Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Milenyo mayhem and non-manic Mondays

TYPHOON MILENYO suspended classes, took away our electricity, and shattered one of our windows. I was forced to stick it out with the whole family at home last Thursday and for much of the weekend. Need I say more?

Nature’s got a humor about herself sometimes, seemingly mocking you by matching your mood.

Roth, Yuson, Murakami, Sedaris, Pound, Stein, and Pessoa stimulated my time in the dark on Friday morning. The Inquirer got into the mix somewhere in there, as well. It was supposedly the worst typhoon in 11 years. Luzon was in the dark. Still no electricity. In Pasay, a billboard collapsed on to a car. Driver died. Instantaneous.

I decided to kill time in Rockwell. Between eating establishments, a big bookstore, and lights, I figured it would be a cool place to hang out.

It took a good hour or so to get there that afternoon. Edsa was clogged; the cab ride ended up costing me P200. Literary retail therapy cheered me up. I looked around Fully Booked for quite some time, diligently browsing through the shelves, by-passing costly temptations by Coetze, Jin, and Wolfe, to finally settle for Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (for three-hundred-something).

I later found myself having merienda at a table behind a scary-looking Jessica Zafra as she keenly observed her surroundings, violently writing things down on her leather-bound notebook.

Would’ve been interesting to read what she wrote about the group at a nearby table, the sort of English-speaking maarte bunch that would make any person without electricity at home go crazy. But of course we were in Rockwell; pretentious people are the norm.

There’s a natural shift to showbiz sightings here. I’ll make it quick. Karl Roy’s the man, Bernard Palanca looks chubby, Karylle’s pretty hot, Rajo Laurel is pretty gay (and a stylish motherfucker), and that Zanjoe dude from Pinoy Big Brother kind of looks like an Arab.

And from my circle: Aeli’s roommate has a nice smile, EO and Mandy Marcos are sweet siblings and cool friends, Bica and boyfriend look cute together, and Marcee was supposed to be there but I didn’t see her.



Mom went to mass looking for salvation from idleness, boredom, heat, and darkness. She said that the new parish priest used his sermon to comment about how many have elected to check into hotels given the current blackout, and how this is similar to turning away from the hardship God wants us all to experience at the time.

I’d like to believe that God is not the type that would subject us all to the difficulties we were having. Such an elementary test of faith if thus was the case. The guy who was crushed by the billboard…was that a test of faith? The people who lost their roofs and are now pretty much homeless…are they passing or failing?

I’d like to think of poverty not as a God-inflicted test but as a human reality. God is not testing us, seeing whether or not we can get ourselves out of this rut we’ve created. No. I’d like to believe that we’re on God’s side and He’s guiding us. The “test,” if any, is whether or not we’re open to being guided.

As for what has caused stuff like Typhoon Milenyo, I think the simple explanation is that shit happens. Now let’s just pray to God for guidance on how to deal.


An opportunity arose to watch Game 2 of the UAAP Finals on campus with friends on Saturday. I didn’t take it. Wasn’t sure if the MRT and LRT were up and running and taking a cab’s too costly.

Dad and I ended up watching Ateneo lose over pizza and draft beer at Grappas, Greenbelt amidst a boisterous UST crowd and a rather subdued, diplomatic Ateneo group. I forgot that there were AMP gigs going on along Palanca Street at Gweilos and 6Underground so I went home after the game.


Sunday. Still no electricity.

Kat checked into a cheap hotel in Pasay with a friend from work. Pope spent the day at the office. I spent the day in and around the Ayala Malls of Makati. Restlessness is the common theme here among these three cousins.

I decided to walk from Greenbelt to Makati Cinema Square to see the many ways I could piss off Edu Manzano and his anti-piracy crew. The walk was a pleasant one, if not slightly eerie. The streets were empty, most of the buildings were closed, and the sidewalks still had debris leftover from Milenyo’s onslaught.

Back at McDonald’s, Greenbelt, three separate birthday parties were going on in three separate closed-off areas. Ronald McDonald was making his rounds between all three. A purple mascot, whose name has never been a concern of mine, was making his rounds, as well. Thankfully, the main dining area was rather empty and quiet. That’s where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

Overall weekend sentiment: crankiness.


When you’re down in the dumps about shit seemingly conspiring against you, God works his magic and helps your rejuvenation come along.

Monday became a day of procrastination, which didn’t bode well for my academic and org requirements, but did wonders for morale.

Positive strokes are just that: strokes—not hitting you like an uppercut of euphoria, rather playfully jabbing and softly tugging every now and then, reminding you that you’re alive and how good that fuckin’ feels.

The strokes are there; you just have to want to recognize them. Positive strokes I’ve recognized aplenty today,

like listening to real hip-hop
along the hallway
with the illest girl I know,

……………like hearing a poet cum teacher
……………talk about his admiration
……………for John Stockton,

like hearing stories
of Krip Yuson’s courting a tita
of an orgmate years ago,

……………like sharing brown out stories
……………with a Heights editor,

like watching your favorite Jesuit
try to extend the reach of a TV antennae
with a metal-tipped umbrella,

……………like watching the game at the FA dep,

like a text from Dad during halftime
informing you that the electricity
was back at home,

……………like getting to know somebody
……………because of her being convinced
……………of the metaphysical romance
……………being expressed to her through the three-point shot,

like sharing the agony
of a lost championship
over a Shakey’s dinner.

Frustration, they say, makes you stronger. (There’s a killing aspect to this cliché that escapes me.) Reveling in it, though, becomes a monotonous bore.

A little joy—however simple, however shallow—never hurt anyone. In fact, it puts up a middle finger to frustration and yells, “Bring it on!”

So here’s to the new week and the end of the weekend.


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