Painting Black: October 2005

Can’t get enough

Not too late for the spirit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Red Ribbon was promoting its new chocolate cake creation and with it, a small chocolate fountain. At first I thought they were giving free taste, it turned out that they charge P5.00 for 3-piece small marsh mallows dipped in chocolate. It was unreasonable of course for a scrooge like me, but then the chocolate was irresistible, so I gave in. After all, the chocolate was unbelievably YUMMY.

Lemme hear it again

Five of the songs that i never tire of hearing. Thanks, kurims! video codes
Make this your own

Yey for Julius!

I excused myself and slithered my way out of the birthday party we are celebrating here in the office just to meet Julius, my big bro! The brother is now a few buildings away from me. We are practically neighbors, yey! Although it sure is a little weird to see the guy in long sleeves, tie and shiny black leather shoes. Hahaha! Two thumbs-up though, he is far from looking like your friendly Electrolux man. We grabbed a burger at McDo St. Francis, his treat! I was all ears to hear more of his stories but being the hectic guy that he is, we cut the chitchat short. He needs to make it to Laguna early. Oh well, catching up will have to wait until next week because he’ll be feeding us (Ms. Quel, Ate Norms, Ningsky and Moi) real dinner at Rairaiken. Yey!

Swimming in space

Another wisdom tooth trying to burst open from my gum. When can a 27-year old adult stop growing teeth? I hate the feeling of not being able to laugh out loud and open my mouth big enough for a spoonful of food. My right cheek now feels heavier than the other. I feel miserable.

Make that miserable and slothful. Team practically is hibernating. Maybe I’m not really used to having long-ER periods of idleness. It’s welcoming at first, but not doing anything for days on end is a curse most of the time. After subscribing to a couple of online writers group, I forced myself to revisit Emily Bronte. Ayns lent me Wuthering Heights eons ago but it only collected dust in the darkest corner of my room. I’m not really sure if an online version will do any difference. But I have started, and chapter VIII isn’t at all bad. So I guess, I’ll finally find out the goings on between the Lintons and the Earnshaws, and Heathcliff and Lockwood.

Since everybody is entitled to their own opinion...

In my search for more info about Sionil Jose’s work, I saw this comment from a thread somewhere. To whomever who wrote this, please pardon my unpredictable whim of plucking out an unsuspecting comment from the cyberspace and making a hapless subject of discussion out of it. I respect the point of view but I see another form of prejudice. The comment goes:

“I was thinking then kung sana "taga-UP" lang si Sionil Jose, his characters would have more depth, they would be more realistic, they would have more impact.”

I’ve quite a few friends from UP and I love them all, but upon reading this particular comment, what registered to me is arrogance, plain smugness. Not one of my UP friends had dared say anything to that effect to anybody who was educated at a different college or university. Maybe they have what we call sensitivity or better yet, urbanity. Surely, Sionil Jose has turned out excellent as he is, having been educated at University of Santo Tomas. UP, or any other institutions at that, does not make geniuses out of people, and one does not need to study in UP to know that. Since everybody is entitled to their own opinion, I’ll leave it at that and I’ve nothing wicked more to say.

Who is Salvador dela Raza?

I love good books. I devour them (partly because of the fact that I still do not have a television set!). Yet just recently, this one good book consumed me, literally. I thank Mac, my brother, for being the closet-Marxist that he is, for each time that I feel the need to ransack his room for books, his cabinet never fails to surprise me. I read his copy of Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising — bored me on most parts but the Russian Maskirovka and the action in Keflavik and the mountains of Iceland made me want to understand the whole thing — and this magnificent book by F. Sionil Jose, Viajero (although Sionil isn’t pro Marx, I think).

To put it simply, Viajero is a story about a boy named Badong from the small barrio of Raza, who was orphaned during the Japanese occupation. He was taken to a secluded area in the mountains by an old man, Apo Tale, who took him as his own. His daughter, the caring Mayang stood as Badong’s mother. Yet, just as his young mind was starting to hope and forget the killings in the plains, a group of Japanese troops reached their mountaintop home and raped her Inay Mayang and killed her and Apo Tale. After his dangerous escape, he was found by an American army, Captain Wack, who later took him to the US, raising him like a real father will do his own son. Badong became “Buddy,” an American citizen who grew up to be a successful scholar and academic. His profession took him to places like Spain, Japan and Guam, among others countries, where he met people who always reminded him of Filipinas, his homeland, its history, and its people — men and women with skin sun-burned as his own. Despite the comforts of his lifestyle and of living in the US, Buddy always felt the burning need to search for himself, to search for home, to belong.

I’m not much of a story-teller and I can’t give justice to this book just by summarizing it. There are twists and turns in the book that every Filipino with a sense of nationalism can relate to. Salvador dela Raza’s soul-searching is nationalistic just as it is personal. It’s also quasi-historical that you can’t help but look at Philippine history and the personalities in it in a different perspective. If there’s anything this book is capable of doing, it is, at the least, to stir something in you and make you perceptive about the current state of our country, our freedom, our ethnicity.

I remember SSC days when TS used to join rallies. I recall telling the Eds that if the issues hit them and they feel that they should get involved, then they should be in the streets. Otherwise, they are better off inside the classroom listening to their profs (of course, it’s always different with the staff as they were ordered to be there if only to cover the story). I’m a self-confessed advocate of freedom of choice and I’ve taken it upon myself to let TS members decide whether issues affect them or not. I taught myself to rationalize that students have to have a valid reason why they should join the rallies and stink of sun and perspiration, instead of staying within the confines of the classroom just as their parents wished them to do… I used to think that except for the undying student concerns about TFI, campus journ and sexual harassment, other issues that most student feds echo were beyond my worries. But rationalization is mostly euphemism for ignorance. Maybe I wasn’t “enlightened” then. Or to put it plainly, maybe I just didn’t believe that they were prepared to sacrifice themselves fighting for their causes, making them be known and be heard. After all, to be called tibak is some sort of a laurel on the head in my time. Yet, had I read this book in college, I’m sure I would have thought of them differently, I probably would have allowed myself to be a convert. Viajero awakened something in me. It provoked me to think and search for answers why oligarchy came to be, why the Cojuangcos, Zobels and Ledesmas, among the few elitist families that benefited from the fruits of feudalism, have thousands of hectares of land while millions of Filipinos squat in their own country, bereft of a piece of land, bereft of dignity. These are questions that I’m sure we’ve asked ourselves once or twice in our occasional hours of reverie.

Is Salvador dela Raza then just a character in Sionil’s novel? Were his quandaries just imagined by his storyteller, was he all purely contrived? Or was he once walked and kissed the soil of Filipinas? Fiction or otherwise, I think Salvador dela Raza is you, me, and each and every Filipino who believes that we are far from being free. Funny but I associate all of this with The Matrix, you know, what we see isn’t what it seems. We may content ourselves with this superficial freedom but we will still remain to be the modern day Indios that we all are because we are not free from poverty, from colonial mentality, from class biases, and most of all, from the ills of centuries and centuries of dissent among us, Filipinos, making us what we are right now — miserably divided, brown against brown.

It’s been generations of decay since Filipinas was first colonized and there’s no denying that we have inherited and fostered the worst of colonial mentality and vices. The affluent Filipino-Spanish mestizo families today still have the poorest farmers tilling their haciendas. Rural farmers who were able to grow their own crops on rented land , who cannot afford to go the market themselves are betrayed by Filipino middlemen who buy their crops at unfairly low prices and sell them in the market ten times, twenty times the price they paid them. Remnants of racism exist among us, for why else would we use whitening soap if we feel comfortable wearing our own skin?

I’d like to hope that there’s still a way to redeem ourselves and atone for what we have all become. They say that we cannot forever keep on cutting wild grass. To permanently secure our view of the horizon, we must uproot the grass one by one, for it is from the roots that the blades are nourished. It sounds wise, and it’s true and I believe so. But I don’t think this means that we need to overthrow the powers that be nor call for another armed revolution to turn the wheels of parity and progress. I do not believe in armed revolution myself, for this country had had too much bloodshed. Imagine, the Philippines had unceasingly been drenched in its own people’s blood since Lapu-Lapu up to the present reign of Gloria Arroyo, yet it rarely changed anything, if at all. Their blood bathed our land but it did not give land to the landless and certainly, it did not buy back our freedom. Adding another ounce of it when our soils have long been encrusted in crimson would be a waste and it will be unnecessary to die in vain just like all the martyrs we know. They may have tried to change the course of our future but we only have to look around to know that, sadly, they failed and we too, are failing them. We could have continued on with what they started but we never did, and we thought that it’s best that we just call them heroes in the history books and commemorate them and their valor, and just cease from there and embrace the decay. It’s sad, even mortifying, that for a country that was once the seat of envied nationalism, we are divided to bits with no clear sense direction and worse, no clear sense of what we have all become — for brown as we all are, we have become our own version of the colonialist and imperialist of the past and present. Cliché as it may sound, what this country needs is unity and patriotism. I am not wise and I need no one to rub it in, but I just know that if we stop grabbing at each other’s brown neck, and focus on how we can all improve ourselves and our country, then maybe we can influence the future of our children and our children’s children who’ll inherit this land we call home. We have our revolutionary past to remind us of how Filipinas and our heroic people have suffered. That should be more than enough reminder to fire us to continue with the struggle for moral order and a just society. And as it has always been, change starts from within ourselves.

Missed my first Samhain

I Missed Barbie’s Samhain dinner invite. She said it’s like thanksgiving but a bit “spookier.” Samhain is the beginning of the Wiccan new year, as she said. It would have been interesting to witness how they celebrate it. Will there be flying broomsticks and pointed black shoes, or that big cauldron boiling with animal innards? Hmmm…For sure there will be casting of spells. The last time they did it, I freaked out. We were rehearsing for their Wiccan wedding ceremony and we were supposed to read a binding spell while holding a colored cord. Fire and Barbie then scattered salt to where I was standing and uttered some sort of spell. Then their black cat, Oreo, began wandering about. If it wasn’t for my love for Barbie I would have sprinted for the door fast.

Barbie said Samhain went well, nothing too spooky for my taste. Plus the girls were all there — Yeng, Ayns and Lei, even our college biz ethics prof, Natty! Hayz…so while they were partying the night away, I contented myself by watching TV. My mom wants me to sleep in Paranaque just to make sure I’ll show up to man her Sunday flea market stall. Good thing Leo’s helping me with that.


All-hands for our group at the Discovery Suites! It started at 4pm and ended around 10pm, at least for good girls like me. I didn’t eat lunch and the gourmet repertoire was my license for filling up. I didn’t even bother which utensils to use. This isn’t the time to recall table etiquette as part of personality development 101 in college. Honestly, I don’t know why there are so many spoons and forks of varying sizes and how you must work your way from the outside to the innermost silverware until it’s time for dessert. Call me Jologs but I just grabbed a fork and tissue and it worked for me just fine. Lamb was particularly yummy! Eating with the boys is insane. I never stopped laughing. Halfway through the meal, two of them ordered something to satisfy their alcohol craving. A few minutes later, the rest decided to join the fun.

My team went to the adjacent room where smoking is allowed. Second-hand smoking is never fun so I joined the other team on the comfy sofa. The bartender suggested that I try cerveza negra. I ordered for a bottle, who wouldn’t want free booze? I later learned that it wasn't included in the cocktails menu and that it will be footed as an additional bill. Ah, wise bartender. I wonder if these hotel guys get a cut from their tactful, customer service-y hypnotic strategy. If they don’t yet, I think they should receive something. The call center industry needs people like that bartender. Anyhow, the beer was okay, just a little stronger than san mig light with a faint hint of sweetness. Also, the double shot of Absolut Mandarin vodka with sprite and cherry was unbelievably YUMMY! After the second glass, though, I realized I’ve had enough for the night. It’s too early for me to get wasted. But if I did, there’s always Gatorade from the nearest 7-11. It’s supposed to ward off hang-over. It’s one of the new things I recently learned. Thanks to alcoholics like…you know who you all are Ü

Intrigued over Julie & Julia

7:28 in the evening waiting for 8pm so I can finally leave the office. Projects have seen the end of their deadlines and the very last of the minor proofreads were accomplished the other day. I just read the rules for using commas in technical papers, since I noticed that people here seem to use them rather generously, while I on the other hand, have used them sparingly in all my 27 years. I’d be a walking genius if I remembered all those rules. Thus, I only memorized a few that made sense to me:

:: use only when there are at least 3 enumerations in the sentence, and before the conjunction “and” if only to make your statement clearer
:: use to separate independent clauses (before a conjunction) in compound sentences
:: use if it compliments the sentence

Clicked CNN. Saw an article about the book “Julie & Julia, 365 days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.” In essence, it’s a cookbook cum journal of a real-life housewife’s daily culinary struggles in the effort to cook the recipes in her little French cookbook and decided to blog about her kitchen triumphs and failures. Nice! What’s nicer is that before her instant celebrity status, she was trapped in a dead-end secretarial job. Her kitchen adventure blog attracted throngs of readers, which caught the attention — and the wooing — of several publishers. Blogging literally made her a celebrity and recently, the film rights for Julie & Julia have been sold! Okay, I’m starting to get jealous. Aspiring to be published? Read "Julie's Blog" ü


I remember bringing a copy of our college lit folio in the office where I used to do my practicum in HR. The HR Manager saw it and read some of the poems. He particularly liked one Tagalog poem so I asked him if he also does poetry. I find it nice that he did but I was puzzled when, during our break, he photocopied this Tagalog poem, crossing out and substituting the words he didn’t like. I was shocked when I found out that he was in the process of creating HIS poem! I didn’t own the poem but I felt insulted for the writer. It was unfair!

Just yesterday, I learned that no less than the music correspondent of PULP magazine accused the Pinoy band Orange and Lemons of ripping off the song Chandeliers by Care, an 80s British duo. This rip-off, she said, is evident in the now popular song “Pinoy Ako,” of ABS-CBN’s reality show Pinoy Big Brother. She said that people should hear both Chandeliers and Pinoy Ako to make their own conclusions. Apparently, the writer is a friend of the other half of the Care duo and she just wanted Orange and Lemons to apologize to them (Care). The music writer even keeps a thread of emails sent by OnL to the egroup where they both belong, admitting that they indeed sort of used Chandeliers for the music of Pinoy Ako. Yet, last Sunday edition of the Manila Bulletin, OnL stood their ground and defended that although their influences include 80s new wave, Pinoy Ako is an original composition note per note, adding that if there are any similarities, it can only be the intro and nothing more. This after having admitted that they were listening to Chandeliers in the process of rendering music to Pinoy Ako. Sheesh…I know, it looks to me as in-your-face copying only pretending to be discreet. It’s also interesting to note that when asked about the origin of their name, OnL admitted that they got it from XTC’s (another 80s band) album entitled tadaah! - Oranges and Lemons. Okay, you connect the dots.

It’s a pity that we continue to steal other people’s work – consciously or unconsciously. I’m not saying that Orange and Lemons really stole the melody of Chandeliers. I honestly am not quite familiar with their music. But just the same, it is frustrating. I hope we were seriously taught the value of quotation marks when we were still small…and the importance of giving credit to the source of our research or paper or music or poem. A simple “inspired by” would have made a whole lot of difference.

Proud Sistah

Mac’s poem is going to be published! It will be included in a book called Truth and Consequence: An Anthology of Poems for the Removal of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo . The poem may not have the depth of Neruda or Rizal himself and the compilation may not be targeted to the usual audience but he’s published and more importantly, in a venue closest to his heart. Itaguyod ang hanay ng maralitang magsasaka at makabayang indie artists! Hehehe. Proud ang ate sayo! Ü

Note: Because I didn’t have time to publish this on time (read: bawal mag-update ng blog sa opis), the book is finally out. More about it at the launching.

Illustrator Art

To make myself a productive afternoon, I decided to brush on Illustrator. David sent us a tutorial link on how to create the end of a USB cable – the plug bit and cord. The tutorial uses Photoshop so I wasn’t able to follow the directions dedicatedly. It was all building the image from scratch and utilizing a few effects like blending and bevel, among others. I wasn’t able to do much with the plastic body, but I fixed the layering, yey! Anyhow, I’m quite proud of the outcome. It may not look exactly as the original thing but who cares? I think I’m making progress ü

See tutorial here.

No to temptations

Layzel dropped me an IM…asked if I’d like to go to Disney HK with her and Cherry end of October! Argh!!!! It’s so tempting…and it’s so hard to cry off but I had to. Otherwise, there won’t be seeing friends in Sing this December…and my apartment will remain as barren as its present state. I wish the muses are hearing me right now…

Of forced diets and freedoms

I made cabbage soup last night for dinner and partnered with good old Skyflakes. I think I can put up with it for a couple of days more…anything to loose a few bulges…I think…I wish. On a lighter note, things are going pretty well for him. I hope he makes it. He needs to make it and I feel he will make it.

Wish ko lang…

I am still waiting for that go signal to start the project. I feel fat and sluggish. It would really be nice if I can also telecommute but much nicer if we had a game room. Since FP, I haven’t been doing anything productive. I’m seriously considering taking an extra course…an associate course in IT…a teacher’s certificate in English or something…or a culinary course…I want to go to Amici for pizza- or ice cream-making course or TLRC for a small scale biz seminar. I wish I had the money to attend all these…wish, wish…

Promil Kid?

I think my niece is insanely smart (I know, every Tita will say the same about their nieces hehehe). At 1 year and 10 months, she speaks like an adult already. The kid can converse, really converse…there is a subject and a predicate in her statements/requests/commands! And it’s so funny just as it is jaw-dropping. She knows everybody in the house and calls us by name, even some of the regulars who frequent her lola’s sari-sari store. Plus she can dance and sing at the same time, holding the microphone like a pro even without so much identifiable lyrics apart from “ulaaan…ulaaan” just like in the coffee commercial. When she’s in the mood to show off, she hits the keys of the old Casio organ ala total performer. She mimics anybody or anything that captures her attention, be it her lola who now walks with a limp, a TV commercial or our dog which she calls “doggie” or “brownie” whichever captures her fancy. She even knows how to steal a piece of candy from her lola’s store and hide under the table to eat it, even if its mint. I was blown when I learned she eats hot and spicy pancit canton! Sometimes the kid freaks me out. Kakaiba. Kids these days.

There finally

It’s reassuring to know that she is finally in Sing. Here’s a little something that the crew gave her to remember us by. Good luck, girl!

Thanks, Kurims!

Wish granted. Eva, one of my best buds, read my blog and sent me an MP3 of Iko Iko. It was indeed a nice surprise. I was just stunned when she asked what Iko Iko meant. I laughed to myself because I really don’t know, hehehe. I thought this is when Wikipedia comes in handy. Read on!

Free nano?!

For the longest time, I’ve been obsessing about iPod. I never missed looking at it in display windows. Even a shuffle will do! Yet, the scrooge in me always wins and kept me from buying it (not to mention the realities of paying bills and my responsibilities as a dutiful daughter, argh!). So I killed the craving long before it gets to my system. But this time, just as I thought I am successfully pushing the thought away and into my subliminal, it was suddenly rekindled.

I learned that Tirso, my semi-sister, my “ate,” my angel of the moment, applied at VF Singapore as Logistics Officer. Judging from his impressive experience, I felt that he stands a good chance at grabbing the position. So I asked for his CV and bravely sent it to our HR in Taiwan. The good HR manager then forwarded the CV to the hiring managers in Singapore. It made Tirso very happy that he promised to give me something I really want when he gets the job. Since he’s playing Claus, I told him that I wanted an iPod nano. It was only half-meant of course, but to my surprise Tirso sealed the deal with a Yahoo audible that blows a kiss and utters something in Chinese. Hehehe. When he gets the job I’ll get my nano for free! Yipi! I’m crossing my fingers on this one ü. How's that Donish?! :p

My newest lullaby

Lately, this song got stuck in my mind. The first time I heard of it was when I watched Skeleton Key with Leo months ago, a suspense/thriller about hoodoo practice that starred Kate Hudson. She played a private nurse to an elderly man in a creepy old mansion in the bayou of Louisiana. The song sounded eerie, even supernatural at first (either that or the movie just did a real good job playing me all along). I can even imagine this being played in hoodoo celebration, alongside another record called Conjure of Sacrifice, which is way more sinister in its scoring.

Weirdly enough, I find the song amusing that I constantly hum it before bedtime. What’s more amusing is that I learned that it was actually a call-and-respond chant of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe, which was recorded in the ‘60s by a trio of African American girls from New Orleans called the Dixie Cups. They were singing this while they were on break recording their hit “Chapel of Love” in the same circa. It caught the attention of their producer who decided to include the chant in their album. This later became their final top-forty. Sadly, I also found out that the Dixie Cups singers were not spared from the recent wrath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I also came across a radio interview of them and their voices sounded angelic despite the tragedy. Now, I so want an mp3 of this.

Iko Iko (Dixie Cups)

My grandma and your grandma were
Sit-tin' by the fire.
My grandma told Your grandma:
"I'm gonna set your flag on fire."

Talk-in' 'bout, Hey now ! Hey now ! I-KO, I-KO, un-day
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né. Jock-a-mo fee na-né.

Look at my king all dressed in red.
I-KO, I-KO, un-day. I betcha five dollars he'll kill you dead.
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Talk-in' 'bout, Hey now ! Hey now ! I-KO, I-KO, un-day
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né. - Jock-a-mo fee na-né.

My flag boy and your flag boy were
sit-tin' by the fire.
My flag boy told Your flag boy:
"I'm gonna set your flag on fire."

Talk-in' 'bout, Hey now ! Hey now ! I-KO, I-KO, un-day
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né. - Jock-a-mo fee na-né.

See that guy all dressed in green ?
I-KO, I-KO, un-day.
He's not a man;
He's a lov-in' machine.
Jock-a mo fee na-né.

Talk-in' 'bout, Hey now ! Hey now ! I-KO, I-KO, un-day
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né. - Jock-a-mo fee na-né.

We are the working girls…

Ah, finally I now have my own studio-type apartment. It maybe old and sometimes creaky but it feels nice to finally have a bathroom and a kitchen all to myself. In my conscious and unconscious states, I am constantly planning on how to decorate my humble abode and make it livable at least to my standard. I’ve already overspent on my magazine allowance, looking for that inspiration that I can afford to realize. I fear it’s going to take a real big bite on my planned vacation due this December. It makes me think over and over whether I do need a pricey vacation or just a comfy bed, a television, a DVD player and a dining table. Oh muses, help! I wish Oprah is my fairy godmother so I can wish for her to send Nate Berkus and give my apartment that much needed FREE makeover!

Painting Black

Every day creates your history. Every path you take, you leave your legacy.

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