Monday, June 22, 2009

Disappointment with a capital R

Oh well, disappointments are supposedly to make us not take life's joys for granted.


"'s unfortunate. I'm sad for him, because it must have been a very difficult decision to make." - RF on Rafa Nadal's withdrawal from Wimbledon due to injury.

Nice to know Roger feels the same way. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I *heart* the Jeepney

Arghh…there’s too much negativity going around these days. Let’s talk about something fun! How about...

...the good ol’ iconic jeepney!

Something about this WWII army vehicle-inspired speeding piece of tin makes me feel sentimentally patriotic.

In the jeepney, you get to literally rub elbows (and upper arms, legs, feet, bum—you know what I mean) with pinoys from all walks of life. The nervous young man checking to make sure he has all the papers needed to get that overseas job on the luxury liner. The heavy set, well-coiffed-by-a-gallon-of-hairspray woman furiously fanning herself as her make up melts in the heat. The harried looking mom scolding her sulking daughter who forgot to bring her baon. The driver loudly swapping querida stories with his conductor in Cebuano. The irritated old man trying to avoid being suffocated by an oblivious young lady’s long hair streaming relentlessly towards him (obviously not a scene for shampoo commercials!).

In the jeepney, you get to feel all sorts of emotions. You are touched when a man quickly decides to get off earlier so the old lady with her heavy basket can have his seat. You see your life flash before your eyes as your speeding jeep misses a rampaging bus by an inch. You are on the verge of violence when a lady squeezes herself behind you to take the seat nearest the exit—when there’s nobody else in the jeep—so she can get you to pass her fare to the driver. Grrrr. You keep yourself from laughing out loud when you see your tanned, tough-looking jeepney driver admiring his newly-manicured nails (painted with clear nail polish)—but of course, checking them out the manly way, that is, fingernails curled inwards and not splayed out!

In the jeepney, you experience the ebb and flow of Pinoy life. When election comes, they’re bound to be plastered with election stickers of their favorite candidate (I swear I saw "FPJ in 2010!"). If you don’t have a TV at home (like me), don’t worry, the jeepneys will blast your ears off with the latest dance music that’s hit the popular TV shows. You know that life is really hard when the driver and a passenger are red in the face quarreling over whether he should pay P10 or P11.

Of course, if you are a foreigner new to the Philippines, a jeepney will orient you to Filipino culture by instructing you: that drivers are sweet lovers; barya lang sa umaga (pay with loose change in the morning), that you should “full” the string to stop; that only those named Judas do not pay their fare--and God knows who they are; that jeepneys are owned by people named Jun-jun, Ging-Ging, Au-au and Mak-mak; pangit ang dumidikit (those who tailgate are ugly).

By looking at the jeepneys’s artwork, you discover that Filipinos are spiritual (eg. painting of Virgin Mary, Bible verses spelled out all around the jeepney’s ceiling, the rosary dangling from the rearview mirror); that we love all things foreign (eg. Mickey Mouse, Garfield, Japanese Manga, the American flag and the Mercedes Benz symbol installed in the hood); and of course, that despite the state we are in, we are still proud of our country (eg. white sand beaches, Mt Mayon, Banaue Rice Terraces)

No other portrays life in the Philippines like the jeepney—the scary parts, the beautiful side, the sad moments, and the funny bits.

So, what do you love about the Philippines?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Okey, Fine, I am Happy for Roger.

My feelings for Roger Federer have always been a bit ambiguous. Partly because I root for Rafa, and partly because he can sometimes be arrogant and a sore loser. But seeing him crying tears of joy as he held on tightly to that French Open trophy which had eluded him for four long years, you can’t help but feel happy for the guy.

I guess there’s something in each of us that makes us understand in a kindred sort of way, how it would feel like to finally achieve what we have long worked for or to see an almost impossible dream suddenly fulfilled.

Even if you are not a tennis fan, I am sure that you can at least relate to that feeling, right?

Allez, Roger…until Wimbledon.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Back from AWOL

Some things you just don’t see coming. In my case, I didn’t see blogworld AWOL coming--but it did. The next thing I knew, its been six months since I last posted anything. How did that happen? Well, lots of things happened (and other internet distractions didn't help), like…

-Surviving a long, intense meeting before Christmas.
-Realizing that my nieces have grown a couple of inches taller in my absence.
-Having a few gallons of coffee (in total) with friends over Christmas.
-Crying my eyes out watching Kite Runner and A Mighty Heart back to back.
-Starting a new year’s resolution of keeping track of my spending on Excel (I’ve been good and relatively stingy since!)
-Witnessing The Might Federer sobbing and being comforted by his rival Rafa Nadal.
-Stepping on Cambodian soil for the first time.
-Looking like a dust ninja while hanging on for dear life in a Siem Reap Tuk Tuk ride.
-Waiting for flights in different airports.
-Meetings and meetings and oh yeah, meetings.
-Finally seeing my cute bald-headed Irish nephew in person.
-Crying my eyes out (again) reading Khaled Husseini's Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
-Being treated to a Japanese Onsen in Los Banos for my birthday.
-Having to pick up my jaw from the floor after watching “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.”
-Marathoning through facilitating two-week long workshops.
-Having my bones cracked by a chiropractor for a whole month.
-Discovering my ADD tendencies after a psychological testing (a non-surprise).
-Borrowing a stranger’s cellphone to make a call in Tokyo.
-Discovering I missed blogging.
-Scouring 100 Yen stores.
-Ordering food on my own in a Tokyo fastfood joint (point of pride)
-Having to correct my tendency to refer to myself in the third person (no thanks to Facebook!)
-Sleeping in a hut and waking up to a refreshing view of ricefields.
-Suffering from sunburned knees in Boracay (long story).
-Trying to stay sane and steady as the erratic nature of my life caught up with me.
-Finally around to worship at my church in Manila, which I direly missed.
-Wondering how my blogfriends are doing.
-Enjoying good conversations with taxi drivers on my numerous rides to and from the airport.
-Spending a rare FULL day at home and bonding with my house.
-Helping a friend choose a wedding gown design through YM.
-Finally finishing Season 7 of 24.
-Found out that almost all my recently read books have Boarding Passes for bookmarks.
-Amazed at having teenagers pour their hearts out to me—at first meeting!
-Bumping into so many long lost friends on Facebook.
-Being shocked speechless at Rafa Nadal’s French Open loss. (yup, that was the sound of my heart breaking...)
-Missing Davao.
-Surrendering to a pint of Selecta Gold Chocolate Truffle.
-Having Lectio Divina with a good friend through Skype.
-Deciding to get back to blogging. :)

Peppered on these are good conversations, new friends made and the usual highs and lows of life and work. I was often “seized” with eye-opening insights that I should have taken time to blog about. If the past 6 months is anything to go by—there is much to blog about and look forward to in the latter half.

What were the highlights of the past 6 months for you?