Monday, September 28, 2009

Ondoy was here

The flood hit our apartment last Saturday.

I woke up at 11 a.m. thinking why it had to rain so hard on a weekend. I knew there was a typhoon going but I thought it was just one of those—torrential rains, and therefore, you’ll just need to hole up inside the house.

I would have slept some more but the rain was so hard (I could really feel it battering our roof) so I headed downstairs just to check in case there was a flood outside the house.

There was what I thought to be a puddle so I went to the toilet to pee. Toilet was overflowing, (thankfully, with clear water) and I noticed that our kitchen rug was soaked. It was here that I realized that water was coming in from the kitchen.

I checked the front door again and lo, water was already rushing in.

At this point, everything was a blur—I had to dismantle so many cables in my attempt to bring up all the electronics to the second floor—TV, DVD player, computer, speakers, radio, that SkyCable apparatus. I also prioritized my growing shoe collection because, um, you know, they’re nice. I was all alone so I was panicking—it’s not a nice feeling to be in such a rush while you’re starting to shiver because the water is so cold and it’s climbing its way up your body. I also began seeing my stuff float in the water.

After saving some of the electronics, I began bringing up water, rice, rice cooker, coffeemaker (I forgot the beans though, lol) and my toiletries. The water was coming in so fast that my eyes zoomed in on the refrigerator and its lowly stand.

Will the water reach the refrigerator? If it does, should I just buy a new refrigerator?

I waded through the water and mustered all the knowledge that I have learned from the gym lifting weights—squat and use leg and thigh muscles; keep back straight; and focus. I lifted the fridge onto the dining table.

Water rose to where the refrigerator would have been.

I then tried to bring up the sofa but it wouldn’t fit the stairs. Our stairs is next to the window, and next to the window was the flood. At this point, I just broke down (did not cry though; more of lost the energy and will). I thought if the water was going to enter the window, then there was no point trying to save all the things—I should consider saving my own life.

I went up to the second floor and asked my mom and sister if they had any jewelry and cash here that I needed to secure. (My family was safe and dry at our Laguna home.) I also secured mine—the contents of the bag I bring to the office, plus a photograph of my and Mon’s pet in Pet Society (Their names are Barack and Michelle Obama, lol). Mon framed it and gave it as a gift.

I then thought of all the things that could possibly be washed away by the flood. Although painful, I was at that point in which they didn't matter and I was prepared to let them all go. The important thing was that I survive.

I washed myself at the stairs (a surreal occurrence, really), went to my bed and prayed hard. Prayed that the water won’t reach the second floor because then, I’d really have no way out, except by dismantling the windows and staying afloat (I had no way of getting up on the roof). I had electricity and so I tuned in to the radio, charged my phone, and sent out tweets. I texted friends and colleagues if they were OK. I also set up my cable and was able to watch the news until the cable service died.

I then received a text from Mon. He said, “Look out of your window.”

I did and he was there, my knight in shining raincoat and rubber boots. He waded through waist-deep waters to bring me food and keep me company.

The water didn’t reach the window and I had company throughout the night. Life is good. I said my prayers for those who weren’t as fortunate and slept my bruises, cuts and tiredness away.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Martial Law at mura

Anniversary ng Martial Law kahapon.

Naalala ko yung nangyari two years ago, November 29, nung nag-announce si Gloria ng curfew between 12 midnight and 5 a.m. Kabadong kabado ako noon.

Nung date na iyon kasi nag-launch ang Mozzie ng kanilang album sa Timog. Pumunta ako dun mag-isa. (Yun din kasi yung day na nag-break kami ng boyfriend ko.) Yun din nga pala yung araw ng "Manila Peninsula" rebellion.

So ayun, nagpunta ko do'n mag-isa. Around 11 p.m., nagsimula na kaming mag-uwian. Ang problema, lahat ng tao nag-uuwian -- so wala akong masakyan na taxi.

Nilakad ko hanggang EDSA at nag-attempt pumara ng cab. Wala pa din. Sarado na din MRT no'n. Minumura ko ng bonggang bongga yung ex-boyfriend ko all the while. Awang-awa na din kasi ko sa sarili ko.

Halos 11:15 p.m. na nang nakasakay na ko sa isang ordinary bus. Walang aircon. Di ako sanay sumakay sa ordinary bus. Di din ako panatag sa mga itsura ng kasama ko. (Pasensya na, pero yun talaga naramdaman ko.) Kabadong kabado talaga ko. Kasi kumalat ang balita na yung mga makikitang wala sa bahay by 12mn ay aarestuhin, unless may ID na mapapakita na ikaw ay nagtratrabaho sa isang call center. Di ako nagtra-trabaho sa call center. Wala din akong dalang company ID para makapag-kunwari na nagtra-trabaho ako sa call center. Hence, ninenerbyos ako.

Ang bagal ng bus. Lahat nalang isinasakay -- lahat kasi pumapara, nagmamadali, gustong makasakay sa bus at makauwi ng nasa oras. Ang problema, di lang bus ang sasakyan ako; pagbaba ko, kailangan ko pa sumakay ng jeep.

Less than 30 minutes na lang nang nakababa ako sa Boni. Dali-dali akong sumakay sa jeep. Mukhang naiintidihan naman ng driver ang saloobin ng mga pasahero kaya siguro mabilis syang magmaneho.

Pagbaba ko sa jeep, medyo mahaba pa lalakarin ko. Alam ko naman na aabot ako sa bahay, pero di pa din maganda yung feeling: halos walang tao sa kalsada, ang daming nagpa-patrol na tanod at pulis. Yung mga kasabayan ko, ang bilis maglakad at ramdam mo yung takot; akala mo eh sinusundan ng snatcher o di kaya ng rapist.

By this time eh si Gloria na ang minumura ko. Sa katakutan nyang matalsik sa Malacanang, eh nag-impose sya ng curfew -- under the pretext of national security, of course. Ang nakakatawa nga lang eh hindi naman security ng bansa ang in danger noon. Pretty much, it was her security that was under threat due to the anger and disgust of the entire nation.

Kaya naman hanggang ngayon, eh napaka-sarap nyang murahin, kabilang na ang pamilya nya. Laking tuwa ko lang talaga pag hinabol na sila ng karma pagbaba nila sa pwesto nila.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In My Life

Here's my short review on the film, In My Life.

Vilma Santos plays the mother of Luis Manzano, who is gay. Luis's boyfriend is John Lloyd Cruz. To create tension in the movie, film creates unnecessary drama and angst over the relationship between Vilma and John. In other words, may mapag-awayan lang talaga.

Director Olivia Lamasan insists that this is not "a gay film." I agree; hence, I thought it wasted an opportunity to present something new in local cinema.

You can replace John Lloyd with a female character. Minus a few adjustments, the plot would still be essentially the same. That takes the novelty out of the film (seeing Luis and John gay), and this will be just one of those films that won't even merit a movie review because it's so average.

My rating: overhyped but with a few comedic gems.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hot Springs

My article on Asian hot springs destinations for Aspire, the in-flight magazine of Hong Kong Airlines :-)

Hot Springs Aspire Sept 2009

Good old asaran (updated)

Here's a video of the announcement of winners:

Video starts with UP already having been announced as third placers; UST is rejoicing, lol. (BTW, wow -- I didn't realize our crowd was that massive!!! But I can still spot ourselves in the crowd, lol.)

With wounded pride, UP cheers for FEU. Camera guy says, "Ang salbahe ng UP," and his companion goes, "Ang bad!" LOL. Take note, this was just minutes before their own merrymaking.

At 2:37, Ateneo is announced as second placers. Lady at the UST gallery thinks out loud, "Shet, wala kami." Repeats it twice more, lol.

3:39 -- UP cheers for FEU, lol.

4:16 -- UST cheers for themselves but I don't hear that at the stadium as UP, Ateneo and UE start cheering for FEU, lol.

5:01 -- Quotable quote: "Katawa yung UP," haha.

6:26 -- Another round of cheers for FEU, and this was heard on TV.

6:54 -- Winner is announced :-) Entire Araneta celebrates except for one side, lol.

* * * *


Additional song #4

Here's the soundtrack that the UP Pep Squad used for its 2009 cheerdance routine. Makes for a good playlist :-)

1. Blue Jeans, Rocksteddy cover
2. State U by Yano
3. Umiikot-Ikot by Mike Hanopol
4. Iisang Bangka Tayo by The Dawn (Wow, Jett Pangan, nice jeans! Lol!)
5. UP, Ang Galing Mo by Herbie Rosales
6. Ang Pagbabalik by Sandwich
7. Hari ng Sablay by Sugarfree

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2009 UAAP Cheerdance competition (2nd UPDATE)

2nd update:

Ikot song is found, thanks Mon! It's Umiikot-Ikot by Mike Hanopol. Additional notes on UP's routine at numbers 3 and 6.

* * * *


Had an amazing Sunday courtesy of the 2009 UAAP Cheerdance competition. Yes, UP, the two-time defending champions, failed in its quest for a three-peat but still, we had a lot of fun.

You see, when UP was announced third-placers, the UST crowd went wild with delight -- the stadium literally shook under my feet. At aaminin ko, napikon talaga ko na may halong humiliation, lol. (Don't get me wrong, the UP Pep Squad did us all proud; I really just didn't like how UST reacted.)

Clearly, UST thought it was going to be champions, or second-placers at the least.

While the hosts were about to announce the second-placers, I thought out loud: "Wait, Ateneo is so capable of breaking into the Top 3!" So I began cheering for Ateneo, and the rest of the UP crowd thought the same (hey, great minds think alike ;-), and we began cheering for them.

And Ateneo did win 1st runner-up!!! The UP crowd roared with delight -- there was no way UST was going to be champions because clearly, FEU showed the best routine! So ayun, from then on, asar-talo talaga UST. Everyone pretty much ganged up on them -- cheering and celebrating for FEU before the announcement of first place, while they were oh-so-quiet, lol.

Digital na talaga karma ngayon.

So yes, someone go kicked out of the Holy Trinity of UAAP Cheerleading and it's not us :-P

* * * *

We saw FEU rehearsing at Araneta Coliseum (we were one of the early birds), and their routine was basically a patchwork of all the best stunts that UP has done at the 2008 UAAP Cheerdance competition and at the 3rd Cheerleading Asia International Open in Tokyo, Japan. They committed a lot of mistakes during the rehearsal, so I felt confident that UP would be able to successfully defend its title.

Alas, the UP Pep Squad had glaring errors, most notably the pyramid that never was (1:17 mark):

My favorite part in terms of cuteness (lol) would begin at the 2:15 mark, when the ikot jeepney is introduced (main mode of transportation within the UP campus). "Ikot, ikot" the soundtrack goes (BTW, who can ID the title of that song? Mon was able to identify the song: it's "Umiikot-Ikot" by Mike Hanopol) , and the crowd chants, "Ikot, ikot" as the Pep squad does its tumbling sequences, or literally, umiikot ;-)

UP's routine is a salute to the Iskolar ng Bayan, as UP students are called. There are details that only UP students would know about, and could've alienated the judges; i.e., the Bluebook, the ikot/toki jeepney, the song "Hari ng Sablay," and the cheer "Bayan, Bayan, Bayan Ko." A risky move yes, but one that endeared them all the more to UP folks, if ever that was still possible. So thank you, UP Pep Squad, for taking that risk.

* * * *

Just to give a rundown of the routine:

1. Jeepney ikot is placed at the side; the UP Bluebook, which we use for quizzes and exams, is displayed.
2. Uniform is very high school-like with the puffed sleeves, skirt and knee-high socks for girls; and stylized shorts for boys: sets the theme for the routine, which is about school life
3. The squad forms a heart beside the Oblation, UP's icon, at 1:46 and soundtrack segues to "State U"
4. Jeepney ikot enters; significance and stunts is explained in the caption above
5. UP's centennial song, "UP, Ang Galing Mo" is used at 3:07 as the squad performs its most difficult stunts
6. Another round of tumbling sequences at 3:39 as Sandwich's song is used. Lyrics go,
"Kami’y nagbabalik sabik na sabik
At dadalhin sa inyong lahat ang pinakamabagsik"
7. The squad takes off its "sablay," the sash used by UP students in their graduation rites, at the 3:55 mark. Soundtrack is "Hari ng Sablay." Loves it. Another very difficult stunt at 4:10.
8: Turns sablay into a headpiece in a nod to the school's revolutionary roots. Uses chant normally used in rallies:
"Iskolar ng Bayan!
Bayan, bayan, bayan ko
Di pa tapos ang laban mo
Isulong mo, isulong mo
Iskolar ng Bayan!"

9. Ikot jeepney is brought to the front; it unfolds and is transformed to UP's official seal

* * * *

The degree of difficulty in their stunts was so high, and coupled with the many UP icons peppered all over the place, they seemed to have lost focus and wasn't able to pack a lot of punch in a concise routine, which they did in their last two competition pieces. And as mentioned, there were the mistakes, although the TV camera didn't catch the others.

Meanwhile, FEU may have floundered during rehearsals but they perfected the routine competition time, hence they were clearly the champions:

They were inspired by the Sarimanok. (I, together with a lot of folks, have a lot of problem with this because FEU's official mascot is the tamaraw. But that shouldn't get in the way of the cheering stunts they executed perfectly).

Underdogs Ateneo swept the rug under UP's feet after presenting a flawless routine with a degree of difficulty (almost) akin to UP's 2007 championship piece. Grabe, literal na wala silang mali:

Theirs was a Michael Jackson tribute, with a spectacular Moonwalk partner stunt. I tweeted, "ateneo shockingly good. crowd is going wild," and this was why, later, I figured that they would be second-placers.

I also noted that the judges, with the exception of Powerdance's Douglas Nierras, were all from nationally and internationally sanctioned cheerleading associations; they would look at the performances at a technical perspective. Hence, I had an inkling on how the rankings would look like.

Looking back at my tweets, I only commented on the routine of those who ended up in the Top 3, so needless to say, I am satisfied with the results. UP, unfortunately, was only 0.3 behind Ateneo. If I'm not mistaken, 5 points were deducted for every major error so if only they didn't miss that pyramid, UP could've walked away with the title.

Final scores and team standings as follows (last four slots, unverified):

    Far Eastern University - 86.10
    Ateneo de Manila University - 83.40
    University of the Philippines - 83.10
    University of Sto Tomas - 81
    National University
    University of the East
    De La Salle University
    Adamson University

and I completely agree.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Porkchop adventure

Okay boys and girls. This is how you don't fry porkchop. This is how you don't fry, period. If your food turns black and you're not having squid, that probably means something ain't right.

The long weekend saw me holing up inside our house for three straight days -- I worked, watched TV (True Blood is not for me; too much sex. Yes, that just came from me.), surfed the net and played PSP all day, until I realized I was fainting from hunger.

I took a look at the contents of our freezer and saw porkchop.

How does one fry porkchop? I wondered.

I remember, my mother used to marinate it with 7-Up or Sprite. I didn't want to go out and buy soda so that was out of the equation.

So I poured soy sauce into a bowl, bathed the porkchop in it, then mushed it with garlic. I figured this was not enough so I showered it with vinegar just to make it more exotic-tasting.

What I didn't figure was that this is the exact recipe for adobo. When I fried the thing and it turned adobo-esque, I calmed myself. I figured, I like adobong manok, I like adobong baboy. This should not be a problem.

Except that it was. Adobong Porkchop is so horrible, I won't feed it to Payatas children.

So I punished myself by eating it because I cannot stand seeing food go to waste. It was pure torture.

The next day, as I was trying to find something else to cook, I saw the other porkchop laying around the freezer. There they were, frigid and silent. I looked close enough and I can honestly say that they were taunting me.

"Wimp," I heard it say. "What a dumbass," the bloodied one added.

"Fuckers," I muttered under my breath as I was forced to go to... a supermarket.

At the supermarket, I came across aisles and aisles of spices. There were those that were so exotic that I've never ever used them in my culinary adventures ever. Like, um... pepper.

Of course, it doesn't help that my culinary adventure can be summed up by my attempts at frying eggs, but anyway...

... I searched and searched, thinking that 7-Up or Sprite just won't do. This has to be awesome, just so I can get back at those bastards.

So I got the McCormick Season 'N Fry Porkchop Coating Mix. I mean, it's McCormick right?!? Of course it said "Porkchop" too, so that was just like, destiny.

I got back to our house and I immediately coated them with McCormick. "Bwahahahahaha... Who needs culinary school when there's McCormick?!" I thought to myself.

Then I plopped them into the pan and waited. And waited. And waited.

Of course, they turned into charcoal.

I flipped it over and knowing better, I was more careful.

Except that I waited. And waited. And waited.

At least, now I know McCormick tastes great with uling.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Toast at the Centennial Airport

I couldn't be anymore bored that when I'm stuck at the Centennial Airport, Terminal 2. It feels and looks like a hospital -- though I think there's more to do at Medical City. In any case, if ever you find yourself there (the airport, not Medical City), drop by Ya Kun Kaya (it sounds like a Patapon chant, haha) Toast.

You might think it's a bit overpriced for toast, coffee and soft-boiled eggs (that was my first impression too), but it was absolutely good and filling. I've never raved about toasted bread like, ever! LOL.

I was halfway done when I decided to take a photo :-P

You can then go back to being bored after wolfing these down.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Guy Smiley

In Laguna, we have a pending case filed against a neighbor, who punched my dad after he requested him to tone down the volume of his stereo.

His stereo is so loud we can't even hear our own TV. Yes, it's in the present tense because he still does it occasionally. He lives across the street.

In Mandaluyong, our neighbor would throw their cigarette butts in front of our house. That went on until we collected all of them, and after having amassed a good number, dumped them in front of his door. Another neighbor doesn't look after its dog -- I am still hatching plans for this as I've no intentions of collecting and keeping dog poo for a period of time.

Many times, friends would tell me, why not just talk to the them? And my point is, do I actually have to explain what is proper from improper? Do I really have to go, "Oh Mister! What a delight to be your neighbor! But Sir, may I ask, would you be oh so kind not to make our house AN EXTENSION OF YOUR GARBAGE CAN?!"

Do I have to explain to the call center agents in our building that "it is not nice" to push ALL the floor buttons in the elevator?

Should have I exchanged niceties with the guy who was on the sidewalk opposite me, and seeing that there was an empty cab coming my way, walked steps ahead, then crossed to my side and flagged it instead?

Or perhaps, give a "that's life" shrug to every single person I see spitting on the streets -- you know, where people walk?

If the answer is yes, then I might as well compliment the many people in the cinemas for their outstanding communication skills that enable them to hold discourses with their companions while a movie is playing.

At the MRT, I should also go ahead and express delight at the women who choose to ride at the already congested trains for men even if those reserved for women are not as full, in the hopes that guys would be chivalrous enough to offer them seats.

Also, remind me to smile at every driver who dash their car toward the pedestrian lane even when I'm already mid-way -- I really get excited about dying in the middle of the street; it's such an adrenaline rush.

I should send a note to these people and thank them. I hope they would also be gracious enough to send a thank-you note to the many doormats that have allowed their breed to cultivate and increase.

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