Friday, October 28, 2005

It's My Wedding And I'll Cry If I Want To

(delayed post from 10.16.05)

First off, OK. It's not MY wedding. And it really goes "It's my party..."...but then again, ain't a wedding a party, too? You just wait 'til you read about this wedding.

October 15. It was the usual Saturday in my life: waking up at 10am, begrudgingly going down the stairs to do my customary hundred and so sit-ups and crunches (which, God knows haven't done anything to my abs), having my milk and cereals, going down on all fours in the toilet to scrub the tiles white with Tilex before actually showering, and then leisurely dressing up to hit the mall to work out at Gold's Gym and then window shop.

Whoa. Wrong Saturday. Reality check. Let's do that again.

October 15. Woke up at 6:15am. No sit-ups/crunches, no milk and cereals, no Tilex. Just one quickie shower with no leisurely dressing up, and most certainly no gym or window shopping. With the Customer Delight workshop (aka immersion) at 8:30am, I quickly stuffed my white Banana Rep long sleeved shirt, my two dollar blue and green striped silk tie, and my cheap ass off-the-rack suit into my garment bag. I dashed out the condo. I had a seminar to teach and a
wedding to host. Busy, busy, busy.

At 4:15pm, I regretfully left the workshop, what with the more important part of it just getting brought into focus. But my call time at The Orchidarium, where the reception was to be held, was at 5pm. With my garment bag in tow, I hailed the cab and was off to Roxas Boulevard. I had plenty of time to rehearse and get jiggy at the venue.

Or so I thought. Upon reaching Quirino Boulevard, I was flabbergasted to find out that the entire stretch of Roxas Boulevard was closed--without any advisory--because of a fucking anniversary concert-party by Channel 23. With all the detours that we had to do, the wrong turns, and the God-I'm-going-to-bitchslap-the-cab-driver-pretending-to-be-Mister-Know-it-all, I reached the venue at 5:30pm. Thankfully, the wedding entourage was still having their photo session at the San Agustin Church, so that bought me more time to get used to the place, the coordinators, the DJs, and the early guests.

When cocktails was served, I opened by welcoming the guests to the venue, introduced myself, and told them, "This is so-and-so's wedding reception. Please make sure you're in the right wedding." When that got the hoped for snickers, I started easing out; this crowd wasn't stiff after all. Cheerio to them. Good for me.

When the couple arrived, I signaled the guests to hold on to their envelopes of live butterflies so they could release them when the bride and the groom enters the patio (of course, some of them were totally clueless about this, and so have wretchedly crushed the poor things). Immediately after my spiel about the symbolism of this butterfly ceremony, the couple entered the garden, and on my signal, the entrance way got showered by a lot of beautifully-colored butterflies and the sound of roaring applause. Ah. Off to a good start.

During dinner (and even before the program started), I was constantly told that I looked just like the older brother of the bride. And I constantly replied with a polite, "that's prolly because I'm a Gomez, too, Madam/Sir." But when I finally saw Ryan, the brother, I freaked out. He certainly looked just like me: his height, his facial structure, his smile, his eyes,his hairstyle, and even his freaking accent/voice. Freaky. This posted photo of us isn't exactly a testimony to that...but don't take my word for it; take theirs. I am now officially thinking whether I was the adopted one or Ryan...and that we could really be twins.
At least now I have a place to stay at Los Angeles next time I went to visit.

Now, going back to the "party" argument earlier.

As the principal sponsors, parents, and wedding entourage were called, every pair had a different soundtrack that they literally danced to from the entrance way down to the dance floor, while they wait for the bride and groom to complete the wedding party. From Benny Hill to A-Team to Superman to The Empire Strikes Back to Who Let the Dogs Out, the entourage built up to the bride and groom's entrance music: Theme from Rocky, i.e. Eye of the Tiger. Beat that.

High fives flew in the air as the couple joined the entourage. Now THAT was a way to usher in a bridal party.

Yes. It was their party, and they did cry when they wanted to.

That was fun. And I was a couple o' bucks richer. They're happy. I'm happy. My manager's happy. Now, wasn't that a PARTY, indeed? ;)

Terpsichorean Extraordinaire

(delayed post from 10.14.05)

Amidst the pandemonium going on in the office, what with the Customer Delight workshop rollout on full blast, I received an SMS from my events hosting manager, JP. He had invites to the 16th anniversary of the Illustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila for that evening. From his perspective, this was a good opportunity to introduce me to the events management circle (since I do hosting and entertainment [see my biz card]).

From mine, it was a perfectly good chance to unwind from all the workshop preparations. So I left the office at 6pm pronto to meet up with him and two other friends, Rica and Martin, at Starbucks.

A couple of minutes later, we were in JP's SUV traversing the thankfully-relaxed EDSA. About 30 minutes later, we got to the place. It was a warm night, and since the venue was held outside in the garden, the guests were profusely sweating, but nevertheless seemed to be having fun.

The event was cleverly planned. Since it was the 16th anniversary, everything came in 16's: 16 hors d'oeuvres, 16 wine varietals, 16 main courses, 16 soups, 16 desserts, and games and entertainment every 16 minutes or so. How witty.

Halfway through the night, in between my sipping of Merlots, devouring of Paella, and nibbling of Raclette, cultural performers were ushered in to do a series of Polynesian dances. The dancers started off with a Hawai'ian exhibition dance where the men were juggling and twirling batons that were on fire on both ends (I have seen actual Hula in Hawai'i and Guam...and I can say that these Pinoy performers were really good). It was followed by Tahitian dancers and other performers that made you reminisce of the good Hawai'i Five-O days.

When they finished performing, the hostess of the evening, a young daughter of the restaurant owners, announced that there were going to be games, and that to start the series of games and revelries, a Polynesian dancing contest was in order. The young ladies quickly went to the crowd and grabbed unwilling gentlemen to join the included.

As if the thought of being made to dance in front of anonymous
alta sociedad people (well, plus one of my company's CEO's was there also...promising me that he would video the whole thing and MMS it to my boss) wasn't enough, the unwilling contestants (well, there were about two of them who were so much willing it totally showed on their faces that they were faking consternation) were made to wear grass skirts and hold pom-poms. I was contestant number four of six. Great. So not my lucky number. Hurrah for that.

As the three were already dancing and people were merely half-cheering, I said to myself, "Fuck it. I'm totally a freeloader tonight, might as well work for my food!!!" My turn came...and as if on cue, Hawai'i Five-O started bellowing on the speakers. That and the glasses of reds did it for me. When the two ladies with no bones at the waist and ribs ( should see them's hypnotic and salivatory) came to flank me, I gave them the performance of my life. My years of social dancing, street jazzing, tae-boing, aero-kickboxing, and Ricky Martin moves were instantaneously upstaged. This, ladies and gentlemen, was my dance of the millennium. Nyahahahahaha!

When the sixth contestant was finished, the hostess announced that the winner will be judged and declared by virtue of the audience's applause. Still huffing-and-puffing from my performance level moves and chitchatting with the boneless ladies behind me, I went towards stage center when my number was a thunderous applause. The fifth and the sixth didn't even bother going to the front. I won the damned contest, still hysterically laughing my ass off. And as the "King of Polynesia", I was made to wear a headress made of tea leaves, to complement my grass skirt...for the overall Hawai'ian look. With me in the middle, the speakers blared yet another round of Polynesian dance, to which all the sixteen boneless, hypnotic, salivatory ladies started dancing around me in a huge circle...replete with bumping of their hips and asses on my...drumroll...crotch. I wondered: are all Kings of Polynesia impotent or have crushed balls as a consequence of this ceremonial dance?

With a loot bag in my hand, I strutted back to our bar table. People were congratulating me and so I stayed in character by giving them my beaming smile and graciously thanking them for their kindness. Rolly, our company CEO told me that he has already MMS'd Boni a video/photo of my performance. Great.

Now, here's the one that cracked me up big time: the owner/manager of the Polynesian dance troupe asked me if I would be interested in joining their touring team. NYAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

If you'd excuse me, I still have to have my new grass skirt fitted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

In the Palm of My Hand

Ten reasons why I should buy the new Palm TX:

10. I'm depressed.
09. I deserve it...or I think I do.
08. It should miraculously fix my chaotic life(style).
07. Wi-Fi and a big screen. That's HUGE.
06. 13th Month Pay and wedding hosting fees.
05. It's SO handsome that perhaps it will make me more handsome, too.
04. Ella and I want it BAD we'd turn into Tweety Hyde if we don't get it.
03. My Paypal has a fund just enough for it.
02. It's so whooo-hoooo! Woof! Woof! Awoooooo!
01. Because I said so.


Monday, October 17, 2005

4Ts: Totally Trivial Tidbits Today

Last Sunday, I was just killing time and watching reruns of Band of Brothers on my DVD player. It got totally lackadaisical at a certain point and I decided to just open my mail, sort through unread/filed messages, and trash unwanted forwards. Then the rain started pouring like hell just as I was pouring myself a glass of shiraz and slicing a sinful helping of Black Forest. Perfect for being even lazier than lazy-afternoon.

To complement the leisureliness of the afternoon, I decided to indulge my friend Dennis on his, uhm, survey. I just call it the Purposeless Juvenile Slumbook. Read on.

Name: Ben
Birthday & Time: June 28, 5:45AM
Birthplace: Sta. Mesa, Manila
Current Location: Makati, Philippines
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Hair Color: Jet black
Height: 5' 10” (OK. I'm like 0.00005in short of 10" Dammit.)
Right Handed or Left Handed: Right
Your Lineage: Pure Pinoy Dad, 3/4 Spanish Mom
The Shoes You Wore Today: Adidas sneakers
Your Weakness: Perfect set of teeth
Your Phobia: Spiders bigger than a quarter, church-side cemeteries
Your Perfect Pizza: Pepperoni, no anchovies please
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Start construction of my 5-door rental apartment
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger: Nge
First Thought Waking Up: "Ohshit, I'm late."
Your Best Physical Feature: My eyes...or smile. Dunno. You tell me. Your Bedtime: Before 2am
Your Most Missed Memory: Riding my road bike by the beach
Where did you go to College: University of the Philippines

Pepsi or Coke: Neither. I'm Diabetic!!!!
MacDonalds or Burger King: Can't I have a Whattaburger???
Single or Group Dates: Single
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Tazo Mint Tea
Chocolate or Vanilla: Choclit if it's dessert. Vanilla if it's Designer Whey/Protein Shake
Cappuccino or Coffee: Coffee. Brewed.

Do you Smoke: Quit almost four years ago
Do you Swear: These days, a couple of times. Haha.
Do you Sing: Yes
Do you Shower Daily: Twice or thrice a day
Have you Been in Love: Hmmm...rhetorical question?
Do you want to get Married: Not seriously considering it right now
Do you belive in yourself: Yeah
Do you get Motion Sickness: Nope...unless it's MAJOR turbulence
Do you think you are Attractive: I'd like to think so. ;)
Are you a Health Freak: Now that I'm ageing, I am
Do you get along with your Parents: Yep
Do you like Thunderstorms: I oddly find it soothing
Do you play an Instrument: Guitar, keyboards, flute (just a bit)

In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: Yeah
In the past month have you Smoked: Nope
In the past month have you been on Drugs: Nah-ah
In the past month have you gone on a Date: I'm a serial dater.
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos: Nope, but I finished a big-ass pack of ChocNut!
In the past month have you eaten Sushi: Yeah, baby!!!
In the past month have you been on Stage: Yes
In the past month have you been Dumped: Hmmm...kinda. Damn.
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping: Haven't tried. But I'm considering it.

Ever been Drunk: Major. Blowing like a mad man
Ever been called a Tease: Always
Ever been Beaten up: Nope
Ever Shoplifted: Nope. Too scared shit of getting caught. Haha

How do you want to Die: In ecstasy. LOL
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: Good Lord, I'd like to hope I'm all grown up!
What country would you most like to Visit: Europe and Africa. My next destinations.

In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color: Hazel
Favourite Hair Color: Any, as long as they ain't too loud
Short or Long Hair: As long as it looks clean
Height: Tall enough as to not look awkward when we're together
Weight: Not too thin, not too huge
Best Clothing Style: Preppy with a twist...or corporate
Number of CDs I own: Oh God...I dunno. A thousand plus?
Number of Piercings: One pair
Number of Tattoos: Zilch. I WANT ONE!!!!
Number of things in my Past I Regret: I'd rather not sulk and regret...I'd like to think I've learned from them.

Now, wasn't that fun? ;) I say, you go pour yourself a tall glass of red--with or without the Black Forest; and then email me back with your own reply. Will I read it? Hell no. Or maybe I will.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Stitches and Burns

Thank God for small favors: big needles with a couple of cc's of anesthesia, endless supplies of ice for cold compress, lots of milligrams of sedatives and painkillers, underwear underneath obscenely-cut hospital patient gowns, gourmet hospital food, and the comfort of loving friends.

Yesterday, I came out of a 46-minute surgery. It was otherwise minor, qualified for an outpatient procedure, but still I had to be confined overnight for pre-operation prep, considering that the operation will be at 9 the following morning.

Two days ago, just a few hours after I published the Death by Overtime blog, where I tried to desperately look splendidly fine-looking in spite of the harrowing thought of teaching seminars I wasn't much a crackerjack of, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning (at 3:25am, to be exact) with an excruciating pain in my mid-section. I tried all sorts of relief I could imagine--homemade milk of magnesia, forced defecation, Chinese-meets-Western ointments and teas, book of prayers, involuntary heaving, accupressure, and passing of gas--but nothing worked. Right when I got to the office, in between outbursts of shooting pain in my visceral section, I formed two theories of the possible culprits: (1) that bottle of extra-spicy Spanish-style sardines (with wheat bread) that I had for dinner (which was pretty imaginable); and (2) the anxiety from being unprepared for a series of consequential training programs that have been dauntlessly plotted into my now-multicolored and virtually cramped calendar (which was more likely).

As I was still iffy to have heavy intakes of food, I agreed to meet up with Manolet to have a hot bowl of soup inGreenbelt for lunch. Half an hour later, the same bowl of soup was staring back at me...from the toilet bowl. With a "Shit, I seriously need to haul my brown ass to Makati Med right this very minute and admit myself into my small Ps 1,950.00/day private room" thought in my head, I shutdown my PC, lugged all my stuff--replete with a Customer Service book, which I have been intermittently reading for a seminar, my UK Men's Health magazine, and my legions of forms for PhilHealth and the company hospitalization insurance--and checked myself in room 453 and snoozed for a good three minutes.

Barely three minutes into my forty winks, the nurse came in for my orientation of the facilities and the rules and regulations of the hospital (e.g. that if I wanted to charge my mobile phone, I will have to go up the tenth floor!). She advised me later on that there were more people coming. And true enough, in almost less than ten minute intervals, my door opened to legions of hospital doctors, nurses, orderlies and staff: for my remote control, my complimentary bottle of mineral water, my first, second, and third blood pressure, breathing and temperature check, the rounds of doctors, and the dreaded blood test. I finally got to drift to sleep at around 4pm, only to be roused from it by the incessant ringing of the room telephone. It was a lady named Rosanna who was telling me that my company was not accredited by the admitting physician...ergo, that I was there, technically, unofficially. And since she neither comprehended a single word I was saying--although spoken in basic, unsophisticated, layman's English AND Tagalog--nor even offered to just phone my company to settle this obvious misunderstanding, I had to do all the phone calls and settling myself. Geesh. Thank God I was a patient for minor surgery and not cardiac arrest!

My friends started to come in between my series of tests and x-rays and being wheeled in and out of my hospital room. Yes, Sheila, you were the very first one. And the doctor thought you were my wife from how we were touching each other when he came in with his staff (whose namesake was Rob)! Hilarious, eh? At half past ten, the last five of my visitors came to say goodnight. Since I was on NPO (or nothing per orem/by mouth) after midnight, I practically begged my companion Jeffrey to just intravenously feed the darned instant capuccino into me at around 1am. He didn't budge. Damn. He was already sleeping and lightly snoring on the couch while I stayed fully awake, watching endless reruns of TV shopping ads (which used to always put me to sleep). Finally fell asleep at half past three, with images of belly fats melting away because of the wonders of a daily 50-minute use of the Spa Belt. I should get one of those darned things soon.

The morning nurse Julie woke me up for my ultrasound. I wasn't even able to take a shower! Still wearing the same clothes from the previous night, I went to put on my hospital gown and got wheeled out of my room, into the elevator packed with passengers looking at me questioningly (and even one teasing me about my gown, to which I teased back, "there's really nothing underneath this flimsy gown"; that shut her up), and into the ultrasound room. I was told there by nurse Mitch that my pancreas seem to be hiding from her instruments, that my tests would cost Ps 3,300.00, that I should stop drinking and eating "fun" foods because my cholesterol level isn't exactly impressive, and that I was lucky my prostates are still in tiptop shape (Can I get a Whohoo?).

I was wheeled into the operating room right after, because I was running late for the 9am surgery schedule. Changed into a new green laboratory gown, and then started getting prepped by the O.R. assistant nurses, beginning with a requisite disinfecting of my mouth with isopropyl alcohol...or what tasted like it. My three doctors all came in with their sinister smiles and warm tools. Oh, I meant warm smiles and sinister bad; must be the anesthesia still jetéing in my nervous system. Four pokes of oh-so-painful and oh-so-thick and oh-so-warm anesthesia and barely four minutes later, I couldn't feel my lower lip. Next thing I knew, I was seeing (through a peep hole from the lower portion of my eye cover) streams and spurts of blood and tissue and skin cells. I was stitched up towards the tail end of the 46 minutes, and was wheeled into the recovery room. This was so reminiscent of my first operation at the Makati Med last October 2000 for a fractured and dislocated right pinkie. I will not get into the nitty-gritties, but let's just leave it at this: the condition of the fracture was aptly called "Boxer's Fracture". ;)

Although my lip felt like I was the male version of Angelina Jolie and Goldie Hawn COMBINED (dare I say Tony Ferrer???!!!), my lip looked perfectly normal. Must still be the anesthesia and its feeling of numbness that was causing that impression. With instant noodle soup dripping down my chin from my lip's inability to achieve chewing with a closed mouth, and the anesthesia starting to wear off and thus causing such a bitch of a pain, my friends started coming in again. It was going to be such a long day. And me not being able to speak in a normal way was going to be such a welcome treat for all of them. Haha.

Lunchtime and the gastroenterologist came in with good news: that I was cleared for discharge in the late afternoon, and that the pain I was getting from the day before was attributed to the clogged up intestines (read: fecal matters and acids), stress, and that I should also just infuse my diet with lots of fiber. In his own words, he said that no matter how much of a regular guy I was, was just "puno ng ebak", i.e. by those that were left over because of possible unhealthy eating regimen. Yes, I can now safely acceede that when someone tells me I'm "full of shit", I should just take that literally.

Now, armed with my antibiotics, painkillers, antacids, fibers/laxatives, mouth disinfectants, and my box of Black Forest, basket of fresh fruits, Zip-loc of Trail Mix, bottled water, and soft roll clusters, I am home. I am now lounging around sitting on my gym ball typing this blog, tearing piece-by-piece a sandwich and sipping low fat milk through a straw for breakfast, and then getting ready to watch the Shall We Dance dvd that I bought the other day.
I am going out in a while to upload this one at the internet café downstairs, and to buy more happy pills for my next few days of medicine intake. Yeah. I am a druggie.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Death by Overtime

It's 8:42pm and I am still here in the office. WHOA! No. I wasn't online the whole day, you dingbat. The reason why I am online right now is because I haven't opened my inbox until only about 30minutes ago, thanks to a gazillion and one meetings...and with the 48 unread messages that felt like forever to read, I decided to just blog away.

I am a day and a half away from going under the knife at the Makati Medical Center. The procedure, according to my ENT specialist, is called "excision of mucocoele". Yes, my Doctor friends, you may correct me at this point for a possible misspelling of such medical term. After all, I think you should incorporate St. Paul-style cursive in your curriculum...

I will find out my room assignment tomorrow when I call Admitting Office in the morning. For now, all I can do is just work on my legions of schedules, budgets, program designs, and presentations to do for the next couple of, uhm, days and weeks and months of non-stop daily training. Argh.

The photo? Well, I needed a break from all this. So I lounged at the 7th floor couches for a good six minutes. I swear, I am dying. But at least I wanted to look good dead. ;)

To my friends who have time to read my blogs, here's a shout out to all ya peeps. In case I don't get to SMS or email you tomorrow, I'll be at the Makati Med from 2pm til Wednesday afternoon at around 3pm. So you just holla.

Gotta go. Credit card bills due tomorrow morning. Dammit.


More than 24 hours have passed, yet I am still trying to get rid of the laughing fit that propelled itself some 30 minutes after the wedding hosting gig that I did at the Westin Philippine Plaza. I am not sure if the giggles were due to a sudden plateau in my pre-hosting hysteria, or the more than six glasses of Chilean red wine, or the singers' constant funny enunciation of lyrics. Or perhaps that 3-minute photo session with Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

Yes. That's probably it. It was totally uncharacteristic of me to come up to a, uhm, celebrity, and perhaps ask for an autograph, let alone a photograph with me.

I remember back in the province when I was still a young boy, say 10 or 11, when a group of then-"promising" young stars came to grace the town fiesta's event(s). Their names escape me at this moment, but I distinctly remember having watched them in the boob tube in a daily afternoon variety show called That's Entertainment. The young man was a handsome lad with curly hair, nice pearly whites, really kick-ass Topsiders (it was such a fad back then), and a very sweet-smelling cologne (yes, I could appreciate nice scents at that age already!). The young lady, supposedly the young lad's "love team", was a svelte almost-coltish mestiza with blue contact lenses, [almost] naturally-blonde hair, and a face only an angel or princess could possibly have. A window in their otherwise busy schedule parading around town gave them a momentary rest period...only to be broken off by an impromptu photo session with their screaming and adulating fans who were already queued down the stairs of the municipal hall on a moment's notice. That time they were there, I happened to be with a church groupmate slash friend named Cleo who desperately wanted to see the male matinee idol. Despite her knowledge of my lack of curiosity for That's Entertainment in Bataan, she incessantly begged me to go with her, replete with matching fake tears and theatrical fainting spells. I obliged after eight minutes.

Finally making it to the top of the stairs and already next in line for the photo ops, I told Cleo I was going to be at the second floor veranda watching the still ongoing serenata of a from-out-of-town marching band. She was way too excited to even hear me mutter the words, and so I just left...only to come back because squeezing myself out was as impossible as, well, having Ben Redulla have a photo session with an actor/actress. The minute the door opened and Cleo and I were ushered in to meet the stars, I started to vehemently excuse myself from the photo ops. This whole chunk of episode, by the way, is such a memory black out for me...but what I can remember from the bits and pieces of recollection was that the personal assistants were insisting profusely that I stopped being a snob and just jump in the picture, as the stars were waiting...and me being mortified with the vision of friends teasing me on end for being starstruck with small-time stars...and me being literally dragged into the photo session nook and, finally, having my picture taken with them with my face contorted as if being made to eat raw salamander. I promise you, this was one memento I was not intending to keep.

Mega-fast forward to adulthood. Coming from a trip from Vegas in 2004, where I saw Celine Dion, Cher Bono, Emeril Lagasse, Leonardo Di Caprio and Nicolas Cage up close and did nothing fan-ish, I almost collided at the Honolulu Airport with Jasmine Trias, then still hot for her stint at the American Idol. I came in a Continental Airlines flight, while she was arriving from an Aloha Air from somewhere in the West Coast, I think. There was an instantaneous pandemonium as the fans and airport staffs and friends and bystanders shouted out her name and waved placards saying how proud they are of her and her being Hawai'ian. In the midst of all this, I was busy lugging my carry-on, and fumbling for my boarding ticket back to the Pacific. After being in a more than 15-hour trip with no shower or decent Pinoy-style taking a dump, getting starstruck was the least of my concerns. I gave the walking Jasmine a perfunctory glance, and I asked for my final boarding ticket from the attendant. I think I may have gotten irritated at the check-in clerk for not paying attention to us customers in the check-in counter and instead just be gloating at the celebrity. What a cluck.

There are more. Just a couple of hours earlier, coming from a dinner of La Paz Bachoy and Fish Kinilaw at the food court of SM Makati with Jeffrey, I noticed a holdup in the stream of people walking towards the exit. Upon reaching the exit and after checking out what in God's name was causing all the commotion, I found out that a young actor with an incredibly beautiful face and immaculately white complexion was being ambushed for hell of a lot of photo ops with fans--local and foreign. Same as with Jasmine, I just gave a perfunctory glance, and I trotted off to the cab terminal. No fuss.

Am I too indifferent? And even if I were, what's wrong with not being googly-eyed over people that are no different from us in terms of taking a dump or a piss, and need for sleep, air and water? End of argument.

Enter Imelda Marcos.

Hosting my probably-THE-wedding-to-top wedding last night, I was, more than being starstruck, nerve-wracked. I shouldn't, considering that my script--which has been proofed and sanitized by the bridal party--was neatly printed in chronological order on 27 neat white unruled index cards, which were safely stashed in the right front pocket of my recently-purchased black four-button suit. What was causing the fidgets was the fact that on top of the 650+ local and foreign guests who would be attending, a number of very important government, society, and business personalities were attending. There was PGMA, the Vice-Prez, De Venecia, Ebdane, Aboitiz, Tan, Hirohiko, Chavit, Atienza, Gordon, Defensor, a Supreme Court Justice, an entire Japanese and Singaporean delegation, and a legion of other biggies. And, oh. there's Madam Imelda Marcos.

Wedding reception went well. I could see from the smiles in the newlyweds as well as the wedding coordinator, plus that thank-God-for-her-kind-words lady who said that I was particularly good at making the event such "a smooth, proper, simple, and manageable" one. With that, and the seven or so glasses of red wine, I walked off my exhaustion from standing all night at the rostrum and doing the fake confident smile. I was halfway between the grand ballroom and the holding area for the coordinators and performers when Madam Imelda paused--and posed--with her entourage to have a photo taken by the emerald sculpture at the hotel hallway junction. Without thinking, I propped my Nokia 6230i into the wedding coordinator's hand, turned it to Night Mode, and had a photo shoot with Madam. Upon seeing that the first shot was blurry, I came up to the First Lady and sheepishly said, "Madam, our first photo did not turn out right. Could you indulge me with another one?", to which she sweetly said yes, replete with a half-hug on my waist. When the wedding coordinator was giving me back my phone, Madam amiably asked her for me, "Oh, did you get it right this time?" I was endeared.

Yes, for the first time, I was officially starstruck. After all, as that famous shoe store in Manhattan has put in their poster/place card, "we all have a little of Imelda in us".

No further comment, your Honor. I am still laughing my hearts out...and re-convincing myself that they are history's villains.

Friday, October 7, 2005


NYAHAHAHAH!!! I'm back! Yes. It's 15 minutes before my lunch break is over. So here's another nonsense blog: my blog things. Went to this website,, and found lotsa goodies. Here are some of the tests that I took.

1. What Pattern is Your Brain?

You have a tempered, reasonable way of thinking. You tend to take every new idea in, and meld it with your world view. For you, everything is always changing. Each moment is different. Your thinking process tends to be very natural - with no beginnings or endings.

Perhaps it just means that I'm a person that's commitment-phobic...and only constant change makes me happy. LOL

2. What Kind of Kisser Are You?

For you, kissing is about all about following your urges. If someone's hot, you'll go in for the kiss - end of story. You can keep any relationship hot with your steamy kisses. A total spark plug - your kisses are bound to get you in trouble

Dammit. I want what comes AFTER the kissing part...!

3. What Are The Keys To Your Heart?

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free. In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved. You'd like for your lover to think you are loyal and faithful... that you'll never change. You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please. Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with. Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment. You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred. In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.

Hmmm...this totally contradicts #1! ;)

4. What's Your Blogging Personality?

Your blogging type is pensive and philosophical. You blog like no one else is reading...You tend to use your blog to explore ideas - often in long winded prose. Easy going and flexible, you tend to befriend other bloggers easily. But if they disagree with once too much, you'll pull them from your blogroll!

Trust me. I've told hard-to-please, as-if-I'm-writing-for-them-but-hell-I'm-not, people to shove it up their asses.

5. What Age Do You Act?

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart...23 to be exact. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

No wonder I find myself getting fond of dating 23 year olds. LOL

6. What's Your Ideal Career?

Your career type: Enterprising. You are engergetic, ambitious, and sociable. Your talents lie in politics, leading people, and selling things or ideas. You would make an excellent: Auctioneer, Bank President, Camp Director, City Manager, Judge or Lawyer, Recreation Leader, Real Estate Agent or Sales Person, School Principal, Travel Agent, TV Newscaster. The worst career options for your are investigative careers, like mathematician or architect.

Aha! I think it's time to move to being a TV Newscaster...!

Hmmm...Now, back to work. I'm eight minutes over break...!

Today's Forecast

October 7, 2005 Forecast for Benedict:

Cancer: Remember to take care of yourself. Nurture your own growth and find happiness.

Geesh. Like I needed an astrological forecast to tell me THAT.

(OK, OK, guessed it. I just couldn't stand not blogging [NYEHEHEHE]. So I'm taking a 10-minute break from our Customer Delight Cascade, SS Teambuilding, PLI Budget Presentation, and my wedding thingee. Argh)

Sunday, October 2, 2005


Caveat: this blog is going to strike you as a total kowtow, it being some form of citation to my boss(es). Then again, final performance appraisal ratings aren't in I just might be able to jack it up with this sucking up. KIDDING!!!

Despite the fact that I was consistently told I was self-assured, and that I could confidently carry a conversation with anyone anytime, I still find myself occasionally stuttering and anxiously organizing my thoughts whenever I am engaged in a conversation with bosses (or anyone in [higher] authority). I am yet to find the -phobia terminology for it...but for now, it will suffice to say that I am boss-phobic.

I've always believed that there should always be some invisible professional demarcation between the boss and the subordinate. This philosophy has long been corroborated by the numerous tables of organization where the boss is always in the higher box, and the subordinate(s) in teenie-weenie boxes underneath. Or the ever-raised platforms that a professor stands on to symbolize his higher status compared to his students. The concept of friendships between a boss and his subordinate is almost always a hypothetical situation. Needless to say, I have always maintained a safe distance from my bosses and kept them in a box labeled "handle with precaution".

Candy, the first boss who fished me out of my hodgepodge of a lack of career direction and who helped me find my niche in the corporate world, shattered this viewpoint effortlessly. She coexisted as my mentor, friend, and mother. It was through her that I came to realize that inspite of all the chaos of deadlines and presentations and standards in the workplace, there will always be time for a sympathetic, warm, and humane moment between a boss and his subordinate. I left the company in tears as she hugged me tight--also in tears--and sent me off to greener pastures outside of the country.

I was on this no-boundaries boss-subordinate mindset when I worked with my boss Luisa in the US Pacific. It started out fine and dandy. Imagine her picking me up from my flat (and vice-versa), or hanging out at her apartment just watching cable or laughing about people and events. Or her calling me at six in the morning to ask me to reassure her that her pelvic inflammation and irritation otherwise known as chlamydia was nothing deadly. Or me desperately making her change her mind about dumping her American boyfriend. Or me putting the entire training calendar at a standstill just to accommodate all the last minute preparations for her grand wedding...with the same American boyfriend that she almost didn't marry. Now, imagine me asking for a really minor request to have an emergency five-day leave because a loved one was diagnosed with gastric cancer and needed a companion to visit the specialist in the US Mainland...and being denied the request only because of some preposterous company policy about emergency leaves, which she cannot even circumvent for a friend in dire need. And imagine me filing my resignation the day after, and her telling me after accepting the resignation that I had "no regard for our 'friendship'"...and then weeks later telling everybody how I was an irresponsible and incompetent employee. And imagine nobody believing this scumlike mudslinging, but her still continuing to do so years later. Sad. How very, very sad. No. Wait a minute. It isn't sad. It's simply pathetic.

With that experience, I reverted to the cautionary subordinate-to-boss frame of mind. Call it edification, but when my new boss, Pilar, the school principal, showed signs of warmth, concern, and sincerity like what Candy showed years back, I did not respond too well. The whole semester that I was under her, where I was assured that I could tell her anything, or that I could approach her for anything, I still kept a safe distance. She was a very nice boss. But, alas, I was already played out with the friends-with-the-boss card, thanks to Luisa.

And then there's Boni. With the scarcity of Candy's appearance (note: we now work in the same company since I came back to the Philippines), thanks to her meetings on end, Boni became the Mini Me of Candy. I remember how I fought tears from falling when he told me how proud he was of me for doing a good job in one of our training programs. I also had the same emotions when he singlehandedly took over my training/facilitating parts in our out-of-town seminars when I caught the flu virus, and had to rest and snack on his supply of medicines. I am infinitely thankful to him for not making me feel stupid regardless of the fact that I MAY already BE an idiot in some of the decisions or task(s) that I needed to accomplish. I find lightheartedness in his allowing my constant attempt to do a makeover on his wardrobe/outfit, as well as in his confiding his stories about his (a) funny (b) weird (c) disappointing (d) heartwarming (e) semi-sexual and (f) all of the above dates...and finally ending with hopefully-THE-one girl in his arms.

Coming from yet another out-of-town workshop, where I totally felt like I was of no value whatsoever because I almost didn't understand the proceedings, he made me feel that I was not a failure...that Ella (our assistant manager) and I were not expected to be "experts" in it, considering it was simply an exposure program for us. He could have simply shaken his head and gotten dissapointed, but he chose to make us understand the process better, and helped us discover it ourselves. I know I would have just given up on a subordinate. But he didn't. And I wish that in my training as a manager, I could acquire such patience, understanding, and sensitivity.

Yesterday afternoon, while watching a B movie called "Land of the Dead" with my date (please don't EVER watch that senseless movie!), I got a text from Boni: Ben, for all the good work and friendship, I have a gift for you! Guess what??! It turned out to be an army dog tag necklace, which I have long been scouring all over to find, and which I have only fleetingly mentioned to him and Ella in one of our lunches together. I totally did not deserve it, but still I felt so overwhelmingly stoked to be made to feel important. And I say it again, I wish that in my training as a manager, I could acquire his virtues.

Thanks for the Boner, man.

Yes, dammit. I know that that one didn't sound right. But then again, coming from me or you or Ella (hehe...PEACE ELLA!), what does? ;)