Tuesday, May 30, 2006

of rags on carpets

I went to a red carpet premiere of a movie early this evening.

I heard that a red carpet could be laid down only for important visitors. My first real life encounter with such was during the concert of Dionne Warwick at the PICC. Her dressing room was in a mobile outside so a red carpet was laid on the street crossing to the backstage of the plenary hall. Nobody asked why. She deserves it anyway.

It was my first time to go to such a preview of a movie. The carpet was stretched from the main hall of the mall going to the gates of the cinema, lined with steel fences on both sides. Apparently, out of six cinemas, this one was shown at the farthest from the hall. Upon entry, you walk on the red carpet in the middle of prying eyes on both sides outside the fence-this about fifty meters. Thank goodness, I'm totally covered with anonymity. We quickly got to our seats. Thanks to the resounding name of Carlo, we were seated somewhere in the balcony. Near, yet too far from the maddening crowd.

Seated near us are various members from the industry, the press, writers, rooters, and from the not so near, actors. It's interesting how people handle the whole situation. How they put characters on their places (and I don't mean the seats). In which, the word hierarchy became more apparent and the handlers of power became more obvious if not abusive. All these while a cult of fans are starting to pile up in the loge area. When the main actors of the movie started trickling in, the cult had its priest screech their names with indiscernible phrases. Each for one popular actor as if in an interval of a trance.

Then the customary national anthem and a short program with a raffle of home wares. This was ended by the flight of a number of shirts thrown to the swarming fans that caused a neglectable commotion. Then finally the movie. The movie was about this mom having three sons, each representing a breed of gay of today. There were funny moments, yes, dull ones, brilliant humor, brilliant acting and acts that fall short of comments. It was obvious that the attempt was there, much more obvious was the indulgence of directing the movie to entrap the restless loge. It was an entertaining movie, to say the least. Though much more novel to me was the experience. I guess I was entertained more by the ones who watched it.

Before the credits scrolled up, both the balcony and the loge started to stand, hurrying their way to the gate going out missing the "curtain call" for the movie. By that time, I can barely read who actually were behind the show as everybody was standing in front of me- members of the industry, press, writers, rooters and all.

Going out of the cinema was another feat as there were lit vultures guarding the exits ready to interview people. We sneaked our way out and I saw the rolled red carpet on one side of the hall. And I wonder, it shouldn't have been laid in the first place.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

designer angsts #1

sunrise or sunset?
photo by glenn of men's health magazine

I have been wanting to write this for the magazine but I can't find a section where it can fit.

Since I started working here three years ago, the question whether the interior design industry can be brought to the masses a viable cause or not remains a question. One of the reasons why I stayed in this magazine until now is primarily because of this. Real Living started with the cover line-- Live Well, Spend Smart. If we dissect that line, it does not automatically mean - have a beautiful house, yet limiting your budget to 1,500 pesos for a sofa. Spending smart can still mean buying a tulip chair knowing for a fact that it has a resale value, for 23,000 pesos. Yet, at first glance, 'Live Well, Spend Smart' can actually mean having a beautiful home on a shoestring budget. It is with this first-impression-on-the-cover-line that has been my guide in composing a lot of my visuals for Real Living.

After three years, somehow, we got the message across, especially to a lot furniture makers and exporters. We are not a high-end magazine. Yet we make beautiful homes. It is with this sincerity that we became number one in our genre. Screw modesty.

Yet every time this is being brought up, I can't help but wish sometimes that "sana, high-end kami, mas mabilis sana ang mga pull-outs at x-deals." Before I got here, I was working as interior designer of one of the highest paid pedigreed designers in the country. An average budget for a three-bedroom condominium unit can go up to eight million excluding my boss' fees. I was doing visual merchandising for their store, which actually serves coffee or tea to its clients while checking the furniture pieces on display. A single vase is equivalent to the cup of coffee, plus the cup and saucer, plus the beans, plus espresso maker. Some have even prices that can include the entire modular kitchen where your espresso maker can be found. In other words, what is sold there, what is discussed, I will never get to afford. And so is my kind-- the working class.

Where I'm coming from, this notion is true to a lot of people. Interior design is one industry for the rich. Does it follow that a beautiful home is exclusive to the rich too? Of course we say that it doesn’t follow. Because you can actually do it yourself. You don’t have to hire a designer. That is why the magazine is there. That is why there are magazines. Now, of course this doesn't apply to the first question. Maybe a bit, but not quite.

Yet working in the magazines surely made the dilemma more apparent. Especially when you see products that are well crafted with perfect proportion priced exorbitantly. Much worse, you meet the maker of these products (furniture, for example) short of telling you in your face that you can not feature them because it does not fit your market range or simply because they don't manufacture for the local market-- spell third world. It gets more frustrating because here you are, getting invited to these shows, seeing these pieces yet your lenses are clipped but instead you get to settle to what is available in their laminate form proudly Xiamen made in the malls.

If not laminates, we have Malaysian rubber wood, or maybe some wood, which used to be crates now converted to a dinner table. Sofas made of ply boards that can last only for three years. While the products that we consider quality, proudly Philippine made are not available in the Philippines. If it is, they are too expensive. I'd settle for the latter, at least it is sold here. If you dig deeper, these products don't really cost much export wise (they have to still compete with China after all) but when sold here, their prices are doubled. This is one thing I cannot understand. It is a conscious effort to alienate your products to a vast majority of your people. It is with this attitude that makes interior design an industry only for the rich. Quality interior design.

I attended a symposium months ago and a demi-god of a designer was invited to speak. He was wearing this pink suit saying that design is for everybody yet you can not approach him easily because you have to pass thru a battalion of local designers who are harbingers of the exact opposite idea he espouses.

Interior design is indeed for everybody. It only becomes elitist when mixed with the word industry. It is not for free either, as everything else, it comes with a price. It only becomes elitist because of the conscious effort done by a lot of members in its core for it to be such.

While the worldwide trend is moving towards tapping the greater market (which is the middle class), we are living in feudal times here in this country. Where the monarchs are trying so hard to keep their fancies exclusively theirs not knowing the peasants outside already crossed the moat. The greater question here, do the peasants outside care? Do they really want to enter? It is also with this question that I am still with the magazine. Indeed, there is a growing number of people who are more conscious in making their homes more beautiful now. But is the number sufficient to at least fuel the materials and means of opening the market?

I’m still with the magazine. And I still stand for the cause.

I have been wanting to write this for the magazine but I can't find a section where it can fit. As I said before, I am not writer, but sure there are other ways of airing this one. Photos perhaps?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

people i admire most... #2

She called for a pre-production meeting at eight in the evening, Good Friday of 2003. And I said yes. An hour before the meeting, she cancelled because she got tired from the day's work. I heard they shot two houses that day.

It was after office hours, it was a holiday, and yes we were in Boracay Island.

I was introduced to her about a week before that. I told my friend (who is her friend also) that I am very interested in any position in her magazine. I was styling for some shoots (major shoots! ugh!) in another magazine during that time. She told me that we would try it out first for a month before deciding if I really am ready for the job. I agreed. Three weeks later, she called me saying that I have to decide whether I want to be with the group or not. The magazine that she started became my home until now-Real Living.

She was my first editor-in-chief. My mother in the publishing business. And in everything in our little nook in the office, she meant business. Everything ran within a system. In their proper order until all of us became a team. In which the system she imposed became second nature.

She taught me how to prance around the industry, made me understand how things should be done, taught me to be firm during rough times and patient when being tried. She taught me how to say 'No' to protect myself. She made me realize that amidst everything, I am working to better myself too.

Yet outside of work, her kind of fun is most surprising. Surely, she got to know the meaning of fun early in life and continued to spell it with much wisdom and openness. Bring her almost anywhere, even those places she never got to enter, and give her five minutes to acclimatise and you can leave her alone painting the entire club red. Upon driving home, no amount of alcohol can wash sense off her.

No nonsense boss commanding respect all the time (to a lot, fear), one of the few (and I mean it!) girls I find sexy, gifted with wit and humor spiced with intelligent sarcasm and zestful about life. An amazing woman, peculiar a lot of times. She pretty much resembled her name - Apol, as sweet and sumptuous yet spelled so barok.

It was when she left a year later after she hired me that I realized the most important thing she taught me- believing myself.

"Ikaw lang ang stylist na iniwan ko sa shoot!"

That's my claim to fame.


photo by heidi pascual

I had dinner with a group of friends today. It was a despedida party for an officemate who is leaving at the end of the month. It was the same group that went to a trip on some island in Cebu before. Surely, an island can bind people well somehow.

I arrived terribly late as when they are on their way there, I was still grasping for excuses to take my leave from another friend who's house we are going to feature about seven kilometres away.

The sisig rice was spiced with laughter as we discussed events about what our speculations on how things (and people) pushed him to resign. The humor was not as sweet as the bottomless ice tea yet just right sawsawan for the inasal, I don't have to make one for my pecho. Grilling people is one specialty. Funny, the conversation flowed as segmented as Pulp Fiction and pretty much unlike how these people would write an article. Then again, at the end, you get the real picture, a full course meal topped with bibingka for dessert. I decided not to take a bite from the diminutive bibingka. Not much praises either from the ones who did. Just like how the story unfolded at the end of the night. Quite a combination of flavors- schemes, deceit, ambition leading to a unavoidable tragic end.

I was on my way out of the restaurant when I actually realize that the whole thing, humorously discussed, was very poignant. And in times like these people are tried. No winners nor losers, regardless of the outcome, it is how you take that very end that determines what type of person you are.

I will sure miss this friend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

people i admire most...

While having coffee with Carlo this afternoon, I told him that I wanted to write something about the people I admire most.

"Naku, marami-rami yun!" he said with a sheepish smile.

Admittedly, I can spend days just enumerating them. Let's edit it to- "the people I admire most who I've actually met." Or how about if we still cut the number by making it- "the people that I admire most who I've met and changed my life"?

This is better.

My, why do I feel like I'm writing the title for my thesis?!?

Of course I wanted to start it with my parents but lets just say... "the people theat I admire most who I've met and changed my life who are not related to me in blood"

Damn long title!

Let us start with my mentor in college.

Not a lot of people like this person really. He landed in the pages of a national daily because of some atrocious accusation of a student. Personally, the accusations are not far from happening but not to this accuser. I can tell, I was the one who replaced him when he walked out. Then again, nothing came out of it primarily because it was all hype. Apart from the trauma of being publicly tried, status quo remained, and my mentor continued on teaching in the university.

His name is Ogie Juliano. We first met when I enrolled in his class in acting 1. During that time, I was already part of the cast of the play being directed by his mentor- Tony Mabesa. So the pressure in his class was greater than a regular student would feel. He was directing another play also during that time that our class was required to audition to. You're only exempted when you are already part of other plays, exempli gratia, me. More pressure. I was his favorite example in class, being 'the Mabesa actor' and 'the one who refused to act under him'.

In the middle of the semester, we became really good friends. Though I'm not part of his play, after our rehearsals, I will go to his shows. Dinner everynight. Apparently, my status during that time was 'student' or make it- 'struggling student' err... 'struggling, starving student'. I was your all time free loader almost everynight. And when I get honorarium from the plays I acted in, I treat him for dinner. That usually is after every two months. Almost like the blue moon.

I eventually acted in his plays. But the more important thing that he thought me was not about acting. He took me as an apprentice on design. Specifically costuming. He was the one who taught me how a medieval cloak's cut would differ from that of the victorian's. How the cut of the skirts changed through centuries. He taught me that a panuelo is there to cover the breasts and not wearing a tapis is unbecoming of a lady during the turn of the century Manila.

"Wala naman ksi silang panty nun kaya eto na yung pantakip para di liparin ang palda." He further stressed, "Kaya yung mga bisaya na patadyong lang, bastos yun!"

His designs remained well studied and carefully crafted. A teacher with masters in theatre, he continues to study the details and admits that he has still a lot to learn. And each time he drafts a scheme, he explains why it is so. From colors, to cuts, to fringes, to accessories. Not a single detail left unexplained. There will always be a reason why each single thread is there in a single piece of costume. Most importantly, he taught me that I can only do that if (and only if) I put my heart on it. Treating it as a job will be a sin.

"My work is personal. That is how I operate. In no way one can make a good design if he doesn't put his heart into it."

I understand him now. Now that I'm on my own. I still falter a lot of times. Yet thankful, at least I know how to make it right.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

action star

Holding the clutch, I tried to step on the second gear while making the turn. I was on my way to the beach, thinking that its November 1, nobody will be there. I didn't make it to the beach. It was with that turn that my rear gear slid on a not-so-big rock on the paved dirt road about twenty meters away from our house.

While I was trying to collect my thoughts with my body totally not holding on to something, suspended in mid-air, all I can remember was two seconds of flight and I landed hand first, then elbows, waist, thighs, knees and feet. Of all places, on a poor imitation of the lunar surface. Then I felt the manibela on my inner left leg.

Upon landing, the first thing on my mind was-- "Is there anybody in the vicinity?" I quickly got up, grabbed my scooter and decided to go back home. By some stroke of badluck, nobody was there. Not even the ward. I was standing there at the gate of our house, yes, along the road, with my dusty bike for a good five minutes until I noticed people on tricycles passing by staring at me. I thought I was so popular that they have to actually slow down just to look. Oh yes, stare they did, but not because I'm famous. Before I get to check myself, I saw blood on the driveway by our gate. Coming from the direction where I am standing. Then I saw my once beige shorts turned dark wine on the left thigh. And I felt my fingers dripping.

It was at that time I felt dizzy and decided to sit. A good ten minutes and I saw my parents' car. I rushed to the bathroom and decided to take a shower and clean myself. Clean meaning, pulling every single gravel that got embedded to the upper layer of the skin. The bathroom floor turned pink. Exactly the pink I wanted for the accent wall of one of my clients. Too bad I was not able to document the color because I got too preoccupied with too much gravel on my hands and legs.

It was after the betadine that I found out that I can barely walk. It was damn painful. And in a matter of less than five seconds, I limped for about a month. The bike was sold while I was still limping.

I still have the scars on my legs now. No amount of contractubex gel was able to remove it. Yet when I went home recently, I actually thought my scars are gone already, at least to my parents, for they were so excited to give me another gift...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

NON-writer's angsts...

my table

When I was in high school, I would be compared to my two siblings a lot of times. Both of them became editors-in-chief of the school paper while I only got to pass the qualifying exam when I was in fourth year already. My father once told me that I am not as good in the English language as my sisters.

I got to be at peace with the idea when I was already in college. The joke was, "I'm an English patient." My tenses are so bad I shiver everytime I submit a paper. I have a mentor-friend who would always correct me when I talk. From grammar to pronunciation to diction. Thank goodness, we don't write each other!

I still have those common mistakes until now. And my ego and my being an 'english patient' became best of friends. To protect my ego, I would always say I'm bad at it. Accepting the truth afterall, is always the best defense.

Ironically, among us siblings, I landed in the print media industry. Editorial department. Something is amiss in the state of Denmark!

Of course, it doesn't really follow if the information given is up to there only. Apparently, in the world of commercial writers (with due apologies and no pun intended) there is that need for non-writers like myself. We call ourselves part of the Art Department. Yet, since the said industry is in the third world, there are only seven of you in the magazine. You often don't have the choice but to write. At least the captions.

Everytime I click the Word icon in my computer, the memories in highshool appear on screen. And again, the best friend of my ego will come to the rescue. I guess, if you can't do it, be defensive about it... And in making the defense, I know I'm hurting myself. I have not done anything to cure it anyway. Though one time, my (former) boss told me that I can actually write, it fueled my desire to totally remove the 'english patient' armor and work to improve my writing skills. The desire was short lived. My boss resigned. And the one who replaced her never gave me a (serious) writing job.

As of now, I have this blog to contend myself with. As my present boss declared to the whole company that I am not a writer at all, I guess, my armors will be with me all the time.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Real Living May

Available in bookstores and magazine stands. A shelter coffee table book that costs way way less than you expected... it's less than 200 pesos... o, walang aangal!

its siksik, liglig at nag-uumapaw ng info on decorating and home improvement tips. BILI NA!!! Now na!

Bago mawala sa magazine stands... grab your copy of real living may issue now...

thanks for the images carlo

Thursday, May 18, 2006


"I think we are better off as friends."

I heard that line this morning. Funny because suddenly, the word 'friend' had a new meaning to me.

When I was a kid, friendship is one of the best (if not the best) things one can have. It determines how your childhood will be and eventually define you as an adult. Friendship is one of the most important things when one is in highschool. It can be your WD40 or your 3M step stopper. While in college, it evolved into brotherhood or sisterhood (in most cases).

Kapatid, ate, sis, bro, dude, tsong, teh, terrr, kaps, pare, mare, kuya, daddy, mamy, papa, mama, dear, darling, dahlin, sweety... the list is endless. We call our friends different names and calling them by their legal first names would be uncouth and rude. They became too familiar that we can not even call them by their first names. One thing, we will always be there for them.

"I think we are better off as friends."

It sounded like friendship means settling for something less becasue you can't be something more. Or, it sounded like, "from now on, we will not see each other as often..." eventually becoming "oh, its been so long. How are you?"

This morning, friendship sounded like some euphemism of something you dont really like. Although, on the contrary, from my end, it was the logical ideal.

Friday, May 12, 2006

How to set the sea on fire!

carlo and coni when we were stranded at the iloilo airport... thanks to cebu pacific!

In one of our coffee breaks (spell break as loooong break), Carlo and I would kid around settling to our respective home provinces eventually when we are in our fortys. He in Palawan and I in Antique. Since the two provinces are almost directly facing each other, divided by the vast Sulo Sea, we promised ourselves that we will visit each other from time to time.

Rather, the best solution- to buy an island somewhere in the Cuyo group of islands which is located in the central part of Sulo Sea and eventually meet midway. Considering that both of us would have our own (to climb further the social ladder) yachts. Or make it supercat para mas mabilis.

The plan is that we will meet at least once a year there.

"Uhmm (galing sa ilong), Carlo, nabobore ako. Magkita tayo in three hours."

On our way there, we would sit at the deck of the ship, arms stretched forming a V. In each arm, holding thirty yards of light orange fabric, make it gina silk or tafetta (kung walang budget). From afar, its like setting the sea on fire.

We will do this everytime until it becomes an event in the quiet, quaint peaceful islands of Cuyo. We will invite more friends to do the same. Until it becomes a fleet everytime.

And when it becomes a yearly event, Carlo will not just be known for Zsa Zsa Zaturnah...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


would you settle here?

this is just it... on a daily basis.
not much people in here.

quo vadis

Of course, I'm plagued by existentialists questions now after I get to talk to my mom.

Where am I really going? What's the next ten years going to be? Do I really have to change my outlook? My appearance? My behaviour? My lifestyle? Or, how about if we make it two? What is the immediate course of action?

Looking at my home, I realized that I have acquired quite a number of things. I used to put all my worldly goods in a bag everytime I transfer homes. Right now, I would need a crate.

It's only now that I realize that my life before can actually be put in a bag. It's less complicated. I'm beginning to ask myself if indeed it was better then.

My contract here will be until March of 2007. That's almost a year from now. And I really don't know how to go about it.

Yes, I really don't know how to go about the whole thing...

I really don't.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Working for five straight days has eaten me up.

Working for three projects, one day job, one consultancy (night-)work has always been exciting until things change, people grow old, and in the middle of that, I forgot my parents' anniversary. The last time it happened was 11 years ago. When I was in a 'place where the two highways meet'. I chose the path going to the right. And right now, I just realize that it can be very busy and difficult.

Eleven years ago, I had all the time in the world to do the things that I like. Yet, I did not know where to go. I know my path now, yet I don't have much time to do what I love. Of course, there are a lot of other reasons why I can't. Not only-- time. Yet, it is the most that I need now.

I called my mother awhile ago to apologize for not being able to greet them. We had a good talk. She told me that my dad and her had a date during their anniversary. They talked about being a couple for thirty six long years. How they started and how they are now.

Things changed. People grow older.

Thursday, 8pm to 1230am-
styling Michi Calica's Bridal and Home

Then she asked me to remind my sister about their senior citizen card. And pushing alongside with being senior citizens, she asked me to go home for good because they are growing old. To take care of the family business. And everything that they manage. I asked for a year or two extension. "It is ok," she said. "Do whatever you like there first. But time will come that we really need your presence here."

I used to be the youngest in our family. I have two sisters. One is a doctor, married with one kid, and the other, a lawyer, married to her job. That leaves me to be the one who is the most practical candidate to settle in San Jose. How I wish it is California, but no. San Jose de Buenavista, Antique. Our youngest is a three year old boy, feisty and unmindful of the things around him. I promised my parents that I will take care of him when he grows to be a lad. They got him in their sixties. Quite the right age to become grandparents. He is part of the 'other things' my mom wanted me to take care of.

Our youngest, Tim
I have stayed here in Manila for half of my life. It has been a rough ride yet quite enjoyable. So many things learned, unlearned a few and still learning a lot. Gained a lot of friends, lost some, gaining more. Exciting, I should say. Stressful, no doubt as my hairline can prove it. I fell in love with the place, fell in love with the people. Fell a lot of times. I got to accept that life is really as it is.

Right now, I have a day job, three active projects, two dormant ones, two consultancy work and amidst all that, sprouts of quick and easy money diminutive projects that pay big bucks. I live alone just like how i pictured life eleven years ago, minus the hectic schedule.

I'm still ok.

Until I got to talk to my mom. I don't have to make a decision because it has been done already. I have thought about it few years back. I just don't know when. Two years.

"Do whatever you like there first. But time will come that we really need your presence here."

I guess, it will be very soon.

The time that I feared most has come to past.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

tuesday lunch

My cleaning lady arrived about eleven today. If there is one person who knows me since I moved here in my place, her name must be Lyn-lyn.

She worked as a waitress for a friend's restaurant a few years back. Then the restaurant changed management and she was not able to cope with the change. She ended up in the laundry shop downstairs. Talk about parallel movement (if there is such!). It's to my advantage actually. Now I can have somebody clean my house whom I can actually trust. She takes care of my house, my clothes and my bills. The best part is, not only me, also my friends' and some stranger's.

We would sometimes talk about a lot of things. A lot of times, about other people.

When I was a kid, Tatay would always tell me that only idiots talk about other people. Idiot or no idiot, it's highly entertaining! Thats my once-a-month dose of tsismis. Something to look forward to every month.

The whole talk is spiced with her life story as well. I found out that she's receiving minimum wage downstairs and she has to do house cleaning to somehow beef up her salary. To be able to pay for additional bills. At one time she would ask for assistance and she has always been consistent in paying back on time.

She supports her family. Thank God she's single. Yet on the funny side, she would go out on dates. Or rather, she cherishes the fact that she actually has a boyfriend. They would go out from time to time. And everytime she tells her story, her eyes brightens.

She would complain on how she was scolded. When one client losts his/her shirt or bra, or brief, or towel or rug or whatever. And lose part of their salary to pay for it. She would gripe why her boss only sees her and not the other employees. And she would always reiterate that she's very careful with her work. "Mahirap maghanap ngayon ng trabaho. Mabuti nga ako, may tinatanggap kada buwan." she says.

You can actually say that she knows what she's saying. She has been with me for more than two years now. I can't complain.

It's almost lunch. I have my dentist appointment at one. I'm supposed to be in the office by now. I barely have that drive to move. Still have a lot to complete and finish.

Not much I can say for myself really...

lifts from livejournal

since this site looks better, i'm moving everything here....

Apr. 27th, 2006 02:15 am
half alive

It's quarter past two in the morning and I'm tired, and exhausted. I arrived in Manila about one in the afternoon and it feels like I never left at all. Maybe I shouldn't have in the first place. Now, work is piling up and things are becoming that monster that I was so scared when I was a kid.

I can still remember my chronic nightmare when I was a child. There was this giant hiding somewhere by the banana plants at the back of our old house. then he will enter the house though the kitchen and haunt me in my room. I will hide under my study desk and eventually wake-up. and things will be fine as I would tranfer to my parents' bed. He would always come back when I sleep the nights after. Until I would think of ways to get back at him... the only difference is that I am already awake when I get to device a scheme.

The bogeyman is back again... There are some nights that I am just afraid that I would just stay in my room. Trying to device a plan how to get back...

The whole time... I'm fully awake.

Apr. 24th, 2006 05:41 pm
i want to take a break!

It was a quiet day at the beach this afternoon. Sipping my coffee infront of Cafe Breizh (read: B-r-a-z... B-r-e-z, damn, i don't know how to type the icon!). It's a Monday afternoon and I decided not to go to work. Rather go to my detour point everytime I go home (to Antique [read: an-ti-ke, not an-tik or anything that is associated with old, ancient, of value... oh yes... land here is so cheap too] which will always be home for me).

It was a fast drive from our house in San Jose. Left at about quarter past five and by eight, my paerents, aunt and I found ourselves a hearty breakfast in Caticlan. I reached Boracay at about nine. Oh yes, I was wide awake already considering that when I am in Manila, I would still be in bed by that time. Had lunch with some friends which ended just now. Damn! It's almost six. It was already four in the afternoon and we were just halfway with dessert. If only things can really be slow, life would have been more fun.

Only now that we dispersed. Walking along the beach front pathway, I remembered Mel. This is where we first met. The thought gave me that melancholy smile. It was not so long ago. Yet things have turned so fast. A lot of things changed. I am not jobless anymore. Not like the first time we saw each other. My time has been at the mercy of my job for the last three years. Unlike before.

I wanted to drop everything off until tomorrow and not mind work. I was wrong. The first text I got today when I opened my phone was about work. The first person I talked to on the phone was my managing editor. I am here in this internet cafe to check my e-mails becuse my client wanted me to design something for them. It is Monday after all.

I have been longing for a break for the past three years. To enjoy one morning not worrying about anything. No deadlines, no pressures, no calls from anybody asking if I'm free the following day. Bottomline is, I still can not afford it. It's very painful to admit but I still can't afford it.

Having a vacation right now is a very expensive endeavor. Since you are given a limited time (five days or so), you tend to maximize it and go to places you have never been, do all the things you have been wanting to do ever since and yes, ending up more tired as compared to the regular days working. And the word 'rest' had a different meaning. Add to that, you're penniless.

Something is wrong somewhere.

It's sunset outside, I guess, that, I should somehow enjoy...

And as I was walking down the pathway, I remebered Mel. He doesn't have to work anymore.

Apr. 21st, 2006 05:04 am
for mel

The day started quite well yesterday. I had one of the most wonderful and productive meetings in my life with Michi C. The best thing about it, I never expected it to be like that. The work she's offering is something that I would actually agree doing for free. Of course, we are talking about metaphors! err, rather hyperboles. But one thing sure, it is something that I will enjoy greatly.

After the meeting, I ended up walking New Manila contemplating happy thoughts. I have two more meetings for the day. One at three, and the other at eight. It was lunch. Then a client called. She asked if we can move the meeting at five in the afternoon instead of three because she can not make it at an earlier time. I later found ot that she has to go to the salon to have her hair done by that time. I agreed thinking that I still have enough time to make it to the eight in the evening meeting.

Strolling down Gilmore, Hemady, I called my sister, wishfull that she's home. Several minutes later, found myself having tinola (boy, havent tasted this one for a loooong time) with her in Horseshoe. In the middle of the meal, sometime between the leg and pepper leaves with rice soaked in broth, my boss texted me. It was a forwarded message from the UP College of Home Economics asking everyone to pray for somebody who was found dead in his car along Commonwealth Avenue. It was a familiar name- Mel Vergel DeDios. Too familiar.

Mel and I met in Boracay some years ago. One of those nights by the very seductive beach of my second home. WE became friends since then. He followed me as I changed partners down to me changing jobs and addresses. I remembered, I needed a place to used for my shoot and he opened his unit to be my venue. This was followed by the launch of our business also done in his place. He maintained his doors unlocked everytime I need a place and his arms open everytime I need a hug. Or both. And even more.

I remembered one Christmas eve, he called me and said life is not important anymore and there is no purpose in living another day because the reason why he is still there left him. Little did I know, he was telling me this while clenching a bottle full of dormicum. He woke up the following day bearing my curses at him the night before and also the hang-over of an overdosage of sleeping tablets. Then he called me that afternoon saying that his adoptive children are actually enough reason why he is still alive. And I saw his eyes actually disappear as I imagined him smile.

Months later, I called him if he can make the wedding dress of my sister given a two-week allowance. Of course, of course with a very friendly tag price. Thai silk with illusion tulle bargained. I wanted my sister wear something haute made. Mel was the right person to approach. There were some glitches along the way, but the entire product was perfect. Made perfect as worn by a bride. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have witnessed, which started at five thirty in the morning actually.

I wanted to see more of his work so I would always remind him to invite me to his shows which, apparently, I never did go to. If I am not too busy, I will only remember two hours after the show. I guess, I will never get to see any of his shows again.

He was found dead in his car yesterday morning. Hands and feet tied with cable wire. Neck strangled with the same material. The very material that I hate when used as clothesline. I was told that there were signs of the head being severed. I honestly don't know what caused the death but somehow I got the picture that it was violent. Something that is so far from the image of Mel in my mind. Gentle and kind. Soft spoken and generous. Genuine and loving.

It was lunchtime when my day stopped.

I went through the motions in catatonia and forgot that the hours are are actually passing. It's another day outside, the sun is about to rise yet I feel like yesterday never ended.

Apr. 19th, 2006 11:44 pm
another day

The smoke of a burning cigarette filled the austere space of Mocha Blends...

Oh no, I'm no Pete Lacaba or Nick Juaquin. By saying that, I was just worried that my clothes will smell like cigarette ashtrays the moment I leave this coffee place. No allusions nor metaphors.

I used to joke about the smoking area of the Manila Domestic Airport Terminal 1 primarily because you need not light a stick of Marlboro to get enough nicotine for that addictive rush. By the moment you enter the room, just inhale deeply and all the nicotine you need will envelope not only your lungs but your entirety. Little did I know that it is foretelling of the future of smoking areas in Metro Manila. Now, almost all coffee shops, bars, restaurants (if indeed they have one indoors) and videoke places have a similar smoking area as in terminal one.

The old faithful still lives. The same old, cramp, purely utilitarian carbon monoxide chamber still provides nicotine shots to it's avid patrons. Admittedly, I'm one. I will be there the day after tomorrow. Though i don't know if I will still be lighting a stick... Damn, of course I will! I am not talking about metaphors right? I may have the nicotine by just inhaling but not the rush!

Apr. 19th, 2006 01:34 am

Just finished bench press on the rubber ball. How can you possibly call it bench press if you're on a ball? Ball presses? I have been following my fitness instructor/friend/e-i-c men's health philippines advice regarding keeping fit. Since I am not a born gym goer, then he told me to bring the gym at home. So far, it has been working. Honestly, I don't know for how long. I hope it is going to be for life. I really don't want to stop and watch other guys in envy everytime I go to boracay. Sigh!

I'm actually sleepy now.

Still have to drink my protien...

Apr. 18th, 2006 11:45 pm
i am what i am

Just finished downloading a disco remix album. Accidentally, my favorite "To Deserve You" by B. Middler is there. I have been looking for this song since my mentor had me hear it back in 96. It was from the album Bette of Roses. The song somehow reminded me of how I should take it whenever I like somebody. This was ten years ago.

And now I found the dance remix from the soundtarck of Q as F. On the bottom part of the album is "I am what I am", another remix. It brings me to the current situation where I am in. I am seeing this person who I am beginning to be really fond of. Almost perfect as I would expect a partner. Yeah, there are some glitches, punches, shortcomings... in other words... the picture of the ideal is not there. Then again, who am I to complain? Nobody will fit the picture anyway. I made it so ideal so I can still say that my standards are so high in everything. Though ideally, these ideal standards are not set in stone. I am not that crazy to actually follow them. I just need a peg.

Pegs usually are tearsheets that approximates the picture that you are going to do. That's how we do it in the magazines. In my three years (or more) in the industry, I barely use tearsheets for my shoots. Ironically, I would have pegs for something serious-- a partner perhaps. Ok, a lover.

So there this person is. Almost like the peg but not quite. Yet I am perffectly ok with itl. It might work... this time. Until, my peg asks me to be perfect. I smoke, I spend hours in the net, I go out with friends, I work, I can be idle, I can be super-sensitive, I can be a fairy (make it Titania maybe), I can be a bore, I can me a mascot, I can be a lot of things that I like to do and become. Operative phrase-- I like to be and become. Stress on I LIKE. now, I'm being asked to delete my account in a site (which I did by the way) and stop smoking. Then I asked, what if I won't do it, what's going to happen?

"You will be at a disadvantage."

Now, I can't understand this really. Am I on the rubber-acrylic track oval? Is this a 40 kilometer marathon? Or maybe a decathlon?

I reinstated my account. I still smoke. And yeah, nobody puts me to a disadvantage. Only myself. Only if I choose to...

As the song continues to play now, it makes me realize a lot of things. I have gone far enough to deserve somebody. I just hope this person will reflect on the song that I heard ten years ago for I am singing a different song now.

Apr. 17th, 2006 10:24 pm
back to work

Its Monday again. Admittedly, I hated the holy week (last week) here in Manila. If only the malls are open Thursday and Friday, it could have been perfect. It made me desperate last Thursday and hopeless the following day. While all my other friends are out of sight.

Holy week spelled as va-ca-tion or out-of-town seems to have gained popularity in this ever frantic world of the working class. Next to Christmas, it is the longest break from work one can ever get. Next to Christmas, it is the most expensive time of the year too. To a lot, planning starts right away after Christmas. To a lot, it has to be somewhere far-- translated as-- BEACH. The only beach in Manila is somewhere along the shores of Manila Bay-- YUCK!

So I was left alone last holy week. Thank God for Carlo and Lloyd who provided me company the whole time. Oh, I was not alone really... yet I feel so alone. I don't know why. I could have slept the entire weeken but I just couldn't. Anxiety maybe. Longing for something. Or maybe someone. Or maybe myself. Thats the effect of vacation for me. Spelled as Holy Week.

As of now, it has to take the back seat again. It's Monday. Got to work again.

Apr. 14th, 2006 02:00 am
to miss

The sound my old electric fan makes reminds me of my old room in cubao. Peach. Of all color, it was a combination of peach and orange. At least it's not peach and apple or violet or citron, rather, it's orange.

I had a liking for orange when I was studying in PSID. Next to my favorite color (scarlet) which I can barely use for interiors, orange was the next best thing. Until now, after practicing for about five years, I still haven't used the color. Maybe, I never will.

One, orange being a secondary pure color makes it hard to adjust to other elements inside the room. Two, You can hardly mix it with other interiors other than Asian (which is so mid nineties). Greek or medieval maybe, but then again, to a lot, greek is synonymous to blue. And three, it's not 'sophisticated'. As my old boss (stress on the old!) would always require us in our interiors.

Sophistication, on the other hand, is one word that I was not properly introduced to. I was made to believe that the simpler the life you have, the lesser are your problems. The lesser your problems, the better. Yet, when I got into this business of 'interior design', things changed... Let's make it more complicated for it to become sophisticated. The simple supper becomes dinner. From the spoon and fork partnership, it becomes a corporation of silvers having their plenary session everytime you eat. A blanket is not enough because you have to put a duvet or a foot blanket. Oh, don't forget the comforter, pillow and mattress protect, throw pillows for display (but never use them) etc. etc. etc. Do not forget to tuck them properly to achieve that hotel look. I'm guilty as hell...

Right now, I'm back with getting used to just the blanket. And I used the throw pillows as guard pillows against the wall so I won't hurt my elbow when I wrestle with the bogeyman. And yeah, I hear my electric fan. The very same electric fan I had before.

Thank God, my room is white with faint grayed lavender horizontal stripes. Ummmm, I know there is a much simpler color name for that....

Apr. 13th, 2006 10:11 pm
April 13 holy thursday

I went out today only to find out that everything is close. Even Megamall. I mean, what is happening?!?! SM should be open today. It's just Thursday! SM should be open everyday! Its SM!

I was in the cab a while ago with Carlo V. and we literally scoured the entire Metro Manila (Shaw- Podium-Megamall-Greenbelt-Landmark-Glorietta-Powerplant-Eastwood). Apparently, only McDonalds in Eastwood was open. I still cant get over the fact that they are actually closed.

If we base it on the Catholic belief that one should not work or do anything because Christ is dead, then it should be tomorrow. In fact, in the entire Christian history, nothing is so special during the Thursday before the crucifixion because they did nothing that day but eat dinner-- which of course was popularized by DaVinci as the Last Supper. And only after three in the afternoon of the Friday that one should stop working. This halt will go on until the sunrise of Easter. For only then, Christ rose from the dead.

Now, everybody stops working Thursday till Friday. Everything goes back to normal Saturday. Duh!?!

I get to ask myself, what do we observe really?

By the way, thanks to this holiday... I got to make this account for lack of anything else to do..

come hither

Ang natatanging superhiro ng buhay ko... The Carlo Vergara introduced me to this site. Well, to the world of blogs. I have never made a diary in my life. I guess, it's a conscious effort not to record what has happened in my life before. I am better heard than read after all..

By the way, Carlo's comment on this photo is the title... I strongly doubt if it works.