Monday, May 30, 2005


Couldn't sleep last night. After an hour-long 10-pesos-all-you-want-NDD-call to Sheila in Manila, I turned on my laptop and started typing away responses to unreplied emails. An hour later, still couldn't sleep, decided to channel surf. Ended up at Channel 2 where Feng Shui was being shown. Excellent movie to watch on a late night. Good story line, bad acting. Nevertheless, good.

Advertisements came and went. Was half focusing on the TV and on my Adobe Acrobat document (Alcott's Little Women) when I caught an ad saying, "Sandara: Ang Pambansang Krung-krung ng Pilipinas" (or something like that).

Krung-krung? What the fuck???

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bite Me

Me and my big mouth. That wicked, wicked influenza virus did bite me. And it's still gnawing.

Four days after that ill-fated Batangas conference, I am still down with the flu. And the diagnosis is official, medical certificate, P82.00 per capsule (to take FOURTEEN capsules!!!) antibiotics, and all. Never did I foresee myself snacking on paracetamol, bromhexine, amoxicillin, cetirizine, guaifenesin, dextromethorphan, roxithromycin, etc etc etc in just one sitting. I am now officially a druggie.

With all the coughing and sniffing and sneezing and agonizing pain, a realization dawned on me: no matter how much money you make (not that *I* do), how many accomplishments you've attained, and how much good fortune you've aggregated, when you get sick (and/or bedridden) and you're alone, it just don't mean shit. When you're at your lowest, when you actually have to practically crawl out of your bed and excruciatingly drag yourself to the closest drug store and fast food chain (where it's freezing cold and loud) to buy your own medicine and food, you stop and tell yourself: why the hell did I insist on being independent, single, and ALONE?

Right now, I am in my province in Bataan, being taken care of my sister (who's got to be the bestestest sister in the whole wide universe). And although I can neither hug my adorable niece nor kiss my tomboyish daughter because I cannot allow them to catch my virus, being at home right now is still the next best thing to bliss. And no amount of independence, being single, and being alone can pit against that.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Ironies Part Two

When Alanis said (or sang), "like rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you're already paid, a good advice that you just didn't take...", I figured, life's really full of ironies (or strictly speaking, based on Alanis' examples, bad luck).

Went to Batangas last Tuesday for a three-day conference with the company's agency leaders (aka Branch Managers and Agency Development Managers). Was anticipating this trip because when I saw the promotional video of the venue (called Villa Angelina), I was instantly captivated.

Lemme tell you a little bit about the place. Located in Nasugbu, the villa is a three-level mansion-like home that exuded a Hispanic feel both in its interior and exterior. Made of concrete, and a combination of glass and wood, the place is excellent for teambuilding activities, informal or laid-back conventions, or even plain relaxation with a LARGE group of friends or family. The keyword here is large. It's got six bedrooms (combination of family and guest rooms) and a den. All in all it can lodge more than 24 people, all comfortably bunked in one bed (i.e. 1:1 ratio). Extra beds and sleeping bags are of course optional.

For people like me who like to cook (recipes later!), the ground level kitchen is relatively roomy and proper. The same level brings you to the porch (or veranda) which gives a majestic view of Nature's work of art: legions of greens, several flame trees in full bloom, vivid colors of bougainvilleas, and bright blues of pristine sea. The lower level offers a lounging area where food may be served, the whole floor covered with trellises of bougainvilleas. The lowest level is where the pool and jacuzzi are located. One dip in the jacuzzi, and you wouldn't want to leave.

Aahh. Paradise.

Now, the irony...or the bad luck.

At the exact moment our Space Gear parked at the villa, My entire body started freaking out. And this ain't from excitement or awe. I'm talking MAJOR freak out translated into chills, throwing up, and queasy muscular feeling. Halfway through my facilitation of the workshop portion of the conference, and almost a gallon of hot Lipton tea, my body just gave up. With all the color drained from my system, I collapsed on my bed...clothes, shoes and all...missing all of the night's, uhm, revelries.

You would think that the sickness would go away after a long, restful night's sleep, eh? No (indulge me on this and pronounce this as "nyeeewwwww"). Day two was worse: joining the trio of chills, puking, and nausea, were fever, back pain, splitting head ache, sore throat, and the nasty cold virus. Excellent. A perfect double quartet of affliction. A quick SMS consultation with my doctor friend in Quezon City, and a nurse friend in the UK, I got a confirmation of my biggest fear: that I have contracted the flu virus. Bummer.

As I slept (and coughed, and sniffed, and sneezed, and ached...) the day away, the conference went on, with the laughter, the music, and the fun. Yes, I was missing out on the conference's most important moments as I stared at the ceiling while making friends with shadows of my hand.

When early evening fell, I decided I've had it. There was no way I was going to leave this paradise-like place without at least dipping in the jacuzzi. Mind-over-body being real or not, I "forced-heal" myself into feeling better...or at least slightly better than shitty.

Two hours of Magic Sing session with the ladies and a few glasses of sparkling wine later, I was serenely loafing in the just-warm-enough jacuzzi...with more sparkling wine.

Irony/bad luck? Bite me.

Ironies Part One

I received this SMS from a colleague at work:

Frustration is when the same snow that covers the ski slopes makes the roads to them impassable. Tact is the art of making guests feel at home when that's exactly where you wish they were.

I call it IRONY. (Well, that bit about TACT isn't counted. I just thought I'd include that second half of the forwarded message...)

This is Irony Part One. I'll give you Part Two in a bit.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Sight for Sore Eyes

If you'd visit my homepage (yes, I have my own. How's that for swellheadedness?) , you will see this excerpt in my About Me portion:

Had the worst case of the pox at 20 years old. Got hideously ugly...and refused to go out without a cap, shades and pollution mask. Went through a case of near-death experience (which up to now, I have stubbornly rationalized as the glare of the friggin' overhead fluorescent lamps). Deserted a supposedly flourishing career in show biz...and lamented on it. Have wept gallons of tears in sheer desperation. Have cussed to no end for my terrible fate. And then have gotten hold of a bunch of Chickensoup for the Soul books. And finally moved on. Still a little bit ugly, but nevertheless cheerful.

It's been a while since I wrote that testimony. Years later, I find myself realizing that I am getting old(er). Gone were the days when I'd actually take forever to just fix my hair, or tuck my shirt, or moisturize my face, or even mix-and-match my apparel...all because of trepidation over what people would think about how I looked (or worse, that they'd think I'm ugly). At 29 (*shivers*...OK, I'm still more than a month away from that...!), I have developed an attitude that says, "I don't care what you think about me. You don't pay my bills"...which I should have adopted years ago.

These days, I can just step out of the shower and slip into the next piece of duds I'd get my hands on...of course taking into consideration that it fits the occasion. Nevertheless, it takes me practically minutes to whip out some "look"...and a good one at that. :)

I think this is also the reason why people start to notice that I am...well (and I say this with a little blush, mind you!), eye-filling. :-D It's when you stop trying so hard to make people notice that you're beautiful (or in my case--again, with a little blush--handsome), that they actually do notice. And perhaps, it could be the age factor. What was it again that they said about wine...? That it gets ripened (or in some cases, tempered) with age? So, hey, you young lads, make sure you grow old gracefully. I know some of us did. :)

* * *

"Bear Brand"

Sheila and I went to Roxas Boulevard yesterday to watch Daniel compete with his rowing teammates. Once we got there, we were told by Dan that his team was already done competing...and that he was already miles away from the event, on his way to a meeting with a client. So, after a handful of cusses and cartoonish *#!%^%&!#$!@, the two of us--in our ultrahooverphonic summery clothes--decided to walk towards the cab lane. While waiting under the poignant shade of the traffic light, a motorcade of Bear Brand (yes, the milk with huge teddy bears for its mascot) passed by. Two gentlemen (not of the straight kind) and a young, twenty-fivish lass locked gaze with and smiled at me. Propriety dictates that if someone did just that, you return the favor. So smiled I did. And with that flashing of my not-quite-CloseUp smile, the two gentlemen (again, not of the straight kind, but those that would makeover a straight guy) and the lady squealed and giggled (respectively)...and then when I managed a savoir faire-ish wave of my hand, the lady shouted out, "I'm Mariel. And you are?" Then I said my which she replied with, "And your number is?" As I started saying my digits, their van/pickup rolled away into the scorching heat of the metro.

So, to you who wanted my number, it's 0917...... ;-)

Friday, May 13, 2005


A few days ago, I received an early morning SMS from one of the company's CEOs. By virtue of his position in the company, I automatically tagged the message as urgent. I told him that I was in my cubicle and that he could call me at my local. He texted back saying that he's on the road and not at the office, and so he'd rather call me at my mobile phone. When my phone rang its distinct Mission Impossible theme ring tone (my Office caller group ring tone), and with his full name glaring at my phone's screen, I said "This is Ben" with a semi-petrified tone. I knew this matter couldn't wait...and I could be in trouble (but why oh why???)

Ears pressed heavily on my earpiece, the CEO told me that the reason why he called was that because he has a fashion emergency...and that he was told that I am the official wardrobe consultant aka fashion guru of the department. Holy smokes! All the heebie-jeebies for this. Argh.

After whipping up a Banana Republic formal/office look for his early evening/dinnerish event, we settled for a black three-button suit, a plain white shirt, a really loud orange tie, and lots of yuppie spunk. Ah. All is well. When the CEO is happy, the company is happy. ;-)

After hanging up, I started laughing my guts out. Me? A frickin' fashionista? NOT. But then, I look at one of my college bestfriends' testimonials in Friendster (yes, I, too, have that), and I quote,

Started to know Ben during freshman year at UP, when his sartorial taste was limited only to UP shirts and maong pants, with matching Mojos sandals as his footwear. Of course, the size of his wardrobe has grown substantially since then, marami nang nakahalong damit na may tatak that would require tongue calisthenics for most Pinoys to be able to pronounce. [end quote],

I realized, yep. Maybe I am fashionista. Haha...

What has this world come to? ;-p

Monday, May 9, 2005

Sticky Fingers

May 6th. Friday. Yet another one of my Murphy's Law days.

Left the condo at 10am for my 1235pm flight to Cagayan de Oro. Under normal circumstances, this would have been more time, but since I had to pass by the office to pick up the multimedia projector and the presentation laptop, and not to mention the snail-paced traffic at Pasay Road, I knew I was going to be late. And all that because I dimwittedly set my alarm to 7pm. How smart is that.

Upon reaching the office, I realized I left a whole lot of my personal stuff in the condo, my PalmPilot being at the top of the list of my foremost gadgets not to be forgotten!!!! Argh.

Cab ride was for the ocasional April Boy, Aegis, or Masculados songs blaring from the car FM radio...and with matching sing-along of the cab driver. Great way to start the day: an ample helping of Lagot ka, lagot ka, huling huli ka...lalalalala. Awww. Schmuck.

After doing my impression of a Lydia De Vega cum Elma Muros meter dash to make it to the check-in counter, I found out that the 1235pm was moved to 140pm. Excellent. You would think it was a "blessing in the sky" (yet another one of those private jokes, which I know you know already)...but nooooooooooo. Somebody was going to be waiting for me at Cagayan de Oro to fetch me, and then go someplace else for work and some leisure. With this sudden change of schedules, my entire itinerary has gone dominoing into doomsday.

One club-sandwich with no free chips as shown in the poster (talk about false advertising), and a bottle of mineral water later, I headed for the men's room. Placed my overnighter bag and laptop bag on the lavatory, placed my mobile phone on top of the overnighter, washed my hands, washed my face, stepped three frickin' steps to the hand towel dispenser for less than 7 seconds, came back to the sink, and my mobile phone went missing in action. Seven frickin seconds, man. Seven. Seconds.

When I asked the cleaner, not even two minutes after the incident happened, all I got was a flat, "I didn't see it, Sir"...followed by an almost panicked, "Sir, don't report them that it's me. I didn't take it. Baka you'd tell them I was the one that took it." Talk about defensive.

Delayed flight and wobbly knees later, I approached the ground staff to perhaps page it (hoping against hope that it would resurface). After seeing a pensive look at the ground staff after I left him my business cards, just in case it resurfaced (even if that page never happened, up to that point when I had to board the plane already), I resigned myself to the fact that it's gone for good. My poor self, left with no Nokia 6230 and its 256MB memory card...packed with goodies (stuff I won't even dare mention here, lest make you cringe).

*sigh*. *sniff* and more *sigh*

Now, staring at my now-empty (save for the manuals, installation CD and headset) Nokia 6230 box, I asked myself, "why stress over it? Anything you can buy, you can replace." A Chinese friend of mine once told me (while we were in bed, hehehehehe) that I am a Cancerian, a crab, and so I bring with me my home. Those that I leave behind or that I lose, they do not belong in my home...and I should move on and make a home anew.

So now, I have a brand spanking new 6230 (less the 256MB memory card *sniff*). Talk about steadfastness and fear of change. I have yet to get "UNused" to the phone before I could move on. So spare me the lecture.

And, oh, is it so bad to curse the thief who took my phone to be inflicted with something like water faucet-like speed diarrhea 24/7?

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Hair Day

Summer. Hot. Hot. Hot. And since our frickin' electric bill was skyrocketing like crazy, I decided to go malling last Monday (it being declared a national holiday...bless your soul, GMA). Passing by a salon, and seeing my unruly hair going in all directions, I decided pronto that I would get a haircut. Something nice but not bald (as almost every other guy I know or see sports his hair...or the lack of it).

Snip snip.

Somewhere in the middle of the shampooing and the snip snapping, I had the devil-may-care idea of dyeing my hair. And after some effortless prodding from the hairstylist cum colorist cum makeup artist, I let them snap on the head gear with loads of holes on my they could begin plucking strands of hair that they'll streak with the bleach.

One hundred exchanges of sms with my friends later (i.e. to consult which color I should use), I've decided to go for light ash blonde. Well, that's way better than putrid orange, vomit yellow, marshland green, or cheetah spots, dontcha think so?

Hmmm. Maybe I should have considered erythrocyte red? Ehehehehe.

Hair coloring done. Nude photo shoot done (yep...and THAT will be a totally different blog). Bungee jumping next. And then a permanent tattoo. Somebody stop me. Heehee...