random thoughts, musings and workings of a totally warped mind. tintin is a colorblind writer who paints,dreams of flying a kite along EDSA, teaches middle & high school writing & literature, and is the future mother of Kulay and Una Rosa Maria.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Of hotel food,mistresses, basil leaves and the city

Kulas fetched me from the airport last Friday afternoon and treated me to a pasta dinner at Alda's, one of our favorite hangouts on pig-out nights. I was starving. In fact, I was starved for a whole week. Though, Ormoc Villa Hotel is nice, with satisfactory service, food was awful--or the food they were serving US was. We have sampled their cuisine on our first night there: sashimi, tonkatsu and beef something. It was alright then, though their mango jubilee crepe was too pretentious for words. That particular dinner wasn't spectacular but it was atleast edible.

The succeeding meals were terrible though. They served fish that would make Goodyear run for its money, rice that rivals Elmer's glue, pork that was like Scotch Brite...get the picture?

Oh but I ate every single morsel they served us. The Mighty Kid sneaker disguised as steamed lapu-lapu was the final straw though. I walked out of the dining area and well, sulked.

Food was the only unpleasant part of the Ormoc trip, actually. The workshop was better. To give you an idea of what the workshop was all about, it's a values education workshop for public grade school teachers that my office commissioned Joey Ayala and Pauline Bautista to give. It aims to make teachers advocate coastal resource management and conservation through values education. The highlight of the event is an interactive concert by Joey.

So as i was saying, the concert was better than the first one we had in Quezon last May.We got younger kids this time and they're more participative and engaged. They were fascinated with what their hands could do: make music and art while saving the sea at the same time. Joey captured the kids and the teachers wholly and we had fun. As always, Pauline did great during her lectures. I am always amazed at how she could earn her students' attention and admiration at the same time.

I like Ormoc. Walking along its sea wall reminded me so much of Dumaguete's Rizal Boulevard. On my first day there, Kulas smsd me that his parents lived the first years of their married life in Ormoc. He told me he had always imagined his parents strolling along the boulevard, their two elder sons in tow. Kulas told me he couldn't wait to walk there with me, with Kulay and Rosa. But again, I digress.


One of my best friends had been texting me while I was in Ormoc, asking me to come home already so we could talk. Problem: extra-marital affairs.

So am I the best person to consult when faced with this kind of problem? I don't know if Joacs did the right thing in talking to me. Sure we're best friends but I had been the third party more than once in my life and I thought I'd be terribly biased.

Out of six serious relationships I've had, I was the third party in perhaps three cases. Once I didnt know the guy had a girlfriend, another I did know he had a girlfriend but I still jumped into it, and another, I willfully played the mistress because well, i loved the man too much.

I learned to "behave", to wait for calls instead of calling, to sending code text messages, sometimes even (gasp!) stalking just so I could see my man. Men keep their mistresses because these women know where they "stand", what to ask for, and what to give their men. I am not justifying the role they play. In fact, honesty is my major criterion for a partner. Those times when I was the bad girl, I was madly in love and---stupid.

Am i putting Joacs in trouble? Nah. Sammie found out about it and she's one incredible woman. We all met up at Mocha Blends last Saturday and talked. I was like a moderator, tee hee. All I can say is this: two mature adults who love each other and vow to stand by their commitment to each other will never fail. It's a matter of commitment and honesty. Kakayanin yan.


While talking to Joacs and Sammie baby (she would go inside Mocha Blends to let Joacs and me talk in private and go out again to smoke), a man who peddles a pot of basil leaves along Morato would approach us again and again and ask us to buy his hearbs. I see him all the time there especially when I have lunch meetings. I guess his basil sells otherwise he won't be there anymore. He would probably catch some rich wives with their amigas out for lunch in Morato and they'd go "ooooh a pot of basil, let's buyyyy". Har har.


Melange in Sgt. Esguerra is now a favorite. Kulas and I love their crepes. The place is perfect for laidback but elegant dinners. The price and parking are good too.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A week in a few words, airports and Kulas

I should have written about my week-long trip to Pangasinan last week. Well, I waited too long for inspiration to strike and for photos to be uploaded when I realized this afternoon, sitting in the PAL Centennial departure area that I haven't written about that trip and it was sweet of Kulas for buying me lunch before he took me to the airport.

Amazing how I was in another island this morning and now I'm here in Tacloban typing away before we leave for Ormoc.

I am hungry. This internet cafe doesn't have an aircon and the keyboard sucks.

I miss Kulas too.

This morning, I asked Kulas to describe to me how the Tacloban Airport looked because I couldn't remember. He said all public buildings like airports look the same. No,they have distinct appearnces, I said. I picture Puerto Princesa airport in my mind, and I see it. I think of Iloilo airport and I see it. I can even see the pasalubong stores by the check-in area.

Then it occurred to me that what our eyes can see can be totally different from what our minds can. It is not just a matter of memory. It is something about seeing.


Joey Ayala and company will be joining us in Ormoc tomorrow. I hope the workshop is as successful as the first one.

Kulas just texted me he's sad because he misses me.

I miss you, too. I miss you on my skin.


Watched the Ateneo-La Salle game yesterday. Sayang they didn't win. Kulas and I were wearing our lucky blue shirts pa naman.

Got to go. The Med Rep in a green shirt beside me stinks.

Monday, August 09, 2004

things seem to be nearer Posted by Hello

I'm leaving for La Union and Pangasinan tomorrow to do preliminary work on a video documentary I and the team are working on. Field work is always refreshing especially when you get to talk to the people in the communities we support, the fisherfolk always have their own--pardon the pun--sea of stories to tell.

I'm glad to be out of the office for a whole week. I need to breathe. I think the stress is catching up on me. I've been having headaches even when I'm asleep and when I wake up. The pain though is just on the right part of my head; makes me think I'm developing a tumor of sorts. My shoulders and back are killing me too. Scoliosis attack.

I hardly smile these days too. I miss it.

Count your blessings, Mama told me last night. I told her I'm having a hard time doing so because my life now is determined by the eight hours I have to stay in the office each day. Eight hours. By the time I get home, there are only a few hours left before I go to bed and dread the eight hours the following day.

It's like this everyday, Mama, I told her.

Then be thankful you have the other sixteen hours to yourself: to drive home with Kulas, eat with us your family, pick up that novel you've been meaning to read, drink your milk, shower, sleep, to dream and wake up the following morning, she said. That's sixteen hours outside your office, anak. Be thankful. It's not that bad when you think about it really really hard.

Then the stubborn, rebellious part of me would insist, no, it is that bad. You don't understand, you'll never know how it feels to be trapped. That part of me would scream and tear my hair out, snap at people, wallow in self-pity and anger. That part of me would be ugly and would lose my smile because I refuse to accept things and move on inspite of.

And so, I don't know. Mama's right I know. Maybe I just need to be a little bit braver and stronger than I really am. Maybe I just need to feed my monsters right. Or unleash them.


My brother's wedding went well. The dinner was held in our house. We should have opted for a hotel or restaurant though. Decorating the house was exhausting. We rushed everything: bought fresh flowers from Dangwa Thursday morning, rushed to Divisoria for scented candles and yards of organza cloth, and supervised everyone in putting up a banquet table.

The newlyweds and the guests arrived at the house at around six p.m. and I, together with relatives who were left at home, welcomed them, blowing bubbles and showering them with flower petals and bigas. Borgy did an excellent job with the flowers and the staircase. The house looked so regal and I almost wanted to get married then. Tatay and Nanay would have been proud of us. When people arrived though, I was still all madungis in my capris and polo shirt with my hair in a bun.


My Japanese Sister

It's Ayvi's birthday today. We used to tell people when we were still in Silliman grad school that we were sisters--only that her father's Japanese and mine's Chinese.

I tried to reach her through her mobile phone and at work but couldn't get to talk to her. She's been silent for months. I haven't seen even my inaanak Isis for quite a while now. I miss my best friend, kindred soul, keeper of my monsters, Japanese sister, moon goddess...

Happy birthday, Ayvi. I know you're just there and I miss you.


When you're on your knees you're closer to the ground. Things seem nearer somehow.

- Tori Amos, Introduction to "Death: The High Cost of Living"

Isn't she just right?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

My brother's getting civilly married tomorrow. Our family has been plunged into the whole thing all too suddenly. The would-be sister-in-law is four months pregnant and 18 years old.

My brother's life story could actually be straight out of a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode for all its color, drama, moments of glory and interesting dialogues here and there. Of course, TJ is the protagonist, the bida who has to go through all these convoluted scenes and make his way out of the knots he himself creates.

And I, I am the letter-sender who watches him on the sidetracks, occasionally berating him for messing up and always unfailingly cheering him on, empty beer mugs and all.

I harbor pessimism though.

He has gone through so much in his life already. He had broken his heart, has broken someone else's heart terribly (perhaps beyond repair), has made a lot of girls cry. For the girl he's marrying, he chose to leave a partner for nine years, thriving joint businesses, a very comfortable lifestyle and the security of a relationship tested by time.

What's in store for him now? He's jobless, penniless and unsure of what the future holds for him, his wife and his baby. I've been telling myself he shouldn't have left his partner because they had everything going for them. Nine years of being together is not a joke at all.

He shouldn't be marrying the girl yet.

But I understand his reasons and I respect him for it. I know he doesn't want what our dad did to us to happen to his baby. He loves the girl anyway, and that is a good reason.

But why am I still afraid that they'd just end up breaking up?

Why can't I have faith on their relationship just like I have faith on mine?

Perhaps it's just because I love my brother so much that I'm scared he'd hurt himself again. Perhaps it's my own bias kicking in. Perhaps it's because I'm currently reading Nick Hornby's How to Be Good that makes me all the more dubious of marriage.

Oh well. He'll be fine. He'll be fine.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I want to write something substantive for today; a good entry for the week,but I could only come up with mere ramblings straight from the top of my head. I am having such a bad time at work. I do not even want to think and write about it.

All I'm wishing for at this moment is that I could get out of here and finally do what my heart desires.

But there are bills to pay and a household to support, siblings to occasionally feed and pamper. No, I am not being hard on myself. I have grown living a life like this but I want to explore other lives now. A life of my own.

I can have it naman di ba? I can do what I want. I just have to be brave about it and conquer what I fear most: failure. Everyone fears this anyway.

I am resigning from my job come December. I just want to finish my projects and other commitments here. I am not happy here anymore. Traveling (a perk really)doesn't even excite me as much. Hitting the snooze button at 6 a.m. again and again has become addictive. The boss, some people, the bureaucracy, and the sheer politicking drain me. The office has become an energy-vampire to me. Sad. I know I have to get out.

Impractical? But what is practical, really? Work is totally different from a job. I choose to have the former. Friends and even Kulas tell me not to resign until I find another job. Thing is, I don't want to be employed anymore! After saving (or trying) the seas for three years, I would be facing self-employment. Come 2005, I will be my own boss. Our House will officially open and teach art and creativity to kids and I will be doing "regular" freelance writing jobs. I will paint and mount my first solo exhibit. I will finally join the Palanca. I will teach writing and literature again. Best of all, there will never be a bundy clock for me. Ever.

Maybe I haven't done my best here. Maybe I have just been too selective of the times when I would do my best and show them what I can really do. I think that is just an indication that I am not cut out for this milieu. After all, I was not born to conform, be controlled. I need more freedom, space, choices.

This job is not bad at all. In fact, it has taught me things I wouldn't have learned from other jobs. It has brought me to places both literally and otherwise. It is for a cause I wholeheartedly support and adhere to. It helped me send my little sister to school (and she’s now a Swiss Air attendant).

But there are other things for me to do. I simply can't wait.