga-Bicol na muli na namang sasambulat ang bulkan sa mga panahong ito.

May siyentipikong basehan ang relasyon ng bilog na buwan at nag-aalburotong bulkan. Earth tide ang tawag ng PHILVOCS dito. Umaangat ang lupa sa tuwing may full moon, parang dagat, nahihila ng gravitation pull ng buwan ang kalaparan ng dagat.

Bilog ang buwan.

Pero may siyentipiko kayang basehan ang aking pagkabalisa/kalungkutan/katarayan sa mga panahong ito.

Nagising ako kanina dahil sa talak ng landlady ko. Naisip ko, hindi ko na pala dapat binili ang alarm clock na nagsasalita.

Pero ayokong bumangon. Dalawang beses akong nagigising sa umaga: isang bandang alas-siete at bandang alas-nueve y media. 'Yung una, sinanay ko ang sarili para sa maagang call time. 'Yung ikalawa, sa normal na pag-inog ng mundo.

Buong araw badtrip ako. Kung badtrip ko, hindi ako nagsasalita. Isinasara ko ang lagusan ng aking angas. Hindi rin ako nakikisalamuha sa mga taong araw araw ngang nakikita pero wala pa ring mga pangalan. Kawawa naman sila 'pag nagkataon.

Kaututang dila ko ang yosi. Tahimik siyang kasama. Maikli nga lang ang aming pagdadaupang palad.

Hindi ko alam, hanggang sa dumating ako sa newsroom na bilog pala ang buwan. Kaya pala, nasabi ko sa sarili.

Bilog ang buwan. Kung kaya niyang higitin ang tubig at lupa, bakit hindi akong taga-lupa?Hinihila niya ang lamang-loob ko. Hinahalukay niya ang matagal nang nakalibing na lungkot. Ginigising ang mga dati nang kinatakutan at hindi kasiguruduhan (naaalala ko si H. at P.). Binubuhay ang matagal nang namayapang pag-ibig, pag-asa, at pagkahumaling.

Tunay na nakakagambala ang napipintong pagsambulat.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Birthday Ti-Par ni Meyor

Mga kuha sa birthday party ni Meyor (Seymour Barros Sanchez) ang aming Editor-in-Chief sa Kule 03-04. Hehehehe. Pinakamarami na ito, ayon kay Meyor na natipon niya para sa mini-reunion. Kaya lang nung mag-email siya at nagbilang at naglista ng mga pangalan ng mga tao, dalawa ang bilang niya kay Verk, ako wala. Muy bad. Hehehehehe.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Okay Na Sana

Okay na sana. Kinagat ko ang gusto niyang mag-date kami kahit inabutan na kami ng umaga noong Linggo. Galing ako sa mga dati kong kasama sa Kule noong Sabado at dumerecho ako para sa almusal ng beer at longganisa sa isang bar.

Kasama ko siya at 'yung kasama niya sa trabaho.

Okay na sana. Maganda ang kanyang mata. Dark-brown. Parang masarap ang labi, mapusyaw na pink ito. Pagupitan ko na lang ang buhok, mas okay na.

Sabi niya sa bahay siya matutulog.

Hmmmm, nagmamadali.

Okay na sana hanggang sa marinig ko yung babaeng kasama niya sa trabaho na nasa kabilang table.

Sa kanya: "Kaw talaga, namamakla ka na naman,".

Hindi pa ako lasing dahil narinig ko at nabwisit ako.

Naisip ko, tangna, may term pa lang ganun. Parang nambabae. O nanlalaki. Parang commodity. Nangisda. Nangahoy. Namangka. Nambaboy ka na naman.

Tinext ko sya: "shempre, narinig ko yung sinabi noong babae. Ano 'yun?"

"San ka sasakay?" tanong ko sa kanya.

"Ibaba mo na lang ako sa may SM. Doon ako sasakay pa-Caloocan," sabi niya.

Mukhang na-gets niya ang galit ko.

Sa loob ng cab.

"Nabasa mo text ko?" tanong niya.

Tiningnan ko ang XDA. Sabi niya sa text: "may gusto lang sa akin 'yun. tingin niya sa akin pokpok ako porke't maraming nagtatanong ng number ko."

Tumingin ako sa kanya. Tinaasan ko kilay.

Hindi ko na lang siya pinababa ng taxi. Malapit na rin lang naman ang kanyang uuwian. "Manong i-derecho n'yo na tapos balik na lang tayo Q.C."

Kinalabit ako. Sabi ko "Ano?" (Gusto yatang magpahalik, maghalikan kami.) Lumayo ako. Sumiksik sa kabilang side ng taxi.

Kumalabit ulit. "Ano?" (Gusto ko nang halikan. Tangna ang kulit!) Pero nagpigil ako.

Bumaba siya. Sa labas ng cab, nagba-bye. Feeling ko yung tipong babay ng mga sundalo na walang katiyakan kung buhay pang babalik galing sa giyera. O ng OFW na papunta ng Saudi (pwede ring Lebanon) na hindi alam kung kailan ang balik. Basta ganun ang feeling na nakuha ko noon.

Pag-uwi ko sa bahay, ibang araw na simula nang lumabas ako kahapon. Tinext ko sya na gusto ko sana siyang sa bahay na rin lang matulog. Pero nabad-trip ako sa narinig ko. (Nainsulto ang mas tamang term). Sabi ko pa sa kanya, pumasok ako sa relasyon dahil gusto ko siya. (Akala ko, ito na ang kasunod na taong mamahalin ko). Sana, kako, ganun din siya. Sabi ko kaya siguro naiinis ako na nagpapabili siya ng cap (ano'ng kasunod? t-shirt, pantalon, sapatos, bahay, lupa, sasakyan, bukirin, byahe sa abroad, scholarship grant, kabuhayan showcase?) dahil 'yun na lang ba ang magiging basehan ng relasyon.

Text ko sa kanya: "Bata pa ako para maging matrona."

Sabi ni R., talagang ganyan minsan raw natatanso tayo. Pero ayoko namang maging judgmental. Ang pinaka-test ay kung magti-text sya ulit pagkatapos ng text na 'yun.

"Obvious ba, hindi pa siya nagti-text," sabi ni M. na taga-kabilang istasyon.

Parang tama silang dalawa. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa siya nagpaparamdam.

Naisip ko, baka walang load. Pwes, pasensiyahan, dahil hindi ako ang magbibigay nun.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Kagabi nagsabong na naman ang kunsensiya.

Nagreklamo ang una, "Tangna, ngayon ko na lang ulit narinig na sambitin 'yun na parang sakit," sabi niya.

"Ha?" tanong ko.

"Nagsisigaw ba naman: "*******! *******! *******" nanggagalaiti pa rin siya.

"Me nag-react ba naman?" tanong ko.

"Wala. Para siyang asong ulol 'dun na nagsisisigaw!" kwento niya.

"Mabuti na 'yun ganun ka ..." sabi ko sa kanya.

Tumitig siya akin, parang hind niya alam kung kakampi ba n'ya ako.

"Kesa naman SINUNGALING!," ismid ko sa kanya.

"Oo nga," sabi niya sabay sindi ng yosi.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


From the Philippine Collegian editorial, "Into the Battlefront": This regime's deadliest weapon is twisted logic. Its concept of peace is total silence. Justice, conversely, is butchering people into submission. Read more.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I almost touched faith today.

At the Court of Appeals, during the hearing of B/Gen. Danilo Lim's wife petition for habeas corpus, there were relatives who witnessed the proceeding. One lady caught my attention: she was holding a rosary and was praying incessantly but silently.

Let's see if her prayers would work, I thought to myself: testing, admittedly, my own faith and challenging hers.

I don't know if it was just me but if you juxtapose the repartee between Associate Justice Eleazar de los Santos and Asst. Solicitor General Amparo Tang, you could surmise that perhaps there was some miracle somewhere.

Justice de los Santos was hostile from the beginning, challenging the position of the government that a charge sheet in the military context constituted a formal filing of charges in the context of civilian courts.

"We want the truth!" de los Santos demanded from Tang after a rather unclear explanation as to whether a charge has been filed or was prepared. Tang explained that there already was a charge sheet finding probable cause that B/Gen. Lim violated the Articles of War.

"But has it been filed?" de los Santos wanted to know.

The OSG countered, in essence, that there was no concept of "filing" in the military court, the way civilian courts have it. Meaning, a soldier can be detained based on that charge sheet.

I glanced at the lady with the rosary. Her eyes were closed, holding, more tightly now her beaded rosary.

"So you were fast in detaining Gen. Lim," de los Santos continued.

The justice asked since when has the charge been pending before the office of Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"Since March of this year," Tang said.

"For how long will you be detaining Gen. Lim. For two years? For five years?" an apparently irked de los Santos asked.

"Until the investigation on Marine Col. Ariel Querubin is finished. Then the pre-trial investigation can commence," Tang answered.

The lady continued with her prayers, sensing, I surmise the leaning of the justice.

At one point, de los Santos said: "Perhaps, the reason why the charge sheet has been pending is still pending, is that the Chief of Staff is not convinced that Gen. Lim committed any crime."

The lady with the rosary, nearly rose in her seat. She closed her eyes and summoned the heavens.

It was as if, with every bead of prayer, the answers slowly came.

"If you will be returned to your quarters," de los Santos turned to Lim, "you will not have any complaints?"

"That'll be better," the general asked.

The lady with the rosary opened her eyes excitedly, as though the news she was awaiting had come.

But instead the court did not release Lim. Not yet anyway. It asked both parties to submit their respective memoranda in three days, after which the petition is deemed submitted for resolution.

The court may not have released or returned Lim to his quarters but I know a miracle took place in that courtroom this morning.

Friday, July 14, 2006


"I'm definitely at a crosscroads," I told R., and J., over our second round of beers last night.

The two-week suspension, as correctly foreseen, gave birth to several epiphanies. There were un-relationships severed or modified based on certain realities. The one with M. couldn't go beyond what it actually was. Status quo is the mode to go. The one with G., on the other hand is a different matter. Roles were defined according to circumstance and I simply thought it unacceptable.

At one point during that two-week hiatus, I realised that all these things that I'm doing can be done again, like a recurring theme, or wishes that can be made possible in a whim. But there are certain things that, if neglected or ignored, have no chance of returning. Being a son for example.

A while ago, an officemate asked me to sketch for us in a lecture by a pastor. Here's the storyline: A king accidentally drops his ring in a dry well. But the well has a small opening only a child can go in and pick up the ring. The king finally finds a child who agreed to go into the well and the king offers his strongest knight to hold the rope that will help the child descend into the well. But the child declines and instead insists that his father, an old and weary man, hold the rope for him.

"The point of the story," my officemate texts me, "is that we should hold on to and trust God as we would our fathers."

God has way of reaching out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


For something I thought I had wanted so badly, I am suddenly uncertain.

"On Saturday, I will be with you na," he texts me today.

"With me" -- as though in a homecoming. I like the idea but I'm not quite sure if I want it.

All the old issues that surfaced in my past relationship with P. which I thought have been buried are in full view again. They have not been conquered. And now whatever I do with this opportunity will dictate how I will be in the future.

I will take it in stride. Cross my fingers. And hope that the constellations above smile upon us with favor.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I heard a rumor today.

"He might be, you know," M. said when I chanced upon her unexpectedly in the office.

"Really?" I asked in disbelief. But I'm a bit excited. Though, if I have to be pragmatic about it, nothing will come out of the newly-discovered "fact."

Then I saw him. Increasingly, as if fate had finally given in, I have been seeing him. And within earshot, I finally heard him speak.

The man finally has a voice: soft, with a hint of strength, in staccato, fast, as though the mouth couldn't keep up with the mind.

It is music. As all fantasies have some sort of theme to them.


I'm still waiting for G.'s text. He was supposed to arrive in Manila today, stay in my house for a month until he finishes his training.

But I guess he's too proud to ask. And I'm as proud not to give what is not asked.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Proud Dead Man Walking

It's the kind of smug-face only the defeated can wear. After all, he can't afford to wear his loss on his sleeve. That would have been twice the defeat.

But inside his head, the monsters are alive and could not be silenced: "How could you have done it?" "Do you still have a face to show?" "You let us down."

He will try not to listen, however glaring the mistake is.

"I am protected. I am safe. They will take the cudgels for me" he tells himself, thinking of his friends.

He walks on. But there is no shadow.

Dead men don't have them.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Weakest Link

Sun Tzu comes forward with full wisdom with this: "You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended."

The enemy has so far identified the weakest point. And it's hitting hard. Three times so far.

Where's Grandma?

Grandma apologizes. She meant no harm.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mom's Advice

After my two-week hiatus, my mom gives her two cents worth: "Maging mabait ka na."

The rebel in me automatically retorted, "I won't. And I can't. What they see is what they get."

But somehow my mother knew I was built that way.

Well, the only other option is to be "plastic" about the whole situation. Smile and hack them at the back (which is the strategy of choice, I realised).

But I'd rather that I give them the chance of fighting back.

(Watching Cherie Gil on CinemeOne's "Profiles" and the "Simple Life" didn't do me good eh? hehehe)


It's like going to college all over again.

My two-week vacation has come to a close and I'm psyching myself up to return to Manila tomorrow. Apparently, I'm unsuccessful. I texted my boss if she could allow me to absent from work on Monday and report instead on Tuesday. No replies so far but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

"Don't you miss the tension?," someone has asked. Well, to be honest? No. Not that I don't love my work. Of course, I love it, make no mistake about it. Otherwise, I would've gotten out of it already especially when confronted with certain realities about office life. But I'm digressing.

I remember that first time when I had to go to Manila (Quezon City actually, but for us promdis, the term "Manila" encompasses everything. More than another location, it represented another life, a new life, if one wants to call it such). I didn't want to go but I had to because I was about to start my first year in the university.

That's the reason why I didn't want to stay long here in Lucena. I would be reminded of how much fun it is just to be here. Been watching TV most of the times (if I wasn't drinking or malling wehehehe. Or "beaching" as in spending time in the beach. The alternative meaning, that one thing it sounds like is also acceptable) and I've taken to liking AXN, the travel and living channel, CNN, BBC, discovery channel, FTV, and a lot more. I'd wake up a little before 12 nn to eat my overdue breakfast, TV the whole day, and then sleep some more, and then out every possible night.

But beneath this, I've reconnected to my long-term passions such as drawing. I made a vow to myself to pursue it whenever I can. It is a gift that I wouldn't want to go to waste.

In "Oprah" the other day, Elie Weisel, author of the book "Night" about the stories of the survivors of the Holocaust was featured. Weisel said that he decided to write this book so that people would remember that dark age. Otherwise, the Holocaust would just be a tiny footnote in the world's history. But more than that, he wanted to give voice to the voiceless.

And I am reminded of my reason for going into journalism.

During the lecture last week, I asked the students the reasons why some people go into journalism and what role it plays in the society.

"To be famous," someone answered.

I couldn't contain myself and told him flat out that no, that's not what you're here for. As a student journalist, I told him, you should remember that this is not a job for the selfish. If you want to be famous, then be a movie star.

Admittedly, still, and I conceded, that some people do go into this craft for the fame factor. Met some of them. Despise most of them.

But for as long as you could, I advised, remember that this journalism is about giving voice to the voiceless. It's shedding light into the tiny crevices of social ills. I for one, have been thinking of channeling this calling into helping children: victims of physical abuse and emotional abuse, the minority, children in war-torn areas.

And this what keeps me in line.

I told a colleague once that maybe this job was given for her (and for me) for some reason. True, life may not always be fair. GOD, IT'S NOT! But maybe, I advised her, try to look the other way. For as long as they're not taking anything away from you, carry on.

It's the same advise I'm giving myself.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Photography Naman

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I'm getting myself used to color pencils which I plan to use when I come back and cover the Subic rape case. Another passion is photography. This one, of me, hehehhe, vain me with a little manipulation on the color.

Piktyur Piktyur

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Jorge, Obel and Me at a Lucban resort Monday.

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I was once like these students who are members of the staff of "The Coconut." Taught them newswriting for two days since yesterday. Tomorrow, it's a Friday so I asked some students to play the guitar. We're going to have some serious fun. Hehehehe.

Anyway, today was a little tiring than yesterday. Never been this exhausted the past couple of days. Taugh them the basic concepts in newswriting and certain structures that they can follow in writing the news.

I was worried they'd be bored to death by the lecture but was surprised and delighted to find out they were interested and were actually participating in the discussion.

Yesterday, through the diagnostics test, I found out that they have very little knowledge about newswriting. This was totally expected, half of the "class" were new third year students while the other half were fourth year students who had a year's experience in the craft. The third year students were learning from scratch so to speak.

But after a while, and after a heavy dose of concepts and tips, they were getting the drift. I asked them to group themselves and as though they were the board of the paper, come up with a news story of their choice with the headline and the lead.

In the critique (they were the ones, critiquing a group's output), I was relieved to find out that at least they knew what areas of the news story should be improved o what was good in te story.

The lecture was a good three hour session, thankfully, no one walked out because of information overload. Hehehehe. Tomorrow is going to be fun I hope.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Teaching and then Some

Two days of drinking and a day (and two more of teaching), I think with these, the two-week "mandatory vacation" as T.P. puts it might be too short.

Monday I went to a resort in Lucban with George and Obel for some updating. Of course, that wasn't without drinking hehehehe. Afterwards, we ate at a local pizza station which serves gourmet pizza, "Ground Zero".

Yesterday, I met up with a high school bestfriend, Mervin, and drank 'til the wee hours of the morning. I thought I felt my kidney ached from so much alcohol, hehehhehe.

Today was the heaviest day, by heavy I mean, work-wise. My former advisers at the high school paper where I served as an editor in my third and fourth years were happy to hear I was "vacationing". So they seized the chance to get me to teach the new hirees of the paper. I was just happy to oblige.

I thought I would be teaching some 10 or 12 students. That was my idea of how big the staff was for a high school paper. I wrote a diagnostics test to determine the level of awareness of the students as far as newswriting was concerned. It's a three-page document with six items that would introduce them to the concept of leads, headlines, straight news, featurized news, inverted pyramid style and the pyramid style, and of course, newswriting.

Before I went to my former high school I asked Ms. Vinnie, one of my former adviser, how many copies I would need for how many students.

"53," she replied.

"Are you serious? Dalawang section na ng students 'yun," I told her jokingly.

She was. When I went there, I was an hour late for my "training/seminar." A roomful of students had been there since 5:30. I thought I was scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

On the board, "Welcome back, Kuya Joseph," were written.

It was indeed a homecoming. After almost 10 years, I was back to my former newspaper. The first ever serious experience at journalism.

Tomorrow, I will be teaching them the basics of newswriting. Hopefully, after this, one or two souls will be inspired to pursue journalism as a course and being a journalist as a way of life.

It was said, that the worth of a man's life is not measured by wealth, or fame, or connections. The measure of one's life, is the number of people who you managed to touch, inspire, guide.

I am a product of those who have touched my life, former schoolpaper advisers, former professors at U.P., kindred souls who in some way were sent for me to guide me in my path.

When they beckon, I will not hesitate to heed their call.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


It is becoming a trend that a shift occurs at this period. In 2003, I climbed Mt. Pulag, a personal feat that signalled a paradigm shift. Walking back to the office, I remember then, after I had come from the trip, I felt like a different person. During that period, I was transferred to the day shift and handled special reports until I was entrusted with the justice beat.

That time of the year, has come again. This time, I will attempt to disappear. It would be nice to pause, to halt, to stop. Or to take a breather, a break, a hiatus.

I will be gone for two weeks, two weeks that could offer me a myriad of possibilities and an opportunity to try the impossibilities. I can take a chance if I want to, risk if I can. Or I can evade, escape, hide. Whatever, I shall welcome it with glee, as though it is a natural, logical consequence, not of the act that caused this, or the overall plan of the One who sees.

I will miss writing stories. But I will, this time, enrich my personal story with new memories. I shall miss the sketches I do for the trial I am covering. But this time will give me an opportunity to assess a bigger picture which is my life.

"Enjoy the (imposed) break," someone has said.

"Don't take this negatively," someone advised.

I will and I'm not. Don't worry. I am at this point in my life where even I, have noticed is several steps from where I used to be. True, I'm a different person now. "Reformed" was the word used. I agree.

I shall drink and get merry. In this kind of job that I chose, a pause is a halt that refreshes. And renews.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Independence Day

Loneliness is an addiction.

The early dawn was awakened by the news of your arrival. "We saw P. last week," Philip told me, matter of factly, unaware of its impact.

"Oh yeah?" I said, trying to feign disinterest.

I tried to immerse in the music blaring in the bar.

"Where? And when?" I finally turned to Philip. I couldn't help myself.

"Last Tuesday, at Starbucks. With his boyfriend I think," he answered.

"How did he look like?" I asked.

"The same," Philip said.

"How about his boyfriend?"

"I couldn't remember how he looked like. He's that forgettable," Philip said.

Does it matter if P.'s boy is ugly. Truth of the matter is that he's with him now.

Does it matter, conversely, who P.'s with at this point?

None of this matter.

It's been a year since I sent him the independence day email. In it, I attached a photo of the burning teddy bear I had given December 2003.

One year, thence, I am still colonized by my past which is my master.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Your Birthdate: October 17
You tend to find yourself lucky - both in business and in life.And while being wealthy is nice, you enjoy sharing your abundance with others.You put your luck to good use: you are very ambitious and goal oriented.Often times, you get over excited and take on more than you can manage.
Your strength: Your ability to make your own luck
Your weakness: Thinking you can do it all
Your power color: Bronze
Your power symbol: Half Moon
Your power month: August
What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Garbage In Garbage Out

I'm at Nelson's place where he's sorting out his old stuff for his upcoming garage sale. Norah Jones' is complementing this weekend chill-out.

Going back to the subject of garage sales, I can't help but wish purging (it's the second time I used the word this week ehehhehe) emotional baggages was that easy: an old t-shirt from a previous coverage flies into the carton box; an short-sleeved polo that looks outdated joins the future ex-properties.

There was even an old, and I mean old framed photo of his ex (can't tell who for privacy considerations). "You shouldn't sell this, you should BURN it!," I admonished him.

"I'm selling the frame for fifty bucks," he said.

And just like that, all that the pictures represented before amounted to nothing. Or maybe, P50 pesos.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


One way to "solve" a problem is to look away.

Department of Education Officer-in-Charge Fe Hidalgo shouldn't "feel sorry for herself" (as she had said) for divulging the reality that there is classroom shortage (I wonder if we lack teachers, too. Oh I bet we do).

I am a product of the public school system. I am a graduate of Quezon National High School and I saw for myself, back in 1992 until 1996 that there's a shortage (aside from classrooms, books). My classmates and I were a bit lucky, and also those in the "higher" section, because we were provided with rooms and there were only around 30-45 students per classroom. But just the same, that would not erase the fact that most of the other students didn't have classrooms. And even our section was not spared from holding some of our classes in the school's grandstand. And the pergola.

Both my parents are teachers and I could tell it wasn't easy teaching students under the shade of trees. Focus was a problem. And for the teachers, it was quite stressful because they had to speak in a louder voice and all.

I remember my father being exasperated about the disinterest in education of some of his students. He was handling the lower section and he wouldn't simply buy the reasoning that education wouldn't mean a thing to their lives. So why study?

But I guess you really can't blame the students if they'd rather work early and skip school. Work gives the instant bread. Add to that the school environment. I don't know how you could convince students to study hard and focus on the lessons while they're nearly drenched in rain (Kara David had a report last week about a school where students bring umbrellas inside their classrooms because the roof was leaking) or toasted under the sun.

I got a chance to interview Ms. Hidalgo today at the Palace after the roundtable discussion at the Kalayaan Hall with the President herself. I would have wanted to tell her that she should have stood her ground. She's from the Dep-Ed and at that time the President accosted her for revealing the classroom shortage, she should have said that was simply the reality. She has the authority to speak on the subject anyway.

Turning a blind eye to the problem, won't make it go away.

It's called delusion.


"He marked a shift," I told Ruth about what had happened in Lucena with U.

"I think I'm ready," I was surprised as much as she was that I said it.

I was ready to risk it again. Only that time I knew it wasn't a game. U's married now and I can't have him. But I was fine with it.

I was merely rehearsing.

Rehearsing again how to abandon my fears and spiral into that wonderful feeling of loving someone and being loved back.

In the process I was purging all of P's memories. I'm no longer his. And I shall love again, like I loved him.

It was like him cradling me. Sometimes, I would wrap my arms around his waist while we were seating. Gently, I would kiss his neck and he would lean. I would meet his cheeks with the softest kisses.

I was merely rehearsing.

But epiphany dawned on me. I know I am ready.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ten Years After

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Fireworks light up the sky and the Quezon Provincial Capitol in Lucena City during the run-up to the town fiesta.

Went back to Lucena for a get-together reunion with my batchmates. It's a good thing it coincided with the town fiesta. Here are some photos of my friends over there. :)

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

241 (My Favorite Song)

I want to live forever
Inside the nights and days.
Wishing on a silver cloud,
Crawling across the moonbeams.
A summer night in heaven
Between the stars and waves.
Race across the old bonfire;
Trample on my heartbeat.

I wanted to turn you on
My favorite song.
Wanted to be near you
But somebody owns you now.

I love you with a fire,
Ablazing till times end

But what good is a heart
When it shudders to speak.
I guess it's too late now.

"I wanted to turn you on
My favorite song.
Wanted to be near you
But (of course) somebody owns you now.
(And) I tried to live somehow
Somebody owns you now" (Repeat 2x)

Somebody owns you now

Monday, May 22, 2006


November 21st, 2005 at 12:58 pm

I wonder sometimes, if, in sleeping, one is able to stop time. I imagine, doing nothing somehow keeps the status quo. Like how water in the glass remains constant, or how the worn shirt stays in the bin. Or how the slippers don’t move.

I wonder, if there’s magic in all of these that some things in constant, never changing.

I wonder, too, if we can, do the same with friendships, or lovers or the consequences of these relationships. Would remaining stagnant be actually better than moving it forward destructively.

What is then, the reality. Those scenes you see when your eyes are closed? Or the ones you wish your eyes are closed to.

What was happening last year? Ah, yeah, first anniv of break-up whehehehee. You can read this at my other blog, devoted solely to musings. Click

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Story of Argie, and the Countless, Nameless, Others

I never have felt so strongly about a small story until this one.

A 13-year old boy jumped into a creek in Brgy. Sto Domingo, Quezon City at around 3 p.m. The boy, Argie Tugbo, did know how to swim. According to his mother, Maria, he would usually swim in Amoranto with his cousins. This time, however, he was with some acquiantances in Sto. Domingo. Maria related, that his boy would never have done it. Except that this time, he did, because one of the boys with Argie dared him, or scared him that if he did not, he would hit him in the head.

So the boy did. But the current was too strong for his fragile body that after a few minutes afloat, he disappeared into the dark murky water of the creek.

I got a call from the office at around 9 p.m., advising me to cover it. On the site, I saw Maria milling around, puzzled. Where was my boy? And where were the rescue teams?

Maria told me that they had alerted barangay officials about the accident. But, apparently lacking in equipment and skills for that kind of emergency, they just waited alongside Maria. Did they hope, I wondered, that Argie would just miraculously sprung out of the waters and lay previous fears to rest? I did not quite understand the helplessness, accepting it was much harder.

There was an MMDA rescue team on standby, however, which gave the whole situation a semblance of urgency and action.

But it still was unacceptable. I., our desk assistant had informed me that the Coast Guard team had gone back to their office after learning that the current at the creek was still strong. I looked down and saw it wasn't so.

I was shocked at such disregard. I imagined, what if Argie had been my niece or nephew. Or son?

Restless and on the verge of giving up hope, Argie's cousins, Johnny Abas and two others decided they would do the search and retrieval themselves. Aided by strong emergency lights from the MMDA, they scoured the murky creek whose water level has since gone down.

A few minutes later, and a few meters away from where Argie had jumped, they found his body, face down, lifeless.

Maria nearly collapsed in utter shock. She was shouting and crying for help.

From the looks of it, Argie was dead cold. But a sliver of hope shone when one of the rescue team members said she felt Argie breathe.

I don't know if she really did feel him breathe. But still, I appreciated that act of giving hope when there was obviously none. It suspended, perhaps, the fear, allowing those who were confronted by the unimaginable adjust to accept the logical.

Argie was dead on arrival at the Orthopedic Hospital. His cousins were inconsolable. Johnny saw me when they were bringing him in. "Irereklamo ko lang 'yung Coast Guard (I'd like to complain against the Coast Guard)," he said before he entered the emergency room.

I waited for him outside. I thought that wasn't a bit too much to give. Maria had the same sentiments.

On my way back to the office, my cameraman commented, "Ganun talaga 'pag mahihirap 'no? Pababayaan ka na lang (that's just the way it is for poor people. They couldn't care less about you)," he said. He couldn't be any more right about it.

The story merited a less than a minute treatment, as a vtr sot story (meaning, a short description of what had happened and a soundbite). I would have wanted to write it as a full story considering the elements. But it couldn't compete with other stories such as the victory of Romi Garduce's ascent to the Mt. Everest summit and his successful return to the base camp.

There are, and were, other stories like Argie's. Stories of utter hopelessness, of despair, that wouldn't even see print or broadcast. A sad reality but unacceptable still.

And this reminded of why I ever got into journalism in the first place. My professors were diligent and wise enough to advise that journalism is never for the selfish. You don't do it to be a star or to be famous, or to be rich. There is a higher value in taking on this craft. It is about seizing a little of its power. Its power to shed light on otherwise, disregarded issues. Its power to provide a voice to the voiceless. Or achieving a little sense of equality.

It's not always easy, as this craft, is also a function of business interest. That's why one should muster a little courage once in a while not to stray away from one's conviction. To balance, even on a personal way, business interest and advancing certain advocacies. Some day soon, another means not excluded, one can be fulfilled hopefully.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Re-Birth Redux

It was a lot easier than I thought.
I was initially hesitant to go home to Lucena last weekend because of the two letters I got from my Mom and brother (turned out, contrary to what my brother had written in his letter that Mom didn't know he wrote me). I thought I didn't want to discuss it anymore. I have, as in a matter before the Supreme Court, submitted my reply. It was a closed book as far as I'm concerned. They know now. And there's nothing left to discuss.
But there is such a thing as tying loose ends. I didn't wish for it but I guess fate has a way of doing things for us, you wouldn't know it just happened. It is what Paolo Coelho has called "conspiracy of the universe."
At the wake, I tried to evade the issue. I was successul until I invited my cousins to go to a bar (Mom said we would go home at around 2 a.m. so I thought what the heck, the wake was at the town proper where most of the bars were). I was bored and the alcoholic in me was restless. My intention was to have some fun.
Well, we did.
And this is the story of a very un-telenovela tale of coming out (in a postmortem sort of way since they already knew).
I told a friend once, that the world's best truth serum is the beer. It goes for me as it did for my ex (wehehehehe. All his angsts used to just flow out when he was drunk).
The spirit of my ever favorite beer, SanMig Light was upon us. My younger brother was visibly more drunk than I was (and so were the rest of my cousins hehehehe. It's a family trait hekhekhek). So he mentioned casually that my other cousin, Ate Leah, knew about the so-called secret and she was in denial. (I don't know in what terms she expressed her disbelief but I didn't want to bite more than I could chew). So was my Mom. (Again, I didn't seek any details).
But some of my cousins who were with us in the group said they knew and didn't mind. It helped, I guess, that I did not put up a "straight" front whenever I'm in Lucena. I have always acted the way I acted so they weren't shocked at all.
Little did I know that my brother has become sort of a spokesperson for me letting everyone in on the secret. Or a whistleblower, depending on the motivations you could read into his actions. Hehehehe. But I guess that's just his way of dealing with the discovery. I read somewhere back in college that when one is uncomfortable about a decision or a position, or a discovery as in this case, the natural tendency is to discuss it with friends to find some sort of resonance or affirmation.
But all's well that ends well, I guess. There's nobody else in the world who doesn't know my secret (except perhaps my Dad? hehehehe).
I came out when I was 24. After two years, this is my second re-birth.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Kuya Dario, 61

I was back in Lucena this weekend to bury a beloved Uncle, Kuya Dario.

He was the one who opened my love for the arts and photography. When I was little, we would go to their house nearby where, inside, several paintings were hanging, as though in a museum. And I was forever awed. There were paintings of his children, Kuya Cheno and Ate Leah, and landscapes ala Amorsolo. He entrusted me with his brush one time, when he was doing a billboard (back when billboards were still made of wood and paint). He did the outline of the letters and allowed me to fill them with paint as one would a story book.

He showed me the first ever SLR camera I have ever seen when I was a kid. I didn't know how it functions then but I remember telling myself that one day soon I would learn how to use the camera. In college, when an opportunity to enroll in one of those electives were offered, I enrolled in a photography class making good my promise to follow up on a childhood fascination.

As we grew up and my cousins and I transferred to Manila for work (some are still there) Kuya Dario's special role in the family did not change. He was, at the time of his death, the surrogate father to my pamangkins. Francine, now 5 (or 6?) has been blessed to be given this attention.

Francine called her "Tatay" and it was Kuya Dario who named her "Mot-mot" owing to an eye infenction she used to have when she was little.

When Mot-mot's family comes over to our compound (where the ancestral house is located and we're living in) on Sundays, Kuya Dario would peek into their house and as if on instinct, Mot-mot would know he was there. Mot-mot would grab her slippers and immediately ask Kuya Dario where they would go.

Until the time of his death, my cousin, Miled, did not know where Kuya Dario and Mot-mot went for their weekend date. "Sa tabi-tabi lang," Kuya Dario would answer when Miled would ask where they had their lunch.

At the wake, Miled recounted, people she never knew would ask her if Mot-mot was the tisay little girl that Kuya Dario would bring to a restaurant in the town proper, Golden City.

"Alam mo, mahal na mahal ni Dario 'yang batang 'yan," Winston, the tricycle driver who brought Kuya Dario to the hospital when he had his attack, told Miled.

After the burial yesterday, Miled said that Mot-mot had reminded her to bring the watch Kuya Dario had given her. But Miled, somehow forgot, because they were in a hurry.

Mot-mot, I thought, was holding on to the last gift Kuya Dario has given her and wanted perhaps, to tell his Tatay, before his graveyard, that she would forever keep it.

But do kids ever comprehend death. After Kuya Dario was buried, Den-den, his first ever apo said, "Na, na (Wala na), tatay," he seemed to be informing us as if to tell us that he understood. There was no sadness, however, in his eyes, perhaps only acceptance that some things do end.

When Den-den grows up, we will remind him of his Tatay and how well he loved him. One day, perhaps, when he's old enough to access the Internet, I would show him this.

Because such was Kuya Dario's generosity. There were so many gifts, tangible and otherwise, that Kuya Dario gave us. For that, and the memories, he shall forever be remembered.

Friday, May 12, 2006

No Surprises

I got letters from two unexpected senders: my brother and my Mom. Because of its nature, I won't discuss here the details of the letters but will instead highlight some important points.

My mother knows now, officially. I didn't bother to ask how she reacted, suffice it to know that she now knows. My brother let her in on the secret ("not actually a secret to those who read your blog on the Internet," my brother wrote). Turned out he could read my blog so he printed some of the entries and, lo and behold, gave it to my Mom (I could imagine a hearing where the prosecution offers evidence against the accused).

It's quite a relief to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, to the people who should have known it first.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Summer Part 2

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From top (l-r): A cultural show at Tam-awan Village; A bulol watches over the whole village; Anton and Wayne pick strawberries; Red luscious strawberries

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hundred Memories

Hundred Islands was the beach stop for me and my friends this year (first of many many stops hopefully).

I was with R., I., and J.

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We left for Pangasinan on Friday. We sorta miscalculated the hours on the trip, we left at 12 m.n. and thought we'd arrive there at 5:30 a.m. But nope, we were there at 3:30 a.m.!

I. had said that some staff of Mayor Braganza had reserved a room for us but when we were there and sought somebody named "Thelma", Marjorie, the hotel staff, said she didn't know her.(Turns out later on that Thelma was with the boat ticketing office).

"Try Louise,"I told Isao. (Hehehe).

It took a little while before we could find a substitute room. Rey was helpful enough to use the room with 14 (!) beds, which we aptly called "the dorm". Since we arrived there very early, we decided to sleep a little bit and woke up at around 8 a.m. If it weren't for the noisy Koreans, we would have slept the whole day.

First Island

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After breakfast, we set out to check out our first island: Marcos Island. It was a medium sized island with a dash of shoreline. Jann brought banig so that's where we sat and placed our things.

All we did there was drink beer, eat, sunbathe, eat again, sunbathe again until we met Claire, a four-year old Ilocana lovinlgy called "Basang."


You can tell from the color of Claire’s skin that she has spent half a day under the sun and she was obviously having fun. She was oblivious to our arrival. Just a couple of meters away from the shoreline, where the level was not even knee-deep, Claire would “dive” and flap her little feet. And then she would emerge, parting her hair that has covered part of her face, breathe deep and dive again.

Her father, J.R., striked up a conversation with our group and offered Claire’s floater. It was small but enough to carry our bodyweight. It was for babies actually. That’s when we asked Claire’s name. Of course, the little girl didn’t mind us. She was fine having fun by herself.
Claire had four instant yayas and yayo with us. At one point, I asked her if she wanted some sunoil on her which, to my surprise, she liked, never mind if the oil wouldn’t help her much since her skin was already dark.

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After lunch, that’s when Claire really opened up. She was pulling a sea grass so I pulled my pamangkin tricks and pretended that it was hair. Placed the seagrass on her head and said it was such a beautiful and long hair to have on her head. She liked it. And reciprocated. She asked that I kneel down so she could put the seagrass and on my head. When she did, I gamely posed and asked her to pretend she was having my picture taken.

“Picture! Picture!” I said.

“Click!” she responded, quickly opening up both her palms as if to immitate a camera’s flashbulb.

(more, photos on flickr badge)

Afterglow- INXS

Here i am
Lost in the light of the moon
That comes through my window
Bathed in blue
The walls of my memory
Divides the thorns from the roses
It’s you and the roses
Touch me and i will follow
In your afterglow
Heal me from all this sorrow
As i let you go
I will find my way
When i see your eyes
Now i’m living
In your afterglow
Here i am
Lost in the ashes of time
But who owns tomorrow
In between
The longing to hold you again
I’m caught in your shadow
I’m losing control
My mind drifts away
We only have today
Touch me and i will follow
In your afterglow
Heal me from all this sorro
wAs i let you go
I will find my way
I will sacrifice
Till that blinding day
When i see your eyes
Now i’m living
In your afterglow
When the veils are gone
As i let you go
As i let you go
Touch me and i will follow
In your afterglow
Heal me from all this sorrow
As i let you go
I will find my way
I will sacrifice
Now i’m living
In your afterglow
Bathed in blue
The walls of my memory
Divides the thorns from the roses
It’s you who is closest

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The pillows told me what I have been denying. The ashtray, now empty, takes time to fill itself up. Even my stereo plays a different tune: melancholy. The writings on the wall and I couldn't ignore it.

But I shall overcome. Like I have, in the past, and now.

"I've been spiraling," I texted R. "I thought I was over," I thought to myself.

This morning on a newspaper:"Forgive and be healed." R. shows it to me.

"I have forgiven," I tell her.

"... but you have not healed," she completes the sentence for me.

Monday, April 03, 2006

For You, Two Seasons Or More Ago

I like watching people sleep. Particularly you.

It's as if, I am awaiting you from a long journey. And I am selfish. I want to be the first to welcome you when you open your eyes.

It's also like you're being born again and I am your proud mother/father. One look in your eyes and we are connected, a perpetual bond is forged in between.

Or if it is me sleeping, I would like you to be the first one I see. It will be like I never left. Or have come back to home. I nestle between your chin and your chest.

Had that chance once. Some two seasons ago (because in this part of the world, there are only two). Before my father died. After I had died (but I am, right now, slowly being resurrected). When I met you for the first time.

I had that chance once. Only once.

You are awake. And I am left dreaming.

Press Freedom in the Philippines

In the News
from The New York Times.

The Philippines Wages a Campaign of Intimidation Against Journalists

Published: April 3, 2006

MANILA, the Philippines — The Philippine news media, among the most exuberant and freewheeling in Asia, are coming under serious government pressure for the first time since the rule of Ferdinand Marcos more than 20 years ago.

Philippine soldiers patrolled the headquarters of ABS-CBN, the nation's largest television network, in suburban Manila in February.

Along with hints that the government may restrict public assembly, the campaign against the press strikes at the heart of the freedoms won in 1986 when Mr. Marcos was driven from the presidency by a popular uprising.

The pressure involves warnings, watch lists, surveillance, court cases, harassment lawsuits and threats of arrest on charges of sedition. No members of the press have been arrested, although three journalists have been charged with rebellion. No news outlets have been shut down, although troops surrounded several television stations for more than a week recently.

Journalists say the situation is particularly unnerving because of the uncertainty of what is happening or may happen to them.

"I have a number of people on my list," Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said in a recent television interview. "We are studying them."

This aggressive posture follows a one-week state of emergency imposed on Feb. 24 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in response to what she said was a coup attempt involving an array of enemies who have been calling for her resignation.

Since then, the police have broken up several gatherings that were seen as critical of the president and have briefly detained some participants.

The gatherings included an annual celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, in which a congresswoman who opposes Mrs. Arroyo was detained, in the words of the police, "to get her out of harm's way."

They included a mock beauty pageant in which each contestant was to be made up with a mole on her face in imitation of Mrs. Arroyo.

They also included something that at first seemed like a joke — small weekly protests at which participants did nothing more than buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The protesters got away with that one, but on March 19, the same group was dispersed by the police while walking through a park wearing T-shirts reading "Out Now," an evident reference to the president.

Officials have spoken of intelligence they received about planned gatherings in the same manner they have talked about monitoring reporters — vaguely, seemingly counting on the uncertainty to be more intimidating.

The director of the National Police, Gen. Arturo Lomibao, has told news outlets that they must conform to certain unspecified standards, which it will be up to the government to interpret on a case-by-case basis.

He referred to a new catchall regulation that bans "actions that hurt the Philippine State by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people's confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country."

Apparently, the goal of all this is to promote self-censorship, said Maria Ressa, senior vice president for news and public affairs at the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network, the nation's largest.

"It's crazy," she said. "You don't know what's happening but you feel they can move on you at any time."

Ms. Ressa has been a leader in demanding clarification of the government's policies toward the press and in filing a class-action lawsuit to bar prior restraint.

"There is definitely fear and uncertainty," she said. "When government officials say, 'We have the power to shut you down, we have the power to look at your content,' it's intimidation."

Editors and news directors say they have prepared for possible searches or arrests by backing up computer files, setting aside bail money and instructing their staff members on their legal rights if the police enter their offices.

The government has singled out in its threatening statements the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, a small, aggressive group of journalists led by Sheila S. Coronel, a prominent journalist.

The center's exposés of corruption, presented during congressional impeachment hearings, helped bring down Mrs. Arroyo's predecessor, Joseph Estrada.

Government officials have said they may charge Ms. Coronel and members of her staff with sedition, but they are imprecise about who may be charged and on what evidence.

"It's very insidious," Ms. Coronel said. "They say they are studying filing sedition charges. They say they have lists, but they don't say who is on them. This is not how the game should be played. We know our rights, and we should not be harassed by psychological pressure."
Ms. Coronel was one of a group of young women who were reporters and became well known for defying Mr. Marcos in the early 1980's, a time when journalists were being harassed and arrested.

"People went to prison, people died for this freedom," Ms. Coronel said, "and if you give it up it is a betrayal of all the sacrifices that people have made in the past, people I know personally. It really makes me mad."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

People Power in Two Places


In France, thousands of students are turning up in the streets to protest a law that would allow companies to fire those under 26 without cause during their first two years in the job. Unions have joined the students in protesting the law. Protest leaders have refused an invitation for talks from Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin unless he rescinds the law. News accounts say that the protest actions have gone to call for the resignation of de Villepin.

It's the re-emergence of people power in France. The opposite is happening in the Philippines.

People power has largely been discredited. After two successful revolutions that toppled two Presidents, people power has largely been criticised as a short-term solution to long term, systemic woes. Some have even gone as far as to say people are tired of it. "People power fatigue" is a term recently coined to describe the disinterest.

But there lies the danger.

Once you describe to this idea that people power is no longer effective then we are giving the government the right to do whatever it wants to do.

In a recent report (Destabilization of the Nation) I did for Reporter's Notebook" Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes admits that it's hard to muster enough crowds for protest actions against the government. Bayan alongside other anti-Arroyo groups are pushing for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

It's a dangerous trend.

Don't believe your friendly neighborhood politician when he says people power won't work again. Maybe it hasn't yet. But recent failures do not invalidate its effectiveness.

Because people power is the only thing we have. When government can use the law to further its interest, where and to what else do we turn to?

Summer Song

"So Sick"

Mmmm mmm yeah
Do do do do do do do-do
Ohh Yeah

Gotta change my answering machine
Now that I'm alone
Cuz right now it says that we
Can't come to the phone
And I know it makes no sense
Cuz you walked out the door
But it's the only way I hear your voice anymore
(it's ridiculous)
It's been months
And for some reason I just
(can't get over us)
And I'm stronger than this
(enough is enough)
No more walkin round
With my head down
I'm so over being blue
Cryin over you

And I'm so sick of love songs
So tired of tears
So done with wishing you were still here
Said I'm so sick of love songs so sad and slow
So why can't I turn off the radio?

Gotta fix that calender I have
That's marked July 15th
Because since there's no more you
There's no more anniversary
I'm so fed up with my thoughts of you
And your memory
And how every song reminds me
Of what used to be

That's the reason
I'm so sick of love songs
So tired of tears
So done with wishing you were still here
Said I'm so sick of love songs so sad and slow
So why can't I turn off the radio?

(Leave me alone)
Leave me alone
(Stupid love songs)
Dont make me think about her smile
Or having my first child
I'm letting go
Turning off the radio

Cuz I'm so sick of love songs
So tired of tears
So done with wishing she was still here
Said I'm so sick of love songs so sad and slow
So why can't I turn off the radio?
(why can't I turn off the radio?)
Said I'm so sick of love songs
So tired of tears
So done with wishing she was still here
Said I'm so sick of love songs so sad and slow
So why can't I turn off the radio?
(why can't I turn off the radio?)

And I'm so sick of love songs
So tired of tears
So done with wishin' you were still here
Said I'm so sick of love songs so sad and slow
Why can't I turn off the radio?
(why can't I turn off the radio?)
Why can't I turn off the radio?