Thursday, December 10, 2009

so very long time no see!

blog! oh my god, so very long time to no see!

how are you? you look well. well, a bit un-updated but in general, you look FINE.

well, i've been busy doing this and that. that and this. i decided to undertake some things three months ago and now i am just on auto-pilot, trying to be accountable for my decisions. but so far, it has been worth it.

but let's talk about YOU, instead of me. are you gonna change your look soon? are you going to get a new posting sooner? what happened to the interview with the mayor? i hope it gets transcribed soon. i notice that the things that should have gone here are cropping up as facebook status updates, in an understandably but frustratingly truncated version.

weren't you supposed to have two guest postings lined up? you should move on that before it gets any more stale.

well, it's been nice visiting with you. can't stay long though. i have three million bullet points on my to do list. by the way, i started using a new to do notebook last night. it's so pretty. and the paper is so nice. i'll show it to you one of these days. bye!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

zamboanga food in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer

my friend marsha and i were on the phone about 30 minutes ago when she gave a sudden shriek and babbled that someone just told her her mom's diner was featured in today's philippine daily inquirer. we bade each other a hasty goodbye and ran to get a copy: me to the library downstairs and she to......... whererever she normally gets her paper.

nikko ballovar at the periodical section gamely allowed me to take the paper out of the library for 15 minutes (the library staff here are used to my weird requests) so i could scan it. and here it is:

it's all askew, sorry. it was hastily done. i can only do so much in 15 minutes, no?

if you click on the picture, i guess you could read it. if not, the whole article is here.

it's an article by food columnist mickey fenix. it's about the food she ate and the recipes she gathered while visiting zamboanga.

i am so proud of my friend marsha and her mom because their restaurant, busy bee, is the first paragraph feature! i already talked about how i love eating there and having the hole in the wall featured in a national broadsheet makes me feel so good for the montano family, mamu edna especially.

fenix also mentioned country chicken restaurant where we took the kids to dinner last night in celebration of a successful family effort. she made special mention of exactly what we had last night: the mano-mano bilao. we had the giant platter which for Php 520 was very value for money. it fed three hungry kids and two hungry adults and two hungry teenagers. the only thing we had other than that platter was an order of lechon kawali. and the great thing was that they serve 1.5 liter softdrinks instead of just the small 8 oz or 12 oz bottles. a great, great treat for parents of little kids addicted to the drink because it was "just" Php 85, instead of the Php 25 x 7 we would have needed to get.

the kids loved their playground. i loved their garden. it's simplicity and unpretentious-ness makes it great, i think. you almost feel like you were dining in your own backyard. IF you had a spacious and pretty backyard.

do find time to read the article. it's great. if you're not here, it will help you remember. if you are here, it will help to remind you of places you can go to and things you can try out -- again or for the first time.

the article also mentions other iconic zamboanga food places: myrna's, jimmy's satti. and iconic food as well. fenix likes something i've always found weird: our noodle filled tamal. why fill a carbo casing with carbo filling? i actually love eating tamal. i just find the concept weird. just like juani in coconut milk and sugar. and the crab named after cockroaches. i guess that would describe a lot of zamboanga food: weird but very, very, very good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

isang maarteng raket

this was my table at the mother butler holiday bazaar last weekend. my second time to join a bazaar. it went quite well. well, except for the fact that i could not feel my feet anymore from 3 to 5 pm and starting at 5:01pm, i could feel my feet TOO much. tiny pin pricks exploded all over my feet and calves, and around the bony protrusions (i have a lot of those) were swellings that made themselves known without shame. both nights of the bazaar, i had to ask our long suffering yaya jennilyn to boil water so that i could soak my poor, poor, poor feet.

but what did i expect, really? having been up basically on them for 14 hours straight?

all things considered, better to have been up all those hours, than sitting down, because that would have meant very bad business indeed.

i met so many people, old friends. new acquaintances.

my favorite people included two very pretty ladies, cousins, who came back a total of eleven million times to peruse the wares. sometimes they bought, sometimes they just looked. i liked having them look and answering their questions about how i made this and that. the elder one, pia, is 3rd year high school at ateneo and the younger one, monique, is a grade schooler. their lola had a booth. once, their lola came barelling down the aisle (in a very regal manner) towards my table while they were trying on necklaces. they both ran back to their booths even before the lola could say anything. apparently, it was their turn to man their store.

pia and monique would come an hour after visiting and ask if i had more stocks, like i were some kind of superwoman, crafting beads in between talking to customers, computing, bagging, and giving change. finally, i just let them into my white tupperware. just to reassure them that they've seen everything. they called my bluff. they showed me a necklace that wasn't on display. they bought it. the thing is, i sort of like that one. and wanted it for myself.....

another pair that i got to know well was a mother-daughter team named lissa. because they are both named lissa. really. they both had great skin, that was the first thing i noticed about them. the mom really knew which items to go for. she went right away for this giant green organically-shaped resin bead bracelet which i was sort of....keeping for myself. mother dearest bought that bead in the states. there are only three of them. now i know that i definitely will keep the other one. the other lissa, the daughter, was more interested in the business side of things, than on the wares at hand. she said she had an online store and two parlors, knows a friend who also owns another parlor, and that they'd like me to display my stuff with them during the not-christmas season. this was after i told lissa-lissa (and the cult jam, remember that 80s group? i digress. as usual) that i only have stores during the holidays. told them i will think about it.

another customer i will not forget is this woman, 60ish, who would ask for the STEEPEST discount. like she would ask if a 95 earring could be sold to her for 45, or a 305 necklace for 125. so funny. i know it was a game for her but i found it so funny playing along. in the end, i did give her good discounts (but not what she was asking for!) because she bought so much! she made her first purchase in the morning of the second day. in the afternoon, she came back to ask, like pia and monique, if i had new stocks. haha. i don't know why they ask me this. maybe they don't really believe that i made my own wares myself. she asked me if i will be at the tzu chi bazaar and i said i will. she gave me her name and told me to reserve the good ones for her.

hmm. now what will i make of that request?

this is a photo of the earring stands i made the night before the bazaar. the most frequent inquiries were about these! rashdi, ariel and i had to keep telling people that the price refers to the earrings, not the stands. ariel said maybe we should make a lot of these to sell in the next fair. where to find clay pots these small? challenge, challenge....

this is a photo of the two full time sales staff: rashdi and me. we look so tan here. as if we spent the past few weeks lounging by the sea, drinking ice tea and reading instead of cutting paper, stringing, bending, pricing, everythinging...

the name of my store is the chic chick. a mouthful. that's me. always going for the complicated. if you will look closely, the drawing of the three fowls atop the name chic chick is all wrong. they re roosters. not chicks. only two persons noticed: my husband, because he loves criticizing and critiquing even more than me. he is september-born too, see. and us september-borns, we LUHRVE to criticize, asegun. the other person was a customer. rochelle from the city assessor's office. so she does have an assessing eye...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

i saw the sign and it opened up my eyes

i have been going round and round the city on various errands the past few days in preparation for a christmas bazaar i am participating in this weekend.

navigating zamboanga city proper on foot is always a challenge. on the sidewalk, you have to take evasive action against the gazillion of spit underfoot, in various stages of....decay. on the street, the evasive action is against tricycle drivers who each drive on the absolutely deluded belief that God custom built the road for him.

for those who went out for even the littlest fraction of a second at noon yesterday and today (it is still noon as i write this), i do not need to tell you how HOT the weather is.

the only thing that kept my spirits up are the signages i encountered. looking for signages to snicker at is one of my favorite and more malicious preoccupations. i have other favorite and malicious preoccupations but laughing at signages takes pride of place.

yesterday the signages took the form of a streamer, a tarp for boutique, and two t-shirts.

i saw the streamer this morning at the corner of alvarez and nunez extension:


ohkayyyy. i should not laugh because i think i am a part of their other target audience. and when you really come to think about it, it's a great, great tag line. most people who enroll in driving schools are nininerbyos about the prospect of driving. otherwise, they will just convince whoever is at home to enumerate the rudiments then have a go at the wheel. this tag line will make such would be drivers (aka almost ALL would be drivers) seriously considering enrolling here?

the next is just plain nakakainis:


yuck. anyone who browses too much fashion magazine would know this is a very bad imitation of the kenneth cole ads. the ones where they fill a double-page spread with an edgy black and white photo and caption it in relatively small print with a catchy cool saying, like "52% of americans think same-sex marriage don't deserve a good reception. are you putting us on? - kenneth cole"

but the youth is the hope of future styles? oh come on!

the next signage was on a shirt i saw on my way to zamboanga home products (talking of which, i'd like to take this opportunity to warn you against going there at 12 nn to 1:30pm. they're closed. don't ask. i don't know. i only hate). the tshirt,worn by a girl, twentyish, said:


yes, because you have the skankiest taste in t-shirts, that is why.

she did not even have the right attitude to go with the shirt. i mean, paris hilton could probably get away with that shirt. and the saying on the shirt would probably be true, with paris in it.

the fourth was also a shirt. it caught my attention, out all all the many shirts in shop o rama 2nd floor, because it could be the earlier shirt's twin. it read:


yes. it was so very very confusing that my brain almost exploded from trying to make sense of it. i got distracted from my task at hand (buy a pack of dried moss) that i got to the 3rd floor not knowing why i was there.

it was in the ladies section so i am wondering what girl would want to compare her hotness to a male's? so maybe the shirt was designed for transgenders? but transgenders want to be girls, and they would be the last persons to want themselves compared to hot males.

as i said, so very confusing.

my confusion probably transferred by osmosis to the saleslady at the synthetic flowers section that she could not find the last pack of moss. i told her i was so tired, i have been searching for it practically the whole morning, and that i needed it soooooooooooo desperately that if she manages to find it, i will pay double the price. i said this only AFTER ascertaining that the pack cost 10.75. i am crazy but not that crazy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

hugging my blog

this is my 100th zamboangagirl post.

this blog has given me more joy than i ever imagined. i love that it allows me to say things i normally wouldn't say for fear of offending or boring people. i write my posts mainly for myself, a step up from my pen and paper journals because here i can add audio and visuals. but unlike the old journals which were basically enjoyed only by me and myself, this blog is helping me connect with other people in a manner both convenient and meaningful.

i love you, blog!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

i LOVE you, stephan!

when i grow up i am going to marry stephan jenkins of third eye blind.

i know, i know. husband and i celebrated our ninth just this week and everything.... but just look at and listen to this guy. just look and listen.

"i don't wanna crush you but i feel like crushing you..."

well, you know what, stephan, i am crushing ON you in a MAJOR, MAJOR way because you are so cute and your songs are so, so, so very cute. never mind that your lyrics are sometimes incomprehensible, maybe that is just because you operate on a higher intellectual plane than i or something. oh my goshness. you make me dizzy with crush.

this guy, singing barefoot in rolled up jeans and a t-shirt, received an english lit degree from usc class valedictorian. no shit. and he grew up dyslexic. to my mind, he is proof incarnate that the world is NOT fair.

this last picture is of the current object of my malice (say stee-vin, not stef-on) with seal. seal is another guy i will marry once i grow up and, i guess, once he gets tired of heidi klum.
and here is the requisite cheesy shot, the consequence of being named one of people magazine's 50 most beautiful. i hope the tight silver lame pants wasn't his decision.

these last two photos are of him looking responsible. i prefer him looking as if hygiene isn't a priority. i bet he stinks. good thing odor can't be uploaded yet.

husband loves third eye blind. he will eat the entire first album if his stomach were made of sterner stuff (it isn't). so i bet he won't mind if i ask permission to marry stephan. maybe i'll do it tonight.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

unforgivably forgetful

ugh. caught flatfooted again.

i was, until a few moments ago, checking final exam papers (well, virtual papers) at the office when in comes husband with a bag of brownies and a bottle of ice tea with the preamble "gusto kitang bilhan ng flowers pero puro lanta ang binibenta ng mga flower shops. baka naubos para sa sementeryo."


"anniversary natin, inday yenyen."

that is my husband's brand of romance: brusque, practical, sweet.

he told me how much the brownies cost and that i should leave some for the kids.

i let the whole world know i forgot all about our anniversary last year. then i went and forgot about this year's. next year will be our tenth. thinking about it -- more specifically, that i will forget about it -- is making me anxious.

happy anniversary, husband. i left six brownies in the bag: one for each child plus one each for yaya jennilyn and yaya bingbing. but i finished the iced tea, is that okay? haha.

Friday, October 23, 2009

i want to eat google chrome themes

i downloaded google chrome the other day. i already forget how i came across this new web browser. everything interesting i find in the internet, it seems, i just stumble upon, unlooked. stumbling upon interesting websites was the big idea behind my first attempt at blogging, in 2005, i think. i called it princess of serendip or some nonsense like that.

when i announced on facebook that i WILL replace my beloved mozilla firefox with google chrome, the first comment came from fr. denny, an IT jedi master. he gave a big tsk, tsk to my plan. he said i should not discard firefox completely because some programs do not work so well off chrome.

but, fr. denny, chrome's themes are soooooo prettyyyyy.....

for the others who have not already done so, go see for yourselves how VEDDY PWEETTY
they are.

there are two theme categories: commissioned artists and google's own.

there are 45 choices in the commissioned artists' category. except for three or four designs that i do not appreciate, i'd gladly download them all. but i tried to be a good girl and narrowed the list down to five must-haves. they may be free but i am not allowing myself to be greedy.

in no particular order:

this is by oscar dela renta. this is what i chose first. using it now. it looks like the shavings left by someone who went crazy sharpening dozens of pink, red, and gray crayola. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. google just gave me the chance of own a dela renta. indebted forever.

this one's as color saturaated as the dela renta. by Ocean Pacific, makers of board shorts and other surf wear. i love the colors.

it was a choice between this and one by fashion designer anna sui. i wanted both but i had to make a choice between the two otherwise people might think i love mariah carey. the anna sui also had butterflies but on a field of violet.

talking of mariah, there actually is a designer theme for her (or by her?). with her picture. that one made it to my list of "three of four designs i do not understand".

this makes me smile, smile, smile. this could have been done by daughter.

and this one, red flowers on spindly black branches, very japanese, don't you think? this one is by an australian fashion designer with a japanese-sounding name, akira isogawa.

majority of the themes were done by fashion designers but there were also very beautiful ones by illustrators, artists, anime, car manufacturers (porsche), and even the cartoon pocoyo. it makes me so sad to exclude the pocoyo theme from my shortlist of five because i love him so much, but the pocoyo theme didn't look so good. it didn't do my pocoyo justice. could you please make another one, pocoyo people?

you might want to ask how chrome is performing, because, after all, a browser isn't all about pretty themes. well, my answer to that is another question: is it possible for google to create anything ugly?

but then again, you shouldn't trust my opinion on this. i only know what my eyes like.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

do we really deserve our children?

found this while organizing my wallet this morning:

got this about five weeks ago

is there a competition for the most distraught birthday greeting ever written? because if there is, i think i have a winner here:

a decoding of the hieroglyphics:

Sorry I cannot give you the drawing because i lost it pls forgive me pls make sandwiches for me i cant stop thinking about it i made a small picture e down there

(then a drawing of a woman and a little girl raising their arms up in worship under a cotton candy tree as a rabbit looks on)

What would you like as a gift a message, TV, story or what please make a decision.

she apparently made this note in a frenzy while dressing up for school, panicked that she lost the drawing she made the night before; the drawing with which she intended to surprise me as i woke up to my 37th birthday.

if, in the future, time magazine will interview me for a profile on jana and they ask me what jana was like as a child, i will simply show them this. this letter is everything jana is: loving, crazy, sensitive, emotional, thoughtful, demanding ("please make a decision"), distracted ("please make me a sandwich"), generous, courteous,
creative. this is also evidence of how easily she goes into a frenzied panic (like losing the painting she made the night before to give to me as present), her cavalier attitude to spelling (by "message" she meant a back rub), and how disdainful she is of the god of punctuation marks, the period.

Monday, October 19, 2009

vain rin daw ako

someone called me vain two days ago: "the only problem with you yen is that you are vain." well, yezzzzzzz. i AM vain. but i beg to disagree with that person on two counts. first, vanity is far from being my only character flaw. i discussed in great detail what i consider my primary personality flaw here. second, i don't consider my vanity a problem AT ALL. on vanity:
, pl., -ties.
  1. The quality or condition of being vain.
  2. Excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments; conceit. See synonims at conceit.
  3. Lack of usefulness, worth, or effect; worthlessness.
    1. Something that is vain, futile, or worthless.
    2. Something about which one is vain or conceited.
  4. A vanity case.
  5. See dressing table.
  6. A bathroom cabinet that encloses a basin and its water lines and drain, usually furnished with shelves and drawers underneath for storage of toiletries.
one by one now. definition #1 we will discard.

my problem with #2 is the word "excessive". i cannot for the life of me recall what i did during that meeting where the comment was made that indicated justification of the use of the word "excessive" regarding my vanity. i was dressed in saturday-friendly denim skirt, A-line and below the knee, an ugly (but with which i am inexplicably in love) flat leather shoes, a fitted blue and white striped polo shirt and a necklace. was it the necklace that triggered the comment? it could not have been the polo shirt because it had a very obvious chocolate smear over my bilbil. it could not have been my hair style either, a regulation, more pedestrian than pedestrian ponytail, a hairdo i have been wearing since....toddlerhood or whenever it was that enough of my hair could be gathered into a rubber band.

i wasn't wearing ANY makeup either, so it could not have been that.

sigh. the thing that bothers me really is what it was that provoked the comment. one part of me is saying to just let it go. and i really want to let go. but the other, more stubborn part of me, is holding on to the issue for dear life.

maybe that person was just feeling a bit down herself and needed someone to lash out at? well, of all the many things she could have said and done to lash out at me, why did she pick "vain"?

granted i take pride in my apprearance. i like going out of the house liking how i look. i like looking at things that look nice, and i would like to think that i look nice too, somehow. but vanity has never be something desctructive in my life. i don't spend too much money on it even. can someone who has not had a facial EVER be justifiably called vain? and i have not had a mani-pedi in a parlor since i was in my first trimester with the cute monster that is gabriel who is now almost three years old. and the last haircut i got was something i gave myself about two months ago in front of the bathroom mirror: lopped off about four inches with my paper scissor.

(i am not calling a haircut mini bangs gabriel gifted me with six weekends ago. i woke up from my siesta to see a clump of considerably long hair lying on the floor next to my house slippers and a clump of very short hair standing in a spike dead center on my hairline).

do i take pride in my accomplishments? i don't know. i don't think so.

definition #3 and 4, lack of usefulness, worth or effect; worthlessness. i never knew vanity could also mean this. in any case, i am not useless. now if i say i am not worthless, will that make me vain?

definitions #5, 6 and 7: i am not a piece of furniture nor a bathroom fixture, that's for sure.

the only reason i can think of why i might be thought of vain is because of how i dress. and i am not inclined to make any changes on the way i dress on account of someone thinking me vain.

haha. vain. the word makes me think of a friend's email address: vaindawako. maybe i should chain my email addy to vainrindawako. my friend is now a hotshot photographer, so i will be in good company.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Congratulations, NUTCASE people!

congratulation to the advanced journalism students for the successful launching of their double-issue magazine, NUTCASE, on Tuesday, October 13.

(announcing the new publication to catwalk traffic)

(a very few minutes before the launch, trying to fold and staple all one thousand copies,
still managing to smile for the camera. standing from left to right: wally, almera, jeff, ryan, marj,
johnars, nash, arvin, lara, vien, and jade. seated are anna, mariz, and earl.)

the road to that day has been less than smooth. glitches marred the process. some of them could be blamed on gloria macapagal arroyo (7 holidays this sem!), some could be blamed on the more benevolent but seemingly equally harsh mother nature (while torrential rains blessed the distribution, it also caused many students to be late or absent for important class activities), and some could be blamed on no one else but the members of the class itself.

but, what is important is that the magazine did get launched, favorable comments were elicited, and HOPEFULLY, lessons were learned.
congratulations to everybody for managing to plan, research, write, and re-write, and re-write, and re-write a feature article.

some of you admitted right from the start that you are insecure about your writing abilities, some of you even admitted outright that you hated any form of writing (see you in radio and tv journ! :)) but look at you now, you are now PUBLISHED. at least 1000 ateneo de zamboanga university students have read your article. exciting! but scary too, i know.

that's journ for you.

anna and lara, how generous of you to accept the major responsibility of being your group's coordinator. i know it couldn't have been easy but i think you did a marvelous job.

jill and marj, what talented writers you are. speechless.

jade and nhordz, you struggled to gather the money to make this happen. i hope everything is in so that we can all breath easy.

jeff and anna, great layout, especially considering the short amount of time you had.

ryan, excellent publicity campaign. very bold. fun and fearless.

special mention to wally and daphne, you were not part of the advanced journalism class, and yet you had hearts big enough to lend a much-needed helping hand.

and to everyone who was at the assembly line seven million nanoseconds to the time you wanted to distribute NUTCASE to the public, great job on the folding and the stapling.

this is the time to be happy with yourself for having published NUTCASE. congratulations!

(collation section of the assembly line: lara, nash, marj, arvin)

(collation section two: vien and jade. earl at the end of the line is one half of the folding section)

(rightmost is ryan, distributing their Happy Peanuts pakulo at the back canteen)

(Lara and Ryan and a bevy of boys holding up their NUTCASE peanuts)

(intruding at the front canteen)

(and at the kiosks)

(anna and wally with copies that are good to go)

(jeff with so much to staple, so little time)

(johnars transporting assembled mags to their next to final destination)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

history of mankind

have you ever had a day when you felt so beautiful and powerful, and so you walked tall; and you felt so fresh and light and pretty and clean and capable, and so you smile and wave at every one you meet? and then you go to the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror and ugly you actually look? how puffy your eyes and cheeks are, how blotchy your skin is, how sad your outfit is, and that you have an insane bird's nest for hair?

that just happened to me moments ago. but the great thing is, my elevated mood is BULLETPROOF. never mind how i look, watch out instead for how i feel because, ladies and gentlemen, today i am going to go through my to do list like no one has ever gone through their to do list in the history of mankind.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

remembering bright days in this gloomy weather

this is my favorite among the latest family pictures. a picture of our backs -- except one sister's, maita in the upper right hand corner. but then she is sort of semi-crouching, not looking directly at the cam. i have no idea who took this picture, maybe one of the spouses. but this was definitely taken from the tree house above us.

that group there is the biggest latest gathering to date of my brothers and sisters. yep. all the siblings present except one, anna, who was in manila at the time. this was taken may 2009, in a beach in labason. that little girl in pajamas in the picture is not my sister, that is my niece bea. she is there because her father, ryan, our youngest, is there. bea only ever does one of two things: run away from his father, or run towards his father. in this photo, she is running TO ryan.

what are we doing here? well, aside from showcasing our huge backs, we are plotting how sister girlie should develop her little beach side property. that property is, by the way, not the the property we were currently enjoying at that time. we are a beach-going family: we go to a beach to plan how to develop another beach.

clockwise, from top left: blanca in floral shorts, maita the crouching doctor, sporty girlie in bullcap and crossback suit, monching looking like a frog, ryan with his bea, and me with my ehrm...huge back. i love my swimsuit here. got it from ukay-ukay for 50 pesos. dunno whose shorts i am wearing. during reunions, our wardrobes tend to get mixed up. understatement.

looking forward to another family meeting like this. we just had a good lunch. there was so much food but i can remember there was cassava boiled in coconut milk and sugar. the music playing then was good. of course i would say that. that was my ipod on. the san mig light was icy cold. the kids were blissfully charring themselves black under the sun, with constant basting in seawater and sun block. the spouses were elsewhere, glad to be rid, even for a brief moment only, of the crazy blancos and their spawn.

this is another picture from the may 2009 reunion, in my sister maita's house in liloy. that there is my son gabriel and my niece juliana. a mattress underneath, a mattress overhead, and another mattress rolled up and ready to tow, their noah's ark is good to go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

when i grow up i am going to marry viggo mortensen

when i grow up i will marry viggo mortensen not just because he played strider/aragorn in lord of the the rings but simply because he is so demd pretty.

he is 50 (and i am 37!), is half danish, grew up all over latin america (that means i can abuse him with my bastard spanish), the usa, and denmark where he worked as truck driver (gasp!). legend has it that when he graduated from university, he refused to wear an academic gown because it was made in a sweatshop.

exactly my kind of graduation candidate.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

celebrating eid ul-fitr in ateneo

the muslim students association (msa) of the university sent out a general invite to their grand pagbuka held Friday last week.

i went together with a co-teacher and the husband and i am so glad i did because it was such a beautiful and eye-opening experience for me.

as far as i understood it, a pagbuka is simply the breaking of the daily fast during the month of Ramadan. the grand pagbuka was called thus because it was the breaking of the fast before the most important day of the holy month, the last day, the hariraya.

it was explained during program that the hariraya is expected to be around september 21 yet but since there were no classes on that day or on the eve of that day, i guess the msa decided to celebrate with other members of the university community on a school day, the Friday before Sept. 21.

it was held at the LRC quadrangle and it was full of people: students, teachers, university staff. there was a short program of prayers - one was chanted by a male student - and short talks. as this was happening, male students went around the filling up the tables with food. the last speaker intentionally extended his talk for exactly five minutes because he was timing his speech to end at precisely the time when the fast should be broken. i am not sure if that time was 6pm. as he looked at his watch for the final time at the podium, he broke into a smile and said "now we can break the fast", opened the mineral water bottle he was holding and took a long, long drink.

at that point people started digging into the feast before them. msa very nicely provided the guests with water stations where they can wash their hands, saying that the washing of the hands would normally be done BEFORE the prayer and eating but i guess they made concessions for us who were not of their faith.

i excitedly took pictures of the food. i was testing the cam in my new cellphone (a birthday gift from husband. pwede na. haha). there was kulma (very spicy beef stew in gata), tyula itum (very spicy beef cooked in broth flavored with burned coconut meat -- i swear, this tastes way better than it sounds), a beef steak (sweetish), fried chicken, and pansit. it was all very good but what i still think about to this day is the rice that went with all those food. it was a yellowish rice, wrapped with banana leaves and formed into pyramids. the teachers seated on my table went into an involved discussion into what it could be. i forgot if it was sir bong or ma'am peña of the social sciences department and the accounting department respectively who gave the most authoritative answer: rice cooked in gata flavored and colored with turmeric and other spices. it was very good.

(i still can't figure out how to download photos from the cellphone camera)

but aside from the good food and the good company, i will remember most that part of the program where everybody hushed up to offer their personal petitions. the speaker said that there are three important prayer periods during the day. i don't remember the times exactly but roughly, they are the time before the sun rises, the time late in the afternoon before the breaking of the fast, and the time after the sun sets. the gathering at the lrc garden was during the second one. during the second one, the speaker said, anything that you pray for, ANYTHING AT ALL, will be granted. he then enjoined EVERBODY to take a moment to pray, and that whatever it was we prayed for, he said with conviction, it will be answered.

i don't think a multi-faith gathering in the university has ever had a more solemn, more quiet 30 seconds than what was happening at that point. it was so quiet. a peaceful, gentle kind of quiet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

walking in public in my underwear

almost nine days has passed since i walked the streets of zamboanga in my underwear.

time enough to allow me take a more pragmatic view on things. and forgive myself my trespasses - yet again.

the problem started september 7 when my boss told me that the kids are inviting the teachers to their acquaintance party, a pajama party which they are calling "one night stand".

i could see that the party meant a lot to the students and i wanted to go wearing what they wanted me to wear. ON THE OTHER HAND, my costume had to be something that will not result in students choking to death from laughter or hurtling themselves off the third floor ledge in embarassment.

so the style goal: sleepwear that is not funny nor lewd so that i can continue facilitating learning with a more or less straight face.

the magnificent solution: a black with while lace camisole and a gauzy half-slip.

the first thing the hosts did (after the usual prelims) was call to the front all those who did not bother to come in costume. and, bizaarely, unbelievably, incredibly, they called me!!!

but as i said, nine days has passed. enough for me to gather perspective. in other words, make alibis for them.

first, i wore tons of makeup. second, i wore multiple long pearl necklaces ala Madonna. third, i wore three-inch strappy silver high heels.

that is me at rightmost (because i am the most righteous, haha. can't help the pun) with the juniors. obvious na hindi nila pinaghandaan ang costumes nila. they are the main organizers (way to go, girls!). the guy in pink is clint sanchez. he teaches digital audio and video recording. if i may add, he was not in costume. (but he did bring the drinks, so they conveniently forgave him).

in the photo are, left to right, liza (nice hairdo), francel (seemingly the only one who remembered all the steps of their dance production), kamille (i LOOOVE the ad libbed choreography!), clint, rianne (her journalistic skills is NOTHING compared to her chair dancing), jobee (a presidency two years in the making), josh (her tasks that night is worth another blog entry), maila (the funny dictator in the paint me a picture game
), jenica (the wind beneath my wings), and hazel (wow. how come nobody got you to host before?). not in the photo is christine. she was at the that time hunched on the floor cutting, cutting, and cutting some more paper. making confetti or something. unable to attend the party is their batchmate karen.

now let's get back to the rationale behind my costume. my reason for wearing the three accessories above were - and it sounds to reason that I think these are perfectly SOUND reasons - i needed to wear something that would neutralize the FACT that i am going to a party with my students and co-teachers, inside the campus to boot, wearing underwear.

but nobody got it. again, i stand alone, sartorially misunderstood. as ever. forever. and ever.


on the other hand, and this is very important, i had a blast that night. the organizers did a good job of setting up the stage for a fun night, and the other students did not disappoint by giving it their all. my facial muscles were practically sore from having to laugh so much. well, the games got a bit too "parental guidance" at times for me but you could see it was all clean so we carried on.

the students prettified the television studio very well: mats on the floor, mood lighting, lots of plush toys, a colorful and graphic backdrop.

attendance was great. normally, a huge chunk of the student population would boycott (a sentiment i don't understand nor have much patience for) parties like this but that night, only very few were absent. and they all wore....pajamas. bah! predictable! (can you hear the sound of....sour graping? haha).

the guy (aherm) in the foreground with the blue shirt? he is wearing that, that....helmet as punishment for not coming in pajamas.

and they all performed at the time they were supposed to perform just like the great troopers they are. and expectedly, they had a "let's ridicule the teachers" portion. let's just say the game entailed teachers revealing to the student body their guilty pleasure, their first kiss, their first date, their secret fantasy. if you were there, you'd be privy to the faculty's answers. if you weren't, enroll next year.

(both photos were lifted off students' facebook. thanks!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

i am about to have...

i am very excited about my current PILE of reading materials. i capitalize pile because i tend to get overacting when it comes to gathering together things to read. i have the reading sub-genre of Attention Deficit Disorder.

i borrowed five books from the university library yesterday. the ateneo library is the third reason why its hard for me to leave this job. the second is the free 24/7 internet connection. and the third is my baffling love for this school.

although pictures of these books are on the shelf to the right (generously brought to you by!), i willl post them here anyway in keeping with my overacting and easily excitable nature.
the diana chronicles. because tina brown wrote it. if british tatler, vanity fair, and the new yorker all thought she was good enough to be their editor-in-chief, then she certainly is good enough for me as author of a book on a tragic princess' life.

the children of hurin. because i want to know if this is anything like the other LOTR prequel, silmarillion, which is to say, mind-numbingly boring.

excerpts from the diaries of the late God. the title alone makes me want to drop everything and read. published in 1968. no photo available off the net. the book i borrowed from the library has long lost its dust cover.

good omens. at the back it says "what's so funny about armageddon." i really wanna know.

get shorty. because john travolta starred in the movie.

but these are not all. i also am reading:

two vogue magazines. one with gwynneth and the other with giselle and lebron james. ugly girls. back issues because current issues cost more than our water bill for five months. (i can go five months without running water, just so long as i have a vogue magazine to peruse as i live in filth. but will my children be as resolute?).

two elle decor magazine. back issues again. no celebries on the cover. the work area in the photo above is sheila bridges (remember her from a show on the lifestyle channel?). those stripes on the wall were painted on, with real paint, with real brushes, by real house painters. i want one.

a book on personal finance for pinoys. because we really need to buckle up and get organized. seriously.

a book on helping pinoy families help their kids do well in school by queena lee chua. so that my four kids will all graduate valedictorian and get good college scholarships, thus enabling me to use our money on better things: current issues of vogue and elle decor. for some reason, no image is available off the net.

a book on how to be a good teacher. kina-career talaga. i am not posting an image because i am self-conscious about reading this book. too heart-on-my-sleeve.

beneath this pile of fashion and shelter magazines and.....arghh... self-help books, are two hard bound books of which i am author. you got that right. i. the first is a big acid-free, lined journal. its pages are as yet pristine. got them from my sister anna for my birthday. have i told you i love notebooks? i haven't? then let me tell you now. i love notebooks. i lust after notebooks. i can almost not live without notebooks. the other is a white notebook which i use when i am feeling...artistic. its my doodle notebook. my kids, to whom i am the-one-who-cannot-do-anything-wrong, consider it a great privilege when i let them browse through it: "never mind if kuya rashdi will not let you watch that salamagan japanese animation dvd. don't cry. i will let you look at the pictures in my notebook."

a long weekend ahead. a pile of good reading. i think i am about to have a good weekend.

i wish you a good one too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

tale of two sundaes

i'd like to but i'm not going to rant because i don't like people to think that that is the only way i know how to write.

i just want to say that i prefer the sundae from mcdo than from jollibee because the soft ice cream is creamier, and the chocolate fudge is yummier.

but between the sundae served by mcdo la purisima and the one served by mcdo gateway, i prefer the latter simply because the serving is larger.

when you dig into your mcdo la purisima sundae, your plastic spoon will be coated with..... air because the center is an absolute...vacuum. their trick, i suspect, is that when they fill the cup, they just aim to pile it up the sides, leaving a nice and clean center hole. of course this hole is topped with a little ice cream and a little chocolate dressing so that no one is the wiser...until nga you start eating na.

their chicken here is smaller too than the gateway counterpart. haha. just wanted to say that. now i stop before this turns into out and out rant.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

will someone please tell me what they are fixing in front of jolibee camins?!!!

i will bet my christmas bonus that over half the population of pasonanca, sta. maria, gov. camins, and gov. ramos are on the verge of insanity. yes i will.

about two months ago, whoever is in charge of these things decided that the jollibee camins intersection needed to be fixed. as for me, me with my constant whining about how poorly the government maintains its infrastructures, i could not see what it was that needed fixing. could not see anything wrong at all. i, i, i, yenyen, i who could and would see the minutest wrong in ANYTHING, could not see anything wrong with the jollibee camins intersection AT ALL.

and if someone better than me (is that possible? how?) did manage to uncover even one ugly structural defect about that road, nothing could possibly be so bad as to merit the evil, devil, hevil, baweevil traffic that that....road re-construction is unleashing on the seven million people who have no option but to use that intersection to go to and from home to work, school, errands in pueblo, ukay-ukay in sta. cruz, etc., etc..

heck, if those verging-on-insane residents finally succumb, their families, verging on insanity themselves, will also be pushed over the edge as they try to navigate that intersection on the way to the mental facility in zamboanga medical hospital. families that go through that road together, go mental together.

to illustrate. yesterday, i thought eating lunch at busy bee camins would alleviate what my friends and family diagnosed as migraine. (thanks, guys. and there i was, ecstatic that i was finally going to be able to justify getting a nice looking pair of reading glasses. false alarm pala). so, stupid planner that i am, left the office at 12:10 and took a tricy to camins. ooops. the line started just before manang terry's chicken inato on canelar. the movement of the line can be measured in millimeters. i was hungry. i had a headache. it was still very muggy. it was dusty. i had no load so texting was out. i did not bring a book nor the ipod. di ba i told you na i am a stupid planner?

fast forward to the year 2017, the tricy driver and i were within sight of the triangular rotunda. a couple of years more and we were under the traffic light, turning left towards the new chowking where gonzalo's convenience store used to be (note to self: try that place soon. compare to chowking near mindpro where service and servings are amazingly... disappointing), then finally, in front of la terraza, with the goal so, so, so very close, a pasonanca jeep plugs the flow. it wants to u turn. it came from pueblo like us, it entered the road going to the airport like us, but unlike us, it wants to u turn in front of la terraza so that it can go back up to the intersection and proceed to sta maria, then to its ultimate destination, pasonanca.

hair straightening business is probably on a roll now too.

when i got to busy bee, my friend marsha, looks at me knowingly, and asked: "how many minutes?" and "how many did you make mura to?".

well, just one. the kundoktor of that pasonanca jeep. but hindi naman mura. just a gentle, "hoy! bastusan na yan!!!".

granted, the city government is trying to keep things tidy. they have succeeded i guess in the sense that i have not heard of a driver killing another driver so far. how do i know the agents are the city government's? they all wear this gray t shirt that reads C-E-L-S-O, that's why. It is an acronym for Community Elegant Landing Something Other. haha. joke.

hey. i have a tip. if you are coming from pueblo on the way to sta. maria and you do not want to do the u-turn in front of la terraza, stay on right side of the road, hug the curve in front of jollibee, go over that little bridge on the right side of jolibee, pretend you are going to ukay-ukay (as added motivation) then, when you are in front of 3rd cup cafe, do a u-turn. go back up the same road, then turn right after the bridge and you are on your merry way to sta maria.

how is this different from the la terraza maneuver? that goes left, this goes right. that's all.