Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A late Father's Day story...

My Father's Day story is not about my own old man.

I was on my way home from Toy Story 3. Usually, I would take a cab from Makati if it's already late. But it was difficult to get a cab that night, and I had to take the long route - Buendia.

On any other day, I would choose one of those designer cabs. But it was late, I was in Buendia-Taft and I didn't want to take so much time waiting in that area so I decided to take the next best decent-looking cab that came my way.

After telling the driver where to go, he stepped on the gas and we were on our way.

When we reached the Manila City Hall, Manong asked me something and that started the conversation, which is now my Father's Day story.

Manong just got back from Pampanga. And that particular night was his first day back at work. He told me he was spending the past few months healing a physical wound.

It was a December night, according to Manong. He picked up two male passengers in Intramuros around 2 in the morning. When they were along the Pier area, one of the guys pulled out a gun and announced a holdup.

Manong gave all his earnings that day to the two scums of the earth. But that wasn't evil enough. Scum A told Scum B that they should already go because they got the money anyway. Scum B, however, wanted to finish Manong. He told his companion that Manong already saw their faces and could easily identify them.

Good old Manong managed to keep his senses alert amidst all of this. While the two idiots were discussing, Manong quickly opened the door and ran as fast as he could.

Scum B probably panicked and started shooting at Manong. Determined to escape, Manong kept on running. It wasn't until he felt a pain on his thigh that Manong realized he was hit. Once his body became fully aware of his condition, he collapsed on the pavement.

He was lying on the pavement bleeding and worrying that his assailants might return and finish him. Thinking that it might be the end, Manong did what he thought was the only thing he could at that situation, say his final prayer and asked the Lord to take care of his family. He was ready to accept that it was the end, similar to how Woody and his companions thought it was their time at the incinerator.

Just when Manong thought that it was already the end, a car passes by and stops. He could hear male and female voices. The woman was asking the guy to go help Manong. The guy refused saying that it was probably some modus operandi. Manong heard the car's motor roar and leaving.

The good side of the couple took over and they backed up, took Manong in and brought him to the hospital. As with most hospitals, they demanded for a deposit before treating a patient, even if that person was already bleeding to death from a gunshot wound. The couple pleaded, but the hospital staff had the same answer, "No deposit, No treatment."

The couple drove Manong back to his house. The bleeding seem to have stopped anyway. Seeing the condition of the family - three kids, a wife afflicted with cancer - the couple gave Manong the money they had and left.

Because Manong could not go to work anymore, the family had no rent money and was evicted from their home by the landlord. A neighbor offered a shelter in Pampanga. It wasn't a home. It wasn't even a house. It was the place farmers use for resting from harvesting in the middle of the day. It was smack in the middle of rice fields.

That's where Manong and his family have been spending the past few months. Unable to drive and get work, Manong's eldest kid - a daughter - had to help the family. She went around the community, and offered to do laundry and press clothes.

This is what breaks Manong's heart. His voice faltered while he told how his daughter had to help out. He felt sorry that his daughter had to stand as padre de pamilya at such a young age. Sometimes, his daughter would get home late in the evening, and he feared for her because she had to walk through dark paths to reach "home."

Fast forward to that night where he took me as a passenger, Manong said that he felt he was much better. Yes, the pieces of the bullet are probably there in his thighs, but he could move already. That's why he decided to head back to Manila to see if he could earn a little. He talked to a kumpare who was also a taxi driver, and asked if he could be a take the cab for the night.

The following morning, he said he would go back to Pampanga to check on his family. I told him to go to PCSO or to PGH to get his bullet wound treated. Surely, there could be something done to help him. A man who seemed to be kind-hearted just didn't deserve that.

When I finally reached my destination, I handed Manong a little extra. He refused earnestly, but I told him to just take the money. It won't be enough for him to get surgery, but I thought it would be enough to get him to Pampanga and back to Manila for his visit to the hospital or PCSO.

I dunno if Manong was telling the truth or if he was just a good storyteller. I know, I know. I'm bad to think that of him. But you can't blame me. When you're 30, and you've been living in crazy Manila for so long, you sometimes lose faith in the good of people.

But I think he was really telling the truth. I just had to believe that he was. When I got out of the cab, I wasn't even able to get the name of the cab nor Manong's name. As much as I really want to help him, there's not much I can do. In fact, it was him who somehow "helped" me. Surely, there is a lesson on fatherhood from that brief conversation.

It's been a while since I heard a sob story like this. A story told straight from the horse's mouth. I wondered if the universe was telling me something about fatherhood. That it's difficult? That it's a huge responsibility? That to be a father means putting your family ahead of you? I'm not sure. I really just hope everything will turn out well for him and his family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Legally Blonde was legally superrrr...

Legally Blonde was legally superrrr!!!

Saturday afternoon was spent at the Meralco theater with a former colleague Grace, who is my usual sidekick when it comes to watching musicals.

Of the three venues where plays/musicals are usually held (RCBC, Greenbelt 1, Meralco), Meralco is definitely my favorite, for very obvious reasons.

Anyway, when Grace and I entered the theater, I already got excited. The stage was framed by a pink light. You just get the feeling that behind the curtains, there’s an even more spectacular view to behold. That was just the icing on the cake. When we got to our seats, I was extremely happy because we got a fantab view of the stage.

And when the curtains finally opened, I was floored. The set design was just awesome! It was pink all over! The pink lights looked elegant and beautiful, not the kind of pink that hurts one's eyes.

The music started playing, and the next two and a half hours were a super sweet treat for the eyes and the ears.

I knew it was Nikki Gil who was playing Elle Woods. I didn't know how good she was until that afternoon. She was really good. She delivered her lines perfectly. She spoke beautifully. And the girl can sing really, really well! My apologies if I seemed that surprised. The only things I know about Nikki Gil are the Coke TVC and the Asian version of a song from HSM.

Since I didn’t read much about the production, I was thrilled to see how powerhouse the cast was. Theater stalwarts Joel Trinidad, Jett Pangan, Cris Villonco,Calvin Millado, Felix Rivera. Other surprises included Geneva Cruz playing Brooke Wyndham, Nyoy Volante as Emmett Forrest, and Guji Lorenzana who played Warner Huntington.

Except for the sound issues once in a while (which were totally forgivable), the numbers were really super.

I liked “Omigod,” "Serious," "What you want," "Chip on my shoulder," "There! Right there."

The dance numbers were also extremely entertaining. The most difficult, in my opinion, is “Whipped into Shape.” The number included a lot of jump rope sequences. I was constantly worried that a performer or two might get his/her foot caught in the rope and fall. But no, the number was executed very well!

All in all, the show was great! You’d be laughing all throughout the show. And you’re definitely going to leave the theater with a big smile on your face. I would watch it again, if I can find the time and if the tickets aren’t sold out yet.

Congratulations to dear Chari Arespacochaga for another superb production! Fantab work!

I actually have the soundtrack of Legally Blonde. Fellow musical lover Wes gave me a copy ages ago, but I haven't really listened to it. Now that I finally got to watch the musical, I think you now know what's going to be on repeat on my iPod on the next few days.

Video via

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Doctor and kaliskis-free fish...

I went to see the doctor earlier to ask how I can manage my uric acid levels.

The results of the annual physical exam have arrived. Since I've been trying to live the healthy life lately, I thought I'd go see the doctor to seek his advice on what I can do about the uric acid results.

When my name was finally called by the doctor, I went into the clinic, took my seat and told him my concern. I showed him the results of my APE.

He didn't look bothered at all. That's good, right? Because if he did, that would make me nervous. Or maybe this particular doctor was trained to put on a p-p-poker face very well. Or maybe he just didn't care. Haha! Nyerks! Hello, mag-Judge Judy ba ng todo?! Haha!

Anyway, after checking out the results of my APE, he had to refer me to another doctor for the other item on the results, and he said I need not worry about the other item (my BP) because it was normal.

Going to the uric acid thing. He was dishing out his advice and while I was all ears to him, I couldn't help but lough out loud twice during his monologue. I did apologize though. I didn't want to leave that room with a scalpel sticking out of my throat. Hehe!

Although I'm sure he understood too why I seemed amused with his advice.

Doctor: "So you have to undergo a strict change in diet..."
Me: "Okay, got it."
Doctor: "Avoid, oatmeal, red meat, innards, isdang walang kaliskis..."
Me in Laugh Out Loud 1: "May isda bang kaliskis-free?"

(Note: The answer is yes. According to Twitter friends Jayce and Jamie - tuna, catfish and GG.)

Doctor: "...poultry, beans, soya, taho..., basically, everything."
Me in Laugh Out Loud 2: "Okay. Everything. Got it."

I asked the doctor if I needed to take meds, since my friends who are in the same boat are taking meds. But I did clarify with him that it's not because inggitero ako and I wanted my meds. Hehe! I just wanted to understand.

And dear doctor goes, "You don't need meds. You're still young, and you know, some of the meds could have some side effects. There are about 10 side effects that are fatal, and another 10 that are non-fatal."

I go, "Ooookay! So, yeah, I'll do that diet then." Hahaha!

That was an interesting visit to the doctor. I left his office and before going back to the office, I decided to schedule a consult with the other doctor.

At least, walang Overweight or Obese type 1 on my APE results.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the road with the Magsaysay girls...






Even with only a few hours of sleep, I was still able to drag myself out of bed and get ready to meet with the Magsaysay girls.

The last time I saw some of them was at May's house when she invited me and Shy for dindin. I was still selling my iBook to May, too. One more reason why I had to go to her house. Man, that was ages ago.

So when May emailed that we're going on a road trip, I immediately penciled it in my calendar. It's always, always fun to see the girls.

We met up at Times Plaza. May was the first to arrive. Our meetup time was 7:30. Since I saw that I still have a couple of minutes to spare, I dropped by the 7-11 store to get me a tall cup of French Vanilla (my absolute fave) for some caffeine fix. Cathy arrived a couple of minutes later. Shy, on the other hand, was the last to arrive. Hehe! In fuhr, consistent siya. Hehehe! We will just meet Lenly (along with hubby and kid) in Tagaytay.

It was a rather pleasant drive. There was hardly any traffic, and there weren't that many peoeple in Tagaytay either. I dunno if it's because of the Taal Volcano alert. Initially, there was concern whether we should push through with the trip because of the alert. I just told the girls, "Di naman siguro iyan puputok while we're there. And even if pumutok siya, we'll already be in Sta. Rosa by the time the lava or whatever reaches Tagaytay." Hehe!

Our first stop was Lourdes Church for Sunday Mass. The new church has a very nice altar, I have to say. I have childhood memories of the place because the annual sacristans gathering used to be held at the Capuchin seminary next door.

Anyway, after sanctifying ourselves, we went to the Greek restaurant along the highway to satisfy our hunger. Hehe! Because I didn't have proper breakfast, I was really hungry . When we got to the restau, Lenly and her boys were already seated and waiting for us. We ordered gyros, cheese and olives, moussaka and the yogurt drink.

The good lunch was made even better by the company I was with. Lenly and Ginny talked about the upcoming migration to faraway Canada. Huhu! Their 2 yo old kid JM entertained us all with his cute antics. Cathy was being cougar over JM. Hehe! Peace, Katya. Shy and Mayo jumped in the conversations. I listened. I watched. I talked. I ate. Hehehe!

Since it was Father's Day, Ginny and Lenly had to leave early. They probably had plans with the little one. After bidding them goodbye, May, Cathy, Shy and I headed back to Manila.

We had two stops though. First was to get a photo of the Taal Volcano and Lake. The skies that day were sooo clear and gave a fantastic, fantastic view of the small volcano and the lake. It was just too perfect to skip. So we stopped by the highway and took some photos of the panoramic scene.

Our second stop was at Paseo de Sta. Rosa. The plan was to just go cool ourselves at Starbucks. We ended up wandering around the place and checking out all the outlet stores. Wahahaha!

As for the dessert and cold drinks, that became a full meal at Sugarhouse. Harhar! We were too hungry after all the walking, and the meal we had at Mano's Greek Taverna was rather light. Hehe!

It was a very nice Sunday get-together with the girls. We had a very interesting and long conversation after one of the girls broke some news. I've yet to fully feel the impact of the news. Hehe!

The drive back to Manila was also free from heavy traffic. Yey! We got back early evening, so that gave me enough time to do a little work.

Nice, nice weekend!

Twitter Gang take center stage at Centerstage...


Saturday night was booked for a get-together with my Twitter buddies. One of the guys based in Singapore was in town, and he invited his Tweeps for dindin and videoke.

Before meeting up with the guys, I had to go meet up with another friend. That turned out to be a bad move because I was ended up being stranded along Salcedo St in Legazpi for a good hour thanks to the sudden heavy downpour. Ugh!

To make things worse, none of the cabs would take me even as I waved crazy. Argh! They probably thought I was going to ask them to take me to some submerged area. Hello, Koya. Sa Greenbelt lang ang punta ko. If it weren't raining at all, I would just walk going to Greenbelt.

Anyway, you know what they say, at the end of the rain, there is always a rainbow. (Uhm, not sure if the saying goes like that or if there actually is a saying like that. Haha!) And what a "rainbow" it turned out to be. Wahaha!

Leave it to the guys to bring back all the color and fun washed away by the rain. Haha!

Evening started out with dindin at Soms. In case you haven't passed by Rockwell recently, Soms now has a building. I kind of miss the eating by the side of the road though. That was one of the "charms" of the restau.

After stuffing ourselves with pad thai, curry, spring rolls and tom yum, we moved to Centerstage along Jupiter for a night of crooning and belting out. Hehehe!

When we started the night, there were just about five of us. As the night wore on, the rest of the gang arrived. The next few hours were spent singing all sorts of songs. Pop, R&B, OPM, ballads, medleys. Haha! I guess that's the one good thing about us being us. Haha! No one's afraid to do a Barbra Streisand number, immediately followed by a song from The Calling. Hehe!

Even if I wanted stay, I had to leave a little past midnight. I promised the Magsaysay girls that I will be joining them in the Tagaytay road trip. So before heading home to see the girls, I thanked the "girls" for the fun night. Hehe! Thanks, guys!

It would be great to have more of these get-togethers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Makati CBD just became more interesting...








Makati CBD peeps, I dunno if you've noticed it, but Ayala seems to be adding a lot of art around the CBD.

You've probably seen the Arturo Luz pieces around Greenbelt. There are also some Luz pieces at the mini-garden across Glorietta 3. And then, I'm still amazed with the Ayala Triangle garden transformation.

Too bad it's a bit far from my office. Otherwise, I think it would be fantab to take quick walks around the greens and art pieces after a full lunch. Haha!

The latest "art works" I've seen are the ones at the underpass connecting the PLDT RCB side to the Makati Exchange.

Obviously, they're not the original works. But I definitely can say that last night was the only time it took me several minutes to cross that underpass. I was checking out the different "art works" and seeing the colorful posters showcasing the works of Pinoy artists made the walk through the underpass different. Hehe!

Whoever's behind this installation of art pieces around the CBD (Ayala Land? The Zobels?), fantastic idea!

It kind of reminds me of the MRT stations at Singapore. On my first few days in the city, I would almost always forget which exit to take at Serangoon station. When I noticed the different art works put up around the station, all I did was remember which art piece led to my exit.

Art does make an otherwise dull surrounding more interesting.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Readings for the week...

Class is now in session.

Readings for the weekend are the new issue of Garage, and some recent issues of Preview and Men's Health. Haha!

I've always been a fan of magazines. I love the visuals and the articles.

If I had a little more money to burn, I'm quite sure I would definitely be getting my hands on the latest issues of my fave mags.

Thank goodness though for Booksale, which sells some of my fave mags for a quarter of its original price. Hehe!

Uhm, forgive me but I'm more of a fan of foreign magazines. Specifically, US Vogue (I'm such a stereotype, I know. Haha!) and VMan.

For the former, the one issue I always try to get my hands on and I'm willing to pay the full price is the September Issue.

For the latter, it's a collector's item. I remember it was my friend Edsel who introduced me (and many of our friends) to the awesome men's magazine. Too bad it's not available locally. Ugh! And I'm just lucky to have friends based in SG who are generous and kind enough to get me my Vman fix.

I do also enjoy local magazines. When Mega came out several years ago, I would almost always save a part of my allowance so I can get a recent issue (Again, I'm such a stereotype. Haha!).

Lately, I've been enjoying Preview, Men's Health and Town & Country. The one local mag that I collect though is Garage. Awesome, awesome men's magazine. I have to look for back issues though. Ugh!

If there's one other industry I can probably work for and enjoy working in, it's the publishing industry.

Having put up a magazine with friends once upon a time, I know I would.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Al Gore talk...









I wasn't really planning on attending the Al Gore talk. I already saw the DVD, and I wasn't sure if there would be anything presented during the talk.

Also, I couldn't afford the tickets. Hahaha! And even if I could, I don't think I'll blow away $200 to listen to him. But if it were Oprah or Angelina Jolie, then let's sit down and start talking. Hehehe.

Anyway, a day before the event, my manager told me that I'm being given by our bigger boss a ticket to the Al Gore talk.

On the day of the talk, we got at the venue quite early. Registration started at 2AM. It was kinda weird though because we didn't really sign any reg form or what. After checking where we were seated, my colleagues and I went inside the function room to find our seats.

The section we got was good. Really, really good. Though I'm several rows aways from the stage, I had a very good view of it because it was seated parallel to it. Hardcore environmentalists (or Al Gore fans) would die of envy. Hehe!

Moving on, the next few hours were spent people watching. A handful of celebrities and politicians spotted, including Mrs. Arroyo. What really made my head turn from left to right and back were the ushers. Daming cute, ah! May go-see ba, Koya? Hahaha!

The program began at exactly 4PM. Thank gawd for that! A song and dance number by Trumpets (?) teens, I think. They sang a medley of pro-earth songs. Following the number was the opening speech by SM's Hans Sy.

Afterwards, Al Gore finally came on stage. The lights went out and all that could be seen in the room were giant LCD screens that showed the Keynote presentation of Mr. Gore.

The next hour or so was then a talk on climate change and the inconvenient truth that goes with it.

Uhm, I hope I won't get into trouble for this but it felt like watching the DVD live. Sure, there were some updates on the Asian/Philippine situation, but the key message of the whole talk was still quite the same.

The event concluded with a question and answer portion facilitated by Cheche Lazaro. No, there was no mention of the separation.

That was it. Cocktails just outside the venue followed. Would've wanted to have some Fans Kita photos with some celebs, but they quickly disappeared. Hehehe! Plus, I think my work colleagues will kill me if I did that.

Oh, and if you're wondering how I got photos... Uhm, initially I tried to hide Hanschen with a black notebook. But when I saw some people taking photos, I just followed suit. Bahala na kung damputin ako at itapon palabas ng venue. Sa ngalan ng blogging. Hahaha!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Naga in less than 48 hours...









Because of a medical convention in Naga, all flights back to Manila last weekend were fully booked. My colleagues were lucky enough to have been able to book a flight back to the crazy metro. I, on the other hand, had to stay for another day in Naga.

Thanks to good Pahinungod buddy Joel, what I thought would've been a weekend of staying in the hotel room and OD-in on National Geographic, Travel & Living and Discovery Channel turned into a weekend of fantab time in the city.

How do you enjoy Naga City in 24 hours or so? Here's what you do.

- 2PM Lunch at Biggs (local fastfood that's really, really good)
- 3PM Rest and prep for night out
- 8PM Dinner at Maki Yaki (Japanese restau located at Avenue Square along Magsaysay Ave.)
- 10PM Coffee at Bean Bag
- 11PM Partying at Club M8
- 3AM Back at the hotel

- 8AM Breakfast at Biggs (I just can't get enough of it)
- 9AM Church Hopping - Naga Cathedral, Penafrancia Basilica, San Francisco Church
- 11AM More Photo Op - Universidad de Santa Isabel, Holy Rosary Minor Seminary
- 12NN Lunch and Tambay at CWC
- 4PM Rest at the Hotel
- 8PM Dinner at Molino Grill
- 9PM Drinks at Blue Bar
- 10PM More drinks at Bob Marlin
- 11PM Back at the hotel and ready for the 6AM trip to the airport

More pics here.

Thank you, Naga! You were fun! Hahaha! Feeling celebrity lang.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm seeing green this weekend...

Weekend work.

I love it that my "office" sometimes is a barangay coastline or a mountain forest or a rural community. I love it that to get to "work" sometimes, I have to walk by the shore or make a trek. It's definitely not your usual work. Hehe!

We went to Barangay Cagsao in the municipality of Calabanga here in Camarines Sur. It's about a 40-minute drive from Naga City.

The last time I was here was in August. That's when we started planting mangrove propagules along the coastline of the barangay.

Boy, was I surprised with what I saw when we made our way to the planting site?! The mangroves have grown! Woohoo! Almost 80-90% survival rate, according to the local DENR. I should post a photo of how the coastline looked like before the planting of the mangroves.

Anyway, just a little bit of info. The mangrove planting is part of the disaster risk reduction efforts of the barangay. Mangrove are a good natural defense against storm surges. If the mangroves we planted continue to grow well, then it'll be of good use to the local community. Aside from being a natural protection, mangroves are also a source of livelihood. You can sell the propagules. Shrimps and crabs make the mangroves their home, so you can catch these and sell them.

I'm back in Naga now. I'm supposed to go home tomorrow, but all flights are booked. Ugh! There's a medical convention here in Naga. O ha! Huma-happening na ang Naga. Hehe!

Hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hello Naga... we meet again...

So I'm in Naga for work.

We adopted a community in the municipality of Calabanga about two hours away from Naga for our environment project, and we're here to continue our participation in the project.

Barangay Cagsao in Calabanga is strengthening its disaster-preparedness efforts and we're helping them through mangrove planting. Details on this project in another post.

Anyway, so I left for Naga around 2PM together with friend/work colleague Arlyn. We were at the airport - Terminal 3 - around noontime. Surprisingly, the trip from Makati to Terminal 3 was quite fast thanks to the Skyway connection.

I'm not a huge fan of Terminal 3. I'm a Terminal 2 guy. Haha! And I wasn't also that excited when I saw the plane we were taking was the one with propellers. It's my first time to take this kind of plane, and I found it scary. Even if Bamboo, as in Bamboo the rock band star, was seated a row away from us. Hehe!

Our flight was late. And so was our fetch at the airport. Prior to that, we had a really embarrassing moment at the boarding gate in Terminal 3. Jeez!

I'm booked at Starview Hotel. It's a relatively new hotel. I'm usually booked at Nagaland Hotel, which is right across E Mall. It's a good thing that our local counterpart referred us to this hotel. I like it very much. The room is nice. The location is good. And the price - it's P1,500/night. Not bad I guess.

Uhm, I thought I'd be back in Manila by Sunday morning. But for some reason, all Manila-bound flights - Cebu Pacific and AirPhil - are fully booked. Weird. This is the first time that I ran out of seats for a Naga trip.

So, anyway, I'll be stuck in Naga for an entire day. Hmm, what to do? I'm not really in the mood to go sightseeing. I'd rather use Sunday to rest and get ready for another work week.

I did see a cathedral/basilica (what's the difference?) nearby so I think I will visit that, at least. I've always been amused by old architecture.

Alright, happy weekend. I'm hungry. Arlyn and I are going to eat at Bigg's, which is right next to our hotel. It's my first time to eat at that restau. Arlyn says it's good, so I'm kinda excited.


Nuff said...