Like Writers and Photographers

“…I remember coming home a few days after EDSA 1 and playing it on the piano without interruption, and completing this five minute song in an unbelievable two minutes. How was that possible, if the song takes five minutes to sing…” – Jim Paredes

Athletes call it the playing the zone. It is the level where most play their best games and the performance continues as soon as they get into it and ends until they tire themselves out. Similarly, this applies to everything we do, day in and day out. There are times when we spontaneously do something without even having to think about it, when everything just seems fluid. Even doing a simple household chore has its own zone.

This must be why all of a sudden there’s that void of well-composed photos on my network. Just a few months back there was a barrage of spectacular pictures coming from my online buddies but lately it seems no one has posted much or not one has shot anything worthy to be considered photography. Hopefully, their pricey Canon SLRs aren’t sitting in a corner, collecting molds and dusts.

This is also true with bloggers and reviewers. I miss the days when I’d read write ups so nice that I’d wonder if the man behind the harmony of words are pro incognito or just plain individuals like me who don’t have the bucks to purchase expensive cameras and therefore decided to write instead. While creativity is involved, this is what sets the two hobbies or pastimes apart. Photography enthusiasts need at least a high-end SLR while all bloggers need is just an intangible idea.

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed some of my previous (more than a year ago) posts and some made me smile and pat myself on the back, while some not so much. My only consolation is that my blog traffic isn’t so high thereby reaching only a few unlucky individuals. Having no proofreader or editor is my ultimate alibi.

But I still remember the times when I’d write better (as far as I’m concerned),  when I’d feel like I’m immersed in the zone. These are when a favorite music either plays in the background or just inside my head. I think the rhythm does something with the composition especially if it goes with the emotions behind the idea that is set at that very moment. My keyboard becomes the piano sans  the melody.

Even the people I admire and envy for having been gifted enough to possess such wonderful talents in both literature and photography, such as Jim Paredes and James Deakin don’t come free from blunders. I’ve read and seen some of their works and I can’t help but think “Hey, this isn’t them” or “Did they really do this?” But then, these are busy guys and the pressure of the deadlines sometimes affects the outcome.

With Christmas season getting nearer each day, work activities piling up, vacations to consider, parties to attend to are all joining our already chaotic schedule, I still hope that people could still find time to focus and be in the zone. Let those great articles come  back again and let those lenses capture the beauty of everyday life.


One of the Haters

Don’t you just hate it? This is the title of Lester Dizon’s article two days ago in the Motoring section of Most of the time I visit this site to check reviews of places to go, people behind the motoring scenes, and of course test drive reports from the stereotyped Korean vehicles to the dream cars such as the BMWs and Subarus–most of the time I’d wonder who happens to afford such luxury in this third world country. Hopefully, none of them are politicians.

Anyway, when I read this one yesterday, I can’t help but share it. (If by any chance this reaches the original author, please advise if you want this blog modified or removed)

“Don’tyou just hate it when you get stuck in rush hour traffic and see some MMDA traffic enforcers just chatting at their posts and the only thing they could do to direct traffic is to lazily wave their hands?

Don’tyou hate it more when, to cope with the spiraling fuel prices, you trade your mid-sized sedan for a sub-compact car only to find that they consume the same amount of fuel because of the heavy traffic?

Don’tyou hate it even more when, to cope with the spiraling fuel prices and to get through the heavy traffic, you trade your car for a motorcycle only to get stuck in a traffic gridlock caused by floods and a sudden downpour at a time when you didn’t bring your raincoat because PAGASA predicted good weather?

Don’tyou just hate it when some driving schools seemingly teach their stu- dents the wrong driving habits like driving slowly on the fast lane and park- ing against the flow of traffic among other traffic violations?

Don’tyou hate it even more when most of the instructors of these driving schools aren’t even certified and that their students contribute to the grow- ing number of discourteous and undisciplined drivers on the road today? Don’t you just hate it when jeepneys, FX taxis and tricycles use the corner of a busy intersection as their terminals and block traffic for more than a kilometer?

Don’tyou hate it more when these jeepneys, FX taxis and tricycles use that corner as their terminal and cause traffic under the watchful eye of an MMDA, police or a local traffic enforcer? Don’t you just hate it when heavily-tinted vehicles with the number “8” on their front plates, which are reserved for congressmen, bully their way through traffic using their sirens, the unauthorized use of which in vehicles other than ambulances, fire trucks and police cars in an emergency has been declared unlawful by the Presi- dent in an Executive Order? Don’t you hate it even more that some of these heavily-tinted vehicles with sirens and the number “8” on their front plates are not actually driven or ridden by congressmen but by their immediate families, their staff or by cronies, who act as if they were the ones elected to public office?

Don’tyou hate it even more when Congress needed to “remind” the LTO through a press conference about the unauthorized use of these number “8” plates and the apprehension of drivers using these official plates instead of purging their ranks of abusive congressmen, congressional personnel, family members and cronies?

Don’tyou just hate it when a government VIP convoy consisting of a heavily-tinted vehicle with flashing lights and sirens, two back-up vehicles filled with armed goons and a couple of motorcycle police escorts bully their way through traffic and violate all known traffic laws that they were sworn to protect and obey?

Don’tyou hate it even more when this bullying VIP convoy is merely escort- ing an abusive government official or a crony to his luxurious home, which was funded from the corrupted taxes of the road users they bullied along the way, just so they can get through the heavy traffic that they caused with their graft and ineptness anyway?

Don’t you hate it even more when these road projects are merely repairs or repaving of existing roads and not the design and construction of new ones to alleviate the worsening traffic in the metropolis and the slow traffic flow around the country, which is choking trade, commerce and the national economy?

Don’t you just hate it when Thailand and Vietnam had licked most of their traffic problems with the construction of new roads or multi-tiered highways and are on the road to economic strength while we couldn’t even get our anomalous road repairs done right?

Don’t you hate it more when Singapore and Malaysia are implementing plans to combat the greenhouse effect of air pollution while the bright boys at MMDA are cutting down healthy trees, which can help minimize air pollution, because these plants “interfere” with the overhead electrical wires and cables?”

Well Mr. Dizon, include me as one of the haters. And of course your article awakened some more personal hatred.

Don’t you just hate it when you hear that Vietnam and Malaysia’s economy is growing while some of the senators are trying to become either CSIs (by doing investigations, most of it fruitless) or hotel wreckers instead of enticing investors for the benefit of every Filipino?

Don’t you just hate it even more when these countries pose a threat to your job as your company builds more factories there while the one they have here in the Philippines gets ignored?

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve been reading the motoring section religiously when in fact you don’t even own a car yet?

Don’t you hate it even more that because of the bickering of these politicians, your chance of owning a car gets slimmer and slimmer?

Patience, patience, patience my friend.

Circus Now Showing on TV

“A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it.” – Sir Winston Churchill

“Ang hindi marunong tumingin sa pinanggalingan hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” – JR

I was coming from our last graveyard shift this week and upon waking up from a 4-hour deep slumber courtesy of the rain and cold weather, I switched on the TV and was surprised by what I saw. I must still be dreaming. Did the cable channel provider changed programming?  Am I on the History channel? Did my remote control conk out?

While trying to make senses of what’s on the tube, the Live caption on the side of the screen made me realize that what I’m watching is indeed happening real time. Standing in front of the camera is Sen. Trillanes flanked by some personnel, a priest who became famous for running, and a lady thanking the media for their perseverance to stay despite the tear gas bombardment–she doesn’t have to say that, these guys will stay like leeches even if a bomb is about to explode.

This scene greeted me from my wonderful siesta like a post-sleep nightmare. Here we go again. Fill in the blanks: EDSA (type number here).

Besides being pissed by what is actually happening hundreds of kilometers from where I am, I recalled of a then angry Jim Paredes’ post Equal Right to Lawlessness on his blog site wherein I placed the commented: “Jim, so what’s next? Edsa 4?”

 Just like Neo who suspects that a déjà vu occurs when someone is tweaking the Matrix, me thinks that someone out there is calmly running his fingers through the rim of a rum glass, massaging his bearded chin just as this event progresses and most likely while doing a revision of his master plan–conspiracy theories entertain me.

I hate to say this but it looks like we are a bunch of people with 64kb memory–we forget too soon.


I’m tired of seeing on TV a cliche of events that would humble even the plot of the telenovelas:

  1. People get angry at the President
  2. TRAPOs gather
  3. People + TRAPOs oust the President
  4. TRAPOs hug and attend mass with bishops.
  5. New President
  6. (Repeat # 1 if necessary)

Only in the Philippines.”


This is because I am now concluding that behind this Trillanes character is a bigger group (or individuals) so eager to topple the current regime so that they can serve the Filipino people. After all, I believe that this senator (sadly, yes) is a coward and should have never been voted in the first place. But again, we tend to forget.

If we rewind what this ex-soldier and coup-plotter has done, we will see that he’s cowered in hotels to make his point–or the lack of it–known to everyone. (I think it is about time that all hotels run a memorandum to close its doors once they see this man coming in.) So far I could not recall that he’s made a good impression for Philippine hotel economy.

Of course to prove that Trillanes is mainly out there to stir the Edsa spirit, tagging along with him are a number of characters to summon the majority–the so called masses–of the short-minded Filipinos and a bunch of media newscasters willing once again to insult if not to challenge the intellect of the resilient pinoys. Interestingly, Jim Paredes has a blog about it also: 23 tools to brainwash and influence people through mass media:


  1. Repetition is key. Repeat important messages as often as possible.

  2. Repetition is key.

  3. Repetition is key.

  4. Bypass rationality by any means People don’t need logic to accept information. Belief is emotional. Always remember: WAR=PEACE.

  5. Remember –- two half-truths make up a whole truth….

So yes, repetition is the key. We all know that tiny drops of water will eventually make an impression on a hard stone. Unfortunately, this is being used for the wrong objective.

So while I’m a few hours away from my birthday, I might as well grab the opportunity to entertain myself with the circus on TV. Who knows, the next time I click on the boob tube a new clown is already out there to serve our beloved nation. Mabuhay!



I Met A Hottie

The anticipation of storm Mitag affected this week’s day-off. I got more bored, got lazier and missed the company of my wife more. To compensate for all the negativity and longing, I got out of my normal routine and tried to look for something worthwhile doing.

That’s when I met someone I haven’t seen for a long time, and if I remember it right, I haven’t touched her for years. Well the time and opportunity was perfect–-my wife was out, I was alone. And with the eagerness to deviate from something so predictable, I picked her up in excitement. She’s still got the curves and she turned hot so easily. Great, just my type.

Being separated for quite a while, we got some getting-to-know-each-other moment but fair enough we got along pretty well soon. As I lay my hands on her, she responded immediately and did what was expected of her. Hana is her name and we miss each other a lot.

We did it three times in a row and the last one was the best. I was getting the hang of it already but then my “session” with Hana has to end.

Time flies so fast that I didn’t notice that all three shirts are done. And our Hanabishi flatiron has to end its job.


Blame it on the rain as they say. In this case, on the storm that gladly didn’t pass through our place. It is nerve-wracking to wait for the 100kph storm, but looking at the bright side I get to notice Hana who has been collecting dust right under our computer. I just don’t know if when I’ll see her again, but it seems that we’ll be frequenting to see each other as I just realized that I love the sight of a well-ironed shirt. Ti abi.

Beowulf: The Future of Animation

After coming back to Honda Cars Alabang like a restless car buff ghost haunting the place until he gets what he wants, I dropped by Ayala Town Center to catch a van going back to Cavite. Curiosity however guided my feet to pass by the cinemas to check out the movies. Three cinemas were showing Beowulf but I remembered someone on had a bad review of it so I scrapped the idea of buying the tickets.

With Bread Talk delicacies on hand I proceeded to the van terminal and was looking forward to be at home an hour after lunch and maybe watch PBB or have my regular siesta. Disappointingly, the vans were all empty and the dispatcher mentioned that the first trip will leave by 2 PM which left me no other choice but to go back inside the mall and convince myself to check Beowulf despite the threat of a possibly bad movie. But the expected didn’t come. My siesta clock shut off and there I was in front of the big screen, eyes wide open.

From the very start of the movie until the end I can’t believe everything is 3D animation. I’ve mentioned this before that time will come when we can’t differentiate an animated character to a real one and I think it is now starting to happen. The cast and crew of this movie did a great job. I don’t know the technology behind such realism but whatever it is, it is the start of the future of animation.

Anyone watching this film would notice the resemblance of the animated characters to the real actors behind the face and voice. Just after watching Meet Joe Black, I immediately recognized John Hopkins is Hrothgar. And there’s Unferth whose accent and stare revealed he is John Malkovich. Of course, people who have seen Angelina Jolie would immediately know who those pouty lips belong to even in animation. She plays the seductive Grendel’s mother. I don’t know the rest of the actors behind the other characters but I’m sure the resemblance could be spot on.

I doubt though if Ray Winstone (Beowulf) has all the battle scars on his body. But this is another thing that I find fascinating about this movie. It may have cost a bit more to produce such quality of animation than using prosthetics or make up but the advantage weighs more than the cost. For one, the producers had the pleasure of doing whatever they want for an actor or character to look like. Beowulf could definitely set the trend.

The story may have some flaws but the experience of watching the awesome animation totally compensated for all of it. It was soooo good that I think viewing it on IMAX could be more thrilling and fun. Wait, forget fun, for this is not for the squeamish or weak of heart. And just a word of advice, do not bring and eat pizza or even Bavarian donuts (or any food that drips) if you’re picking this movie. Trust me, you’ll regret it. I just hope I’m not going to have nightmares tonight.


A Lovely Death Story

“How I was born I do not remember, How I will die I do not know” – Russian Proverb

Just last week while channel surfing I passed by HBO and saw Meet Joe Black about to be played. I can’t remember when we watched this in the cinema plus I have forgotten what this movie is all about. That’s typical me. Trying to figure out what I missed, I was glued on our couch again but with my thumb on the remote’s channel button waiting to press it any moment I get a hint of a boring story.

While watching I tried to recall past films about death. My mind replayed horrifying faces of the Scream mask; of a man in black hood with the ever familiar scythe; of heads rotating past 360 degrees; of men and women in death beds; and of bloodied soldiers dying in the battlefield. Those films portrayed death for what it is–morbid and scary. Interestingly, I set aside the remote few minutes after Meet Joe Black started. The scene opened with the character Bill Parrish abruptly waking up and having a confusing conversation with someone he can’t see, not sure if he is only hearing things.

More intriguing things followed and I  would sooner realize that this movie would separate itself from any other films that portray death. Maybe its about casting. Death (known as Joe Black) is played by Brad Pitt, the prospective “victim” Bill Parrish is Anthony Hopkins and his lovely daughter Susie Parrish is Claire Forlaine, whose twitching lips and sharp probing eyes would catch my attention every now and then. Or maybe its the subtlety of the story despite the topic of death that stands out the most.

A mixture of emotions were running in my head as the film progresses. There’s the uncomfortable thought that sooner or later we will all die anyway. Then there is comic relief in the idea of meeting your angel of death and with him trying to calm you down to prevent a heart attack so as not to ruin his vacation here on earth. The writer also made a perfect pun of making Joe Black an IRS agent–there’s nothing more certain in life than death and taxes, remember? And there’s also the idea of getting in love with death. It’s absurd but for the first time Meet Joe Black made me find dying worth the wait.

The last moments in the movie aren’t predictable either. Instead of the boring death bed farewell, there were grand fireworks and partying. There’s Bill anxious yet firm in the midst of anticipation of leaving his family, business and aristocratic lifestyle and subsequently facing the unknown. To cap the story, the last conversation was perfectly chilling. “Should I be afraid?” Bill asked. Then Joe Black answered, “Not a man like you.”

‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly


“Don’t be afraid to be weak Don’t be too proud to be strong

Just look into your heart my friend

That will be the return to yourself” – Enigma. Return to Innocence

The ‘ber’ months begin once more and September sets the holiday mood. Different ages react differently to this transition however. For most adult this is the start of expenses pouring in as everything seems to get listed in the needs section of the budget list. The wants list becomes empty for the time being. For most children, however, this is just the season to be jolly. Period.

I could still remember my excitement as a kid when our calendar flips to September. It was as if the calendar would play the song Santa Claus is coming to town on cue. The Santa Claus I would soon discover as ordinary adults who get restless when the ‘ber’ months arrive. Twenty years later, I would become one of them.

It feels like it was only a couple days ago when someone reminded me to start buying gifts to avoid the rush. Just like any broken vinyl record the thought of Christmas shopping skips and repeats. Sadly, the rush doesn’t skip. It just repeats. It intensifies even. The farthest I can remember panicking at this level was since I started having my own pay check–now I wonder if paydays be celebrated or cursed. My wife and I normally kid each other usually around every January to start buying Christmas trees and gifts. But before I know it, the ‘ber’ months are here again.

Now we’re staring at November. The mall sales are getting more frequent. The bonuses are coming in (or shall I say passing through). The yuletide songs are as common as jeepney noise.  The dreaded traffic worsens.  The horrifying thought of the inaanaks knocking at the front door getting realized as December nears. It’s funny but now when someone says “Christmas is just around the corner” this to me is like a windtalker’s code that someone is out to get me.

So have I become the Grinch? During this season most adults are anyhow. Well it must be the cycle of life. Some call it karma. The act gets repeated but the recipients change. If before I was thankfully receiving crisp bills, now I’m…I’m not giving one. Beside, the crisp bills now are of less value. Hehe. Every time I’m in this situation I think of an old Filipino song (by Asin) with the following lyrics:

Itanong mo sa mga bata (Ask the children)

Ano ang kanilang nakikita (What they see)

Sa buhay na hawak nila (In the life they have)

Masdan mo ang mga bata (Observe the children)

Sila ang tunay na pinagpala (They are the lucky ones)

Kaya dapat nating pahalagahan (We should appreciate them)

Dapat din kayang kainggitan? (Shouldn’t we envy them)

Although this is not a Christmas song, this describes how having the innocence matters. It’s about taking the simple meaning of the season for what it is. Children love Christmas for Santa Claus. (If they love it for Christ’s birth, the better of course. But that’s where our adult explanation comes into play and that’s another topic worthy of a long discussion.) So if only us adults could see this significance even just during December, then I think this is only when we could wholeheartedly join the children in saying, “’tis the season to be jolly.”