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Tita Cory

cory2I never liked you and I dont know why but Im sad that you’re gone. Even in the end you showed that you’re the only one who can unite this country that has gone weary and polarized. I saw the news and my friends posts and they seem genuinely in agony of your passing, Maybe its your daughter Kris or maybe Im not good a judge of character than I thought. Whatever it is, my point will not matter. It will be drowned by the unending cheers and praises by the masses, by the elite, politicians and yes even vatican has sent farewell eulogies of some sort. This blog would not be a drop in the ocean of greatness that will be bestowed unto you and the things that you’ve done and the meekness that you showed throughtout your presidency and your life.

It might be Kris that I didnt liked but I watched Feng Shui and is probably the best Horror movie that I’ve watched, maybe Noynoy who is a cheap copycat of Ninoy and having been linked to a bold starlet (which incidentally Kris reported on the Buzz years ago) or it could be that Luisita whom you are part owner to which hasn’t given the farmers their own lands and was the place of bloody massacre when they picketed the   Hacienda or being a Cojuangco with all its money and influence. It seems stereo type but there’s always wrong with an obscenely rich clan such as yours.

But you never looked rich or what I mean is you never flaunted your richness. Same wristwatch and a wedding ring and a house in Quezon City when everybody knows you have a house in Forbes Park. What’s with that? I really dont understand and there in nobody that would make me understand as you are now gone. Im the one that’s probably lost.

When I see you during interviews I am at awe at how at peace you are. Is there really a person so dependent on God? That no matter how everything seem to be out of place or in anachry your answer always lies that God will do something about it…..And your prayers always deliver. You’ve demonstrated it during Edsa I and Edsa 2. Remarkable! and after all the efforts it wasn’t always your doings according to you. If it was any politician it would have been everywhere in big bold and red fonts screaming their names for the sake of reelection! But not you. You would fade away after those accomplishments and go on you peaceful way. So selfless.

So what if I dont like you? You’re great! You are Cory Aquino, probably as heroic as Ninoy plain and simple. You will be remebered forever. You will be immortalized as a heroin who toppled 2 dictators and who would have toppled this administration if it wasnt for your sickness. You have lived a life of simplicity  and its hard coming from a family of great wealth and influence. I dont like you but Im sure glad you came and that you’ve given much Filipinos hope in the times of darkness and despair.

I dont like you because probably I liked my heroes with muscles that are loud and carried bad-ass guns and kills the enemies without mercy. I like my heroes to be in the spotlight as they are interviewed proud and unapologetic, probably a little “Captain America” meets “Wolverine”.

I dont like you and you will never be my hero but I owe you my freedom, my race that without you I wouldn’t be proud of. Thank you and God Speed

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Gone too Soon

In Memoriam

MICHAEL JACKSON (1958-2009)

I always thought you were immortal, super hero even. There’s so much that was said and I think there’s a word to describe you….Unreal! You caught everybody’s attention with your sheer talent and NOBODY will ever be as big as you. After selling 750million records and counting you have just confirmed you’re the greatest artist that ever lived and nobody is close second. I wont say much because what you are is  indescribable so I wont even try. I just want to say that the world will miss you and I hope Heaven is good enough for a person such as you. You are mesmerizing, Amazing and nobody can have too much of you, you are magical! that’s maybe why you have to go…Just too soon.

“Gone Too Soon”

Like A Comet

Blazing ‘Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon
Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

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My Samsung Blackjack. Almost dead except for the Monthly fee I pay AT&T

I have been a mobile subscriber since I was 19, it was the age where cellular phone is a status symbol well beyond cars. You can’t argue because the per minute charging during that time was around  18  pesos  Text wasn’t there yet so you really have to call.

Then there came GSM, finally! digital mobile communication and the birth of the text message aside from ring tones, backlights, reverse backlights and eventually the ring back tone. And yes, the hyped functionality of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and MMS. Well, with all the apps that was there, there will always be many peoples favorite without a doubt…The humble “snake”. Thank you for saving me from the boredom of my daily commute and waits for meetings and interviews.

So after the brouhaha it dawned on to many that it is a form of communication and not a toy. After every cellsite has been erected and thousands of antennas assembled on malls, schools and just about any nook and cranny we are now connected…ANYTIME and ANYWHERE! Bummer!

Clients call, boss calls us anytime of the day as if we are slaves thru the digital labyrinth of the mobile super highway. It stitches and stretches time and space. You are there but not entirely. But clients and bosses never minded that as long as they said their complaints and endorsement it is considered documented. Hell! they even made mobile texting the same as email, like:

Hey Tito, Please send me the report for my Mancom tomorrow. Really need it very bad. Thanks. cc: God!

Sigh! just when you thought that that wasn’t enough we get countless spam texts, advertisement, and clients request and escalations. Not to shock anyone but I get about 100 text messages a day at least! The weird thing is I could have turned my phone off  because its a personal phone but the problem is I would get more stressed knowing I am missing a lot of calls and texts and eventually I have to receive it one way or the other and if not that time then soon…very soon, giving me less time to do the task. What can I do? It really comes with having a job. It comes with being important, or needed the least.

So after quitting my job last last week and migrating to the US. I got myself a new number. After a week of having my new number, it rang only thrice, twice from my wife and the other from my father-in-law. Pathetic right? And to make it more pathetic I even look at my phone every now and then just to see if I’ve missed a call or somebody texted and as always there was none.

I should be happy, I should be jubilating that at least I dont get a hundred text messages and numerous calls per day asking me tons of questions that doesnt matter to me. I should be rejoicing that after being enslaved by the mobile addiction and being connected almost all my life I am finally FREE! No ringing, no message tones, no nothing. And that brings me to my question. Am I still important? Somehow I do know that those calls are made because I know better, I am the person to talk to and that single call to me would make a difference to the person calling. But the ring of my phone is gone and I feel unimportant. Truly there is something in a mobile phone than calling, texting and browsing the internet. Somehow it took a life of its own attaching itself to the human psyche, sometimes as important as a breath of air, a trusted friend and a door to another space and time. Who would have thought that a couple of grams of plastic and silicon can question relevance to a person’s environment. Amazing and yet mind bloggling. So mind blogging that I am turning my PC and phone after this. I would savor being unimportant, of not being connected, I would go to the garden and smell the sweet fragrance of fresh cut grass and the heat of the late afternooon sun ……………. so tweet me later! ;)

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My last pack which I threw at the NAIA Terminal 1 before my flight to Taiwan

 I’ve been smoking since I  was 16. It started in the 80’s where I was hard core new wave fanatic. You can call it peer pressure of wanting to belong to the hippest crowd and smoking seems to be cool. I started smoking with my sister Michelle. We started off with Philip then eventually winston and for the longest time I smoke Marlboro lights..Fad? Maybe.

I always wanted to stop. Every week I tell myself that I’ll stop smoking the next monday. It seems the right day to stop since its the start of the workweek. Well sometimes it happens most of the time it doesn’t. Well, its worth the try. I actually stoppped smoking in the 90’s for about 2years and I can’t remeber why I started smoking again. Maybe it’s best that I dont remember.

What’s good to know is that I haven’t smoked in 4 days! and the better news is I dont crave to smoke. I hope that I kicked the habit…the bad habit for good! next milestone would be my first week then my 1st month then my fist year. I sure hope I have the will to maintain this attitude towards smoking.

Come to think of it. It’s the decision to finally quit is most important. Everything else will follow even if I go the the store but a pack and take that long long drag again. I will eventually go back to my first real reason for smoking again and that’s to quit. Now, what came first? The chicken or the egg. :)

I’m leaving the Philippines in 4 days for the US and I have tons of work to do, friends to see, despedidas with officemates, team mates, friends and families. Sometimes I wonder if despedidas are the last time friends and families want to have the last free food and drinks before somebody leaves. But I guess that’s ok, I mean we wont be seeing each other in a long time and the truth is I will be buying the booze when I come back!

I haven’t had a despedida before but I think of it as a happy goodbye with free drinks. It’s sort of a joke just so they can hackle some freebies from you but it is only true to non-friends. With true friends It’s a celebration to mask the loneliness that one is leaving and no amount of twits, facebooking will ever be enough to fill the void. Funny thing about life is that it continues to move and everybody else move on with it. I just hope you all remember me. If not, well at least Im hoping that you all be well.

My Best Friend

I cannot count how many times we got drunk and how many things we’ve done together. I remember the first booze (The Bar) and I won’t mention the other firsts because our wives have access to this blog. Funny thing about best friends is that you don’t need to see each other that often and still when you see each other it seems likes you are updated. Its like a cosmic interconnection of sort. Weird sometimes but comforting.

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Katips at Katipunan with my childhood friends

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Clockwise: Boi Hatol my best friend, Boojie Basilio and Jordan Del Rosario

My close friends

What can I say. These friends I see almost everyday and as impatient as I am, these people I tolerate the most. Well  I really don’t  have much of a choice. They’re there pestering you most when work is over your head and its seems ok to me. They’re there most of the time even if you needed to be alone. They are great for parties and to talk to and they are the best people to ask questions to. 

My officemates

I actually enjoy work because of these people. Sure they are people at the different end of the spectrum but that’s probably what I enjoy about them. Working and making fun of work are best expressed with these guys. Funniest of the group and probably the hippest. These are the people I stay in touch with after departing with them from this office. Good luck to y’all!

 

 My Team

Greatest people that shed sweat, blood and tears with me. Has been there through thick and thin with me. Understands my mood in the office and empathize because we share the same sentiments. I will work with these peeps in a heartbeat. I hope that it will be soon. I miss you and will continue to miss working with you. Keep the faith! 

 

My Family

The weirdest of them all! After all these years I still don’t understand you. It’s a complex mesh of different personalities, conflicts and sheer fun. Different Uncles and Aunts, Cousins from all over the world making great and silly things. Whatever the conflicts and shocking news it seems blood truly is a bond that one cannot deny. After all the conflicts, the tears, we find a venue and time to just laugh it off and renew our love for each other. So to my Mom and Dad wherever they are, I have to congratulate you for making a really odd family with different kicks and Love and God in the center of it all. I love you family and I do know you love me.

So who likes despedidas? I for one loved it! I wish it doesn’t need to happen because all the peeps you see here I will miss with all my heart but this is temporary and for a reason. Whatever happens you have left a footprint in my being and I will always remember the good times and laugh at the bad. Whoever we are after the despedidas lay in the mercy of the wind. We may land somewhere else, some will not land at all but when you touch base on the ground we are what breed we are and we will blossom and continue to share the sheer beauty, oddness and complexity of who we are. Wherever you are, I will remember you…..because Love never forgets. I will miss you all! ‘til then.

The Decision

After countless searches and arguments with my friends with where to go on the long weekend of June 12-14 we finally decided to go and take the challenge of Mt Pinatubo. It’s hard for us friends to agree on one thing, even before that long weekend we planned to go to Aquatica, Palm Beach, Portulano and even as far as Dumaguete but it seems that our fate is to see and trek Mt. Pinatubo. Having been dormant people with only work and after work beer as highlights of our days  it seems a daunting task to climb. But then again, we are the people who just couldn’t say no to a thrilling experience as this or we are just too proud to say we can’t do it. I’m so glad sometimes that we are arrogant.

The Planning

It’s a logistic challenge because it’s the first time we did it as friends and that there were confusing remarks on some blogs regarding the trek. Some say its 5 hours trek others 3 hrs depending who’s saying what. The trekkers seem to exaggerate the time and the people who makes a living from the trek seems to say that its way less. Anyways, off we went on what we have based on blogs, the trek supervisors and friends who has done it before. We opted to leave after office hours on June 11 so we can check in the nearest hotel and have a good night’s rest. Unfortunately the night in “Mr. Blue Hotel” isn’t so restful as we decided to drink the night before the trek. Don’t blame us! We were having so much fun playing red dog and I won! :) 

Remember if you’re going there be there a day ahead, bring plenty of liquid and make sure to wear comfortable and reliable footwear. A jacket would be handy if it rains.

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Mr. Blue Hotel. Better than expected accomodation!

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Planning the trip the morning of the trek. Left or right?

The Trek

We started at around 6am. We went to the Spa and we paid our dues. Noemi, the well mannered and quite quirky coordinator greeted us warmly and saw us depart. We rode our 4×4 jeep. Don’t mistake 4×4 as Cherokee or any of the family of Land Rover hence these are 1960’s WWII remnants that were converted to 4×4. So having said that, expect a bumpy ride…Did I say bumpy? You’ll start the ride on the plain and small pots of river and quite some bumpy ride. Then, when all seem like easy and boring comes what I called the “Death Ride”. It’s the first steep climb of your 4×4. It shouldn’t have been that bad but it was raining the day before that so the 45 degrees climb is a slush of mud. And if that isn’t scary enough, on its left is a 200 feet ravine right smack in the middle of boulders! So if you miss that small track…chances of living is slim to None most probably None. We started the first 30 feet sliding as if our jeep was in the mercy of the mud and the ravine was- honest to goodness- is pulling us closer to what looked like our jeep and its contents are “offering” to the gods! I was so bummed that I freed my feet from where its stuck because of our backpack and positioned it so I can jump if the need arises. Thank god that our driver was able to take control of the wheel and wrangled control of our vehicle from the muddy road.

After  that agonizing 1 minute ride on the Death Ride everything would be much better. Im not saying that here would no longer be steep climbs but there would be much less ravines to fall off to. The ride would take about 2 hours. Btw, watch out for the sharp blade grass that can slap you on your face and a sun block would be great to have, anything else you cant do anything about.

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The 4x4 jeep. in the picture from left to right. Me, Neil Tumagan, Belle Lacson and on the passenger seat George Quiambao

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The road to the jump off point. You have to savor the surroundings and look at it as rebirth.

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Surviving the "Death Ride" and its 200 feet plunge is probably one of the hightlights of the trip.

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Trailblazing in the rivers and rough roads of Pinatubo

The Jump Off

We started the first 30 mins of our trek on sand, small rocks of highs and lows of the terrain. Nothing to cover ourselves from the sun but fortunately only after a few minutes of the trek it started drizzling which is a welcome relief as it was refreshing. After about 40mins we finally reached the jump off point for the short trek where finally there is the restroom! I didn’t say there’s water ok?

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Jump Off point. Cant wait to start the trek!

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The short jump off. We got there about 40 mins into the trek. Seeing a restroom is a welcome relief!

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The trek started with small rocks and sand. Look out for the first slip.

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One of the countless streams we have to traverse along the way. the rocks are slippery as it is shaky.

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Belle in action!

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Rocks and flowing water abound the trek. Incredible!

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Almost near the forest trail. i cant believe that we are in the middle of nowhere and enjoying ourselves!

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The gang. Tired but still manages a smile. nice shot by the porter!

The Forest Trek

After the first 40 mins I almost felt panic as I am growing weak from the trek. After a bottle of water it seems not to quench me of my fatigue then I realized that I am pushing my limits to reach the top of the mountain. I am not relaxing on my trek then I suddenly gazed up and surprised that I am inside the mountain forest. It was only then that I thought that I should be enjoying this walk. All the things around me I enjoy the most, Trees, Plants, streams, mountains and I can’t believe that I wasn’t focusing on these things rather the goal to reach the mouth of Pinatubo and not marvel at its majesty. After I started smelling the plants and looking at the stream that I finally was not feeling tired at all! Its such an experience seeing all the nature you can take in at once. I’m an avid fan of landscaping but not a single one I’ve seen can compare to what nature has created for itself. It’s something that Ill take with me for a long time.

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The scenery was the one that made me make the trek. Well worth it!

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Belle in near collapse! LOL. Who would imagine that she's still kicking after more than an hour on the trek?

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More than an hour on the trek and tired but still amzed that i made it this far. Trailing behind is Belle and Horhe. neil is with the handsome porter! Hahaha

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Boulders abound as there was a landslide.

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Boulders abound as there was a landslide.

Almost there! Wohoo we made it!

The Crater

The goal is finally in plain view and mind you I haven’t said “WoW” in awhile. Its such a site to behold, Incredible even. We have to take photos of every angle and make sure its perfect! Aetas are scaterred making pavement on the first dock of the mouth of Pinatubo. It was about 9:30 when we got there. After marveling at the mouth from afar its time for us to go down and see the great green lake up close and personal. We went down a finally cemented stairs. Its probably the hardest descent because the stairs are not that low apart so it strains the knees. Its not a long way down say about 10 mins. When we got there we started off having brunch (well, its our lunch but we’re starving!) after lunch er brunch we went and looked around. The water is cold and green and as majestic from afar. It would be fabulous but there are college guys-let me rephrase that – loud college guys around drinking alcohol. They should ban drinking there out of respect for the serenity of the place. We stayed there for an hour and started our climb to the top. I should warn everybody that the climb on the cement stairs is probably the hardest on the trek. It’s steep and spaced apart. It took me 4 rests before I got to the top. Click! Click! Click! of the camera and off we went back to our 4×4 which we’re dreading because we’re heading back to the death ride. Goodbye Mt. Pinatubo! At least I will miss you! 

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Well worth the trip. Mt. Pinatubo in all its glory!

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Poster boy of Mt. Pinatubo! LOL

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Mt. Pinatubo conquered! Next stop Mars! :)

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All together now! Asteeg!

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Trekking down to meet Ms. Pinatubo face to face. cant wait!

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View of the crater upon descending. Breath taking!

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Touchdown at Pinatubo crater. We're just glad we're still alive. ;)

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Going back to the fear of the death ride. We had a blast. See you soon Pinatubo!

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Tired, dirty and hungry we all trekked back our merry ways!

The Spiritual Trek

 We asked ourselves if we will do it again and 3 of us said no. But while driving home alone I asked myself that same question again. Will I do it again? I’ll probably would and do it better and more prepared with the same friends. Where can you find a place that has the strongest eruption ever recorder in living history!  It’s THE mountain responsible for lowering the temperature of the WORLD by half a degree Celsius. A mountain so angry it spewed out in the atmosphere more than a billion tons of ash! You have to have some great respect on how this mountain can change the world and the lives in it. You simply can’t help but be in awe.

 When I finally saw the mouth of Pinatubo I felt not relieved but questioning. It’s like seeing the biggest emerald and its glory is guarded by towering bishops that are the mountain surrounding it, the grass and the forest at its beck and call, the heavens its umbrella. It’s like all the forces of nature is nurturing it so that it won’t wake up and express its awesome power of destruction yet again. Its sort of a timeless lullaby. Its as if when somebody is loud you just wanted to say Ssshhhh!

After seeing the boulders as big as cars that were thrown out of Pinatubo’s mouth, after smelling the forest which once was burnt to a cinder, after seeing the glory of the majestic clear streams which seems to start from nowhere and goes on forever, after seeing the Aetas once again nourished by the mountain, after trekking for almost 5,000 feet, it’s only then that I felt small, insignificant even, only then after that height, I felt closest to God.

After more than a month of going home to an empty house, I thought that everything will normalize and Ill get used to living alone. But not a bulk of DVD’s, chatting and surfing the Net will ever be as calming as just watching TV with my wife and kids. There’s something in the simplicity of being with them that makes you feel warm and i dunno, maybe secured. It may well be that I have admitted that Im mentally unstable (lol) that I yearn for my family and that I use that blanket to make me feel that everythings all right? That question will remain as I dont want to pay a shrink and tell me at the end of the session that, “iho, mentally unstable ka!”. Baka masapak ko lang sya.

Well, the ignorance of psychology really bothers me and the question remains. Would boredom kill you? As in aatakihin ka na lang dahit lahat na ng langgam sa bahay mo e nabilang mo and yes, walang halong alkohol o drugs yun. Ano ba pwedeng mangyari sa sobrang bato mo sa araw mo? Nasubukan ko na uminom ng maaga? mag jogging ng twice a day at syempre ang saturday ritual ko na mag grocery na nagdadagdag lang ng lungkot sa buhay ko kase naaalala ko asawa ko. At bakit? Kase sya dati nagbabayad ng grocery ngaun ako na!  

Thank god for my Visa that if I reach the breaking point I can just leave everything behind and buy a ticket and fly. nde naman leave everything sayang naman. Which bring me to another topic…Kelangan mo ba ng furniture and appliances? Binebenta ko na kase lahat ng gamit ko. Happy Shopping! :)