Wednesday, November 24, 2010

angels on earth

If there's anything good that came out of my mother's sickness: We found kind, goodhearted, and caring persons.

First, there is Kyle. He was working at the SM Supermarket where my mother and father always go. Through the years, he developed an affinity and attachment with my mother, and my mother treats him like a pamangkin. When he found out that my mother became sick with cancer, he really felt sad. One day, he offered that he would just take care of my mother. Before the family could insist that he should just stay put in his work, having really no other means of subsistence, he resigned from work. Thereafter, he came home with my parents to the province and took care of my mom. With his gay lingo, he makes my mother laugh. (Eventually, he got closer to my grandmother and stayed her for a while, before going back to Manila to work again.)

Then, there's my friend's mother who instructed her daughter to deposit money to my account without telling me. She knew that these were hard times for the family, and despite her own expenses, she saved some for me. Actually, she volunteered once to help me in the finances things with money she could spare and asked for my account number. I respectfully declined her offer, knowing she too has expenses of her own.

Then, there's the wife of my father's brother. Despite the loneliness of leaving her household for a few days, including her 7-year-old daughter, she would still accompany my mother during her chemotherapy sessions. Knowing that my mother is scared every time, she was there to prepare my mother's meals when she's sick in body and offer words of comfort when she's sick in heart.

Then, there's my father's sister. Despite being used to not staying at home and busying herself with the activities in the community (she's single), she willingly came with my father to Manila to help out in household things and again, in taking care of my mother. She patiently endured the boredom through several days, cracking jokes now and then, with the obvious effort to make my mother laugh.

And there's many more. Such good memories these people bring to my family, and I would keep them in this digital frame. They and the good deeds they bring would forever be remembered. It's a reminder that life is not so bad after all.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the dividing line

Being a student in a school in Mendiola, I have witnessed many rallies already, much more than I have seen when I was an undergraduate in UP. In fact, there had been so many, the rallies have lost appeal, not only to Malacanang but also to the common people. Students pass by the rallies sometimes not even with a second's pause to listen at the speech or to even just look at the crowd.

Recently, a huge gate has been constructed in the Mendiola arch, effectively dividing the schools (and the gateway to Malacanang) from the rally. Also, and more importantly, the police force no longer has to form the human barrier with their shields, effectively minimizing violence between the police and the rally crowd.

Since the Aquino administration, I noticed that the policemen are more "cool" in handling the rally. Just this week, I took the time to listen to the ever-emotional-and-ever-angry speech of the rally leader while I was drinking gulaman on the other side of the gate. There were only a few people in the rally, and there were also few policemen, both safe on their sides of the gate. And because these rallies are commonplace in Mendiola, the police were relaxed, smoking their cigars as if there's a cigar auction from the vendors, eating siomai and fishball bought from the food carts, and conversing with each other as if no rally was happening on the other side of the gate.

The students treated that day like any normal day, while the speaker encouraged the students not to go to class and join the rally. What?!? No one joined them anyway.

I witnessed the most funny thing that day: While the crowd in the rally was chanting their usual chants, one policeman was absent-mindedly chanting with them; apparently, he has memorized the lines already. =)

I believe in social justice. I just no longer believe in the everyday rallies. And their leaning toward (armed) revolution.

"Social justice is neither communism nor despotism nor atomism nor anarchy, but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces of the State."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Impossible is Manny

A friend said that if you are a Filipino AND a blogger, you need to make a mandatory congratulatory post to Manny Pacquiao... haha. I also admire his skills, anyway, so here's my mandatory post. =)

Congratulations, Pacman! And thank you for, more than anything else, being an inspiration. Truly, like what Adidas said, impossible is nothing. (Manny said: Just do it! LOL)

Photo from the web

Out of all the pictures I can find, I like this best. Of course, we should also recognize the man behind his success--coach Freddie Roach. Ultimately, I like this picture best because it makes Manny looks like an actor in a photo shoot, and Manny likes showbiz. =)

Like Mommy D, I also hope he retires already. He has achieved so much, it scares me if he loses one fight. But of course, whatever he likes!

(In his fight with Margarito, the Mexican was beaten badly, he needed to undergo facial surgery, not just to have an acne treatment, but to fixed a broken orbital bone!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

on top of the world

Just this past summer, I stayed for several days in Las Vegas. Of course, my very gracious host accompanied me to several of the casino hotels in The Strip, even those in Arizona. I just wanted to see the life and lights of Las Vegas, though I never really liked casinos. Caesar's Palace, Mirage, Bellagio, The Venetian Resort, MGM, and the other hotels in The Strip are really as grand as they are in the movies--just like that in Ocean's Eleven. I have no better photos than those already much circulated in the magazines and the net.

As the casino hopping had been becoming tiresome and boring, I chanced upon something that ultimately made my Las Vegas experience worth remembering. As I was walking through the Stratosphere casino floor alone, leaving my companions in their slot machines, I saw these posters of exciting rides at the very top of the hotel. And of course, after about a minute of inquiry with the hotel staff, I bought my tickets and proceeded to what would be a memorable day. I just love rides!

Thee are three rides available and 1 SkyJump, and you can buy them separately or you can buy them together. For a time, I fooled myself that I was actually thinking to try just one. Of course, I bought Tower Admission + 3 Rides, prized at $29.95. I already tried SkyJump in Macau, so I let the idea of trying it there go. Besides, as in my jump in Macau Tower, this was not also part of the budget!

The italicized font is from the hotel's website. The words in Roman font are my comments! Photos without links are mine as well.


Ever played on a giant teeter-totter, 866 feet above the ground? With the X-Scream, you can! Its space age, yet simplistic design resembles a massive teeter-totter or a Vegas rollercoaster unlike any other ever seen. X-Scream propels you and several other riders headfirst, 27 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower. Try not to scream when you go over the edge — you don't want to scare the other riders! After being shot over the edge, you'll dangle weightlessly above the Las Vegas Strip before being pulled back and propelled over again for more.

This one scared me, like stomach fat burning! I imagined us falling over the edge. And it seemed a near possibility then. I almost chickened out! When the ride was headfirst, angled downward, My knees were really about to shake, and my nervousness seemed growing when they let us in that position with what seemed an eternity!

Photo from the web

Big Shot

Strap into the Big Shot and prepare to be shot 160 feet in the air at 45 miles per hour as you overlook the majestic Las Vegas Valley. In a matter of seconds, the Big Shot thrill ride catapults 16 riders from the 921-foot high platform up the Tower's mast to a height of 1,081 feet and down again. Before you catch your breath, you'll be shot back up again at forces unmatched by other Vegas thrill parks! Experience a gut-wrenching four 'G's of force on the way up, and feel negative 'G's on the way down as your legs dangle in the Las Vegas skyline.

I think the little silvery color at the top is where the ride is.
Photo from the web

I took the picture immediately above before my turn. I removed my slippers before I took the ride. Baka liparin, mahirap habulin! Haha. This ride is not that exciting. Just like the rides in other theme parks.


Insanity the Ride is a truly mind-bending experience! A massive mechanical arm extending out 64 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere Tower at a height of over 900 feet, this Vegas ride will spin you and several other passengers in the open air at speeds of up to three 'G's. You'll be propelled up to an angle of 70 degrees, which will tilt your body into one position — straight down! If you're brave enough to keep your eyes open you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of historic downtown Las Vegas. Experience Insanity and walk away to tell the tale!

Took this before my turn to ride. Cameras are
absolutely not allowed while in the ride.

I took the ride daytime. It's more fabulous to look at at night.
Then again, I don't think you can still enjoy the view! haha!
Photo from the web

Photo from the web

This last ride was my favorite! Of all the rides I've been through, this one actually made my knees tremble. I almost wished for the ride to be over soon. While the Insanity was spinning, with the security belts not so tight (or so I felt!), and I was seeing the bottom a thousand feet from me, and the seat was angled such that I was almost face down, the feeling was absolutely petrifying--almost insane!

farewell, NU!

I thought I wasn't much affected with the going off the air of NU107.5. After all, I rarely listen to radio nowadays.

This weekend, my aunt turned on the radio to listen to music. She thought it's awfully quiet in the house, so she wanted to make it more lively. Of course, the dial of my radio was eternally tuned in to 107.5, and when she turned it on, NU was no more. It hit me: so they're really gone, eh? In the office, whenever I'm bored or when it's noisy, I just click on NU Live Access in my bookmarks toolbar, and time just passes away. When I want to just relax, sometime I just listen to NU at home. When I'm angry, I listen to NU (and it fuels my rage then calms me).

I started listening to NU when I was already in first year college. In our province, there are only 2 stations you can listen to, both local, both mainstream. In UP, I made friends with people from Manila Science High School. Whenever these MaSci people are in my car with me, they would turn the radio to NU107.5. They would not let anyone change it to a different station! (In high school, the first cassette tape I had was Evil Empire of Rage Against the Machine, and NU's playing their songs!) Since then, I never really listened to any other stations.

Last Saturday, when my aunt turned on the radio, I looked for another station I could listen to, or tolerate listening to (both the music and the annoying DJs), and there was none. I asked fellow NU listener t2rad which station he's now tuning in. Apparently, the answer is none; he now only listens from the Internet.

I love NU especially because it taught me music. I love NU because I hear songs I never really heard before, despite these songs being already "old." I love NU songs because they play the music that I like--that I can identify with.

Lat November 7, NU played its last song. Perhaps fitting for this rock station that served a generation of music lovers was its last song, Ang Huling El Bimbo from Eraserheads---the legend of Pinoy rock. People gathered in front of the station as NU signed out, wearing misses clothing, casual shorts and shirt, rocker outfit--all sorts of people who loved the station. Some held lighted candles as the last song was being played, a tribute to our mighty radio station.

For me and all these people, NU107.5 will always be The Home of NU Rock.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

to be human

I crave it in pain. To feel heat and cold; to know pleasure. To laugh---ah, what would it be to laugh? To dance and sing, and to see clearly through human eyes. To feel things. To exist in necessity and in emotions and in time. - Lasher, The Witching Hour

Despite all our ties and bonds, we must never forget to live, lest we forget to be human.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

another start (and the day before it)

I guess the sembreak is already over. I'm back to work now and will be back to school tomorrow. I can't say I do not want it to end yet, as I've kept in mind that this would only be a brief one. Nevertheless, I can't say I'm prepared for the very busy days ahead again.

Workload is pretty much stable. Law school subjects are becoming more and more uninteresting to me (not law per se), especially civil and commercial law. My mother would have to continue her chemo sessions and radiation therapy afterward, including the trips to doctors in-between. The last of the three proves to be the most taxing, the most difficult to accomplish, and the most important one. Nothing else to do but to move ahead, finish everything, and look forward to another break.


I spent the last day of this semester break simply and quietly, just like most of the days in the past 2 weeks. I woke up pretty late, ate breakfast/lunch, and spent the afternoon goofing around with little Eduard and Eric, after which Eric and I fell asleep in my room. Had it not been raining, we would have started arranging the Christmas decors and of course, our old Christmas tree, complete with recycled Christmas cards and fake wrapped gifts beneath it.

At around 5 pm, the kids' father picked them up, and the break ends for them then. I, together with a friend, accompanied Lola to the optical store and to an ATM. Instead of going home, Lola wanted to go see the still unfinished basilica in our city. She likes going there because the place is serene. When we got there, the place was empty, save for a priest and 4 seminarians who were about to leave. Lola proceeded to the altar and wiped the image of Jesus Christ in the crucifix with her hanky. She said she would give it to my mother so she would be healed. Afterward, we circled around the church and read the names of the deceased in the crypts, and we found a few names of people we knew. Surprisingly, that activity was relaxing (perhaps because of the quiet place and the fresh air passing through the church).

After the trip to the basilica, Lola wanted to go to the isawan owned by a friend's family, whom she holds dear. She said she missed isaw, and Alex (the owner), so she thought we better drop by before going home. So we went there, and the sight of a grandmother in a place filled mostly with young people and those drinking beer was peculiar and funny. She didn't mind though, and she just enjoyed talking to my friend. We took all our orders home (which Alex, by the way, insisted that we not pay for) and ate it there.

While eating dinner, my friend and cousin Ian watched Step Up 3. It was an enjoyable movie. At around 9:30 p.m., I was already alone in my room. I opened Anne Rice's book and continued reading until I dozed off...