Thursday, August 27, 2009

lets cash in!

i got myself a globe sim last week just so i can pay for some online purchases with gcash.

i spent a good part of yesterday afternoon calling the globe business center in san jose. i wanted to ask them if they had a "cash-in" (where you convert your cash to gcash) center in pueblo so that i don't have to take the tricy to their business center. the two numbers i tried just rang and rang and rang. when i called the third number listed, the timid sounding girl who answered said that if its about gcash then it has to be the two numbers i have already tried because she was with the globe broadband office and the business center is another office. i explained to her that i have been trying to call for a VERY LONG TIME but she simply said "try lang ulit man". i gave up for the day.

at mid morning today, i went to the business center. of course the first thing i did when i reached the place was asked the guard, patay malisya, "close office nyo kahapon?"

"open kami ma'am", sabi ng isang guard.

agree naman ang pangalawang guard.

"eh bakit ring lang nang ring ang 992-3935 at 992-3944? sira ba ang phones?"

"ay ma'am nandito kami pero di lang nila sinasagot yang mga numbers na yan"


"eh yun yung listed nyo na numbers papano namin kayo ma contact? bakit hindi ninyo sinasagot?" ang high-pitched kong sigaw, este, sabi.

"ma'am busy kasi yung mga tao dito palagi"

okay. fine. i followed the advice of my facebook friends and breathed in, breathed out. breathed in, breathed out. externally calm but internally combusting, i went past the door.

"ay, ma'am, anong purpose nyo?" guard two said.

i wanted to say to request an audience with the sons of don jaime (to kiss them, those cute lads) but i had a feeling it would be pointless so i told him the truth he can manage: gcash cash-in.

everything else was pretty incident free after that , thank goodness.

i am still trying to figure out what is going on with their phone lines. is it because the lines are pldt lines, the sister company of their arch enemy smart? are they trying to make people believe pldt lines are no good? are pldt people sabotaging the globe office phones? has watching too much "24" addled my brains even more?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

u haul

if i told you i needed to oversee the hauling of the detritus of a family of six from one cramped duplex to a house about a kilometer away, would you excuse my four-day absence from this blog?

because that is what i really did. honest. peks.

the move to the new house was very exciting and i don't know where to start talking about it. so i am going to give it to you in bite-size pieces (may also be referred to as "being coy").

the house came with everything except for a disco ball and an escalator. we didn't need to fix anything up to make it livable. in fact, our helper jennilyn had this little tableau assembled on the morning of our first day of moving in -- all by herself. that girl, she's gonna go far...

the illustrations are christmas cards from set given to me by my sister. the plant came from our old house. i don't know what it is but it grew in every nook and cranny of our old neighborhood. this particular one i stole from the capre living in the acacia tree on the empty lot across our old duplex. the clear plastic stands are five effing pesos from big V department store and the tall glass is the last from a set of four. dear yaya mila broke all the others "kay bug-at man gud 'te."

and this flower came from a valiant plant beside the gate of the new house that bloomed prettily despite months of neglect. i LOVE how this flower looks but i have grown to hate it over the years simply because of its ubiquity. can people please stop planting euphorbias now? please lang. move on to something else.

that photo is one of my favorite. it's my dad with rashdi when he was two. they are both holding a specimen of the creature my father loved above all others, a rooster.

the mother of these leaves lives in my mother's house. it takes so much to kill these leaves. i just got these so maybe they'll be around still come christmas. the fishes that used to live in this fishbowl have all died. they were all named after characters in the chronicles of narnia. i already forget the names but i know the gold one with the huge fringes was aslan. the other two, the black and the bronze must have been evil characters.

i have posted other photos of the house on flickr. i have managed somehow to imbed a flicker widget in this here my long-suffering blog. it is at the very bottom of this page. if you click on it, you will see THE house.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

memories of a funny sounding store name

i grew up in pharmacies. when we were still living in southern leyte, my mom had a small drugstore called ABC Pharmacy. abc presumably stood for annabella barot cruz, her name. or, it could have stood for anna concepcion, blanca anne, and carmel mathilda, her first three children. i console myself by thinking that the store name was registered before i was born, otherwise, i will demand that it be retroactively renamed ABCM. never mind that the store is long gone. and girlie will want ABCMG, and ramon jr will want ABCMGR, and ryan will want ABCMGRR.

when we migrated to zamboanga, when i was around six, mommy put up another store again. the name of the store is the stuff of family legend. my mom's sister's husband put up the money to build the structure. so of course the privelege of naming the store belonged to him by right. but then he went and named it, brace yourselves, botica sitio bangcas, after the purok in hinunangan where he was born and grew up.

IF the store were in hinunagngan, no sweat. people have gotten immune to the sitio bangcas name in the same way that zamboanguenos do not bat an eyelash at such names as bolong, dulian, taguiti, tumitus, lumayang, kalabasa, guisao....i am sure you get the point.

(by the way, to create the list above, i referred to this website. it is my first time to have heard of baranggay tumitus. cute. i hope they have tomato farms there to justify the name. and that they have a botica tumitus).

but the problem was, the store was in zamboanga. on a major road. when you exit the airport and you turn right, you'd see it, right between st. joseph school and zamboanga village restaurant.

all my life as a teenager in zamboanga, i have to constantly deal with classmates and friends asking "ano pa nga pangalan ng tindahan nyo yen?" or some similarly aggravating question. my teenaged self-conscious soul could almost not bear it.

but you know what the point of this blog entry is? it's just that i want to say how happy i am that the cheap quality meds act has finally, FINALLY, been approved. this was a long time coming.

mommy's store virtually funded the college education of seven, SEVENNN, kids. to ateneo expensive de zamboanga. it sent us, but barely. contrary to what many people think, drug stores don't really make a killing from selling medicines alone, unless you are part of a giant chain, like joan's, cecile's, oro, or united. drugstores made patong only 5%. the big chains can afford even 3% because of the sheer volume of their sales, much to the disadvantage of smaller stores, like my mom's. competition was fierce. my mom innovated by selling non-drug products like grocery items, toiletries, school supplies, snacks, and even small hardware stuff. heck, we even sold cigarettes tingi-tingi. at that time, in the early 80s, no other drugstore had an operation like that. there were times when we'd get comments from customers such as a sarcastic "grabe naman itong botika, pati bumbilya at pako, meron".

now, my visionary mom would turn her noses at the big drugstores, all, ALL, of them selling non-drug items. she's probably thinking, i thought of it first. some shouldn't even be called drugstores anymore. they are a grocery store, with a pharmacy department.

everyone in the family took turns watching the store. unlike in other places, people here buy medicines tingi-tingi. an old woman who has a once-a-day maintenance med for hypertension bought that same medicine once-a-day. tomorrow's medicine will be bought after she finds the money for it, tomorrow also. antibiotics for a seven day regimen aren't bought all at once. at around the time she closed the store, in mid 2000s, when she was growing cranky and curt, my mom would go on and on and on about how irresponsible people were with their antibiotic drinking. i think there was even a time she refused to sell antibiotic to someone who wanted to buy only one, afraid that the med-taker won't complete his regimen.

now botica sitio bangcas is closed too. it's now a restaurant called chinito's. i am sure apple go has a good reason for naming her chain of restaurants that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Warning: the post below involves frontal nudity

this is my one and only topless photo. the sex video traders in the country will just snicker at it, but in my opinion, it's very, very appealing.

this is me, zero years old, with my mommy. i know its me, and not one of my six siblings, because of the trademark furrowed brow and downturned mouth. i still wear this frown with pride to this day. it is my face's default setting. but the saggy boobs, eh. i will not discuss that here. former and current students drop by this blog from time to time. as my dad loved to say, i have an image to project, a name to protect.

but the most remarkable thing about this photo, aside from my incandescent cuteness, is not my frown nor my infantile boobs. its the dress my mom is wearing. because. because. because i got to wear it twenty two years later.

that is me in 1995 with our son rashdi.

in the photos above, mommy and i are wearing a circa 70s jumpsuit. but i guess i don't have to say that it is from the 70s because there is no such thing as an 80s jumpsuit (in pleated georgette?) nor 90s jumpsuit (in minimalistic shantung?) nor a 00s jumpsuit (this fashion history is still being written). its made of a very 70s fabric as well. huge synthetic-feeling thread, huge weave, heavy, in colors that are a bit muddy.

for those whose brains haven't been damaged by reading too much vogue magazines, you can wake up now. i will resume talking about the dress and the frontal nudity in sane terms again.

the pantsuit has huge flowers scattered all over a red orange field. it has pretty simple lines, zips at the back and like any self-respecting garment from the 70s, its pant legs end with a huge flare.

Wikipedia says a jumpsuit originally referred to the utilitarian one-piece garments used by parachuters and skydivers, but has come to be used as a common term for any one-piece garment with sleeves and legs. Starting in the 1960s, the jumpsuit has made occasional appearances in common and high fashion (particularly in the 1980s), but has never been a common item of everyday wear. They retain connotations of futurism because they have been frequently featured in popular science fiction.[3]

unfortunately, you cannot see a lot of my mom in our photo but those are definitely her lips and those are her fingers holding on to me. as for me, in the spirit of my outfit, i flipped the ends of my hair out.

rashdi, our eldest, was less than a year old here. we have the same shape head (like coconuts), but he doesn't have my frown. if you look closely at the photo of me as a mom, i am smiling but the frown is still there, flittering about the outer edges of my brows. i bet even vicky belo doesn't have anything for that in her clinics' menu.

my baby photo was taken when we were still living in hinunangan, southern leyte, in my lola's old house. my mom would be in her early 30's. she had her first child quite late, at 29. i on the other hand, could not wait to be a mom and had rashdi at 22. that photo of me and rashdi was taken in front of the white gazebo my parents had at that time. when mommy renovated her house, she took it down, but with a little advance and unsolicited help from a termite colony.

i am not sure if i could still put on that dress now. my mom was slim (she'd brag about this to us again and again. peace, mommy, hehe) as a young woman. us, her five girls, however, mostly took after the huge-boned blancos. the last time i had a 23-inch waistline was at grade four.

Monday, August 17, 2009

a much needed weekend break cut short

yesterday, sunday, august 16 was the fiesta of baranggay san roque.

my family celebrated by stealthily fleeing our neighborhood under cover of 4:45 am darkness on bisperas to a beach more than 200 kilometers away.

after four hours of land travel on mostly good roads, we reached liloy where a sister and her family lives and another sister has a beach house. talk about enjoying the fruits of others' labors.

but we really have a good excuse for leaving our neighbors to make merry without the benefit of our company. one, we needed to fetch a new helper, and two, we needed to unwind after a very stressful but very fruitful several weeks (this event is subject for another entry. i hope i will be able to find a way to write it.).

but our good alibis probably did not hack it with our patron saint san roque de montpelier because after enjoying only 50% of our out-of-town weekend, diego and jana came down with high fever, headache (diego, because he is just four, and does not yet know the concept of headache so he would shout to us that he had an ear ache. i look forward to when he has kids of his own, then he will have both ear ache and headache. espera lang le), and non-stop vomiting.

so while i snorkeled and husband enjoyed the breeze reclining on the rattan sofa, my two middle kids writhed in pain inside the house. in between writhing in pain, they'd run to the toilet to puke whatever they can find inside their stomachs to puke. most of the time it'd be just stomach acids because they not only had zero appetite, every time they ate or drank anything, anything at all, it'll hurl itself out after a few seconds.

when husband and i could not stand the constant sorrowful moaning anymore, we dejectedly accepted the reality that the weekend would just have to be what it was, cut short by kj kids. sigh. we thought, well, even if we did not enjoy the place to the fullest, at least we found a helper to bring home

we left liloy at a little past one, and arrived zamboanga past five. we went directly to western mindanao medical center to have laboratory check diego and jana's blood and urine. will single people ever understand parents of sick children? i don't think so. there i was in their waiting area, carrying a scared and feverish four-year-old boy, a vial of urine, the slips of paper from the cashier, my hands reeking of urine (try catching your son's weewee in the parking lot with a vial whose opening is smaller than the diameter of a five centavo coin) and trying not to whiff in the smell of vomit emanating from my son's hair, cheeks, shirt, pants, legs, from his very soul. and i, trying not to be conscious of my huge legs exposed by my short shorts and sack-like t-shirt, my hair in a messy pigtail (best hairdo for long distance travel but not flattering AT ALL for a 37 year old to wear in public, like a hospital). and with all of these monstrosities in the waiting area, what do you think the lab techs do? they ignore me for a few minutes while they sing a bastos tagalog version of an akon song: tikman mo ang aking banananana.......

they would have continued on with their merrymaking had i not threatened them with a vomit fest in their lab. that got them going. while diego was stoic during his blood extraction, low-pain tolerance jana let it all out. because the lab tech had her hands in his firm grip, my daughter used her imitation-croc clad feet to express herself. all thoughout the extraction, my daughter clapped, clapped, clapped her feet together, frantically, while letting out an angry hissing sound. clap, clap, clap. hissssssssssssssss. it went on for a long time because the blood extraction technique was something new to me, longer. instead of dabbing a few drops of blood into a glass slide and suctioning a few more into a thin capillary tube, he kept on milking my daughter's finger to fill about 1/8th of a narrow 2-inch test tube. he would milk, then press the blood against the top of the tube, again and again. meanwhile my daughter goes clap, clap, clap, hisssssssssssss...

we finally got home at almost seven. and because i am stupid that way, the first thing i did was sweep and mop our room. yes. don't ask me why. if you ask my husband, he will just tell you stress makes me crazy. using a different set of words.

in the middle of the fun-filled ride home, there were quiet moments. like when we were passing through ipil. those moments allowed me to observe, think. like why is it that ipil still looks like a frontier town, with most establishments still looking transitory, as if they have no plans of really staying. the town is now the capital of a new provice, zamboanga-sibugay, but looking at it, you would not know. it's not a very pretty place. it is bustling, you can feel the energy, but i somehow could not sense a history. everyone seemed to be going, going, going, but it somehow looks very....downtrodden. maybe the town has been permanently scarred by the ipil raid of 1994 (or was it 1995?).

the place i love passing through every time we take this weekend excursion is a town in the outskirts of zamboanga city. it is called buenavista. on both sides of the road you will see gently rolling hills that is devoid of any tree or shrubbery. it would just be grassy hills and the sky, going on and on. i imagine this place was called buenavista because of just that buena vista, good view.

i enjoyed the view as much as i could, while praying for us to finally get to the hospital.

i called the hospital later that night and confirmed by sister's suspicion of UTI. we gave co-tri to both right away and they slept through the night.

at 6.30 this morning i woke to a most curious sound. jana and diego giggling at the antics of tom and jerry. this while enjoying their oatmeal. kids.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

my one and only personality flaw

i have this compulsive need to have all people like me all the time.


it's disgusting.

when i sense that people do not like something i do or say, i bend over backwards, and then some more, until my entire being is contorted, just to make sure that when we part ways, they have a positive image of me.

if you have never felt this strong uncontrollable urge before, then you could not possibly imagine just how crippling it is.

i am an effing apologist for my own effing person. an effing crowd-pleasing pollyanna.

aside from being disgusting, it's pathetically pathetic.

so whenever i say "i am to please" and people think that i am being sarcastic, or ironic, or being funny, i am not even halfway joking.

aside from this however, my personality is flawless.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

another hammer to the head

i have bitten the bullet.

i have joined the other side. this other side, it is more popularly known as facebook.

and the net effect? it is already 6:34 and i am still at the office. never has this blog, nor shelfari, nor 43things, nor flickr done this to me.

does that mean i love facebook more than my other web presences?


i don't like it. maybe not yet. but it certainly feels like maybe not ever.

what i hate: the interface, the appearance (so cluttered!!!), and the fact that i don't know how to do what. most of these things are supposed to be intuitive. so maybe i am not wired for the facebook intuition. i don't know.

what i like: maybe that i now realize i have a lot of .... friends? at least 61 of them. isn't that amazing?

self, welcome to facebook.

Friday, August 7, 2009

How to go about having a glamour portrait of myself done in Zamboanga

a third post about cory's death? sigh. this is backsliding.

but then, it's better than the months-long lull between posts, di ba?

i was just thinking, seeing all those huge photos of cory at the cathedral, maybe i should get portraits of myself done too?

how horrible if i died and my family would display enlarged copies of my passport picture atop my casket.

so my latest project has been identified. have a portrait done.

to do:
1. decide on a look
2. find dress (or blouse -- my portrait will be a bust shot only. no whole body stewardess application photos please)
3. find good local make-up artist
4. find good local hair person
5. find a good local photographer
6. find a good local kunsintidora friend to hold my hand during the shoot
7. go have that portrait taken
8. somewhere between numbers 1 and 7, find money to fund this endeavor

the look of the photo
i would like for it to be a "glamour shot". so shoot me for wanting something very different from my daily life. with the advent of digital cameras, i have too many, far, far too many shoots of me looking the way i do everyday. it will be obviously done in the studio. no location shoots for my glamour shot. right now i am thinking black and white. timeless. something that will look good when it turns sepia with age. something that will look good inside either a golden baroque frame or a plain shaker-style wooden one. yes. i am full of shit. i have heard that said of me before. get over it. i have.

the look of me
i want to look like catherine zeta jones or penelope cruz (my cousin on my mother's side, haha. along with tom cruise). you know, smouldering. big hair, smoky eyes. very aloof but very come hither also. that should give my friends and family something to talk about during my wake.

the great thing about Cathy's photo above is that it came from a site that contained an article called "How To: Look Gorgeous in Pictuers". Don't ask me about the appropriateness of the colon in the title. For my part, I am just happy to have found, all in one site, a great picture of Mrs. Douglas and a helpful article. P.S. My hair won't be as messy as hers here. and i don't know if i can pull off that look-into-the distance thing during the shoot. but i will really, really try.

i have serious misgivings about the material of her gown. nothing wrong with it, per se, but it's so un-me. but doesn't she look gorgeous? her hair isn't big but i like it, like it, like it. Hmm. mother dear gave me a bottle of hair dye. maybe it's time i go to the parlor and have highlights put in....

and why is it that everytime i line my eyes with black pencil like penelope did here, it just looks so.....wrong?

honestly, i am not really into make-up, or into hair for that matter. my last haircut was something i gave myself a month ago in front of the mirror with the scissors i use to cut my beading cords. i call it a "very blunt cut". but since college i have been told this jalandoni guy is great. he used to have a shop on nunez street but i am not sure. when i got married, someone from david's salon on mindpro did my face. he was so happy with his handiwork but i hated it. it didn't help that after the wedding, i managed to pry from my husband his opinion of the makeup. and this is what he said: "kamukha mo kanina si queen amidala." he said this during reception, after i had gone to the bathroom to wipe off some of the brown gunk and my original brows had resurfaced. here's an illustration of my husband's memory of me during our wedding:

the photographer

i know of two good local photographers, rikki lim and keith lorenzo. they'd be rolling on the floor laughing if i tell them all of these things but that's a small price to pay for a good photo for people to remember me by.

this is derrick lim, rikki's son. of course papa took the picture. gwapo 'no? blame his mom's genes, hehe.

now if i were really, really flush with cash, i'd have my glamour shot done by the team over at mimi and karl. i have been making tulo laway over at their site for almost a month now. sigh. i probably have to facilitate 25 writing workshops or sell seven million beads or take my son off his meds or do all three to afford these guys. but i just think they are the greatest.

if you can ignore the obvious fact that she is wearing a wedding gown and we all know how star wars like my wedding look was, this is how i want my portrait to look like. no come hither here, its all just haughty, but you know what i mean. i hope. here are other mimi and karl masterpieces

the friend
my sister maita would only roll her eyes at my kaartehan, so not her. my friend marsha would want to be in the shot, so definitely not her. my friends vina and sheila would be really, really great, and i can imagine sheila taking on the styling tasks, but they are both in the states earning dollars, so it cannot be them. i have a feeling jane and ivy would be tolerant and their taste levels are high. so maybe either of them....
all my other sisters aren't here either. but i can imagine the eldest making kunsinti....since she already had glamour shots of herself taken!

....time lapse....

thirty minutes ago i started to add images i have gleefully ripped off photographers' websites but until now, the orange thing that goes round and round, indicating that blogspot is still working on my command, is still going round and round. and i am losing my patience. so i am going to end this entry, come back to it tomorrow or this afternoon. and add those photos that will illustrate what i am raving about regarding my glamour portrait.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

hindi ako nagiisa

apparently, like cory, hindi ako nag-iisa.

at least in my deep feelings of gratitude to the four blokes i wrote about in an earlier entry.

the senate is going to commend the four honor guards of cory's remains. this news broke just two hours ago.

imagine that. getting a senate commendation for being able to stand for a damned long time.

if i stand for eight hours and 15 minutes on a flatbed truck going to pagadian from ipil, i will demand a commendation from senator pia cayetano too. make that two commendations. if you have been on the ipil-pagadian road, you will understand.

four poor but enduring blokes

i could talk about kris and her speech that included yet another self-proclamation of her favored child status in the aquino family.

i could talk about the wonder and awe i felt looking at thousands upon thousands all over the country who gave in to the obviously strong urges they were feeling inside to do something, anything, to show their gratitude to a former president.

i could talk about the nausea i felt when i saw jamby madrigal at the cemetery, yellow flower in hand.

i could talk about how vindicated she must feel, IF cory were a vindictive person, which i doubt, about the humongous outpouring of grief and gratitude from millions, having suffered through those coup attempts and frequent mudslingings.

but i want to talk about the four men instead. the four men who escorted cory's remains from the church to the cemetery. this seemingly inconsequential thing kept nudging itself into my busy brain yesterday as i, along with seven hundred million Filipinos all over the world, virtually walked beside the truck through rain and a sea of people. but at least we walked. and to my mind, at least we could scratch if something itched. and we could carefully sip on the water we imaginably remembered to bring along.

those four could not only not do those things, they could not even move at all! for eight hours! there they faced the casket, standing at stiff attention, on a platform that surged forward, stopped. surged forward, stopped. again and again everlastingly.

i wondered if confetti landed on their lips. but it probably wouldn't stick, their lips were probably too dry from dehydration. i wondered if they felt the urge to take a leak. that must have hurt, holding it in. for eight hours. and on top of the confetti, people hurled flowers, not at them, admittedly, but at the casket, but surely a few must have missed the intended target and hit them instead? and its not as if there was not enough flowers already. they were standing on a virtual flower garden. What if they were asthmatic? and there was that part of the journey where the local fire department felt the need to send cory off with a literal shower of water from at least six hoses. so flowers, confetti, a moving truck, people shouting, strongs winds, and a drenching to boot.

military is so happy with those poor dudes, they're thinking of giving them medals or something. to my mind, the military and the police (because one of the four was contributed by the pnp) should be happy and proud of everything they did for cory yesterday. the best. as for me, i am saluting the four blokes now. a lousy salute, but a heartfelt one. thanks.