Thursday, June 30, 2005


Is it true that shit began as an acronym for "ship high in transit"? It's been said there was once a ship that transported manure for use as fertilizer. Midway through the voyage the vessel sprung a leak. The noxious cargo was flooded, causing a chemical reaction that killed a few people on board. From then on, people began to label manure containers with "S.H.I.T." to warn that the cargo should be placed high above the floor to prevent water from reaching it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Dudut, This Is You!"

This is the Pugad Baboy strip from the 17 June 2005 edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

I have "friends" like that.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Heads Or Tails: Mga Tanong Sa Atenista

Ano'ng student number mo?

Nakapasa ka ba or waitlisted?
I passed.

Pa'no mo nalaman ang ACET result?
Our high school guidance counselor gave me my acceptance letter after our my quarterly exams.

First choice mo ba ang Ateneo?
Yes, especially when UP Diliman put me in BS Computer Science instead of BA Journalism.

Alam mo ba ang ACET score mo?
My numerical ability was "Very poor," but everything else was "Very good."

Ano ang first choice mo na course?
AB Communications.

Second choice?
Either BS Management or BS Computer Science.

Chinito/chinita ka ba?
Vietnamito. Ipinaglihi ako sa Vietnamese refugees.

Taga-Ateneo High?
Ateneo de Naga High.

Nag-enjoy ka ba sa Orsem?
Yes, but at first I was intimidated kasi lahat Inglesero!

Saang gate ka pumasok nung first day?
At the Barangka gate, the one at the bottom of the stairs near Loyola House of Studies.

Nakapag-dorm ka ba?
Yes, off-campus.

Nagka-F ka ba?
No, but there were close calls.

Numerous times.

Highest grade?
Dean's List-level QPI.

I forgot.

Worst experience sa ADMU?
Baking under the sun for ROTC.

Lagi ka bang uma-attend ng klase?
As general rule, yes. But in a couple of subjects I had the maximum number of cuts allowed.

May scholarship ka ba?
Akbaylaya Funded Scholarship. They gave me a 75% discount on tuition and fees for four years.

Nangarap na mag-"laude?"
Never. I could've but I chose not to.

Kelan ka gumradweyt?
25 March 2000.

Fave teacher?
Dr. Policarpio Peregrino. Alex Puente. Fr. Nick Cruz, S.J. Ranilo Hermida. Tony Perez. John Garcia. Sev Sarmenta. Cristina Jimenez-Hallare. And Melissa Jayme, woohoo!

Worst teacher?
It's a toss-up between that Indonesian Jesuit Scholastic I had for Philo 103 and Mrs. Sato from Japanese Language 2.

Fave subject?
Film Theory. History of the Modern World. English. Math 12 (Probability).

Worst subject?
It's a toss-up between Philo 103 and ROTC.

Favorite landmark in ADMU?
The Sacred Heart statue before it was moved to its present location. We used to be able to see the (supposed) outline of the Virgin Mary.

The Comm Building before they erased the mural. Faura.

Fave kainan?
Manang's, and the stalls in the Gonzaga Caf that sold siomai and avocado shake.

Estudyante ba ang binabayad mo sa jeep?
Of course.

Lagi ka ba sa Rizal Lib?
No. But I read newspapers and browse the web there.

Nagpunta ka ba sa Infirmary nung minsang nagkasakit ka?
Just once. I asked for Biogesic and Neozep.

May crush ka ba sa campus?

Not on campus.

May balak ka bang mag-MA or -PhD?
I make idle plans, but it won't kill me if I don't get those post-graduate degrees.

Anu-ano ang mga PE mo?
Table tennis, PE 101, arnis and basketball, in that order.

Kamusta naman ang block n'yo?
Close as a rule, but of course there were cliques.

Nakapanood ka ba ng graduation?
I only went to my own.

Memorized mo ba ang "Song for Mary?"
Of course.

Memorized mo ba ang "Fabilioh?"

E ang "Halikinu?"

E ang "Blue Eagle Spelling?"
I can recite that in my sleep.

Member ka ba ng Team Ateneo?

Sino paborito mong UAAP basketball player?
Of the ones who played for Ateneo during my stay there, Gabby Cui, LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, Enrico Villanueva, and Rich Alvarez.

Naka-perfect ka na ba ng exam?
I can't remember. Once or twice?

Ano ayaw mo sa hell week?
It screwed up my sleeping patterns.

Dito ka ba natuto uminom o manigarilyo?
No and no.

Ano ang gusto mo sa school natin?
The people, the scenery, the Latin diploma, and the close distance from my boarding house. And oh, the education.

Ano ayaw mo?
The people. 7:30 a.m. classes. Boring teachers.

Bumili ka ba sa A-Shop?
Before grad, only PLDT call cards. After grad, mugs with the ADMU seal.

Maganda ba ID pic mo?
Of course. I shaved my head for those.

May ginawa ka na bang illegal sa loob ng campus?
The most I'll admit to is entering the campus drunk. That and low-stake betting in tong-its.

Nakabili ka ba ng gamit sa National Katips?
Lots of times.

Nag-Starbucks ka ba sa Katips?
Never, because they replaced Tia Maria's.

Gusto mo ba'ng mag-aral ulit?
Someday, when I can already pay my own tuition.

The other side of the coin is here.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Field Trip

Last Friday I attended the 2005 Gawad Kalinga Congress at the Philsports Arena. I had to be there; I was named in an Office Order. I didn't mind—it was a legal lakwatsa, a chance to get away from the office. The Congress was a whole day affair. In the morning GK's corporate partners took center stage. In the afternoon politicians and government officials, led by President Arroyo and Vice President De Castro, took over. There were a lot of speakers but three in particular commanded my full attention. One of them was a Filipino-American boy who, by himself, has already sponsored three GK houses. Initially he wanted to adopt an African child à la About Schmidt, but he realized he couldn't afford it since he only had three dollars. When the boy's mom told him about GK, he raised money by making paintings and selling them. There was also this Muslim girl who joined the rebel movement at a very young age. Because of her own experiences in Mindanao, she grew to hate and distrust Christians. Her perception changed only upon meeting some members of Couples for Christ. She later quit the rebel movement and went to school. And when the school library refused to lend her a Bible, she stole a copy. She read the Bible, learned about Jesus—who's also a revered personality in Islam—and came to the conclusion that the root of the war in Mindanao isn't religion. Now she works for Gawad Kalinga. Lastly, there was Dylan Wilk. It was my first look at the millionaire Englishman who moved to the Philippines to work full-time for GK. He also married one of my blockmates in college. Near the end of his talk, he announced that his wife was pregnant and that he has applied for Filipino citizenship. Astig! Much later I saw the married couple sitting together near the stage. Too bad I was sitting too far in the bleachers to say hi.

Friday, June 24, 2005

'Sheed, Et Al.

Yesterday I sent the following e-mail:
Attached herewith are three (3) budget proposals for your appropriate action. Please acknowledge receipt. Thank you.
I couldn't stop laughing as I read the response I got:
Dear Mr. Wallace,

Acknowledge receipt of this email.

thank you very much.
When I signed up for a Hotmail account, I put "Rasheed Wallace" as my name to throw people off. This is the first time, however, that someone thought it was true. Maybe she doesn't follow the NBA? Or perhaps she does, but gave me the benefit of the doubt just the same.

Jaime Cardinal Sin is dead.

Too often he stuck his nose in things that were not his nor the Church's business, but he's cool. His name's Cardinal Sin, for crying out loud.

Palawan is now part of Western Visayas.

This is by no means insignificant. For starters, millions of textbooks that are in circulation now contain at least one factual inaccuracy. And then a few years down the line, this will be the million-peso question on Game Ka Na Ba? that the contestant will get wrong.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Better Late Than Never

Because of my brother's medical emergency I managed to greet my Pa "Happy Father's Day" only on Sunday night. He wasn't having a happy Father's Day anyway, what with his dayunyor in the hospital. I waited until there was good news to report—that my brother had managed to hold down solid food, move his arms and legs a bit, and sleep—before I greeted him.

I greeted my boss "Happy Father's Day" by text Sunday afternoon.

"Salamat. Kelan ka magiging tatay?" he replied.

"'Layo pa po, sir," I said. "O baka tatay na 'ko 'di ko lang alam."

"Ha ha ha, mahirap maging tatay na walang muwang."

I couldn't think of a reply so I let him have the last word.

Sunday's Big Event

My phone rang a few minutes past 4 a.m. last Sunday. I was awake—I had been unable to go back to sleep after a middle-of-the-night bathroom trip. The call was from my youngest brother's number but it wasn't him at the other end.

"May kapatid ka bang nakatira sa Intramuros?" the male caller asked.

"Meron," I said.

"Dinala s'ya sa ospital. 'Di makagalaw."

"Ha?! Saang ospital?"

"Manila Doctors Hospital sa U.N. Avenue."

"Sige, papunta na 'ko. Ano'ng pangalan mo?"

"Joey. Joey Mente."

The PBA player? I thought. "Sige, salamat. Papunta na 'ko."

When I got into a cab to the hospital it occurred to me that I was being scammed. I reviewed the call in my mind, and decided it wasn't from a dugo-dugo gang—the caller didn't ask me to bring money or jewelry and meet him somewhere. A text message from my other brother who was in Bicol confirmed that conclusion—the folks back at home had gotten the same call.

When I got to Manila Doctors my brother was in the emergency room. Those who brought him there were not.

My brother recounted that he was alone in his boarding house when it happened. Saturday noon his body started aching. A few hours later he had difficulty standing. By 2 a.m. Sunday he couldn't move at all.

Fortunately the caretaker of the boarding house arrived. When my brother heard he wasn't alone he crawled from the second floor to the first and told the caretaker to get him to a hospital.

The caretaker asked the help of a neighbor, PBA player Joey Mente. Mente brought my brother to the hospital in his car, then called us. Too bad he had to leave right away (his team, San Miguel Beer, had a game that day) because I wanted to thank him myself. Who knows what would've happened had he not helped.

Tests revealed my brother had what is known as a hypokalemic paralysis. His potassium levels dropped below half of what was normal, and the doctors haven't figured out why.

My brother's fine now—he got out of the hospital a couple of hours ago. Mente and his team, on the other hand, won their game that Sunday.

Yes, there is a god. And she is good.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Heads Or Tails: Prologue

For kicks Atty. Punzi and I will blog in tandem a couple of times each month. We will post our separate takes on a random topic that catches our fancy. A brief backgrounder: we work for the same Commission. He's a lawyer, I used to study Law. We finished college at the Ateneo de Manila University nine years apart. Our mental ages are also similar. Let's see how long this experiment lasts. For starters, here is the other side of the coin.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Here are a few of the things I thank Papa Jesus for:
School's Back
With the start of a new school year the number of pretty faces per square meter seems to have at least tripled. It's fun to people-watch again!

An Understanding Boss
This week when I got back to work my boss said that had I told him no one was taking care of me while I was sick he would've sent the office vehicle to bring me to a doctor. How sweet is that?

The Filipino's Sense of Humor
Trust the Pinoy to find humor in the grimmest of situations. Case in point: the "Hello Garci" ringtone that's making the rounds these days. I want one, even if I work at a Presidential Commission.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Word Is "Discreet"

I went to Marikina Riverbanks and was disappointed to see stalls that used to sell DVDs now display clothes, bags, and sandals. But wait, the vendors look familiar. Could it be? Is there hope? Do they still have it? The answer is yes. Inside each stall is a small, curtained area for browsing DVD covers. There's usually a low table, a small monobloc chair, and sometimes a ceiling fan for ventilation. A vendor said the setup was ordered by "the Management," whoever that is. It's a win-win solution—if you can't lick 'em, hide 'em.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tell Your Friends About Me!

One day last week they said there was an important-sounding call for me. Because I had the flu I was woozy by the time I got to the phone.

"Are you Mr. so-and-so?" the at the other end said.

"Yes," I replied.

"Ateneo Batch 2000?"


"AB Comm?"

"Uh-huh," I said.


That made my ears ring. But I stayed on the line since she hadn't yet stated her business.

"Communications," I corrected her.

[Image taken from here.]
"Ah. So have you heard about the Ateneo Alumni Association Visa Card?"

What, I was roused from my sickbed for a credit card pitch? "Yes, I already turned it down before," which was true—right after graduation I received a similar call.

"Why, sir?" the girl asked.

"I have no need for a credit card," I said.

"The membership is free for one year."

"I know. But no, thanks," I said, hoping to end the conversation then.

But the girl still didn't quit. "Do you know the contact numbers of your fellow alumni?"

It took all I had not to bark, "Of course, but I'm not giving them to you!" Instead I said, "Yes, but I don't think they would want to be bothered."

She stayed silent for a beat or two, got the message, and thanked me for my time.

When I got back to bed I told a boardmate what happened. He said that the caller was probably an undergrad student because the Office of Admission and Aid earlier asked for volunteers to do that kind of telemarketing.

I didn't agree. No Atenean would mistake AB Comm to mean "Commerce." Plus, Ateneo didn't even offer that course.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Thinking Of Sin

[Image taken from here.]

Sin City, that is. I heeded a friend's warning and skipped its local theatrical run. Paying good money to see a film that's been gutted silly by the needless—not to mention boneheaded—cuts of our local censors never appealed to me. (Somewhere there's a friendly neighborhood pirated DVD vendor cheering.)

My twenty says this latest episode of misguided pruning occurred because Sin City stars Mr. & Mrs. Excessive Sex & Violence. But wait, didn't the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board give this movie an R-13 rating? And didn't MTRCB chair Marissa Laguardia, in a 2003 The Sunday Times Magazine interview, explain what kind of movie would merit an R-13 rating?
These [R-13] movies, to the judgment of the Board, are those whose adult themes are permissible provided their treatments or presentations are suitable for young teenagers between 13 to 17 years old. No full frontal nudity or genital exposure. Breast exposure and slight nudity are allowed, provided they are brief, discreet, and in the context of the story. Likewise, films that glamorize or glorify violence are a “no-no” under this category. However, occasional violence relevant to the context of the film is permitted. Those depicting drug use are allowed, provided they instill the ill effects of drug use and not encourage it.
I leave it to the people who saw the unabridged version of Sin City to determine whether it met Ms. Laguardia's criteria and deserved to have been shown as is. I make no further comment because popping off on easy targets is a terrible waste of brain cells.

What I will not let pass is that there's one other party at fault here: the film's local distributors. They allowed the MTRCB to mangle a good movie in exchange for a less restrictive rating and a wider release. Had they cared enough for the film's integrity they could have pushed for no cuts and an R-18 rating, even if that meant less people could watch it in cinemas.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


[Image taken from here.]

Maligayang bati sa iyong araw ng kalayaan, Pilipinas. Manalig at huwag mabahala, sa kabila ng lahat marami pa rin kaming sa iyo'y naniniwala.

Reel And Real

[Image taken from here.]

Damn, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is one hell of a shoot-'em-up! It's nowhere near perfect, but there's enough gunfire and explosion to get the adrenaline going. Add Vince Vaughn and there's a rip-roaring mix.

Judging from their onscreen chemistry I can believe that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie did get it on while filming. And the behind-the-scenes hook-up worked wonders for the movie!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Bring Your Own Bombs

System Of A Down is back, and how!

The song is "B.Y.O.B.," carrier single of the Mesmerize installment of SOAD's double-disc outing Mesmerize/Hypnotize. It's a fast and furious pounding, just right for an attack on the economics and politics of America's war in Iraq. However, it's the melodigoofy "la la la la la la la la la la/everybody's going to the party have a real good time/dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine" parts that make me smile each time.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nice Headline

"DLSU spikers give Ateneo free semis ride." That is news we don't see everyday. One, because there's an Ateneo-La Salle rivalry. Two, because unlike basketball volleyball is not that popular in the Loyola Heights campus. With its 4-4 slate after the eliminations of the Shakey's V-League First Conference volleyball tournament, Ateneo joins front-runners DLSU, San Sebastian, and UST in the semifinal round. Here's hoping this exposure will help the Lady Spikers come the UAAP voleyball tournament this July. The Ateneo squad entered in the Shakey's V-League is composed of the varsity players plus a few guest players: one former member of the national team; a couple of beach volleyball players from the Philippine Air Force; and one ex-varsity player each from Ateneo and FEU. The league plays at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila but IBC Channel 13 airs the games on a slightly delayed basis. That's how I caught Ateneo's upset of UST a few weeks back.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Out Of Commission

It's no fun to be ill when there's no one who'll take care of you. I should know—since last week I've been battling influenza with bronchitis. My snot dripped all over, every joint hurt, and my head imploded every two seconds. The world spun whenever I was in any sort of upright position. I still prepared my own meals, however, and bought my own medicine and the like. That didn't help in my recovery, but it's one of those things I had to endure living away from family. Each time I woke myself up with my wheezing and coughing in the middle of the night I wished I were in Bicol. There wouldn't be any chicken soup but at least I could stay in bed. I needn't self-medicate, walking to a sari-sari store and going, "Give me three of every tablet you got." Good thing my brother was in town a few days ago. He dropped by, brought me food and medicine, and took me to a doctor. That multivitamin ad got it right: sa panahon ng krisis, bawal magkasakit. Whatever I might have saved by being on involuntary house arrest I blew on medicine. And I can already start a small pharmacy with all the pills and capsules the doctor prescribed. Right now I'm trying to rest, staying horizontal as much as possible. Imagining the amount of work that's piling up on my desk even as I speak is enough to bring on another fainting spell.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005


1. If you could relive one particular year of your life, which year would it be, and why?
For the sheer fun of it I would relive 1999 (insert Prince track here), which bridged my junior and senior years in college. By then I had realized I would be points short of any honor come graduation so I coasted instead. I indulged the delinquent student in me my diploma ought to say "Bachelor of Arts, Major in Communication, Minor in Card Games."

A distant second would be the twelve months right after my graduation from college. That was a crossroads year, and sometimes I get curious what would've happened had I gone straight to advertising and not experimented with law school.

2. You are hereby granted the ability to read the mind of one person per day for the next three days. Whose mind will you go rattling around in, and what exactly will you be looking for?
Offhand the three would be Zack de la Rocha (Why did he leave Rage Against The Machine?); Claudine Barretto (Has she thought of a way to explain to her future grandkids why their lola has a Tweety Bird tattoo on her shoulder?); and J (How was it like to meet Nemo during his seven-day dive trip to Tubbataha?).

3. What's the best thing about being a guy, in your opinion? How about the worst?
Best thing is we don't have PMS. And the less said about that, the better.

The worst thing is sometimes it's not the big head that does the thinking. And you'd think we would learn not to listen to the small head too much, but no.

4. Have you ever met someone who was unforgettable? Tell me about him/her!
2 August 1997, afternoon, SA 21 class. A piece of paper folded many times over was passed to me from a classmate who seated in front of the classroom. On the piece of paper this was written. It's yellowing now, but I still keep it in my wallet.

5. So, exactly how much alcohol can you drink before you can no longer walk in a straight line?
At one sitting, about four-fifths of a longneck Tanduay 5 Years. I would still be serviceable, except that I would be conversing in English. I've been told that's not a pretty sight.

It could be more if there time. A couple of years back I stood as secondary sponsor at a cousin's wedding. We started drinking before noon, stopped late afternoon to attend the church ceremonies, then drank some more at the reception. We adjourned the following morning only because the sari-sari stores in the area had no more beer to sell.

Now, the interview game rules:
1. If you want to join leave a comment saying, “Interview me.” And don't forget the magic word.
2. I will ask you five questions that will be unique for each person.
3. Post the questions and your answers to them on your blog, then notify me so I can look it up. If you don't have a blog, post your answers here.
4. Include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, ask them five questions.