Friday, September 30, 2005

Pancit Will Rule The World

Note: This post was first published by yours truly at Postcards From Metro Suburbia in celebration of the Free-For-All Friday. I hope Vryce liked it.


Unlike other Asian foods like Japanese and Thai, Filipino food has always been met with disgust and scorn from Americans. Most of our food are either too fatty (wanna try deep-fried pork leg?), too sweet (Filipinos have a passion for the sweet tooth, even spaghetti is supposed to be sweet), or can be featured on the disgusting food challenges in Fear Factor (have you eaten a duck embryo? or perhaps fermented shrimp fry, its stench casting the deadly spell throughout the room?).

Asian cuisine has always been conceived as health conscious and light, but our dishes are different. You see, the Philippines is a melange of cultures. We have traded with China, intermarried with India, Islamized by the Malays, colonized for a very long time by Spain, glamourized by Hollywood America, and dealt hardship with Japan. We Filipinos don't actually call ourselves Asian. We consider Latin Americans as our closest cousins, and Americans as brothers.

Hence, our dishes are a confusion as well. As I have said, fish is not the staple meat in the country, especially in the urban areas. It's pork. And anything that can be done with pork, fried, deep-fried, curried, grilled, boiled, brothed, ground, name it, someone in the Philippines has done it. Whatever part of pig, from pork, fat, leg, intestines, face, liver, heart, kidneys, genitalia, lungs, someone in the Philippines has done a dish about that. So it's not a surprise if Westerners look at Filipino cuisine as odd, even impossible to be consumed by the general American public.

But then I learned about something last night. Vryce posted in Blog Explosion about finding recipes for pancit. I asked him why the sudden fascination. Apparently, the Filipino nurses in the hospital where his mom works served up a ton of pancit for everyone to partake and consume. (Correct me Vryce if the story is accurate.)

Pancit is the Filipino version of stir-fried noodles. We have a variety of versions of pancit, depending on the region. From rice noodles with soy chicken and vegetables, flour noodles in soy pork, saltine noodles in vegetables, to a special kind of pancit which you are only supposed to eat with your mouth. Only your mouth.

It's like pad thai without the hot spices, chapchae without the overpowering sesame aroma, chow mein but with more meat.

At that moment, perhaps pancit can save the Filipinos from embarrassing themselves with unflattering cuisine. Platefuls of delightful pancit will be served in every American home, and perhaps cross borders to Canada, Mexico, and even Europe. Hundreds of panciterias (pancit eateries) will be built and proudly promote that their recipes are authentic Filipino. Pancit will rule the culinary world and take sushi, pad thai, curry, and even taco a run for their money.

Unless, of course, if another Filipino will offer an American a serving of balut.

Kain na!

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Saints Move In Mysterious Ways

The End Of The World?

I woke up a while ago and I thought it was the end of the world.

A strange grinding noise echoed throughout my bedroom as I welcomed the new day. What was that?

Was it an airplane about to crash to the neighborhood?

A spaceship?

The coming of the Revelation's Horsemen?

I got up and went out of the bedroom, peered out to the window, and...

It was just a generator.

Next door neighbor's renovating their house.

What a great way to wake up.

I hope you like my blog. Please leave a comment to show your appreciation. Thanks.

What's Your Name And School?
What Is Maruja (post 3)
What Is Maruja (post 2)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Great Game And Then...This

We were watching the UAAP Basketball Finals between former champion De La Salle Green Archers and former runner-up Far Eastern U Tamaraws at the office. Honestly, I was rooting for FEU to win the championship and so were the rest of the guys at the office.

Imagine, a gay guy watching basketball, and it's not just for the sole reason of admiring their semi-hard biceps. I watching it for the game!

Boy, the match was tight. Neither team had gone farther than 10 or so points, and the third quarter ended with a tie of 73. Oh, the suspense. Just defeat the elitist La Sallians and go on with life, I thought as I typed the upcoming segment scripts for our TV show.

The last few seconds were killing me. A rebounding two-pointer by MVP Arwind Santos became the deciding shot that broke the tight game. La Salle tried their best, unfairly and otherwise, to make a three-point shot but the ball missed the ringed.

The competition was so intense you would really expect a fisticuff to ensue.

And true enough. At the end of the ballgame, some trash talking began from the Archers directed towards Santos. The MVP walked away from the maddening losers but then the following events occured...

Free Image Hosting at

Go on the thumbnail...

The commentators called that a cheapshot. Our office messenger called that stupid. It was even featured at the news a while ago.

I just laughed when the moment the fist hit his nape.

Don't get me wrong. Because the green guy, La Salle's team manager (take note, TEAM MANAGER) is acting like he's pacifying a fight and then that? Wow...

That's definitely going to the highlight reel of this season.

Show your love. Leave a comment. Much appreciated.

An Offer I Can't Refuse?

My TV boss is studying the feasibility of co-producing another children's show, which will be hosted by the country's first...nah, it's still in the works. Can't tell you the concept yet.

But she has already offered me the possibility of a head writer position for the show. I asked if when is the planned pilot. She said it will be on October 7.

Oh no, October 7. That means I will be having 3 different writing works for the whole month of October. Aside from my first TV show, I'm also writing, and production-assisting, for the Elite Model Look Philippines competition's series of pre-final events.

Although having a second TV show sounds like a cool idea, I have a weird feeling that I might not make it.

What do you think?

Show your love. Leave a comment. Much Appreciated.

P.S. I have posted some photos on my Bashing Birthday blogs about the Cheering Competition God had given me for my birthday. You'll surely love them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Larra's Murder Update: Someone Was Sacked

I got a text message from Jojo on my way to the Elite Model Look Philippines semi-finals at a huge mall (a mega mall), where I work as one of the writers.

"Can you text me the name of the ABS-CBN employee who was sacked regarding Larry's murder? Please text back."

Before we continue, I would like to you to meet Jojo. He is Larra's friend in her hometown somewhere in Laguna Province. I met Jojo when we went to this quiet rural town during their town fair, which we featured in our TV show.

Now back to the program.

I replied that I had no idea. I'm not working at Larra's other TV station, how on earth would I know.

I texted Jojo as to why the employee was sacked?

He replied, "He/She is under investigation."

The plot about Larra's murder is starting to thicken. I should pray harder to Saint Jude. It's Thursday tomorrow.

Mike Hereafter

After three years of contemplating, I finally called Mike last 2003 on his cellphone (his number I got from his "Kharl", his best friend back in high school).

A woman's voice answered the phone. I thought it was his wife.

When the woman passed the phone to Mike, I could tell from his voice that he was ecstatic.

"Hey, why on earth did you call me?"

"I'm just checking if you're alive, that's all. So how's your quest to become a policeman?"

"Well, my wife would like to join," he was just kidding, of course.

As I smiled and giggled my way talking to him (it absolutely felt like freshman year all over again), he dropped the bomb.

"I know where you live now."

I tried not to freak out. Why on earth did he searched for my neighborhood?

"Prove it."

"The main road has a pharmacy, and by the corner is a line of rickshaws..."

He's got to be kidding...

"How did you know all that?" trying my best to be coy.

"I just so happen that I was there when I saw you cross the street."


"A year after I graduated...I was in this lab or something." There is a medical laboratory across the pharmacy.

"Too bad I didn't see you. Probably, I bought something from the market to cook."

"As long as it's not chicken curry." we laughed.

Now? I've never heard from Mike eversince. His number, which I accidentally erased, is currently used by another person (probably his wife).

He didn't become a policeman like he wanted to be. He is currently working somewhere in the financial district, in the twin buildings that look like rockets and has a sci-fi'ish name.

As for me? Call me in a state of limbo. I don't know where to go. Thoughts have battled inside me on whether Mike has forgotten me, or should hold on to the feeling and wait until we meet again. I don't know. Eight years have passed, and it felt like freshman year all over again. This time, I am alone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hiding From Him/ Hiding In Himself

This post is the continuation of "The Day Before My Birthday: 5 Years Ago"


Although I loved Mike, I would not take this emotional beating sitting down. I was determined to hurt him where it hurts him the most.

His heart.

Days after the embarrassing incident, I stayed away from Mike. Everytime I would feel his presence in the campus, I moved away from him. Everytime he passed by the hallway, I would just bow my head in shame, hiding my face from him.

One day, our friends back in freshman year set us up for me to apologize. They tricked me. The girls told me that they were introducing me to a cute guy in campus, but when a friend told me "not to freak out," that became a give-away. I stared at Mike as I apologized intently, his eyes staring far away, but I had a feeling that he was trying to view me from his peripheral vision.

"I'm sorry, Mike. I promise I'll never do that again."

"Just don't be too pushy," he replied, his eyes still trying to view me from the peripheral.
And he let out a barage of bashings. It was like a rewind to freshman year.

"Next time, bring my other friends at the pre-law class some bananas."

With my head down, it was my turn to lash out. "Do you really think I'm amused at what you're doing?"

Mike stopped at the moment I said those words as I walked away from him, just like what I'd been doing for days.

My fear (and subliminal vengeance) for Mike did not seems to cease even after the apology. I would still run and hide even at the mention of his name. But I could see, and feel, that he too was sorry. I would often see him seated near me at the campus park, his sad eyes still trying to view me from the peripheral. Like most guys, Mike has a proud outer shell. His friends thought he is one tough cookie, but as I see his sublime desperation to apologize without sacrificing how other people would see him, I could only see that he has "a loving heart and a sensitive man" hiding inside himself.

It was then I realized that Mike, like me, is so complex. It took me four years to fully comprehend him, or maybe because I took his past subliminal messages for granted, mistaking them as either another one of his bashings or something dedicated to his wife. Maybe he thought I knew it all along, that I was coy in keeping our "little secret." Maybe he had plans for us to pretend as good friend for as long as possible. Or maybe I was making this all up, that he was just a nice person to me, that he put down his guard and hatred towards gaydom for me.

It was a month after the incident, I passed another note to the same friend I've given the "banana letter". The not was simpler this time, no fancy attachments, no fruits either...

"Hi Mike, how are you doing?"

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Day Before My Birthday: 5 Years Ago

As I've posted before, this is the fifth anniversary of the most stupid thing I have ever on, and you'll realize why.


I woke up as early as 4am for this.

I took out a piece of paper, a pen, and wrote down the most heart-felt letter of apology I may have written in my entire life.

You see, the night before, Mike ignored me. I called his name in the campus, eyes seeking for affection and companionship. But he couldn't. He shouldn't. He was married in the first place, and is supposed to be a homophobe.

I wasn't supposed to be like this. All in the four years we've been friends, I only thought that my inflamed feelings for him were supposed to be platonic in nature. Little did I know that he had other feelings in mind.

Back in freshman year, he used to sing a certain song for me which he would say that is dedicated to me. He has such sweet singing voice. Back then, I didn't bother as to why he would sing it for me. I thought it was a wedding song for his wife. But then one day, I asked a friend, "Do you have lyrics for 'Hiding Inside Myself'?"

She had. And so I read the lyrics and wondered why.

I browsed through the word and tears slowly fell from my eyes...

I've been so alone all my life
I couldn't give my heart to anyone
myself was a man
Who needed to be held like everyone...

Then you
came out of nowhere
I could not believe my heart
I didn't know how to
tell you
I didn't know where to start...

So I hid inside 'till I
almost died
I hid inside and I cried
A loving heart and a sensitive man
Hiding inside myself...

All those four years we've been conversing about politics, riding jeepneys home together meant something more to him? He loved me, and I didn't notice it.

And when I wanted to show that I, too, loved him, he ignored me and shook his head. Did I do anything wrong to anger him?

And so here I was, writing an apology letter, inviting him to go out with me on that day, the day before my birthday. Attached are five bananas. Don't ask.

Later in the afternoon, after taking my Marketing class, I was approached by Mike's friend (whom I've given the letter for Mike to read). He put his heavy arm around me and walked me straight to Mike. He was angry.

"Do you think I'm amused with what you've been doing?"

I stood in front of him stone cold, hearing an angry remark for all the fellow students to hear. My jaw dropped and couldn't muster a word. It could only emit whispers of "Sorry...sorry" but I didn't think they were enough.

As I hurriedly left campus, I could only heard him say, "Good! Walk away from me!"

I cried the whole afternoon, consoling to a good friend. Feeling the need for space, I went to a public park and walked aimlessly until the night. I then went to a local bar, drank a bottle of beer, enough for me to feel groggy and go home fighting the tears.

I later learned that a classmate of his read the apology letter for all his class to hear. Our common friend said, "He went out of the building fuming. He said he wanted to punch you."

Well, he did hurt me without having to punch me. And in exchange, I took vengeance on him by hitting him in what he would hurt the most...


Monday, September 12, 2005

Love Life (Or So It Seems): The Guy In Red

It was one week after our first day of freshman class. I was slowly digesting the realities called college as I sat on front row.

Our Literature professor entered, acknowledging the students on the back row who went to class one week after school opening.

As we all looked back to see who they are, my eyes were suddenly glued to this young man wearing a red t-shirt and faded denim jeans. His hair is short enough to be considered military-issued short, but long enough to look good on him. His face reminded me of the cute guy I saw in a movie back in high school, The Craft.

I didn't know why but I felt heavy all of a sudden. I began breathing loadsful of air to fill the titanium lungs. My heart seemed to be wailing to get out of my chest.

The professor was beginning her discussion about the different types of literature, but I would glance to his way every once in a while. Who was he? And why was I feeling heavy, and sweaty?

How I asked for his name that day was all a blur now. All I could remember now is that the guy in red was adamant in telling me this:

"I hate gays. I used to punch them back in high school."

To which I answered back:

"I came here to make friends, not to go home black and blue."

His name is Mike.

"What's Your Name And School?"

Today is the first day when tickets for the annual inter-university cheering competition are on sale. Just like in the US, college cheer is taken way seriously here. All the debate, name-calling, and predictions as to which of the 8 universities under University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) will win the much-hyped cheering championship.

Our university has won last year, and the year before that. Basically, we won most of the titles eversince the cheering competitions was conceived. That is why it is always expected that we gather the biggest crowd, from students to alumni to sons and daughters of alumni.

This year, two of my friends have decided to go with me and watch the competition, which will happen on Saturday (September 17, my birthday). They were Millet and Paulie, the same people in my "We Are A Dying Breed" blog.

Thinking that the ticket office would open at noon, I casually prepared myself as I ventured to the venue, Araneta Coliseum, fifteen minutes before noon. When I reached the office, all but one section was sold-out, and it was the cheapest section before you would get settled with the SRO tickets. Those tickets were the ones I'm supposed to buy, since it gives you the best view of the cheer dancers' formations.

When it was my turn to buy tickets, the ticket lady reminded me that I could only buy two tickets. I asked her if I could return later. "If there are still tickets available," she replied.

That prompted me to inform Paulie through my cell phone after buying the tickets if he could buy one later in the day. Since he was too loaded with work that he might not get there before the tickets were sold out, it was left to dear old me to do something.

I stood at the sidelines, asking people if they could buy one ticket on my behalf. They all say...

"No, sorry."

"We can't"

"I'm buying two tickets, too."

As I was getting nervous and jittery, a guy sitting near me spoke softly to my direction.

"Do you wanna buy another ticket," he asked.

He seemed pretty decent. I could mistake him as a law student with his "barong" top and khaki pants. I nodded.

"You could just go back to the line and buy again," he tipped me. "I bought ten tickets already."

The word SCALPER flashed in my mind. I told him, "I might try that. Thanks." I smiled faintly.

Just then, a lady younger than I am walked towards me. "Excuse me, you wanted another ticket, right? Well, I bought one for you."

"Oh bless you, bless you," I exclaimed as I handed to her my payment for the ticket. "Thank you so much. What's your name and school?"

In UAAP, school is a big issue.

"I'm Melissa from La Salle."

"Maruja, UST graduate."

"But I studied high school in UST."

"Oh no big deal. I only just asked," I replied as we parted ways.

I smiled as I headed for work. Now, it's school-bashing time again...nyehehehe....

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What Is Maruja (post 3)

My events boss has explained it well...

During a meeting, he commented a new guy in our events team when he said that he has never heard of me in the university we all schooled in.

"Don't you know who maruja is? He is the legendary maruja, the infamous maruja. Ask anyone around the university and they will tell you everything about maruja."

Although the popularity thing did not stick to my head, I was actually baffled as to why I would get such adulation...or ridicule.

Probably it's because of the way I would make a fool out of myself. I remember one time during our college parade, my whole body was painted orange and wore a pig snout out of papier mache. I was supine on the pick-up truck, pretending to be a roasted pig surrounded with banana leaves. Beside me was another gay classmate, dressed in traditional Filipina clothing, holding a knife and a fork.

"Please don't eat me," I pleaded as I squealed for the whole university to be heard. I didn't care if the Science students were having their final exams or the Engineering students were having their dissertations as long as we, the Liberal Arts students, would get noticed. Our float won first prize.

Not to be outdone, I pulled off an even nastier cross-dressing scene of all time. It was during a university-wide baccalaureate mass when ten selected students, each representing a course in Liberal Arts, dressed up in costumes as professionals in our chosen fields. Since I was representing the Communication Arts, I dressed up as a Russian female correspondent named Nadia Karamazovski.

When our college was called, all ten mascots went up on stage, with me pretending to deliver a live broadcast of the mass. And not to mention I kissed the hand of our Dominican Rector.

I also remember a time when a student from Education College asked a Liberal Arts students as to who maruja is. The Educ gay guy, according to what I've heard, was intrigued by the way I settled a certain "grudge" against a classmate. You see, as this cute guy classmate began saying sorry to me, for reasons I have forgotten, I told the person beside me, "Please tell (that cute classmate) that I will not accept his apology."

To which he replied, "Please tell maruja that I will make up for what I have done."

And I countered, "Please tell (that cute classmate again) that he will have to talk to me after five days. That is when my head will cool off..."

Man, those were the crazy times. Although I have cherished most of them, I have regretted some, thinking that I was stupid that I did some things (if all those cherishable moments are not stupid enough).

Among them was the time I was caught up by the security guard in a girl's bathroom of the Architecture Building, brushing my hair with a female Archi friend. He thought that we did some "time-off".

The guard was adamant to arrest. And because I was also adamant not to be charged with "moral wrongdoings" (and the fact that my face might be printed on the university paper with the headline, "Maruja caught in girl's CR, becomes lesbian"), I ran inside the Architecture building, climbed up the stairs and ran straight to the open balcony below.

The guards, now there two of them, caught me by the arm before I would even make a jump of my life and suffer broken leg bones...and a broken ego.

After much explanation, the Archi friend and I were off the hook.

"I'm gay, stupid," as I hintedly lashed out at the vanguard as we left the security office.

Before I forget, Friday (September 16) will mark the 5th anniversary of the stupidest thing I have ever done, but at the same time it was the most pivotal moment of my lovelife. Yes, I have a love life, too.

Another Gay Man Killed...

As I went off to the market this morning, I stumbled upon a scary headline in a tabloid:

"Another gay murdered: SERIAL KILLER STRIKES AGAIN"

I could not believe what I saw! Could it be that Larra's murder could something to do with a bunch of gay-hating idiots?

Reading the news further made my speculation closer to the truth...

POLICE are now determining if the death of a 64-year-old weatlhy
found hogtied and with multiple stab wounds in the
--is a simple case of robbery, the handiwork of a murderer with a
personal grudge,
or even a serial killer who has been hounding gay men in recent months...

The bloodied cadaver was discovered on his bed bound with a bed sheet. His mouth was sealed with packing tape...

I have been thinking about the circumstances surrounding the murder of Larra. Based on what I have gathered during the funeral (now I feel like that anime Detective School Q), the killers are definitely NOT male prostitutes. It was a carefully-planned murder.

I can only speak out this much, since I, too, am afraid of my welfare. I'll inform more about my murder theories once everything is cleared.

If the police are intelligent enough, I hope the killers will be captured in no time without sacrificing another innocent life. We have lost a dear friend and colleague in the broadcasting industry, and they should pay.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I'm Not Katrina-Insensitive

Don't tell me I'm being insensitive about the victims of hurricane Katrina. I cried when I saw an ABC coverage when a female reporter asks a seemingly-lost African-American man as he seeks for his missing wife. The reporter asked the man for his wife's name, trying her best to be composed despite her cracking voice. Hearing her empathy, a tear slowly rolled from my left eye.

Staring at the photos of the helpless victims made me breathe deeply, trying my best not to shed a tear amidst a crowded internet cafe.

But you see, we Filipinos have a problem of our own, and it's happening right at this moment.

Another People Power to oust an unimpeached president. Oh no...not again. Not another worldwide humiliation.

I've been in one, and I regretted it. Should have let Erap, a former actor and drunkard extraordinaire, reigned until 2004. With People Power 2, we have openned a Pandora's Box of widely-televised street rallies at every whim of the ugly politicians.

People are tired of rallies. We as a country could not move forward towards progress if we imitated out Latin American brethren and change presidents every two weeks. Thailand has overtaken us, and so will Vietnam. And if all Chinese would learn how to speak English, we Filipinos are done for. Why, with all that cheap labor, what country would accept our skilled workers?

A sad, sad ending for a country that used to be second to Japan.

What Is Maruja? (post 2)

My father works at a TV station. When I was a kid, I thought that was the coolest job in the whole world. I mean, how many kids would brag that their dad is a "TV Director" for all the clerks', accountants', and salesmen's children to envy?

Because of Dad, I got 2 TV exposures as a kid, one for a kiddie game show dressed in mint-green overalls with the title "Abakada Barkada" ("ABC Gang") embroidered on the back and another one as a cameo watching a political campaign scene for a defunct TV sitcom. Despite those camera exposures, I was really afraid of seeing myself on TV. I thought I was staring at a freak.

What I did like was the goings-on behind the camera. My fondest memories of my dad was when he took me to the tech booth. There were numerous small TV monitors, all having different camera views. I would always remember him saying, "Camera one to camera two...stand by... and..." He would then snaps his finger, signalling a switch of camera view.

I watched at awe as he commanded an entire studio of people, from the humblest of utility to the biggest celebrities. Telling them what to do, what to say, how to say, how to move, how to adjust. He was like a god above the studio.

I thought that was the coolest job in the whole world. I still think it is. That's why I'm following his footsteps, but this time as a writer.

What Is Maruja? (post 1)

They call me maruja. I was baptized by that name when I was a college freshman. During my apprenticeship at a theater organization, the senior members--by the "seniority" power vested upon them--began calling all new male members, gay or otherwise, with female names. Some guy was called Wynona, another was named Jaya, while I got the name maruja (muh-ROO-ha).

It's based from an old Filipino movie "Gumising Ka, Maruja" (which translates to "Wake Up, Maruja"), about a woman reincarnated after a hundred years searching for her one true love. As I think about it now, perhaps I was fated to be called as such, since I had a searching of my own. More of that in the coming posts.

The name was stuck to me for years. I was sort of popular (or sort of infamous) along the university hallways, to the point that some students thought that maruja is my real name. I considered it as my lucky charm, as I used it as my pen name for my first stage play. It won third place, the only awardee from the play category during the 1997 university literary competition.

I still use it until now, whenever I interact with the people belonging to the sub-branch of the society tree called fashionistas. Call it a screen name for an aspiring social climber, I don't care.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Fashion Will Save The World

Busy has been a byword for me during the past days. I am telling you, I am living in exciting times. I find more freelance opportunities while fearing for my life. I hope I won't get stabbed on the back as I write this blog...I want to live.

We just finished a meeting for our upcoming modeling contest, which was after a press conference announcing the event in front of prominent society press, which was after I finished revising all the cue cards for the creative director to use, which he didn't.

Packed in a North Avenure-bound taxi were five people involved in the event, including yours truly. Words were flying as we recap the minutes of the meeting, and we just couldn't stop laughing.

You see, heading the meeting is the director of a prominent worldwide modeling agency for Asia-Pacific. As the production people were discussing to him the various aspects of the project, from pre-production stage, casting, to finals night, he seemed to have experience a cross-South China Sea cultural shock. Unlike the partying atmosphere of Bangkok, where he is based, Filipino fashionistas are an uptight lot. As the stage designer said it best, trying not to bleed her nose because of excessive English, "They would rather just sit and be entertained." He also insisted of getting a famous soda brand to sponsor the event.

"Because, you see, in Singapore, they are developing this new product in an aluminum bottle. It's half-filled with (the soda) and you can mix it with, like, Bacardi or something."

"That brand hasn't had a campaign this year," one of them lamented.

"Besides," I thought. "Would the Filipino consumers like to see a wholesome product being promoted as an accompaniment to alcoholic drinks? Although they've done it, it's not a good message to send to kids."

What was I thinking? Give me that damn gin-soda.


But what really got us laughing is when the topic of associating modeling with charity was cropped up by the Thai director (who, by the way, redefined the hopes and dreams of several gays during the press con). There is nothing wrong with it, but...

"He was asking what are the problems besetting the Philippines. We said poverty, then he asked 'What else?' I said smoking, drugs, traffic, the impeachment. I would like to tell him, 'You know the problem we have here? Everything.'"

"I mean, would the models oblige to anti-drug cause? Oh I know, they'll demonstrate using a drug and tell the kids while completely wasted 'This is what you look like when you take drugs.'"

"And what about the smoking? When he said that smoking is unglamorous, one of the PAs suddenly put down his cigarette he was about to light."

"And he wanted to started even during the casting stage, like donating to a cause or something."

Then the guy beside me shouted a quotation straight out of a political campaign.
"Sa panahon ng kahirapan, fasyon ang kasagutan!"

In times of poverty, fashion is the answer!

We all rolled into laughter.


Don't get us wrong. We are not dissing the director. It's just that we were blown away by his passion to repackaging models as crusaders against poverty and all other ills that befall in the society. But then again, I guess beautiful people are needed in times like these. With all the ugly politicians we see endlessly on TV bickering over whether to impeach or not to impeach, it's time for some fresh air, and airs.

Living In Exciting Times

Investigators have been hovering me for statement that could lead to the killers of my friend's murder. Just a while ago, an agent texted me that they are in the house to have me answer some of their questions. Too bad, that time I was in the parlor with my sister having my hair colored dark blue (which, eventually, didn't work), my nails manicured and pedicured. I told them to come to the parlor and talk to me.

Minutes later, I could see the police mobile parking near the salon. An agent sat beside me as he stares my hands being manicured. We talked about the case and some information that I might know about Larra. I honestly told him that Larra is not the type of person who talks about problems. He then asked me about Larra's lovers, if there are. Yes, Larra does have a share of lovers, although she doesn't take them seriously. One's a marine and anothers an engineering professor.

In my mind it was supposed to be my last statement to the investigators, until I realized that they wanted to take me to their office for interrogation. I would like to volunteer, but I asked permission from my dad first, of course through SMS.

Dad was furious. He told me that he almost got a heart attack because of it, concerned of my welfare and safety, like all parents would. And I agreed.

After I paid for the salon services I walked towards the mobile, leaving my sister behind (do you really think I would compromise my sister's safety because of this?). As expected, the agents continued to convince me to join them to their headquarters, for interrogation. I was just baffled, why don't they talk to Larra's neighbors, he was killed there anyway, maybe they know something that they refuse to tell to the police. I'm just Larra's co-worker, who just so happened that I go out of the office with her and spend some time eating out and treat ourselves to a salon. But they insisted that Larra's neighbors and relatives are pointing their fingers to me, because I was closest to Larra. I have a weird feeling that they consider me as a suspect to Larra's murder. If only I could just wring their necks because of their intelligent stupidity. In the first place, I have never been to Larra's boarding house, which she lived by her lonesome.

And why do local detectives rely so much on witnesses? Haven't they heard of forensics, like the ones we see on CSI and Medical Detectives? What if witnesses don't want to talk? Will the pursuit for justice just stop?

I asked Dad through his cellphone what to do. I relayed his message to the agents: that I will only make my statement at our office and they are not allowed to take me to Camp Karingal, even if escorted. Once I got home, I got a mouthful from Dad at the other end of the phone while playing mah-jong.

"If Larra's neighbors don't talk at all, why should you? Do you wanna be next on those killers' list?"

Those words creeped the paranoia to an all-new high. I don't wanna die. Not yet, anyway. I haven't utilized my utmost potential. I haven't seen the world. I haven't even found a soul mate yet and grow old. These scary thoughts have caused me to pray repeatedly to St. Jude a while ago, holding tightly the rosary my sister just gave me.

I just hope this chapter would just stop. I hope for Larra's murderers to get caught, but our welfare is being sacrificed, and it's scaring me to death. But I will not bend.

I will still continue with my tasks, although I would be more careful. I often go out alone, since my friends have different work schedules and we rarely meet.

Larra, what have you done? Why are you putting us to jeopardy?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

We Are A Dying Breed!

I was invited by our theater group back in college to facilitate a playwriting workshop. Apparently, this year's artistic director waned to revive the writer's pool, which has long been gone after I graduated. I thought her intention was great, so I began referring her to other co-members long graduated who also have the knack for creative writing. After several calls, and SMS, the three of us alumnis met at a mall to discuss about the upcoming workshop.

They are Paulie and Millet. Paulie is a flamboyant province lass who currently works in a church organization. He claims that the Philippine Catholic Church is littered with species of our own kind, some are out while some would rather wait for a media scandal for them to get out. He's a journalism graduate and is an expert in writing non-fiction essays. During our meeting he wanted to create separate workshops where each of us will facilitate. I thought that was cool.

Millet, meanwhile, works as a marketing officer for high-end cooking wares. Her tiny and waif frame should not be underestimated as she had facilitated fiction writing workshops before during college. She suggested to create a four-day workshop instead of cramming all our teachings in just one day. Although time-consuming, I think it's for the benefit of our org.

During the meeting we were baffled by the fact that we were not being updated by the org's current officers if the workshop will happen as scheduled. We called several numbers, until Millet contacted this year's artistic director, Jade. She told us that the workshop was moved to November because they are focused in producing a stage production on September. They expect 50 members to attend the workshop.

I asked Jade how many writers remained in the organization, she said, "Just one."

I was shocked. From 6 apprentice writers, only one stayed in the organization. As Millet ended the call, I could not help but scream for all the mallers to hear: "We writers are a dying breed."

Dead Air

It took me a week to get over the grief that I suffered because of a friend's sudden and tragic death. But as they say, life goes on. Expect more blogs of past and present days in the days to come. Enjoy!