Monday, December 28, 2015

To my Grandma who I’ve only met once

Most of my friends grew up with grandparents on their side. They would wait outside the school for their Lolas or Lolos to pick them up. They would go to church on Sundays with their grannies on their side. They have those stories they can share, they have those memories they can remember. That I don’t have.

My Lolo from our mother’s side died before I was born. My mom said I have his intellect. He could have been proud of me for being the only apo who attended college in UP. He could have been proud of your achievements in school, says my mom.

My grandparents on my dad’s side were living in Zambales and we rarely go there. Our Lolo died when I was young, we were never really close but his death was the first death I’ve experienced in the family. Seeing my father cried broke the tough kid I have inside. It was hard. And had it been my way, I don’t want it to ever happen again.

I have two living grandmothers left. One’s about 4-hour drive from home. I saw her less than a year ago. The other’s on the other side of the world, about thirteen time zones away from us. And as long as I can remember, I have only met her once.

1995. I was 6 then. My parents hurriedly woke us up because we’re going on a trip. But I have school, I resented.  Mama told us she already took care of that. So we went to Manila to meet our Lola and Uncle Medy and Aunt Cecile and our cousins. When I first saw them, I didn’t feel anything. What would you expect a 6-year old boy, who was deprived of sleep, feel. Besides, I barely knew them.

Aside from those occasional calls, Balikbayan boxes, Christmas and greeting cards, I hardly knew Lola. She was in the States even before I was born. I have seen her pictures though and she looked like Mama. I have heard her voice and she sounded just like Mama. She would talk to me in Ilocano and I would pass the phone to my mom for translations. And she has always loved sending us letters.

I have read her letters and they were beautifully written. Mama told us she excelled in English when she was studying. My Lola was the class salutatorian and who else is the valedictorian but my Lolo. Great genes, if you ask me. And I only got to know her in a short time she was in the Philippines.

Almost two decades passed by and she never came back. There were plans – us migrating to the States, them going back to the country but those plans didn’t materialized. But still, we have always tried to be in touched with her. Try is the only thing we could because we knew it will never be enough.

I regret growing up not seeing her around. I regret not taking care of her especially when she was tired or ill. I regret not having her around during birthdays and graduations. I regret not having to spend Christmas and New Year with her, how small our family looks like during mini-reunions. I don’t have that Lola who’ll tell us our family’s history beyond what our parents’ memory could hold. We don’t have that Lola who’ll tell us how silly my mom was when she was growing up. But she provided for us and she sent us to school so who am I to fret. And I’ll be forever thankful for what she did for us.

Last night, I had two Lola’s present. Today, I was left with one.

I love you, Lola! I hope I made you proud.  

Saturday, July 4, 2015

To the guy who can’t get over the fact that Pampanga’s Best is made in Pampanga

I woke up one day and saw this meaningful exchange of messages on my FB.

K: Intayin mo lang si G.
D: Lam nya na yun. Nararamdaman nya na pinag uusapan ko sya.
K: Wait pano mo ngagawa yun? Pinaguusapan mo si G all by yourself?
D: Dito. Sa chat.
K: Paki check nga tagalog mo. Haha.
D: Tama. Diba?
K: Tanong mo sa bato.
D: Di sumasagot eh.
G: <*facepalm*>

I died - right there. I don’t even wanna go to the judger and juggernaut thing. Or the, never mind. How can I even call these people friends? And this guy, really?

I remember the first time we saw you walk in the office. You look like that guy from that 90s OPM band but with more hair and a weirder smile. We tricked you into answering some interesting questions as a part of your “initiation”. I really thought you’re going to punch somebody in the face when someone played a joke on you. I was partially right. Probably, you were just warming up.

Days passed and you were nothing but a wallflower in the middle of a wild crowd. You were just a mere observer, watching how the team works, learning how the dynamics operate. You have this feel that you don’t give a sh*t about anyone or anything in the room. There’s certain angst in you that no one dared to conquer. Not until lunch breaks happened.

Those lunch breaks were the most exciting part of our day. We practically talked about anything and everything about life. I have been your guide, teaching you about the tricks of the trade, imparting my so-called “knowledge” on surviving our office life. In return, you let us see a glimpse of your world. You let your guard down and we saw how “mean” you can become. (Di ako ang pinakamasama satin.)

I will never forget that day when our Queen’s on leave and someone else asked us out for lunch. Instead of listening to that girl’s incredulous stories, we were busy chatting, talking about something else, and trying to hide our grins when someone says something funny. And from then on, we were three.

Those “Biglaang” lakads and “Putok Batok” food trips, that Tagaytay field trip and the succeeding Tagaytay trips with the team; I saw some facets that made me reexamine my perception of you.

You have a knack of organizing things that I envy. I wish I could recall where is something located where and how your clothes are neatly arranged and folded inside your bag. (Malayong malayo nung emo ka pa.)

You are my music brother though your music IQ is probably higher than most people I know. You have a very sophisticated taste in music that I wish I have your playlists. You know Gin Blossoms and The Verve more than I do. You know more Third Eye Blind songs than I do. Your U2 and Dave Matthews Band knowledge is beyond my range. But I still hate you for ruining Sugar Ray’s “Answer the Phone” for me. (Hindi siya bastos!)

Though you are not the fastest driver on the road, you always made sure that our Queen still gets her sleep at the back of your car. We already ran out of stories to tell but the Queen, oh the Queen, is still there- slumbering soundly on her pajamas.

Not a lot of people know you can draw. My stick figures are no match to your amusing sketches. You are creative and artistic. And you’re using your hand to good use, amigo (if you know what I mean). I wish people could get to know you more and see how awesome you really are.

It sucks though that at one point, you just shunned us out of your world and you chose to go and live by on your own. And as your friends, we understand. We always understand. But you came back. And that’s what’s important. And as the only unattached person in our group, I will keep you both “normal” and “sane”.

It would have been better if you had been transferred back but there are some things we can’t control. And we can work with that. For now, allow me to say “Welcome back, Halcon! Namiss mo kami! See you around.

PS: Yung assignment natin. Alam mo na. Ikaw na bahala dyan.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

someday, sAme day

Last night, lost knight, a cloud’s above my head,
Though I can’t remember words you might have said.
Like feeble seeds beginning to ripen,
You acted as if nothing ever happened.

Last night, lost knight, a cloud’s above my head,
You were standing at the side of my bed,
Holding my hand like a kid on the mall,
Isn’t it yesterday you made me feel small?

Last night, lost knight, a cloud’s above my head,
I assumed you just wanted me dead,
But your lips tasted twilight,
And no one’s putting up a fight.

Last night, lost knight, a cloud’s above my head,
I hope our heart’s already mend,
Because someday, sAme day, I may want you back,
When every rule’s not all white and black,
When qualm and doubts got no face,
When silly judgment can never be traced.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

F_T: Better be an "I" not "A"

I never use the word “fit” to describe my physique. I am nowhere near to being in shape and I don’t need to be reminded of that fact every time I look myself in the mirror. My idea of an exercise is a good game of badminton (online!) and my notion of a good “cut” is rib eye and T-bone. If it’s any consolation, I go to the gym every once in a while and it’s been really quite a while!

Don’t get me wrong, I am quite sporty though. I bet I know (and played) more sports than you know, thanks to ESPN and Star Sports for teaching me how to become a noble spectator and an excellent commentator. I just don’t have the chance to play as much as I wanted to (Hey, you can’t play Rugby alone in your room or else, your family’s gonna send you to the nearest rehab).

 I “tried” working out regularly, “tried” to play as often as I can, and “tried” to do as many physical activities as I could. Again, the operative word here is “try” but it seems like I’m not trying hard enough. So in an attempt to save my dwindling fitness life, I signed up for Citi Bike Run Fun 2015.

Truth be told, I am not entirely sold on the idea that I would be running because I hate jogging and cardio workouts. The only running I did recently was running some house errands and running away from a failed relationship. If I could choose a better way to spend my GCD I would have chosen any other activity but this, I told myself at first. Then again, what’s 1K but an easy breeze, right?

Wait? I can’t sign up for 1K? They’re for kids?
            Well, I’ll sign up for 3K then. Oh, seriously? No slots available. It’s like Diliman enrollment all over again.
             I can’t run 10K yet. That I am absolutely sure so 5K it is. Challenging but what’s life without any challenges? You just got to get out of your comfort zone and redefine your limits. And how I wish I could actually run as fast as how my mind raced to get a mental picture of how 5k looks like. So be it.

                Before the signal went green, I got to observe and reflect on what have I gotten myself into. It’s nice to see officemates don their fitness outfits instead of their usual business suits. It’s good to finally see faces on those familiar names you would only see on your work email. It’s worth noting how different a person acts outside work as another facet of their personality unfolds before your eyes. And it’s nice to hear how the event also supports programs by the company’s partner foundations, promoting it’s advocacy of volunteerism and helping society.

                There were times when I thought my legs going to give up and my knees going to pop out but I actually managed to finish the race in about an hour. I thought I was going to be dragged to the finish line either by an ambulance or on a wheel chair but I was underestimating myself out there. I survived 5K with nothing but tired feet and pumped up heartbeat.

                So what do I take away from my experience from the race?

                I learned that you got to find your pace and not rush things. You run too fast and you’ll end up running on empty gas. You run too slowly and you’ll end up being left behind.

 I learned that you can always count on your friends when you feel like giving up. When something bad happens to you, some friends are just a call away and they’ll be right there in front of you.

I learned that you compete with no one but yourself. Only you know when to push yourself and when to hold back.  

                Finally, I learned that this race should not be my last and I should keep running to be physically and mentally better. For now, I am running out of words to say so I better sleep before I ran out of energy to post this thing. Next year, it better be an "I" that completes this word rather than an "A".

Saturday, April 11, 2015


My moral compass’ not always pointed due north.
But I always try to go with what I think is right.
At that moment, I thought you were right – just right.

You came in a time when I thought I was ready for another flight.
I was donning my courage suit and look to take a leap of fate.
I took a step forward and saw you waiting for me down below. 
I knew you were there to catch my fall.
I took a last good look on what I’m going to leave all behind,
all those things that eventually became part of mine.
It took me some time but it just felt so right. So, I let go and fly.

             I glided on the sky and shouted your name in delight.
And down I went, unrestrained, free falling to the atmosphere of your realm.
Like a silent plunge almost without a splash, I thought you were in for a ride.
But as I was blazing my way thru, everything turned blindingly white.

My wounded eyes searched for yours’ but you were not in sight.
Then a greater force knocked me down, far stronger than my puny gravity,
and I just spun there round and round, damaged without a fight.

            Yet in my mind, I thought I felt your skin against mine.
Scorching yet riveting, your grip would have saved my life.
I opened my eyes and in a wormhole I was floating inside;
A distortion of space and time where in gravity, I don’t have to abide.

In the fourth dimension, your world collides with mine.
Yet again, it’s not yet time.
Our paths remain parallel and I got to take mine.
Maybe, it was just a phase;
You were just a phase and I should continue with my stride.

So catch me. Repair me.
Throw me back to my gravity;
And surrender me to uncertainty.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

An Ode to the Girl Who Always Wanted to Become a Plain Housewife

Meh. Wala ka naming alam na gawaing bahay so you’ll never be a good housewife”, I told you once while talking about how you see yourself in the near future.

Gusto ko yung mayamang housewife na right after maghatid sa school ng mga bata, shopping agad or spa. Dapat kasi meron namang katulong” , you argued in reply.

That right there is the reason why I think you’ll never be a plain housewife – because you’ll never ever be plain.

Your demeanor is far from being simple. You are a walking conspiracy. You’re a Megan Fox wrapped in a Zooey Deschanel’s body. Your frail physique hides the fact that you’re as feisty as four black ghetto girls combined. Your innocent face disguises the maturity and sensibleness you have. Your good girl image gets you out of trouble for being so adamant and brutally frank. Plus, you can out eat any blue-collared job worker at any given day of the week.

            And you’ve taught me lessons sometimes I unwillingly have to learn. Albeit the bullying part, you’re the only girl who could shoot down my ego and send me crashing back to reality in a jiffy. You’re that girl who’ll tell me how goofy my hair looks and how I never should wear white ever. We could talk absolutely about everything; no matter how trivial they may sound – from pesky officemates to our greatest love and how eating chicken could turn you gay.

        You have been my security blanket (aside from my beard), my source of “confidence”. I’m your pseudo-bf when he’s not around, your source of “wisdom”. We’re partners in crime, Bonnie and Clyde. And I’m afraid that’s going to change sooner than I would be ready for.

I dread the fact that one morning, I’ll walk into an office and I’ll never find you there. When that happens, I’ll be the saddest hairy guy in the world. I know it’ll be for the better. After all, we need to spread the awesomeness that’s us. You’ll definitely leave a gaping void in my heart that no other girl could ever fill. But until that day happens, you would still be my flat-chested bitch who’ll never ever be a plain housewife.