"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

one happy gurl

"what more could we wish for?"
--jollibee christmas ad

why i know i've been good and nice...

my first ever roommate in UP told me "i'll always root for you. you're the best roommate i ever had (and that's from me, who is a dormer for seven years)."

she's one of the few people i know who really know timing... i get to receive feel-good emails from her at the right moments -- and i mean those moments when you least expect that someone somewhere is still thinking good about you.

her emails, whenever i come across them, remind me of those rainy days when we would find ourselves outside of the dorm to eat balut or mais... just sharing simple moments among all other moments that could possibly exist.

everytime i find myself in the mall, when i pass by bayo or kamiseta or when i see coffee shops (even mere coffee tables), i get to remember her and wonder how she's doing... even my blue timex watch (which now needs a replacement strap) reminds me of her because she was there with me when i bought it.

i was going through the habit of "cleaning" my mail inboxes when i got to read again the emails she sent me more than a year ago... the things she told me matter a lot to me because she's one of those people who really got to see-and-live-with "the ME" after (and through) every work- and play-day.

here are some of the things she shared with me -- things which assure me of what my own dear mother believes about me: despite my legendary kamalditahan, i'm not completely bereft of good qualities...

"you know, ikaw, kahit hindi ka nagsasalita and malungkot ako, isipin ko lang na nandyan ka lang sa may tapat ng bed ko o study table ko, okey na ako.

kasi you are so mabait (and i don't need to ask favors from you to know that!) and you have this air, like everything has a solution so iniisip ko, oo nga naman.. because sometimes, you make each day seem easy and doable and most importantly-- forgivable ba when the going gets tough and the tough gets going...
(sent to me on march 2, 2005)

"hey, you never did beat me, when it comes to sleeping late (except when i'm sick)...

and i never did beat you when it comes to waking up (boy you can wake up without alarm clock, geez, that's genius)

then we'd sometimes share breakfast at rodics and then go about our business of saving the world

we'll see each other sometimes late lunch, hurrying for our classes, making faces over those dormmates (that's all thank you) who just wouldn't stop screaming..

and then go about our business again, this time, learning some more ways to save the world.

then we'll see each other again, and talk about the day, news, what conrado (de quiros) said, what our students said, what have you in between preparing our lessons for the next day, slaving through our masters or just pretending we're working....

then we'll see who gets to sleep first...
if it's you, i'll tell you to wake me up
then you'll say, "yes but you don't wake up"
and then i'll say, "kick me"
then you'll say, "one day, i'll really kick you."
i like you so much because i know you won't
(sent to me on july 8, 2005)

if there's one more thing you people should know, she also sent me these words at a time when i was still not so hell bent on traveling around the country:

"we should do a group thingy like we travel as a group -- the whole country ...basically, the group will be composed of people who love films, books, food and what have you, have nice sense of humor, play it safe mischievously, romantic, crazy, funny, smart but can be really stupid..." (she meant people like us!)

that i have a friend like her, it warms up my heart. that the universe allowed my paths to cross with hers and, in the process, made us very good friends, it's one of the blessings i'm very thankful for... at 24.

just so you'd know...

i turned 24 on december 18. i had my birthday celebration -- with lechon and birthday cake -- last december 17.

fit for a simple december birthday party

my first birthday celebration in 3 (maybe 4?) years
(nevermind that i was suffering from flu ;P)

...and i wanna thank the people who remembered and cared enough to greet me happy birthday: randy, ate river, anwar, kuyang, patrick, cheena, ralph, ivan, tiffany and jerk, yoni, imee, kuya eli, edson, sealdi, rose, sir rodion, joseph, johncy, miezel, mamang, papang, nikki, ate riza, vl, tita yen, ate bing and kei, mickoy, shella, tita emie, auntie ton, den, jing, tita bin, rv, ronron, tita ludy, daddy danny, mommy carmen, ate che, ate lyn, bonbon, tetet, uncle doods, auntie josie, uncle alan, neil al, bim, poy, auntie olive...oh dear, i hope did not miss anyone out.

on the very day of my 24th birthday, my papang brought home my happy food -- ice cream!!! ...and i also got to see a beautiful fireworks display right outside my room's window. hmmm, i think i'm gonna have a good year ahead.

warm childhood memories're made of these...

here's wishing you a happy christmas!

Friday, December 08, 2006

another weekend, another trip

"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather,
always bring your own sunshine."

--Anthony J. D'Angelo

early last week, the ids99 peeps in metro manila (and nearby places) received through text and e-mail a notice for a laguna weekend. everyone seemed interested to be part of the trip until the threat of a super-typhoon loomed and the plan seemed to fizzle.

BUT when saturday (december 2) came, the laguna weekend got pushed through! my ex-travel buddy (read: yoni), yeli, and i hied off to los baños (LB) to meet up with our hosts for the weekend, kenny and eldani -- whooo, rhyming names!

12.02-03.06 destination: laguna!

except that we walked the distance from the cubao mrt station to the bus terminal where we boarded the bus that took us to los baños, yoni, yeli and i reached our destination in laguna without much difficulty. well, we had to endure walking through people traffic and under the heat of the late afternoon sun in cubao. we also had to ask a lot of people for help along the way since we're not quite familiar with LB despite having gone there before... but, all-in-all, getting to laguna from metro manila was a nice travel experience.

it helped a lot that kenny was being a responsible host. after giving us instructions on how we could get to his place via a jeepney, he waited for us at the corner leading to his house. if he had not, we could have gone past his place and we would have found ourselves temporarily lost.

the night stroll in UPLB grounds
when we got to LB, it was already close to sundown. however, we still had to wait for the couple, rose and ilian, before we could finalize our plan for the night... so we waited for their arrival from sta. rosa.

so as to make the most of our time there, kenny gave us a night tour around the UPLB (university of the philippines - los baños) campus grounds... aside from introducing the landmarks and sharing a lot of trivia, kenny also told us maria makiling stories along the way. both yoni and i agree that he has a bright future at being a tour guide!

just some of our early evening photos

uh, actually, we had no exact plan for our laguna weekend. we just went to laguna and it was a come-what-may situation from there. we figured, we could either go hiking then camping or night swimming... either in hot or cold pool...

bad news, good news... you can never tell
it was around dinnertime when i received rose's text message saying she and ilian won't be joining us in los baños after all. because our expectations have already been built up, kenny, eldani, yoni, yeli, and i really felt disappointed. we tried to convince them to change their minds. however, our all-out efforts were not enough. they have decided.

then and there, our party of five decided, too. we're gonna have a blast... enjoy the weekend... elicit their envy!!! mwehehehehe... how very immature! well, if the succeeding pictures are to be taken as proofs, that decision did us good!

at this point, allow me to say that this write-up is dedicated to my laguna weekend partymates and, more importantly, to those who did not join us despite having been invited. :P

in this article are doses of what you've missed... kung inggit kayo, tama lang 'yan. mainggit kayo! bwahahaahaah...

fun dinner by candlelight at LB square

had rose and ilian joined us in LB, our party would have gone night swimming. after they rejected our "please get here" pleas for the nth time, we gave up and... dyan dyaraaaaaaaan... we scrapped swimming and decided to drive to tagaytay instead.

from laguna to tagaytay
after dinner, we all got inside eldani's car and off to tagaytay we went!!! BUT first, we made a stopover at sta. rosa...

some shopping and pictorial

we went inside the nike store, looked around, and enjoyed 'chronicling' yeli's shopaholic tendencies.

tagaytay, tagaytay!
the drive to tagaytay was quite long but it was far from boring. there was so much to talk and laugh about along the way, especially since we're all of the same age and iliganons and, therefore, have a lot in common.

the december night air that greeted us when we got to tagaytay was so cold to the skin. nevertheless, i was glad that we brought ourselves there that night. after all, tagaytay happens to be a place so dear to me...

laguna in tagaytay
we went inside cafe lupe. while the guys negotiated for a table, us gals went straight to the railing where we could still make out the silhouette of the taal volcano. for a moment, yoni mistook taal lake for laguna lake. hahaha... finding laguna in tagaytay, eh?? under the canopy of a star-lit sky, yes!

how's LAGUNAYTAY for a destination, huh?

enjoying the night inside cafe lupe

yeli aptly put it when she said this with amused expression: "kuyaw kaayo ta ba. sa manila dili jud ta tig-bar, tapos nianhi tag tagaytay para mag-bar!" (translation: we're weird. in manila, we don't go to bars... but we came to tagaytay for a bar!) hehehe...

the way i see it, when we're in manila, we just don't want to do what others usually do... instead, we'd rather have the things that bring us closer to home -- like inom sa balay. we don't go to bars despite the fact that, for people in manila, the idea of a night life is almost always associated with "bars".

tagaytay is not metro manila... and i think this is our excuse for being in cafe lupe that night. :)

it was a fun night! we saw the performance of two bands -- one fronted by a male and female duo whose singing and fashion styles failed to pass our vocal and fashion tastes, and another fronted by monique, a lady performer whose talent and looks more than compensated for what the other band lacked.

it was monique's momma though who got the crowd's loudest cheers that night. her cool momma belted out alicia keys' if i ain't got you and chaka khan's through the fire oh so well. we all became momma's instant fans!!!

photo op with the lady performer's cool momma

when we were about to leave the place, we played starstruck and requested for a photo op with the singing momma. it turned out, the momma was a bisaya herself. she hails from cebu... and she's the one wearing pink in the pictures.

party of five in tagaytay
yeli, kenny, yoni, eldani and i

on our way back to laguna, i fought off sleep by counting how many "colette's" signs we passed by starting from tagaytay. i managed to count 14 although i knew there were more -- some signs were not discernable due to the dark.

we were supposed to still go to "kenny's bar" in LB, but when we already got there, we changed our minds and instead opted for sleep. understandably so, it was already way past midnight and we were tired from traveling and the unexpected turns that we had to go through.

back in laguna

ah, what's the story here?

however, wonder of wonders, when we finally got to our hosts' apartment, yoni and i got back the energy to fight off sleep. i played five-star sudoku while she took pictures of yeli, kenny and eldani. after awhile, i got tired of my chosen mindbleeder so i helped yoni with taking pictures...

look at what we did to my mineral water bottle! see the san mig strong ice label? mwehehehe. it's a memento from our tagaytay night.

eldani's excuse for hitting the mattress ahead of us? "kamo daw kuno mag-drive pa-tagaytay beh."

in the end, it was still yoni and i who went to sleep ahead of the rest. eldani's trip to dreamland was interrupted by the arrival of kenny's friends for their "nightcap". us gals were also invited to join the gang but only yeli gave in to the invitation. yoni and i preferred to have our zzz's -- it was already near 2 o'clock in the morning.

sunday, 3rd of december

12.03.06: one fine sunday morning

when we woke up, it was another happy day. after a morning photo-session, yeli, yoni, eldani, and i went out for an early morning drive and to buy liters of fresh milk (actually we bought liters of chocomilk) from DTRI (dairy training and research institute), while kenny prepared breakfast...

after our hearty breakfast, we all got inside eldani's car again and had another morning drive. we stopped by UPLB's main library and had another photo-session -- this time, in front of the campus' famous pegarao.

pegarao: the pegasus and carabao hybrid

the eldani and kenny show

enjoying pook ni maria makiling

pa-picture-picture lang

12.03.06 laguna getaway moments

...and that pretty well tells the story of our laguna-turned-lagunaytay weekend.

what can i say? we're the masters of spontaneity. we make do with whatever circumstances come our way... and we make excellent springboards out of setbacks.

'til next time... whenever that will be!


here's how our text/email exchanges went after our lagunaytay weekend:

Kenny: Thanks for spending your Weekend at Los Baños with me and Eldani, it was such a great time...

Yoni: Nalingaw jud ko even if daghan set backs. Infernez na offset jud ang akong hell week sa office. Basta kay lingaw jud given the unforseen circumstances. Asa pa ka nakakita ug Laguna weekend nga nag midnight sa Tagaytay, wahehehe!!!

Val: Dili jud ta palpak. We know how to weather circumstances.

Yeli: Salamat for making my first outing with high school batchmates memorable. Lingaw man diay noh. Sa uulitin...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

destination: intramuros

"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake."

--Robert Louis Stevenson

it really can't be helped. yoni, my ex-travel buddy, and i just can't resist not being out. the other weekend, we explored intramuros -- the old walled city.

11.26.06 destination: intramuros

saturday, 26th of november. yoni and i met up in philcoa around lunchtime and, from there, we rode on a jeepney that took us to where intramuros is.

getting there was quite a challenge. although, i've been to intramuros twice before, i really still didn't know how to really go there -- and neither did yoni. we had to rely on some adventurers' luck. good thing for us, we took the right ride and were able to get off at the right place!

shutterbugs and camera-whores in one

after our huling hirit, who would have thought that we'd still get to have another picture-taking adventure so soon? didn't we say we're already ex-travel buddies?

shadows of the present falling on the remains of the past

the sun beat down mercilessly on us when we got to intramuros. nevertheless, yoni and i were not deterred from walking around and exploring the place. we kept at taking pictures every chance we got. pictures of us, of our shadows, of the ruins, of practically whatever... we're such shutterbugs!!! if i may add, we're such camera-whores, too.

so much to see, so much history

the war guns in intramuros are not as many nor as impressive as the ones we saw in corregidor but the sights to behold and the culture in the old walled city made our trip so worthwhile.

aside from the ruins, the gun emplacements, the plazas, the casas and the old walkways, there in intramuros are the old churches.

there's more than what meets the eye

i finally was able to get inside the san agustin museum and saw for myself the 44-step granite staircase which neal stephenson mentioned in the book cryptonomicon. prior to this visit, i've only been able to enter the san agustin church, the oldest stone church in the philippines and a world heritage site.

yoni and i paid the PhP80 entrance fee to the san agustin museum and we explored the place. taking pictures was prohibited in most areas and quite understandably so. security is of utmost importance. there are too many treasure troves in that museum -- from the old books to paintings to ivory statues to priceless records to historic and religious artifacts in gold and silver to vestments to foreign state officials' gifts... we saw chests and crowns decorated with big and small precious stones such as amethysts, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds.

the museum is also the passage way to fr. blanco's garden, so named because it was the botanical research garden of the prince of botany, fr. manuel blanco of the augustinian order. destroyed in 1945, it was restored in 1991 and has since become a favorite venue for wedding pictorials.

chances are you'll like this place, too

there's just so much to see in intramuros that yoni and i stayed even when the sun was already out. just as well. we got to see what intramuros is like at night!

oooh lights!!!

not only that. we also saw the parol (lantern) display in front of the "wow philippines!" booth and got friendly with the local children...

photo op with the happy kids of intramuros

we also got to witness intramuros' theater-in-the-round, a free-for-the-public live theater presentation staged in the city's plaza san ignacio. it was an awesome "a walk back in time" experience! prior to the show, we were entertained with the parade of characters, the live singing of several kundiman songs, and culturally relevant audio-visual presentations.

what's so good about the free theater experience aside from the fact that it was free? the actors were good, the production -- with live musical band -- was impressive, and the performance involves actual interaction with the audience!

a must-see for free: what more can you ask for?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

really pissed

i'm currently sharing a room with a hag. a bitch. i don't want to refer to her as a roommate because she only does injustice to how dearly the term means to me.

for having been assigned to a room inhabited by someone like her, i consider myself unlucky. i started sharing the room with her last november 8 and only close to a month of sharing space with her has already proven to be not good for me.

ha! fortunately for me, i don't have to endure sharing a room with her for so long. i'll be out of here in a week or so and, yes, i won't have to bear her uncool and suffocating presence anymore.

how could i have been so optimistic to believe that i'd get to enjoy her company like i did with my previous roommates?!? argh. i should have not forgotten that there's really such a thing as generation gap... and that a bitch could also come in the form of an ugly old pig who would make an issue on whatever little noise you make when she wants to sleep. like i don't have the right to move nor use my celphone to merely text a friend because my doing so keeps her awake?

i was texting one of my friends regarding a planned out of town one dawn time (about 1:30 am?) when she unexpectedly turned in her bed and blurted out "hay naku, dili man ta makatulog nimo oi!" (in tagalog, that's equivalent to saying: hay naku, hindi tayo makakatulog nang dahil sa 'yo!)

when i heard that, it immediately registered on me that she found the very soft sound resulting from my tapping of the keys disturbing, so i quickly let go of my phone, said "sorry," and closed my eyes in a quick attempt to chase sleep. i never thought she had more to say...

but pathetic person that she is, she further said, "pirmi na lang na nimo ginabuhat! maglisod tag tulog tungod sa imo. saba kaayo. magrespeto pud unta ka sa uban. natulog na makamata sa imong saba." (palagi mo na lang 'yang ginagawa! nahihirapan tayong makatulog nang dahil sa 'yo. ang ingay. matuto ka sanang rumespeto sa iba. natutulog na, nagigising dahil sa ingay mo.)

leche man diay siya! how would i have known that i was disturbing her sleep for days already when she only complained about it that time and didn't tell me so before? and, for crying out loud, i'm doing as minimal noise as i could whenever i'm in the room with her (and most especially when she's already asleep) and i'm not even talking aloud nor making calls in the dead of the night!!! how could texting be a crime when my keys don't register decibels like her coughing and snoring??!!

i suddenly learned that, in addition to the unwritten "the main light should not be turned on" law when she's already asleep, there's also an equally unwritten "no texting" law being enforced in our room.

excuse me, but i've never ever had that kind of issue with those i've previously shared rooms with. BUT then my previous roommates were as young as i am and very far from being fugly like her. maybe she's only in her forties? duh.

she has the nerve to make a fuss on the slight noise i make? what does she want?

well, for the record, her celphone's keys are noisier than my phone's keys. the sound that she makes when she's still tapping her lousy laptop's keyboard and i'm already in bed trying to sleep also registers in my ears. her coughs at dawn scare me and really disturb me from my sleep. everytime i hear her cough, i fear she's gonna either be choked to death or her lungs will spill out of her mouth.

did she hear me complain about her keyboard tapping?!? or of her coughing? or of the smell of food that persists in our room everytime she violates the "no eating inside the rooms" written rule being enforced in our dorm? or of how i felt slightly violated that she moved around the things on my side of the room without my permission? or of how she bossed me into forming the christmas socks that she wanted to decorate our door with? or of how tacky the christmas socks look because she does not know any better? of course not! i've been quite considerate. i did not make an issue out of any of those...

but after her uber-exaggerated reaction and hearing the "pirmi..." blahblahs that she blurted out, i've decided that she no longer deserves my goodwill. she is a fugly bitch and i don't care if her family believes otherwise.

she only has to provoke me just one more time, then she'll have to deal with a barrage of counter-offensives. just one more... and i'll give her war. just because she's older does not mean that she can always have her way.
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