Sunday, May 25, 2008



This past week in China, a man was dug out of the rubble over 170 hours after the deadly earthquake. Another woman was found hours later. She had been trapped side-by-side w/ her husband. No word if he made it. For 3 minutes the country
—one-fifth of the world’s population—paused to mourn for the many who didn't make it for sure.


In Myanmar, foreign aid arrived only after the country's military officials were bribed. ASEAN leaders finally held emergency meetings to discuss post-cyclone relief plans. In a simple joint behind Katipunan in QC called Chicken Boy last Monday, 2 Jesuits from Myanmar drowned themselves in Red Horse.


Last night, at a dinner hosted by Fidelis, newly-appointed editor-in-chief of Heights, Elie, an Economics major & visual artist who I jokingly refer to as my apo, was asking the fresh graduates among us for pointers in choosing the right professors for the upcoming semester. "Oo nga pala," I said to close friend & newly hired Louis Vuitton sales representative Joey, "4th year na si Elie." "Awww," Joey said to everyone, "Lolo's apo will be graduating." "Meaning there's a possibility of her getting a job before me," I said to break the sentimentality.


My CW degree has prompted JobStreet to send me nothing but positions involving teaching basic English to Koreans. Four years ago, I was basically a signature away from enrolling in culinary school instead of the Ateneo. Last Sunday's Bulletin had something like 7 openings for chefs.


I asked my mother after dinner what would happen if I were to sweep the floor of my room tonight. She said many believed I'd be sweeping away the good luck. I searched for the broom & dustpan. What good luck?

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Would like to thank the Board of Judges of the 9th Raul Locsin Awards for Student Journalism. Would also like to thank my good friend Cindy who shared the award in the Features category w/ me for our piece, "Of Pinaglabanan: The Muse of Sacrifice." The picture above was taken during the awarding. That's Cindy & I on the far right, standing among fellow winners & VIPs. More pictures here.

Happy Birthday to all my blockmates who celebrated this past week: Ria & Rocky (May 21), & Drew (May 25). The picture above taken during Paula's debut a couple of years back. Ria, the prettiest & sweetest of the lot (agree, blockmates?), is the 2nd girl from the left, seated. Rocky is the gentleman standing w/ arm outstretched on the right. Next to him are dignified Drew & the kanto boy responsible for this greeting.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


5:00PM, Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sitting alone in our private 3rd floor living room. Two-hundred/night gives April & I this whole level in Yellow House. I’m surrounded by wood, wide panels of it making up the floor, walls, & ceiling. I can hear locals chatting Sagada’s afternoon chill away from outside the open window in front of me. April is still sleeping in the bedroom. I just woke up.

The Victory Liner trip from Pasay to Baguio was bearable, even pleasant at times w/ 2 well-timed stopovers in my bladder’s point of view. I fell in love w/ Baguio all over again, seeing her as a ghost town at a nippy 3AM, 5 years after last visiting. It was somewhat of a throwback to the Pine City of old pictures when she was left in her rather dark lonesome, free of the rush of pedestrians & jeepneys. Two hours later, just before Baguio ’08 sprung into a raped, SM-crowd-drawing version of herself, April & I left on a Lizardo bus.

Arrived here in Sagada around 11:30AM after 6 hours of hell on the bus. Sure, the view was great (rice terraces, rivers thru valleys, etc.), but a kid threw up 4 times, w/c speaks volumes about the terrain. Junk food threatened to come flowing up from out of my stomach more than a few times.

Upon arriving, we bought a P25 map at the Ganduyan gift shop, looked it over while having lunch (tuna sandwich for me; chicken for April, & banana yoghurt—superb!) at the highly-recommended quaint café called Yoghurt House. We settled for the accommodations across the street from where we ate. Drew had been in Sagada the week before, had a lot of good things to say about what Yellow House had to offer (decent bedrooms, living area, bath w/ hot water, kitchen). Perry, the owner, very accommodating, sealed the deal for us.

Labor Day – 2:06PM, Thursday, May 1, 2008

My hands are encrusted w/ dry mud. My right calf is throbbing. My right quad shakes w/ every attempt to stand. April & I just got back from caving. We shared a P400 guide named James w/ a mother-son tandem from General Santos. I didn’t go all the way w/ them to the bottom of the cave, 1 good leg simply not cutting it. I was left somewhere in the middle, alone in the dark, a rechargeable flashlight & a miniscule opening from atop serving as reprieve from pitch black. Alone in the dark I contemplate myths & deaths, my hands occasionally rubbing against what locals call the pregnant woman, the smooth rock wall protruding to make the 2 breasts & the baby bump. Hail Marys did little to relieve the anxiety, neither did the mind-engrossing exercise of recalling the cave anecdote from Father Javellana’s Aesthetics class (was it Plato, Socrates, or Aristotle?).

This morning, after an instant noodle breakfast & a cup of Arengga coffee at Bana’s Café, April & I had tried exploring on our own, going to the Church of St. Virgin Mary & beyond, looking for hanging coffins & what our map called Echo Valley, only to find dead ends & an imposing family of resting cows. This led us back to the municipal tourist counter, who hooked us up w/ James.

April & I had taken a quick walk around last night after a post-travel afternoon of sleep. Sagada’s a ghost town at night. We had a quick dinner at Masferre’s, beer-coddling foreigners all around, before turning it in early.

7:45AM, Friday, May 2, 2008

My right thigh’s frozen stiff. Effort to bend the knee to usual range of motion is met w/ resistance, pain. April’s still asleep, probably feels some aches as well. We trekked to Echo Valley yesterday after a post-caving lunch of chips. My knee was wobbling. My entire right side, w/c compensates heavily for the left, was too spent to care about balance. I found myself often needing April’s hand for support. She allows me to do that—to appear weak. She makes vulnerability safe. I felt embarrassed still, & I apologized. “I want to drag you around w/ me,” she said.

Afterward, we tried to follow our map to the small waterfalls, only to prove that the map was dodgy at best. Ended up walking for over an hour w/out really getting anywhere. We gave up as we started to lose light. Yoghurt House again before going home. Roasted eggplant sandwich for me, strawberry yoghurt for her. We ached our way to empty plates.

The crowds increased yesterday, Labor Day. Despite this, the nights are still a drag. We went to the structure next door last night, owned by Perry, w/c promised a pool table. We wanted to attempt billiards to kill time, but the balls were nowhere to be seen & Perry’s mother looked too pleasantly tired for me to want to intrude. Thus, early night yet again.

We were supposed to make 1 final trek to another cave this morning. Don’t think that’ll happen now. Last bus to Baguio leaves at noon.

8:10AM, Monday, May 5, 2008

We left Sagada this past Friday around 12:30. The trip back to Baguio was much better for me; Bonamin deserves credit. Not much of a view, fog all around. But the road ahead & vehicles going the opposite direction could be seen—good enough for safety’s sake.

Arrived in Baguio before 7PM. Friday night crowd. The city was dark but alive. We couldn’t find a cab; took a jeepney instead to the Victory Liner station. The security guard said that a bus leaves for Manila every 20 minutes. We took our time; go for a bottle & sisig at nearby Kalapaw restaurant.

Neither of us was in the mood to walk around w/ our big bags; went back to the station after the meal. The station’s relatively new, clean, & organized. A wall of old pictures from an older station w/ older buses in an older, different Baguio was a nice touch. There were also a couple of stores selling locally-made products. Good Shepherd available; prices were baffling. I buy anyway—pasalubong for the family.

Our bus left 10:30; arrived in Pasay 4AM.

Saturday & Sunday were both rest days. My right quad’s still tight, as if at constant flex, receiving a steady dose of muscle relaxant.

I’m recovering but vacation’s over; the resumés go out today. My grades are good, my teachers like me, & 1 summer, I went caving w/ only 1 good leg & survived the succeeding days of pain w/out crying. Hire me.

(Some photos from the Sagada trip can be seen here.)

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Happy Birthday, Lee-Anne (May 9)!

Here's an old pic of us from Paula's birthday.