16 March 2018

When the world comes in

I've been hearing one of my favorite songs on heavy rotation this week. I'm always in a café, alone, when this Crowded House original suddenly plays, when I'm right in the middle of heavy muni-muni mode about my life:

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over

Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
You know that they won't win

Sunny out, dark in.
Story of my life sometimes.
 [March 2018 Marikina]

I don't know if newer singers revived this lately. Maybe someone did. But to me, I think it's a not-so-secret message in a bottle for me from the universe.

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup

I'm feeling that indeed, the world comes in heavily these past few weeks. I don't exactly know what bad juju showered upon me during the new years, the regular or the Chinese one. It's a feeling of unease. A feeling of instability. Of course superficially and technically, I know why. But spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and metaphorically, I have no clue.

Now I'm towing my car, there's a hole in the roof
My possessions are causing me suspicion but there's no proof

The world gets tiring once in a while. I feel like pausing and taking a break from it again. I get this from time to time, but it has been a while since I felt like this again. And again, I don't exactly know why.

Only shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and release

Luck of the draw, I guess. I got an overload of graces for a few years already, so maybe it's the opposite lately. But when you're down, it's not always true that there's nowhere else to go but up. Sometimes when you're down, it's possible to sink even lower. Trust me on this.

I think I need more sleep.

Or air.

I don't know.

Soundtrip na lang muna.

posted from Bloggeroid

08 March 2018

to be a woman in 2018 Philippines

Lately, this opening line from Pablo Neruda's poetry echoes in my mind: 

"It so happens I am tired of being a man."

It's from a piece called "Walking Around" included in the Il Postino OST where famous people read his poetry. Samuel L. Jackson read this one. Powerful.

I echo this because, in this time and era, I share similar sentiments: 

It so happens that I am tired of being a woman. 

In a time when misogyny got an unexpected boost, in this patriarchal country where all closeted sexists suddenly outed themselves and spew vitriol after vitriol against women of all kinds, one gets bombarded by words words words from people who suddenly showed their true colors to you. I am getting tired of listening to them, reading their posts on social media, and being beside them. 

As an identifying feminist, I have been around this kind of misogyny all my life. It somehow contributed to my raison d'être, my reason for being. If only I can control it. If only I can fight it. In my own little way, I try. In anything and everything I do, I try to infuse feminism in my work. In some instances, it fails. But in most cases, it wins. 

However, little did I expect that it will take its toll on me one day. All because of one entity: the troll.

So many people now feel empowered anonymously by this information highway we call the internet. And another kind of animal is shitting all over it: the troll. I've been reading so many reports coming out of western media these days, talking about Russian troll farms that influenced American society the past two years. You know in some aspects, we're ahead of them for about a year or so, because I've already read so many reports about local troll farms since last year. Yes, we have our own.

Jim said it simply, and said it best:
"The internet is vicious!"
Indeed. I miss this show grabe.

Troll farms. Who would have predicted this kind of kalakaran today, no? I wonder what the communication theorists-psychs-social scientists would say about this. Hello, Marshall McLuhan, Stuart Hall, Stephen Covey, anyone? What do you think po? Hay naku. I don't think the inventors of the internet wanted their information superhighway to turn towards this direction. And neither did we passengers/passersby/digital motorists.

This is how I've been feeling lately: like a driver catching snags along the way, no thanks to unexpected potholes and bumps I find all over. Life's not smooth-sailing all the time anyway, but adding such potholes don't help the journey one bit -- especially if you're just doing your job along the way.

It is tiring. But I've met several advocates in Thailand last year who say the same thing -- and encouraged me to just go on. Write. Post. Think. Say. It's easier said than done sometimes, especially if you get threatened by an extended offline physical threat because of something you posted online. Yes, it has become this crazy.

Renewal: This is where I got it last year.
I was in Thailand for a lecture gig and attended
this Asia Pacific Feminist Forum by accident,
as an aside, since I was already there.
The best accidental decision I've done in years.
In this session, I was able to process many things
that have been bothering me. And I came home
renewed, and with hope again. Yes indeed,
the universe still conspires.
[September 2017 Chiang Mai, Thailand]

Look at me, extolling the virtues of social media as eliminating the traditional media gatekeepers in my lectures some 10 years ago, proudly stating to Asian neighbors in an Indonesian conference that Filipinos have a great knack at this thing called social media that we were declared the social media capital of the world 10 years ago. And 10 years hence, where are we now? Cultivating troll farms to destroy honest people and create lies. And in the middle of that, amplifying misogyny and anything anti-women. Woo-hoo progress.

How can you not be disheartened by that? We were already feeling major gains, and then we get back to a square one slump. It used to be, two steps forward and one step back. At least there's movement, no matter how slow. But today, it seems like it's one step forward and two steps back. Where are we headed if the path is this way?

I dread to answer that question right now. It's International Women's Day today, 2018. A far cry from 2008, of course, with all the technological and societal advancements. But we get a new kind of crying from all the anti-women online harassment and trolling and shit. Realizing this is indeed tiring.

So please, universe, fortify me more. FORTIFY US. In this day and age of fakery, let the genuine efforts shine. And please, deliver us from trolls. 

We women get our strengths and inspiration from fellow women.
Glad to have met one such woman who urged me to
NOT STOP WRITING. Rock on, ladies! And thanks.
[September 2017 Chiang Mai, Thailand]

10 February 2018


It took me 8 years, 1 death, and hundreds of waking moments of wondering to finally synthesize one feeling to one conclusion: 
It was nothing but pure selfishness, and friendship was never part of that process.

I'm currently working on a project in a public coworking space right now, when I finally found that rationalization above about a certain thing in my life, one that has pierced my being from time to time, but one that never kept me down to begin with -- just momentary blindsided. Sort of.

And a thought also popped into my mind just a few moments ago, in connection with a stage play I was trying to write about that realization above -- a play that I penned some 10 years ago or so. This could be a beginning, a teaser, or something else entirely. Maybe something in between, too. Entr'acte. I'm not sure yet. Will decide later.

But this is how it goes:

“It took his death to finally untangle us from one another. Poignant enough, for it took his arrival to bind us together in the first place. And that is where our story began…where it also ended. Onscreen, and off.”

Yes, heartache prompts me to write. That was a huge one, but from a longtime friend, a friend of long ago. Heartaches caused by friends are sometimes more painful for me to feel. Maybe it's because I invested a different kind of value in there, as opposed to the value you invest in a job, your relationship with work, or even a lover or a partner. They have nuances, for me. 

But as I grew older, and more wiser, I realized that those values shift from time to time. And I think that one just shifted, magnanimously, as I sat here, working, thinking of other things, but those things suddenly caught my attention, and let me divert a bit.

So here we are.

I guess that's one less demon who stood up from the couch.

Good riddance, then. Good for me.

Swiped from Stuff No One Told Me.

Back to work, then.

21 January 2018


Kung kelan ka naman nagkaroon ng means sa buhay na bilhin ang mga bagay, tulad ng libro, na gustong-gusto mong bilhin when you were in your teens/twenties, at kung kelan naman nagkaroon ng teknolohiya para magkaroon ka ng access sa mga bilihing ito, tulad ng Amazon and online shopping in general, saka ka naman kapos sa oras, lagi, para magtuon ng panahon sa pagbabasa.

Sadyang ganyan ba talaga ang Tantalus-ian playbook ng life, universe? Puro patikim lang ng mga patakam? O footnote thought lang ba ito sa mas malalaki pang thoughts na kelangan kong pansinin muna sa panahong ito?

I want to can some thoughts for now. Canned thoughts. Itapon ang abrelata called curiosity.



My partner arrived at some of her own thoughts about affordability and parenthood. Na dapat daw, mga early to mid-30s ang wagi na panahon para makapag-decide ang human beings na magkaroon ng anak. Dahil afford na sa panahong iyon ang maturity pati na rin ang financial capacity, napagtanto niyang ito dapat ang prescribed time for parenthood daw.

I sense a short story in that canned thought of hers na binuksan ng abrelata called epiphany. Minahin ko kapag may oras.

Oo, pastime naming mag-usap tungkol sa mga naiisip namin. Kaya payapa lang.


Cheers for sweet thoughts. Can them to last longer.
posted from Bloggeroid

16 January 2018

Do you have to let it linger?

The '90s wouldn't be the '90s without that unmistakable angsty voice-with-a-yodel of Dolores O'Riordan. And it wouldn't be *my* '90s if their cassette tape wasn't inside the radio of my box-type car, driving around the traffic-less streets of Metro Manila, my heart heavy with some thought or other, my head rocking to their guitars and drums, my soul busy with processing whatever it is that needs processing at that time. The Cranberries were a good background soundtrack for that stage in my life back then. 

It was 1993, 1994, 1995. The years when I traded my original college (Fine Arts) for another (Mass Comm) inside the same campus (UP Diliman). I traded my techpens, pencils, paintbrushes for an SLR camera and a video camera. It wasn't an easy transition, because it wasn't 100% sanctioned. New friends, new knowledge, and new music soothed me that time. Dolores became one of my anonymous best friends. And as a frustrated drummer, Fergal rocked for me.

I finished my 16mm film thesis back in '94-'95 with her singing in the background, started facing life after college in '95-'96 still with her in the background, and I even dragged one of my film school buddies to watch them live in concert when they came here in '96. 

It was the first mosh pit of my life, that Cranberries Live in Manila concert. We were literally a spit away from her, her mic stand full of attached guitar picks which she plucked out like she was plucking petals from a flower. And some of those she picked she threw or handed to us in the front rows. Until later, I can't recall if it was her or the other guitarist who came out with a small box of those guitar picks, and threw them to us like we were children hungry for candy. Magaling akong sumalo sa ganyan beh! So ang dami kong nakuha at naiuwi. Pero mas precious yung inabot sa akin mismo ni Dolores that time. Transferring rental apartments in 10 years made me lose those mementos lang, which is sad. 

But of course, this is sadder. To hear that she is gone. Playing When You're Gone now, because I just want to feel so fucking meta right now. This is actually one of my favorite songs of theirs. And Salvation, too.

Nakakalungkot. When you're in a stage of your life where you want to just let go of it all, here comes some pop culture snippets that will make you hang on, will make you want to hang on for a bit more, until you let go of wanting to let go, and just go on and move forward, wherever forward may lead you.

Their music was that to me back then. Isa sa mga kinapitan ko. Matinding kapit. At kapag ganoon kalalim ang kapit mo, tatatak sa iyo iyon hanggang sa pagtanda mo.

And here I am, manghang-mangha pa rin na nakaabot ako sa 44, dahil nga hindi ako bumitaw. Ilang tumbling na lang ngayong taon, 45 na ako. Siya, namatay kanina, 46 siya. Hindi pala kami nagkakalayo ng edad. 

Salamat, little girl from Limerick. Your music will linger in me, within me, until letting go is not an option anymore, but a finality.

10 August 2017

booyah for brekkie

Cheers for cheerios!

Good for the heart! 

I'm not such a breakfast person, more like brunch, but there are times when you gotta eat in the morn to jumpstart your work mode. So here we are.

Though I also love all-day breakfast places, probably because I like eating breakfast, well, anytime nga! The concept is a good one, a novel one. Pero hindi pala siya novelty na bigla na lang nawawala. May sisipot at sisipot diyan sa tabi-tabi na ganyang place, and that's somehow comforting.

I still remember the very first all-day breakfast concept place na nakainan ko sa buhay ko. Sa Ortigas 'yun, mid-to-late '90s, a place like that opened sa El Pueblo Real, walking distance near my film office. Comforting siya, ewan ko kung bakit, or probably nadala din ako sa design ng blue and yellow, the usual decor for day-and-night type of places. Then a similarly sunny-decor place also opened dun sa Brick Road area sa likod ng Sta. Lucia Mall sa Marcos Hi-way. I tried it once lang, because if you're a commuter, hella place to commute to, during the '90s and early 2000s that area. Kaya luz.

But it's good that, thanks to these ride apps like GrabCar and Uber, I can now go to places where usually mahirap mag-commute papunta, lalo na kung di mo feel sumakay ng jeep kahit malapit lang dahil haggard ang mga biyahe sa rutang 'yun. Like this one we saw along Mayor Gil Fernando Ave, or formerly A. Tuazon Ave., dito sa Marikina.

That's my sweetie entering the place excitedly.
She had danggit in her silog minus the egg
while I sampled their eggs benedict on a pandesal.
OMG sarap siya bes! [June 2017]

Matteo's is a good place to eat, chika a bit, then run. The decor ain't much, and it doesn't make you wanna linger for longer. Other brekkie-style places are like that kasi, but this one, no. But it serves its purpose well, and more importantly, the food is great!

Lucky to have a partner who loves discovering eateries with me, and who loves all-day brekkie places, too. Not much of a morning person kami pareho, but all-day brekkie places are patok sa amin. So yeah, good match, eh? :)

And all is well in the universe.

Sige lafang na muna kesh. Kape later. And dive to work. 

Good morning, folks. Be well.

09 August 2017

missing windows

I missed my window for coffee today.

Over ice, near sunset.

So that's this chocolate drink I tried once, but they came out with a product that's part coffee, part chocolate milk, and part guarana. And I'm guessing it may not be as strong as the coffee I wanted to drink, but it's okay enough to consume as I work the night.

Sometimes it takes a while for me to work up the energy to work. I don't think this is about age (maybe partly) but it's like being prepared for the headspace for working on something. Especially if you're dealing with heavy development work here where your brain is the real weapon of (critical) mass emancipation, then you'll need to prep the body that houses it, and the surroundings that envelop it. So after running some errands outside, the body was kinda pooped on the inside. Rest, a bit of house cleaning, another shower, a late meal, and  then we're going back to the grind. But sometimes, the mind is still not up to it. I dunno. Sometimes, it's just like that.

There's always the option to work on other lighter things, with "lighter" being a relative term here. So maybe I'll just do that. And see where the night takes me, work-wise. Staring out at the window for a while helps, always. So I'll just do that for a while.

And blog a bit. So here we are.

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Palubog na si juliet beks.
Magtrabaho ka na!

Have a good evening to all. Time for me to hit the salt mines. Night shift si bakla today, so gorabels.

21 July 2017

A sunny afternoon back to my almost-over childhood

Currently riding a GrabCar Innova, and putting down my book, I notice how sunny the sun is, the kind of sunny that's familiar to me since childhood. I know it's scorching, but sunny afternoons like this one become bearable due to the trees in our yard. And under the shadows of the leaves, I find myself cooling off with a book borrowed from the university library. Somewhere else inside the house, the radio is playing a song by Julio Iglesias, a parental favorite, and it seem it's this driver's favorite as well.

And that was when I snapped this photo, to freeze a moment that reminded me of that moment when I was younger, perhaps a freshman at the university or a sophomore, before I turned 18, when my best friend was the library card, and the shade and books took me to imagined worlds I would one day reach in reality or duplicate in my own efforts of being creative.

Funny how a moment could take you back in time, at a time when the world seemed simpler, from the outside looking sunny, even if dark clouds hung over your insides. It makes me glad that I survived, I lived, and now have the capacity to enjoy sunshine the way it should be enjoyed -- with a smile.

It has been one heck of a ride, so far, universe. Thank you.
posted from Bloggeroid