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Dear Livejournal, 

It's been nice but I feel that it's time for me to move on. You've become a little too boring. I realized that you cannot give me exactly what I need without me having to pay you for it. And there's the fact that you expect so much from me. I dunno, it just doesn't feel right. Thanks though.

Best regards.

P.S. I will be here if anyone looks for me. 

Typhoon Ondoy and Reasons to Be Grateful

On Saturday two weeks ago, Nini and I played in the rain. The same rain that gave my five-year-old daughter so much joy left several homes and roads immersed in floods until now and hundreds of people across Metro Manila homeless and in great need.

No one is ever exempted from the wrath of Mother Nature. Even the swankiest residential areas weren’t spared from the severe whip lashing given by typhoon Ondoy, which came with the strongest and longest lasting downpour the country has seen in the last 42 years.  

I have always complained of having to live too far away from my Makati office. But this time, I was grateful. Floods did not reach our subdivision and the only problems we had to deal with were wet floors and a short power outage. My husband got stranded in the house of his uncle-boss that day but he made it safely home before midnight.

My heart goes out to those who lost their valued possessions or even a loved one in the course of this event. I salute the brave and the selfless who are volunteering up to now in rescue and aid operations. I am puzzled though as to why the government is still so slow in responding to natural disasters like this. Haven’t we had enough experience dealing with such problems yet?

Ideally, the NDCC should have started placing its people on standby since the rainy season set in. Ideally, one click of a button or the snap of a finger would signal the deployment of rescue teams anywhere they are needed. That there are not enough rubber boats to at least allow one for each barangay is both infuriating and frustrating (given the million-dollar dinners our national leaders afford themselves during overseas trips).

As I write this, the Filipino people are bracing themselves for a few more typhoons reported to be headed for the country until December. I am one with them in praying that no more lives be sacrificed, and for strength for the families, including personal friends, who have lost a lot in the disaster.

Let this be a reminder to all of us not to put too much importance on material possessions. No matter who or what you are, when the hand of God strikes, you better be prepared for the worst. In a way, Ondoy has once again reminded us of the things that really matter: sharing, helping, and putting other people before ourselves.

The event has taught us that it is possible for us Filipinos to act as one and lift each other up after all, especially in the midst of a storm. The Ondoy disaster has proven that we can go on living with a smile on our faces once the sun shows itself again.

Related Sites:

Google - Help for Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines

Beating Ketsana-Ondoy


The Real Cost of Ondoy (according to an economist)

On Loop: Psycho Killer (Qu'est-ce que c'est?)

I am in the habit of listening to a particular song I like over and over again until my ears bleed. This week, it’s the Velvet Revolver’s Psycho Killer. The song makes me want to run as fast and as far as I can, jump over obstacles, slide down stairway railings, and maybe even do a series of cartwheels along the way.

It gives me an idea how it feels to go sky gliding or jump down a very tall cliff or building while wearing aviator shades and leather boots.

The original is by the Talking Heads. James Hall also has his own rendition.


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What is 'Lagarista' in English, Anyway?

Reposting from Facebook. Just so I could not be accused of being idle for too long.

I saw a manong lagarista walk past while teh hubby and I were eating at McDonald’s the other night and he brightened up a rather downcast week brought about by my unbelievable workload, the global economic recession, among other things (quarterlife crisis not excluded). Thank you, manong.

I always get a giddy feeling every time I spot a manong lagarista - be it on the road, inside the mall, and even on television. I do not know why nor can I attempt to explain the reason behind this weird fixation but seeing lagaristas rushing to their places of destination on their bicycles or on foot, carrying those huge reels of film, just never fails to amaze me. I even find the term “lagarista” immensely funny.

No, Piolo Pascual has absolutely nothing to do with it. I suspect that the wacky Strangebrew trio of Tado Jimenez, Angel Rivero, and Ramon Bautista may have an influence somehow.

I am thrilled each time I single out lagaristas from a crowd. I could never stop myself from pointing them out to whoever’s with me (most of the time, it’s teh hubby).

“Uy, lagarista o!” *smile*

I remember someone who once affirmed that spotting a lagarista is an exciting occurrence indeed but alas, I forget whom he or she is. (I was probably too giddy upon seeing the manong lagarista of that day.) If it is you, yes you who are reading this, pardon me. Please come forward, reveal yourself, and let us talk about how funny it is how lagaristas manage to look so serious and how they could not even afford to stop for a snack of lugaw or mami while on the job. *wistful grin*

Tagged: One Sweet Love

Since I’m still too out-of-it to come up with a decent first entry for this year, I decided to use this as an opener. Music is a vital part of my life anyway so bring it on. Yeah.

Put your player on shuffle and hit the 'Next' button to get your answer to every question. You must indicate the title and artist, no matter how far-fetched it sounds. Tag people who might be interested in doing this same thing. No cheating.

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Can't Not Love Oscar Dela Hoya

Nothing could stop Manny Pacquiao. He conquered “Golden Boy” Oscar Dela Hoya in the ring Sunday, rightfully earning his status as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter.

Of course, Filipinos cannot help but be proud.
I cannot help but be worried about Oscar’s beautiful face.

Being forced to lose a number of pounds took its toll on the poor guy, who was too slow during the bout. He had a swollen eye, which could not be worse than his beat-up spirit. Manny was great but Dela Hoya definitely wasn’t at the top of his game. Oscar deserves credit for being a true sportsman, admitting that Manny had been tremendous and he, a bit too old.

We love you, Oscar. Take care. Mwa!

* * *

I can't get enough of Garbage these days. I would love to be Shirley Manson just for a day.

Across the Universe

Across the Universe
is everything a Beatles-themed movie should be. It’s colorful, it’s vibrant, it’s surreal, it touches the heart, and it wracks the soul. I loved the movie as early as the opening scene.

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Where Do Unwritten Ideas Go?

A writer’s mind comes up with all sorts of ideas every minute of every day but the hands could only write (or type) so much. I wonder… Where do the unwritten ideas go?

It is possible that some of them just fade into the background, always there but only as a background, never really concretized.

Others could just be left hanging around, or boxed up, waiting to expire, retrievable anytime required.

It could also be that some ideas just vanish into thin air, just like that, the very moment they are conceived.

(It amuses me to think that there might be a limbo for unwritten ideas. Once a writer dies, he will somewhat be required to make a stopover in that limbo to be confronted by all of his ideas, who must be pissed to have never made it on paper… or cyberspace.)

Writing is more than a profession. It is the medium for those who wish to be heard. It is an outlet for bottled up emotions or the desire to document this or that event or feeling.

Getting reacquainted with past writings, be it school reports, journal entries, and even letters, will never fail to bring a smile (at times, a grimace) to your face, especially if it’s unexpected.

Reading an article or journal entry written years before will surely bring back memories from that place in time when you wrote that certain piece, memories recovered from someplace deeper than you were able to describe: the way you sat as you typed away on the keyboard, the color of the sky, the smell of the air, the people you were with, the way your eyes dimmed as tears flowed: the unwritten ideas.

I guess somehow, unwritten ideas will always be there. A writer’s main goal should be to communicate effectively and produce coherent thoughts. This could not be achieved if all sorts of ideas are rolled up into a bundle. Of course, there’s always the option of using bullets but that would defy the craft… and the art… that is weaving words. 

Chocolate And Muay Thai

I fell in love with Muay Thai the day I saw Ong Bak and the painfully beautiful Tony Jaa. Hubby and I have long been looking for someone to teach us “The Art of Eight Limbs” but couldn’t find a center anywhere near our place.

The desire grew even more when I saw Chocolate, directed by Prachya Pinkaew, recently. Imagine Ong Bak’s gritty action doubled and substitute Tony Jaa with a petite girl. It’s glorious, I tell you.

Meet Jeeja Yanin, 24, touted as the female Tony Jaa. She did most (if not all) of her own stunts in the movie and even sustained real injuries like a few other members of the cast. Dear Jeeja, if by any remote chance you come and visit the Philippines, you could stay at our place. I promise to cook for you. I'd be your punching bag (or kicking post, whichever suits you).

The subtitles of our copy were a bit problematic but the awesomeness of this Thai opus transcended all language barriers. Never mind that we probably cannot pronounce the names of about half the characters or the behind-the-scenes staff. (The surnames of the two writers were Sakveerakul, for the love of god.)

As for the plot, the conflict was triggered by this kind of Romeo-and-Juliet affair between a hot and cunning Thai gangster, Sin, and a member of the Japanese Yakuza. Woman gets pregnant and is denounced by her gang, dad returns to Japan, and Zen, the main protagonist, was born with autism in some secluded province. She loves chocolate, thus, the movie title, but no, it wasn’t her fighting elixir as wine is for the drunken master.

May I just note that also loved the soundtrack, even though I cannot understand the song lyrics, and the cute-as-a-button actress who played the young Zen.

The film tackles the issue of disease, inter-racial love, loyalty, and of course, death. For a brief moment, I wondered why the local industry is still struggling to come up with movies that do not stick to the tried-and-tested formulas. Shamefully, I pondered how Thailand might be surpassing us in terms of producing world-class movies.

And world-class definitely, Chocolate is. Check out the trailer for yourself or visit the official website. The site is fabulous, I tell you, even though it’s in Thai. But it’s cool nonetheless.

Find me a Muay Thai teacher pleeeeaase.

Message (Mis)Sent

All this SEO writing stuff is getting ingrained in my system. How much it has affected me, I didn’t realize until recently (or more specifically, last week) when I almost got into trouble for sending the wrong chat message to our company’s vice president.

(For those who may not know, SEO (search engine optimization) writing is about producing a search engine-friendly content to improve the visibility of your website on the net. This could be done by putting in the right keywords here and there so that the ‘bots that “crawl” your pages will recognize the relevance of your website in relation to the keywords you are optimizing for. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.)

The nature of my job as a web copywriter more or less requires me to eat and breathe keywords. So when our vice-president for operations sent us an email wherein he mentioned the phrase “home away from home” thrice, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, this IS optimized.” I felt the urge to tell my fellow copywriters and I did. It turned out to be one big, embarrassing mistake.

I realized my stupidity the moment I pressed the enter key. In a split second, my mind was able to utter all the cuss words and phrases available to mankind. On the outside, I was stoic and nonchalant but inside I was melting in shame. Like, how stupid can a person get? Fortunately, he was really cool about it. He actually found it funny and thanked me later for “a good laugh.” I have the coolest bosses ever, I swear.
- - -

On my way home the same day, as I was riding the MRT, there’s this lady talking to a younger companion about her latest trip to China. I couldn’t help but notice how she kept mentioning the words “Shenzhen” and “Macao” over and over again. I started counting. I started feeling dizzy and lost count after she has mentioned “Macao” six times, “Shenzhen” eight times, and “China” three times. That wasn’t the end. She kept on repeating the words until I was able to sit down in Cubao station. Talk about redundant.

In the meantime, I’m going to avoid chatting at the office as much as possible. Deeeaathhh.

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