Monday, December 14, 2009

My Day's Wisdom # 2

"We can only learn what has been.
We can only guess what lies ahead.
Today, we are given choices.
Just decide."

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If I Die Today...

... I'm sure I'm not ready; 99% not ready.

I still have to see the world.
I still have to do everything in my Bucket List.
I still have to do something significant to change the world.
I still have to run for president (needs to be immortal to do this).

This is just a thought that struck me today; a thought I entertained as I passed by my usual route to office, finding myself in the middle of armed bank security personnel along Paseo de Roxas. Armored cars were ready for an apparent transfer of humongous sum of money (just assuming considering it's the bank's headquarters). What if the same group that made the heist in Greenbelt 5 suddenly appears? There will be gunfires. People will scramble for their lives. And I'll be there, standing numbly with a bullet on my chest. My life will flash before my eyes.

And then silence.

That same silence will overcome me as I face Heaven's gate; I'll be unable to say anything, anything good. Was I good? It is easy to say that I'm good but then it is just me. If I have the chance to look down and see my own wake, what would the people there have to say? Would they be crying? Would they feel that it has been a loss? Would they say: "He was good."?

I reckon all the good words we can say to a person can only be uttered earnestly on eulogies. I mean, words that never crossed anybody's mind when that person is living, or words we held back. Maybe because words are cheap and that action speaks louder than words. Words are cheap in this temporal world because we made it that way. We grew up with words to our whimsical disposal. When we lose someone dear to us, the only thing we can give are words but then, these are real words -- the sum of all the love for that person who'll not be here to hear those words.

If I die today (yes, even if I'm not ready -- aren't we all?) and someone whispers "he was good" even in the faintest of heartbeat yet heartfelt, it shall be enough.

Action maybe louder but words are eternal.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Death Has Lost Its Victory

It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead.

Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die,
but they will be raised to live forever.
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory.
They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.
They are buried as natural human bodies,
but they will be raised as spiritual bodies.
For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.”
But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.
What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later.
Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth,
while Christ, the second man, came from heaven.
Earthly people are like the earthly man,
and heavenly people are like the heavenly man.
Just as we are now like the earthly man,
we will someday be like the heavenly man.

What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters,
is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret.

We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!

It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye,
when the last trumpet is blown.
For when the trumpet sounds,
those who have died will be raised to live forever.
And we who are living will also be transformed.
For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die;
our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed
into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.
But thank God!
He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:42-57

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Day's Wisdom # 1

"Don't get mesmerized by magic;
be inspired by a miracle."

I woke up this morning with this wisdom in mind. I don't know why.
There were no prior events that may have lead to this.
There was no dream prior to my waking.
It's just one of those things that just strike you
when one is crossing that fuzzy area
separating reality from reverie;
so as miracle from magic minus the fuzziness. :)

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Literary # 4

Lights blinking.
Alarms resonating.
Engine pumping life to itself.

To where I sit I can see the one I set:

21 July 2009 20:00

Anticipation rushed like blood.

I pressed the red button.


It failed me.

And in the silence after,
I found myself alone with my time machine.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pilipinas 2010: A Case of Amnesia

The penchant of Filipinos to teleseryes seems to efface the boundary that separates reality from that of a whim of a scriptwriter. Though the term is evolving (i.e. from soap opera to telenovela to fantaserye etc.), the recurring themes of these primetime melodramas remain unchanged: wealth gap of characters; goons, guns and gold; children separated from parents; and the most common of all, amnesia. I know most of us are drawn to real-life dramas we see on the boob tube; it is bad enough for this country to have a seemingly ill-defined difference between show business and politics. But to succumb to another amnesia? We might as well pledge allegiance to another country!

We must not forget what happened in the past, especially those that just happened in very recent history. No one is barred from running for president as long as he/she meets the constitutional requirement --

ARTICLE VII Section 2. No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.

-- unless he/she is an ex-impeached official. We had the country's first impeachment trial on a president but it was not concluded. The former president was not impeached, he was overthrown. What happened in the early days of 2001 is a political coup. So technically (plus the fact that he was pardoned; restoring civil and political rights), Joseph Ejercito Estrada can run for president in the coming election. Well after saying that he is 99.9 percent sure of seeking (again) the highest office in the land, I bet there will be a lot who will challenge this with the High Court. If ever there will be a ruling by the Supreme Court on the issue of either an ex-president who haven't finished his term (remember, technically he is not impeached) or an ex-president running again for the same position after the term of his successor, this will definitely be a landmark case. What ever the ruling be, this will resolve the ambiguity of the 1987 Constitution on the provision on presidential term; this can also answer whether GMA is allowed to run for Congress after her term as president. No one had ever done this in post-EDSA years -- Tita Cory and FVR retired to private life, albeit politically influential -- so it hasn't been really looked into as it will be in the coming days.

But let us leave all these technicalities to those who are legally equipped. The question now is if the Filipino people still suffers from amnesia. I didn't join the so-called EDSA II because it was not as noble as that of its predecessor; I believe it was done out of impulse and out of drama by that walkout of the prosecution team in the Senate eight years ago. Don't get me wrong, I didn't and will never like Erap. It's just that we could have just followed what was constitutionally right. It was just a brown envelope! Years later it was opened. Lo and behold, nothing inside. If they could have just continued on with the trial. If they could have just waited for the final verdict. If they could have just stopped watching teleseryes. I chose to just sleep in the dorm after the school announced "no classes" that time. I reckon it was a slap on democracy's face. I'm sorry to those who believe in the spirit of EDSA II but this is just my opinion. And I can say I made the right choice: we have GMA as our president instead and now, Erap is running again with a vengeful heart for sure! To those who made api to our bida, "pupulutin kayo sa kangkungan!" Hahahaha! (sounding like a kontrabida on a horse, wearing black boots matching a wide ranchero hat with a whip stick clutched by the hand) I'm sure Charo Santos-Concio and Wilma Galvante will scramble for this teleserye material.

I just hope people who watch us don't turn the TV off.

Unless we revise the script on the 2010 election.


Note that EDSA II, in my opinion, is the EDSA of Imperial Manila. So Erap still has a high chance of winning because those present in EDSA II were not his voters in the first place. However, in the 1998 presidential elections, he only got thirty percent (30%) of the votes. Seventy percent (70%) became fragmented to remaining candidates. If only we could rally on "one" president. I believe this 70% comprise the thinking public; not that I'm saying that the 30% are inutile, they can still be informed of the real facts. So go blog. Discuss with friends. Volunteer to voters' education campaign. In any way we can help is a start. Nine months to go!

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pilipinas 2010: An Introduction

Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours,
their illusions, and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their native land?
Where are you, youth, who will embody in yourselves the vigor of life
that has left our veins, the purity of ideas that has been contaminated
in our brains, the fire of enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts?
We wait you, o youth! Come, for we await you!

-- Padre Florentino, El Filibusterismo by Dr. Jose P. Rizal

Ako ang simula.

I am the beginning.

This ABS-CBN campaign geared towards the 2010 elections is apt in this time of uncertainty and cynical Filipinos. Not that I personally advocate the campaign itself, but the "phrase" is just the perfect rallying cry to ignite a revolution and I don't think anyone will be sued for copyright infringement by using this on his/her blog.

Yes, a revolution. The word seems to be too strong and too harsh -- seems like I'm insinuating a political coup -- yet one might only think this way because one might be more like Simoun than like Ibarra. More like Simoun because he is the personification of vengeful Filipinos; tired of the current system and yielded to the only way they think is possible to exact change: remember in El Filibusterismo when Simoun tried to blow up Kapitan Tiago's former residence with all the government officials, friars and the rest of the upper-class inside during the wedding of Paulita? I bet there are lots of Filipinos (including me!) who, even once in their lives (many times for me..), out of desperation, thought of blowing up Batasang Pambansa complex during one of the State of the Nation Addresses. Imagine the fireworks. Imagine a total restart of our seemingly hopeless government. It is the start, I would say. But it would not, says my conscience. Because in order to reboot this country, we might need to ask Obama to lend us one of their Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles and to zero in the heart of the archipelago because it was not only the upper-class who were present in that wedding party, we all were. And I'm sure it is what Rizal really wanted to say for in the course of his novel, he didn't let Simoun succeed; the explosion was prevented when Isagani throw himself in the river together with the lamp which was the detonator. Ironically, Simoun is really Ibarra; once an idealistic man who dreamt of change through diplomacy and education. No bombs. No explosions. Just a pure desire for change. And that is the real start of a genuine revolution.

I might need to stop whining.
I might need to stop being cynical.
I might need to stop thinking that the next elections will be futile.
I need to cease being Simoun.

My vote counts, and the votes of the many Ibarras out there.


And this will be the start of a series of blog entries relating to the 2010 Presidential Elections: analyses of current events, profile study of presidentiables and other candidates etc. It is never too late and the result of this election can change the face of the Philippines after 2010, and beyond.

As a start, let me re-post a link to an Inquirer article on presidentiable Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II:

Honestly, I started to dislike him. No thanks to his PR team who made him do the "pedicab" stint. I know melodramas can be a hit to a typical Filipino household, but to make it a background of a politcal ad (premature it may seem) leaves a bad taste in the mouth. At least Villar banks on the upbeat nature of the current generation. Though a typical "trapo" (i.e. TRAditional POlitics) ad, I can still hum to the beat of his jingle minus my vote. Not to mention the Mar-Korina love affair and the much talked about "wedding of the year", though it would be unfair of me to judge this delicate matter of the heart so I leave that to destiny. But I digress; back to the article.

He was invited in a "town hall" meeting with businessmen, professionals and the likes, and he shared his opinions on some pertinent issues of the country. To summarize:

1. Charter Change is not a requirement to improve economy; what we need is for foreign investors to do business without having to deal with harassment, coercion or corruption, not to own lands. (Clap! Clap!)

2. Transparency in Cabinet officials bank accounts. (Same song, same lyrics.)

3. Extra school year; from 10 years to, maybe, 12 years in elementary and secondary education. (I disagree.)

4. The country’s service-dominated economy was not healthy; focus on manufacturing and especially agriculture. (That's what I'm talking about! I hope he meant what he said.)

Read the entirety of the article. After what I read, I might consider Mar Roxas in my list. I just hope there will be a lot of venues where candidates can properly present themselves as if a job interview and the entire Filipino people as a panel interviewer.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Literary # 3

Sana May Bagong Brasil...

Kung saan musika ang hangin mula sa dagat;
Kung saan ang buhangin ang nagbibigay-lapat;
Kung saan ang araw ay sadyang muling sisikat;
Kung saan ang pangarap ay unti-unting iaangat.

Kung saan kami'y magkakasama,
Busog sa mga kwento at tawa;
Magpakalunod sa kape, 'di nagsasawa
Dahil alam naming dito kami ay isa.

Ang Brasil ay isa nang masayang kahapon,
Alam kong maaaring 'di na magkaroon;
Ngunit may plano ang Dakilang Poon,
Nawa'y sa panalangin Siya'y sumang-ayon.

At sa muling paglipad papalayo sa tinubuan,
Dala ko ang pag-asa't iiwan ang kasawian.
Bibilang man ng taon, lilipas man ang walang-hanggan,
Alam ko, sa bagong Brasil, bagong AKO'y magkakalaman.

Layon ko ma'y lumayo,
Nais ko ma'y um-eskapo,
Mga Brasileira't Brasileiro:
Você gostar dele também, não?


GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Please Listen To What I Am Not Saying

Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, I wear a thousand masks,
masks that I'm afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.

Pretending is an art that's second nature with me,
but don't be fooled,
for God's sake don't be fooled.
I give you the impression that I'm secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the weather's calm and I'm in command
and that I need no one.

But don't believe me. Please.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don't want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That's why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it's followed by acceptance,
if it's followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It's the only thing that will assure me
of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.
But I don't tell you this. I don't dare to, I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me,
that you'll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that's really nothing,
and nothing of what's everything,
of what's crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I'm saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying,
what I'd like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can't say.

I don't like hiding.
I don't like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me.

But you've got to help me.

This was a literary piece assigned to me during my
High School (HS) Sophomore English Class.
We were asked to make a cassette tape recording of ourselves reading this
in such a way that our teacher can feel our emotion and,
in a way, our personal interpretation of the poem.
Also, this was read to us during one of our Recollection activities back in HS;
being a Catholic school, that is.

There has been numerous versions over the internet and other media,
and that the author seems to be unknown.
Though a site credits the latter to a certain Charles C. Finn
whose name appears to be un-Wikipedia-ble.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Bought An Umbrella Today

I haven't slept the night before. I don't know if it was my head or my chest that was going to burst. I just know that it was my longest night ever.

I came to work late. If it was the weeks before when overnight activities were like eternity, going to work at almost midday would be acceptable. But this week is like the "calm before the storm" of my current project. Less pressure. Sleep is like gold free for all. I have all the reason to be at my desk at 9AM, but at almost 12NN I was like a lifeless piece of organic slab dragged to a place it doesn't want to be at that moment. Luckily, no urgent tasks for the day and the said professional boo-boo went unnoticed.

Exhausted by an unlikely combination of a seemingly insignificant stint on MS Excel and of a burden from a sleepless night, I walked out of the office; out of the building; out to nowhere. I kept walking oblivious from everything and everyone I passed by. Maybe this is one of the advantages when working in a very familiar place (say, home country); going from one place to another is already part of the body reflex. My feet seemed to have their own consciousness that time while my own waking self wandered as if dreaming.

And then I stopped.

Suddenly I felt lost. From a well-defined route of the bridgeway came the familar confusion of a department store. People coming from everywhere. Salesladies crossing everyone's path. Shoppers stopping on every stand to check out stuffs and prices. Though asking the exact reason why I found myself in a shopping mall, I continued on with my wandering desperate to free my mind from the things that bother.

And then I stopped. Again.

An array of umbrella displays caught my attention. The usual saleslady routine greeted me. Five minutes and I found myself carrying a three-hundred-peso black Grosser Schatten full-sized umbrella. I don't know what's with the umbrella aside from it is German and it is the new Fibrella, as per the courteous saleslady. I don't know why I bought it in the first place when I still have my two-year-old Baclaran-bought folding black umbrella stuffed in my backpack. It was all spontaneous. It was unplanned.

It didn't rain today though. I may have taken a wrong move buying this umbrella. But then, I remembered the other day when I cursed my old folding umbrella for failing to shield me from a heavy late-night downpour. Maybe it is time to buy a new one; a bigger and sturdy one. Impulsive it may seem but later realisations affirm my earlier action. Today might be the "calm before the storm" but this umbrella will surely be a dependable partner when another Milenyo hits the Metro.

Maybe that's what I need, being more spontaneous in my life. I can be spontaneous on things that doesn't involved long-term result that could alter the course of my life. A bus ride to Rio. Overnight videoke. A roadtrip up North. An Indochine backpacking. A new umbrella. But I tend to be a master planner when talking about what I will be ten years from now. I think to much. I plan too much. I risk so little. That is why a plan that doesn't go as planned strikes straight to the heart. Nothing prepares me from this.

At least I'm sure I will not get wet tomorrow when it rains.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Friday, August 7, 2009

Children of Democracy, Let Your Voices Be Heard!

Go out and register for the May 10, 2010
national and presidential election now!

For those who will be 18 years old and above during the same date, you are constitutionally eligible to participate in the most important right as a free Filipino. This is not only a privilege but a responsibility.

COMELEC has already gone out of its way to entice voters to register by establishing sattelite offices in schools, village halls, and other public facilities. Dapat silang i-clap clap!

For those who think that they are already registered, you can verify your status through COMELEC website:

Go to Continuing Registration.

Then to Registration Verification.

And finally, fill up your personal information.


You should be getting the same result.
If not, go to your nearest COMELEC office and personally verify.

Note that a registered voter should have a biometric voter's ID like the one below. I'm not sure if your ID having no hologram watermark makes it invalid, but it should essentially have your photograph, signature and thumbmark. Moreover, if you received it just in time for the 2004 election, it is definitely a valid biometric ID. However, if you still don't have it but your registration has been verified through their website, maybe you have to wait for it.

Biometric Voter's ID (

Or maybe verify the status of the ID by sending e-mail to with the following information:

  • full voter's name (first name, middle name, last name)
  • date of birth
  • address

Note that this process is crucial since the poll body conducted purging of the old voters' list in order to weed out demised or redundant individuals. They have removed four million names (imagine the possible numbers of "ghost" voters!) in the list. Of that number, only about 400,000 people have asked the COMELEC to include them in the list, as of June. So better check before the deadline on the 31st of October this year!

In the 2007 mid-term elections, there were some 45 million voters but for next year’s local elections, the poll body is aiming to get around three million more voters. []

Shed tears for Tita Cory?

It's our time. Go, be heard and continue to defend democracy.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Woman Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines

We only have two.

Both defied our traditionally machismo society.

Both ascended into power by way of people's bloodless revolt.

One reluctantly taken the office but morally obliged. The other hoped-for a sudden twist of luck; having readied the inaugural speech way before the office was declared vacant.

One expressed intention of stepping down, and she did. The other announced on national TV she is stepping down but lied.

One re-established democracy in paper through the 1987 Constitution. The other supports the rape of the said charter.

One had been called by the people to take her oath after a massive electoral fraud by her rival. The other taken her oath after calling an election officer to cover up her rigged votes.

One's voice has been trusted and respected even during her private life. The other's words are like poison if swallowed and that a "private life" will be unlikely in her vocabulary.

One, even to her grave, is still a driving force for people to unite. The other, even in a blunder, is a driving force for people to make a joke.

And a joke is one of the very few things that makes Juan dela Cruz sane in these trying times.

No wonder the recent editorial blunder of Manila Bulletin stands out to be funny rather than solicit outrage from the people. And yes, a sinful thought it may be, I can't help but grin.

Sifting through the blogosphere, majority of the reactions to this photo are leaning towards humour; a stark contrast on public indignation towards Willie Revillame's remarks on Tita Cory's cortege last Wednesday. I know as a Christian this is not a good thing to think and to do, but the social weather suggests how the Filipino people perceive the two woman presidents. It seems that the two are at the opposite ends of a very wide spectrum, and I don't need to elaborate which is situated to which end.

Four years ago, another blunder aroused collectors and jokers alike.

Remember this version of our 100-peso bill that was circulated Christmas of 2005 during the height of the controversy of our current president's legitimacy due to accusations of electoral fraud? The running joke back then was that this proves that even our printing machines cry out illegitimacy. What a good way to have an effective flyer!

In the medieval times, women were considered subordinates to men. And as Marcos put it, "just a woman whose place is in the bedroom." Today, women are regarded as men's equal; majority of world societies, if not all. They are no joke. They are a force to be reckoned with.

At least for Filipinos, one woman president to be remembered with.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Monday, August 3, 2009

Witnessing History from the Twentieth Floor

Maybe I was one of those people who, few hours later, got hold of the ill news; having work-related activity that gloomy Saturday early morning. It was not surprising, really. And I know her family shared the same sentiment since it was a losing battle against cancer.

Tita Cory has died.

But only today did this fact actually sinked in to me. I didn't even know that her remains were to be brought from La Salle Greenhills to Manila Cathedral around noon today--unfortunately, it was news blackout for the sleep-deprived. I walked from my apartment in J.P. Rizal Street and then traversed Makati Avenue going to work this morning; yellow ribbons on every posts and sills along the way. There are people in yellow shirts. There are security details at every corner of Makati CBD. It was raining. It seemed sad and dejected. I was indifferent.

"It is snowing!", a Malaysian colleague called out while, with other people in the office, peering out of the windows. My initial reaction was comical but upon seeing his matter-of-fact face it seemed that it was indeed snowing: flakes of yellow replaced the dampening rains. And with ABS-CBN's DZMM tuned in from a live streaming on one laptop, it became very clear.

Tita Cory is near. She is coming.

I joined the group leaning on the thick hingeless window; after all, we were at the 20th floor. A sea of yellow crowd greeted me from below. As we were waiting, so were they under the scorching sun. It seemed that the sky was in one with the people; rains on a sudden halt. But still open umbrellas can be seen. The person on the PA system desperately asked them to close all umbrellas to no avail. In this country of skin whiteners, this request will surely fall on deaf ears. But as if by providence, an invisible blanket engulfed the sun and the scorching heat joined the rains at bay waiting for one moment to pass. Umbrellas now closed, and then goosebumps.

She is here.

Her flag-draped casket stopped right in front of her late husband's monument at Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas. Jim Paredes' Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo can be heard in the air while yellow confetti continued to fall. It was like a warp speed back into history when people eagerly waited for Ninoy. Now, it was the wife-turned-president-turned-icon. I reckon no one in the post-colonial Philippines had received this kind of accolade and reverence from the people aside from Magsaysay and the Aquino couple.

Tita Cory has been called Tita Cory from Day One. Not even the highest office in the land changed that; she was never called President Aquino. I reckon it's because the Filipino people relate to her in close kinship rather than a political figure plastered on glossy posters. That's why she is loved. She may not have put the country back to the economic pedestal it used to stand before Marcos' plunder. She may not have resolved insurgency from the South. She may have been unsuccessful in addressing the problems of the previous regime. But still people at that moment in that intersection of the financial district still gave their sincere respect to so many is the greatest president we had. This is because of the one legacy no post-colonial president had ever done: genuine democracy. She served her purpose of restoring democracy and of smooth transition from revolution to republic. She could have just stayed home and, instead, consoled her grief-stricken children orphaned by a father. She chose not just to be their mother but the mother of a restarting nation. Technically that time she could have ruled by decree for she was both executive and legislative but she refused to be like the tyrant she toppled. She convened the first Constitutional Convention that drafted our present Constitution. She ensured that every democratic mechanisms of a new government are in place before stepping down. Her allies enticed her to seek re-election since the newly instituted term-limit provision of the Constitution does not apply to her. But she stepped down all the same and she exited with grace (choosing to go home in a Toyota Crown rather than in the government's Mercedes); not succumbing to lust for power. Come to think of it, she can be dwarfed by the modern infrastructure Marcos had built. But what stand out are the things that can never be seen.

I stood behind that windowpane at the 20th floor seeing the thing that was not there before, and I was not indifferent anymore. I was suddenly overwhelmed. I know this is history and this is one her-story not meant to be just witnessed from afar.

I know I have to go down, take the nearest elevator and be part of the writing of our story.


This was also one of those times that I wished I never had left my DSLR at home. I am meaning to go into photojournalism, and this is one event that can not go without capturing. At least I have my iPhone, my Indian colleague's Canon Powershot SX110 IS and an unobstructed bird's eyeview from the 20th floor.

Ayala Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas - taken with Canon Powershot SX110 IS; post-processed with Adobe LR2

For the last time, people are drawn to your charisma;

Ayala Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas - taken with iPhone 3G; post-processed with Adobe LR2

seas of yellow carried you to final rest.

people's reflection on one of the glass windows of Enterprise Bldg. - taken with Canon Powershot SX110 IS; post-processed with Adobe LR2

Vox populi,

glass windows of Enterprise Bldg. - taken with Canon Powershot SX110 IS; post-processed with Adobe LR2

democracy reflected and defended.

the people and the flag-draped casket of the former president - taken with Canon Powershot SX110 IS; post-processed with Adobe LR2

With you standing up as our leader.

the people, the icons and democracy - taken with Canon Powershot SX110 IS; post-processed with Adobe LR2

He said, the Filipinos are worth dying for.
You said, we are worth living for.
Now, both of you are eternal.

Tower One Bldg. as seen from Philamlife Bldg. - taken with iPhone 3G; post-processed with Adobe LR2

The yellow ribbon will continue to undulate with the winds;

Makati CBD - taken with Canon Powershot SX110 IS; post-processed with Adobe LR2

A beacon that lights the path of those
bound to your noble cause -- a nation that is truly free.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Backpacking vs. Flashpacking

I'm on Day 8 of my Indochine backpacking; that is, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. I've been to the temples and ruins of Angkor, to the eye-opening Killing Fields, to the hustle and bustle of Saigon and now, the relaxing beaches of Nha Trang; there are so much to see on this side of the planet. Then, I stumbled upon this article on Wikipedia:

Flashpacking is a neologism used to refer to affluent backpacker. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking has an association of more disposable income while traveling and has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget.

A simple definition of the term Flashpacker can be thought of as backpacking with flash, or style. One school of thought defines the flashpacker as a rapidly growing segment of travelers who adhere to a modest accommodation and meal budget, while spending freely, even excessively, for activities at their chosen destination. Another school of thought defines flashpacking as an incongruous mix of 'slumming it' and luxury; of adventurous travel with those on a budget by day and sedate dining and comfortable accommodation by night. Flashpackers have been further defined as tech-savvy adventurers who often prefer to travel with a cell phone, digital camera, iPod and a laptop, although none of these is required in order to be a flashpacker. As with other forms of travel, the term flashpacker is mainly one of self-identification. The origin of the term itself is obscure.

The term also reflects a growing demographic of travelers who are forsaking traditional organized travel, venturing to destinations once the reserve of more adventurous backpackers, and the increasing number of individuals who leave well paid jobs or take 'career breaks', using the time to travel independently, but with greater comfort and many of the gadgets they are accustomed to at home. As a result, hostels are evolving and offering more up-market accommodation to those still traveling on a budget in order to obtain their business. The hostels have realized a need to evolve in order to meet the changing demands of travelers.

Time to be accustomed with this neology from now on; onward with my flashpacking. :)

GMT +7 Hanoi, Vietnam

Friday, April 10, 2009

Reflections on Lent

This is My Blood that is being poured out for many so that sins are forgiven.
Do this in remembrance of me.
Take up your cross and follow me.
Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
Into Your Hands I commend my spirit.

Having studied in a Catholic school from pre-school to high school (oh, even College!), I practically grew up with the Paschal Mystery (Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ) at the back of my head. Long have I reflected that this is beyond the syllabus of a Religion Class; this is my calling, our calling as Christians. It has been an on-and-off realization for me; only rekindling in this season of Lent. Maybe because there are not much to do or much to see on the boob tube or maybe because of the numerous Sinakulos on Good Friday. But whatever happens–I might stray away from this–I know that He will always be open-arms to a repenting son.

And that is basically the reason He died, so that we may be born again from the ashes of the past.

Special thanks to the youth of San Roque Parish (San Pablo City, Laguna)
for their dedication on this year's Sinakulo where these photos are taken.
More photos on my Multiply Photo Album.

GMT +8 Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Backpacking a Möbius Strip

The Sketching Backpacker by Robert AlejandroOne of the things I want to do is to backpack; be it alone or in a group. I don't mind walking with a load on my back. I don't mind the sun; I'm dark-skinned anyway. I don't mind being lost; a sense of fulfillment when finding the way is inviting. Not to mention the adventure I can get especially in an unfamiliar place. I plan to backpack Europe before I die or before I get married (whichever comes first) prefering to be alone at first and then meet some fellow backpackers on the way. But then, I have to save up "big-time" for this adventure. Anyway, I don't think the Angel of Death nor Cupid is scheduled to arrive at my doorstep yet so I still have time. I just hope Cupid is faster but not too fast. :)

And then I stumble upon this article about Robert Alejandro (one of the hosts of The Probe Team) and his adventure across Southeast Asia. With a gel pen and a paper, he did sketches of the things he encountered and of the people he met. Nine countries. A tight Php 50,000 budget. Ten weeks. Interweaved cultures. Sights, sounds and aroma. Priceless memories. All of these in his illustrated book for us to be inspired. I have.

The Sketching Backpacker, a tome collecting the artist’s vivid journal entries while trekking with friends, is also a handy companion to travelers who wish to discover the region’s scenic destinations, historic landmarks, and unique bargains.

Available at Travel Club stores.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Friday, March 13, 2009


in Norse mythology, the goddess of love and fertility but then banished as a witch; Friday was named after her

Greek for "three" (3)

Greek for "and"

Greek for "ten" (10)

from the Greek phóbos, "fear"

We have Friday The 13th thrice this year! One we had last February. Of course, today. The other would be in November. I personally don't know of anyone who is mortally afraid of Friday The 13th. If this kind of phobia has a declining rate in recent years, that I'm not sure of. But then, most of the living souls today believe in luck and all of them wouldn't like to meet the bad one. Who would? However, too much dependence on this belief breeds fear.

Do you want to enjoy life or what? :-)

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Game of Monopoly

It's been a tough year for the richest people in the world.
Last year there were 1,125 billionaires.
This year there are just 793 people rich enough to make our list.
The world has become a wealth wasteland... [Read on]

Really? And we're supposed to empathize with them? As far as I know, the world has been a wealth wasteland from the day man started to gauge his existence on the mound of gold under his feet. Sadly, only a few can amass an Everest.

When I wrote one blog on the onset of the financial crisis, I thought that the world can go on bankrupt; afterall it was the common term one can hear over the news back then. I thought the money went up in smoke. I stand corrected. A friend of mine dropped a comment on that blog:

"Dude search and download for Zeitgeist and Zeitgeist Addendum on the torrent sites. That will explain where the money went. Wealth is never lost, it just get transferred to a few people who control the world's economy."

Haven't watched those downloads though; I'll save them for later, and maybe for another blog. But interesting to note is the fact that the wealth of the world is still in the hands of these few people. The news on the fall of AIG didn't solicited empathy for long when its top executives went on celebrating with a lavish party of champagne and caviar at the posh St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Southern California, just 2 weeks after US taxpayers bailed out the insurance corporation for $85 billion. It's funny to think–and you don't see me laughing–that Forbes is saying that the world's richest are also a lot poorer. Well, technically they are indeed poorer with the topnotcher Bill Gates' fortune from $40 Billion down to $18 Billion; more than 50% loss. Indeed it's a different and lofty bar and you'll see the rest of the world gazing at the stars, driveling. But most of them, starving. Yes, 50% loss is a lot. So what if Gates lost this amount of money? Maybe those people in the financial institutions that knows how this works might argue that in having a sound business or a healthy economy, one should not have losses in his account books. They might have a point. But then, really, will Gates be unable to pay his bill after he lost that amount? Will he die of starvation? Maybe he can die of depression, but that would be foolish. Now imagine a homeless man with less than a dollar in his pocket and 50% of it is lost, he has been depressed all his life and the only thing that separates him from an impending demise is the will to live; a will that can't be sustained for long with an empty stomach.

Social and economic inequality has been here since time immemorial. Well maybe after the fall of man from the Garden of Eden. And I don't think I can see Utopia in my lifetime. It will be hard for mankind to realize this perfect world where society's central role is played not by money, but rather by the need for transcendence. The world is not fair as we know it today, and it is a reality that greets me every morning on my way to work here in Ghana. I came to this African country as a consultant yet there are a lot of Ghanaians that can be educated to do the same things I do in my work. But I see them in the streets instead. If those Forbes' richest have the monopoly on the world's wealth, I reckon I'm part of a group that has a monopoly on one of the opportunities that can give a better life. Especially now that the world is on recession, companies abroad are somewhat picky on people they hire as expatriates; taking those with more experience. I bet there are lots of monopolies out there. One faction may be covetous of the other's monopoly and the others may go on envying everyone. I envy Bill Gates but envy is a sin.

Monopolies will not last forever; the game has to be over soon.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Saturday, March 7, 2009


For these past weeks–accumulating to a month actually–I had a hard time updating this blog. Project-end workload. Intermittent Wi-Fi in my flat (this one pisses me off). But mainly because I don't have any inspiring, or say worthwhile, subject that merits my "non-work" time. I better have sleep instead (no more vivid dreams). There are some instances, however, that I tried starting an entry yet nothing. It came to a point that for the sake of having a February entry, I attempted to post:


But I thought it's a waste of bytes.

Yet most of the time, in this age of instant messaging (i.e. chat and SMS), this symbol can say a lot more than a paragraph. Intended to denote either an intentional omission of a word or a phrase from the original text or to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence [wikipedia], ellipsis has become one of the staple typographical constructions in chat rooms and SMS. One can either use the standard three dots (MS Word ensures this when it auto-corrects) or an extended version of up to dozens of dots (it depends on the mood). Sometimes I think people overuse this. But then again, most conversations are not meant to be ended with a single dot. The question now is how to keep it going; not necessarily by words.

One should read between the lines but sometimes, it is better to act beyond the dots.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Monday, January 26, 2009

Take A Break, Have A Coke

Not that I harbour diabetes but I must admit Coca-Cola never fails to establish itself by launching campaign TVCs; boob tube not so boo boo afterall. It was not so long ago, about 2004, when most of Filipinos were enchanted by this young girl and her knapsack that "magically" dispenses unlimited supply of Coke bottles (kinda reminds me of Mary Poppins). Not to mention that song that made me slow down, stop at this very moment and say to myself: "Pre, take it easy."

As a kid I had this notion that a Coke bottle on a dining table is for special occasions or whenever our family is on a festive mood; always looking forward to that Sunday lunch, the whole family sitting together and one Litro of Coke. That's why I find the idea of giving out Coke as a way of saying "hello" nostalgic. It is also a symbolic gesture of reminding us to take a break and, of course with this TVC, have a refreshing drink. Good advertising eh? But then, it did not escaped me to notice that the whole TVC is a tapestry of Filipinos and the different facets of their everyday lives: middle-class work, religion (one can see a Muslim and a typical elderly Christian), relationships (lovers' quarrel), manual labor, education, adolescence and childhood. All of these in one flawless, continuous shot; the details and texture of downtown Manila perfectly recreated. I am impressed with Thierry Notz for the direction (he made the same with McDo's Karen & Lolo TVC). I believe he surpassed other versions of this global ad campaign of Coca-Cola. Though not Filipino himself, he sure knows the way to a Filipino's heart.

Here are the other versions (North and Latin American's) of the global ad campaign. Notice how they are very much alike from the street corner-turning to a man in the garbage bin and from that scooter to that parked car.


Another Coca-Cola TVC. This time on the best "pick-up line" ever. :)

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Side-effects and Vivid Dreams

This is the last night of my 3-day treatment on Malaria, and I'm still a bit of unsure whether I have one in the first place. My lab test result, afterall, yielded negative infection from any of the Plasmodium parasites but the doctor prescribed the treatment nevertheless. Tomorrow I will be starting the prophylaxis; the one thing I should have done before coming here. It would be a weekly regimen; a regimen also shared by soldiers on a mission and peace corps. I have been sifting through the internet on some experiences when one is taking antimalarial and there is one thing in common: side-effects. Well I guess most of the modern world medications have side-effects. I remember this joke of a salesman who offered a man a drug to relieve the latter's headache but the salesman warned that it has a side-effect in which it will be relieved by another drug yet with a side-effect of its own. The story goes on with drugs and their side-effects only to find out that the last drug offered has headache as the side-effect. Funny because one of Malaria's symptoms is headache and so as one of Coartem's side-effects. Now I can't tell which is which. Interestingly one of antimalarial side-effects is vivid dreams. I thought it's a Neverland-Care Bears sort of thing but apparently it is a euphemism to nightmares. As per my research, it is exclusively valid to antimalarial with Mefloquine as the base drug (i.e. Lariam; Roche don't sue me, this is a personal blog). So I frantically drew the one I have. Pyrimethamine. Ok, the only side-effect I have to worry now is being folic acid deficient. But then, last night I had this "vivid dream".

There was this one "crazy" black dog that used to be part of my childhood phobia. I well remember her name, Blanka. She was one of our neighbor's dogs and it was a great effort everytime I have to bring a share of our media noche to their house. I would call out my kababata to escort me inside their house; it would be rude if I don't personally give the food and of course it's a tradition for them to give something in return. I don't know where it all started but I remember her to be the one who rallied up all the dogs in the subdivision to madly chase me to exhaustion; virtually strapping me to a coconut tree. Imagine the humiliation and trauma of a seven-year-old. I used to believe that she was the leader of the dog mafia in our subdivision back then so in order to save my bones, I have to avoid her. And believe me, during that time I could recognize her bark anywhere. She died when I was in high school. Poor creature but I thought it saved my adolescent years. But then last night she was reincarnated: same black hair, menacing eyes and those canine fangs! Weird enough, I was back to the same street of that fateful day. Everything was fast. One second she was on the far-side of the street, the next she was right in front of me. And she bit my left hand! I awoke. I don't know if I gave a loud cry but one thing I did was to check my left hand if it was still there. I felt the bite as if it was real; as if it was torn away from the rest of my arm. How vivid can you get with that? Maybe it was just a coincidence that I got that nightmare. I'm not taking Mefloquine and I checked the ones I'm taking and they definitely don't have vivid dreams as part of the undesirable list.

I don't know what I'll be getting tonight but I hope it has nothing to do with leeches!


I came across this short film on

After years of yearning to go to Africa, Joan’s three-month stint as a Peace Corps volunteer turns sour on Christmas Eve when she is 'psychevac'd' back to the states and admitted to Georgetown Hospital mental ward. The drug required by the Peace Corps to be taken as a protection against malaria is said to cause only vivid dreams, but no one mentions the other side effects of psychotic tendencies, including suicide and murder.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meeting Malaria

And that's the last thing I want to while I'm here in Africa.

Well there's no one to blame but me. Knowing that Malaria is endemic here, I should have taken prophylactic measure before going. I had my first blood test taken last month and it turned out to be negative. It was a relief. I even attempted to laminate the test result. Then I started to think that I am just being paranoid; maybe fatigue is due to overwork and chills is due to aircon running overnight. Plus the fact that I learned later that one Pinay died after going home. If I were in the Philippines, flu-like symptoms might just be a flu. But being in Sub-Saharan Africa one can not just dismiss the fact that this might be something else. It was since last weekend that I again feel exhausted and dizzy. Even sleeping a significant amount of hours on a Sunday didn't take away the discomfort. Though I will always think of Malaria, the lab test seems to be a psychological treatment; looking on a "No malaria parasites seen" statement alleviates worries. So I said to myself that I will just observe. Lab test doesn't come cheap. Then last Tuesday early morning I was waken and found myself shivering with some abdominal pain. I could feel twitches on some parts of my body. It was like some kind of Gremlin trying to get out of my muscles (if you watched the movie, you get the point). And I was palpitating (no Starbucks planner in Africa, take note). Not to mention my head in twice the gravity pull and my urge to throw up. You might want to laugh at me but at that point I unlocked the door of my room in case I might not wake up later that day; we have a household help that regularly cleans the room by the way. There were no life moments flashing before my eyes so it was no "time's up" for me then. But it was an hour or so of pangs, delusional or not. I managed to go back to sleep though; waken later by the alarm on my mobile. No more pain. The hot shower seemed to washed away a bad dream. But then I decided to have myself checked again. If before I went to a clinic in a mall, this time I went to a hospital just to make sure I am getting the right diagnosis.

The result? No parasites found. Ok, it was a relief again. But there was a catch. My white blood this is what has been prescribed to me as antimalarial treatmentcells (WBC) count is nearing the higher mark for normal. Learning from my high school Biology, WBC is like my inner army against invaders; in this case, the Plasmodium parasite. Yes, malaria is not caused by a virus or strain of bacteria; it is caused by a parasite (I guess Malacanang can be diagnosed with malaria on its highest stage). The doctor said that this is an indication that something's going on inside me since the immune system is preparing for a battle. To be honest, I was a little skeptical on that diagnosis. But the symptoms are just hard to ignore. Maybe the parasites haven't been released to the blood to infect the red blood cells. You see, malaria in humans develops via two phases: it infects the liver first where they multiply for up to 15 days then they all go swimming in the blood stream. If left untreated, it will result to severe complications. And we have the ever-charming female mosquitos to thank for. So the doctor prescribed me a "treatment" drug. As per its leaflet, the drug is "a treatment for adults, children and infants with acute, uncomplicated infections due to P. falciparum." WTF! P. falciparum is said to be the most fatal and I am having a drug for that??! But then, this specie of Plasmodium parasite is still curable and I thanked God that I am having it (maybe) on its earliest stage. Of all the prescriptions I got so far in my life, this has been the one I really strictly followed: 4 tablets on the first take then 4 tablets 8 hours later (I have to wake up early for this; the thing I failed on other prescriptions). Then 4 tablets twice a day for the succeeding days (it means every 12 hours). The key for effective treatment is proper absorption of the dose so I need food intake first and it is recommended to intake food or drink rich in fat such as milk. If I really do have those bastard parasites I need to eradicate them once and for all. But it comes with side-effects like anorexia (me and less appetite?), sleep disorders, dizziness and cough. Just today I had a half-day work and making myself concentrate on those figures and numbers on my computer screen was great effort. Well, rather than go home in a wooden box.

So, for my fellow travelers heed my advice: have the necessary precautions when going to places where malaria is endemic. There is no vaccine developed so far but as per medical advice, take antimalarial drugs 1 week before the travel, continue the regimen while in a risk area and end the treatment one or more weeks after leaving the area. Malaria is present in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe. Note, however, that these drugs will not prevent the parasites from entering the body but do prevent or supress the symptoms caused by the parasites. Afterall, they are parasites. That is the main reason why prevention by controlling, if not eliminating, is a major concern for those countries that are endemic. It means a war on mosquitos. I bet these pesky insects are contemplating in a Purpose Driven Life sort of way.

Distribution of Malaria: dark coloured means high risk

Note also that not all drugs are effective on a certain endemic area so one should consult with a physician on what drug is best suited for the travel plan. These parasites are part of the animal kingdom and they evolve; later being resistant to most of antimalarials in the market. In the Sub-Saharan Africa P. falciparum is the most common. The physician prescribed me Coartem (by Novartis; generic name: artemether-lumefantrin) for the treatment then Daraprim (by GlaxoSmithKline; generic name: pyrimethamine) for prophylaxis. So I guess these are the antimalarial drugs suited for this area. Moreso, one can use repellants when going out. Mosquitos always have feeding frenzy during dusk and dawn. So watch out!

Meeting malaria is serious but is not a reason for panic. Hey, even HIV can be treated on its early stage (though in our society, accepting that one has HIV is a different story). Malaria is both preventable and curable. Sad to say but there are still millions of people, mostly children, die because of this. My consultation, lab test and medications cost me about USD65. Lucky for me I have this to spare (there's a probability that I can even reimburse this thru my medical insurance). How about those who have none; barely making USD2 per day? In the news, the conflict-stricken Zimbabwe is nearing a Malaria outbreak on top of the worsening cholera and HIV. Prevention fails when tools for it are out of reach. We can help:

After this treatment, I should start prophylaxis so as to prevent future infections. It means that when I come home the month after next I should continue taking antimalarial agent for 4 weeks just to be sure. That was the unfortunate lapse of that Pinay who died because of malaria – shrugging off the eventuality.

It will always hold true that prevention is better than cure, and that was my own lapse.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Seventh Heaven Co.

For the Jewish, Muslim and other cabalist system, seventh heaven is the farthest of the concentric spheres containing the stars and constituting the dwelling place of God and the angels. It became synonymous to a state of great joy and satisfaction; a bliss, cloud nine and euphoria.

And it was no coincidence that this was once an idea not only for a business venture but the next level of friendship.

I've written my last blog in response to a photo of 7 people who tried to make "a better life" without even going abroad (though we are all planning to anyway). I'm re-archiving files in my laptop last night and there it was as colorful as before; clouds behind our backs. Then today Joya prompted me in YM and it was she who reminded me of this small group of entrepreneurs-to-be. It was a night after work on the last day of August 2007. We had this business idea and Heaven N' Eggs served as our place of brainstorming. Well actually we tried to get some ideas there. Too bad that resto in Glorietta 4 was renovated to a new layout.

Joya was right, that night was already a sign. We had different shades of shirts, and on the walls were clouds and famous landmarks around the world (Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Holland Windmills etc.). Sure enough, a week after one of us left. Every month after that one would follow. Come December 2007 when only 4 of us were remaining, maybe with a stroke of fate, we found ourselves aboard on one of the last flights of the year. Today we are now scattered all around the globe, spanning the continents. Indeed, looking on this photo makes me miss the good ol' days and wonder when will this exact pose is going to be reprised. I will look forward to that day.

It was a business meeting so I didn't detailed what had transpired.
But I know someday a new company is likely to rise; clouds behind its back.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Saturday, January 17, 2009

For A Better Life

One year ago, when the world was on a countdown, I was there sitting up in the night sky. While the world danced and sang merriments, I was there strapped in the rigidity of my seat. While the world was spellbound by fireworks, I was there confined and confounded. There was mixture of feelings, and with the high altitude pressure it became an unrecognizable concoction. For any neophyte Pinoy expatriate that would just be a temporary anxiety that is soon comforted by the very reason of taking that very first flight away from home: for a better life.

I am now part of the ever-growing diaspora of Filipinos; seeking better opportunities in places where they are strangers. It has been a year already yet the events leading to where I am now are as vivid as today. This has not been part of my plan actually. The plan was to establish myself in a local company and make myself all the way to the top. I guess this is what most fresh graduates would dream of achieving. Afterall, it's one hell of a package: money, entitlement and power. Wow! I could have sold my soul to the devil. But then I realized that the place on top seems like an exclusive club where members got into either by hard work or by other means. Moreso, one can't really be sure that having a view from the top is having a view of a better life. This realization might have been brought by an opportunity I didn't expect to come; an opportunity I Remaining FABL-ers @ Heaven N' Eggs, Makati City (8/31/2007)discovered when I entered Globe Telecom (GT). It is an opportunity that I find difficult to explain to most of the people who ask about it, but then I found easy to be identified with the closest of my GT friends. We call ourselves FABL-ers: driven by one goal and the acronym says it all. We don't just exchange CVs and technical reference materials; we exchange personal stories. We don't just reveal new job positions abroad; we reveal secrets with one another. We laughed a lot in and out of the office, but most of the time inside when we're burned out with work. We had our share of dramatic moments, then back to laughing again (yes, that can be normal). Dinner outs. Movie trips. Out-of-towns. Sleep-overs. Road trips. Yosi breaks. 5th floor. Coffee sessions. Untill it was hard to say goodbye. One by one we left our desks. One farewell video presentation (a bit of a tradition) and a dinner, and we were one less of a count. It may be emotional but we always say to ourselves: "Magkikita-kita rin sa finals.". Soon enough, some of us met in Brasil but I bet it's still not the "finals" we're referring to. It is hard to leave the place one has been for the longest of time. Not only that I left my family and friends, I also left behind habits and comforts. For some, a better life resides on other lands. Personally I can still find my better life back home. Some FABL-ers found theirs. I will, soon. But hey, being with these guys is a glimpse of that afterall.

It kept me thinking: how would a better life looks and feels like? Would it be a significant amount in the bank account? Would it be land titles and cars? Would it be a family of my own? Yes, how would I gauge "better"? I guess I will soon find out. It's just that now I believe that the path I am taking would eventually lead me there. Maybe because I'm now able to do some things that I might not have done when I chose to stay. You see the word "better" begets an onward action; it makes me seek what lies ahead. In this temporal world we're living in, it can be a rollercoaster ride, and that's life where tomorrows will most of the time... better.

So why not just go for the best life?

Why would I? I'm still enjoying my stay; still preparing the way for the inevitable.
GMT 0 Accra, Ghana