The Best of May

Today, the festive month of May 2008 will come to a close. I have always love this month firstly and obviously because it provided me a day to welcome me on this earth. Secondly, the month is blooming with warm colors of festivities and flowers which would topples any month in the Gregorian calendar wanting to contest.

Mid May I arrived in Manila and the city gave me a nice dawn as we drove NLEX to my provincial hearth. This was after the airplane greeted us with gloomy sky and early thurderstorm as we approached the tropical realm. I would complain about the heat but innately I would just shrugs and just appreciate the weather.

Three times I went back to Manila from Bulacan. I visited shopping malls mostly and realized still the best place to hang out during summer days. The commercial edifices of Ortigas, Gateway, Trinoma and SM still attract a lot of Filipino enjoying its indoor services. During this so called mall tour, I had a chance to see my friends and chat with them eating in not so cheap dinner at CIBO and sipping café in between.

Anyway, to further reinforcing my biased to May I celebrated my day of existence on the 23rd day and with happy reassurance that Mitch Albom and Jewel still were older than me. It was a simple day of celebration but to immortalize it the day was memorable for two things. It was my first birthday as a father and my last as a single man. Thanks to Friendster many known and unknown friends remembered my day and greeted me online. Greenpeace was kinda thoughtful enough to send me tasteful and very environmental graphic birthday cake. Yummy!

My 5 months young son, Ezra was baptized on a Catholic faith on a Sunday. Just a comment that I was so dissapointed that the christening mass happened so fast. I don’t know but I felt something lacking with the ceremony that the solemnity was incomplete. Anyway, everything went ok on the reception. Brother invited a band to perform and makes the reception somehow unique and a wow!

There was also the exchanging of I dos happened on a one fine day that made Nang and myself husband and wife. The wedding was simple but every detail of it I will cherish for the rest of my life. Ahhhhh!!!

There you go. I hope you enjoyed reading my May tales.



I'm off to Manila to spread the love!!! See you all!!

Post Earthquake Post

I have been to Sichuan province to its capital Chengdu to be exact not for a vacation but for a weeklong workshop (read: work). Even we stayed mostly late nights working at this nice hotel by the Jin river we managed to have time touring some spots of this misty and beautiful city that offers tasteful and spicy Sichuan cuisines that would numbed your lips. At one time, I brave myself to take a cab to visit Tianmu Park to say hello to Chairman Mao enormous waving statue and went to the city’s own version of People’s Square to be greeted in awe by locals doing wushu tai chi or ballroom dancing and just unwind with friends while sipping their morning tea in the courtyards. I enjoyed this city.

Last Monday afternoon, SW of China was jolted by 7.8 magnitude earthquake with epicenter in Wenchuan, a mountainous county of Sichuan. Many were reported died and more than thousands still missing. The tube camera’s aerial shot of the affected areas was incomparable to apocalyptic scene you could only imagine happened on film. Considering its proximity to the quake center, approximately 100kms, Chengdu was lucky enough to have survived the tragedy. The city with a population of 11 million only suffered less compared to its neighboring northeast counties. Pan, a friend I met here in Shanghai replied in my text saying all his family in Chengdu were fine and I was glad to hear that.

The strong quake was felt even in far away Mainland cities like Beijing and Shanghai and also rigged Indochina countries. Here, in Shanghai, it swayed the tall buildings in Pudong and Wuxi causing workers to evacuate their office and to stay outdoors for a while.

It’s a time of grieving but the Chinese government was very instant to response for relief and rescue operations with Premier Wen Jiabao on the scene taking charge and inspiring both the survivors and rescuers. I admired the Premier when he spoke impromptu to the people. He delivered very powerful yet hopeful and words. Such quotes you only find on books nowadays.

Others will claim these as mere state media propaganda but I see sheer sincerity on the leader’s face.

Seeing many homes in ruins and people lives loss saddened me. But in this time of event you’d likewise see ordinary men and women becoming heroes doing ordinary things helping the needy and in unity with other men and women aim to save lives in their own little way.

It’s almost a week now but the repercussion crisis showcased to the world how unity and compassion is always possible with the Chinese people and this might disappoint some occidental critics. With only three months left before Summer Games begins in Beijing, this tragedy and its aftermath will indeed define more of China to the rest of the world.

My prayers go to all the May 12 earthquake victims and to Sichuan province. This page is dedicated to you.


10 or 11 Things I fancy to do when in Home

Whilst unbusy at the office, my fingers started to push the keyboards and came up with personal list of what to do when I got back in Manila. These come in random:

  1. Eat Jollibee burger stake rice meal with mushroom sauce on top. My mouth always craves for this fatty unhealthy creation by this popular fast food chain in the Philippines since college days. Munching this with Tabasco sauce would make my day. Yummy!!!
  2. The 70% of myself whispered in my ear to Go Swimming!!! I need to dive into the pool to revive myself. I hope there’ll be good sunshine in my two weeks stay there. Bulacan prides some best and cozy resorts so the venue would not be a problem.
  3. Buy print. FHM, yes I collect this glossy zine since 2003, (pero madami na kong kulang) only to be surprised that feature models showing less “skin” and articles getting soo corny and lacks excitement unlike when a certain Eric run the this. Biased! Me also wants to visit Powerbooks Filipina sections and have a look of Jim Paredes’ paperback collection, buy some perhaps to be added in my collection of unread manuscripts.
  4. Myself would like also to saunter the aisle of Odessey and Music One to check on some local music bands CDs worth to download in my pc. I am still looking for Rinka and Outerhope, for the record.
  5. Eat chopsuey saute with love by Nang. My Baby always do this cuisine better than everyone else. Lakas. I figured I love eating gulay when she flavored the dish with chicken liver, and fish or squid ball with soft sticky sauce. Hope she read this. Please!!!! Kung gusto mo samahan ng chicken adobo mas ok!
  6. Update my Multiply account. For some strange reason, I always could'nt access it here and using proxies would only make things more difficult. I need to post pictures and reply to comments and add some of new Multiply friends. Twice already that Multiply warned me that they will cancelled my account if I won’t deleted some copyright songs. I need to erase some of them before it’s too late.
  7. Maybe I could squeeze sometime, to hear local bands at Conspiracy Garden Cafe while sipping a nice San Miguel Lights in a smoke free gig hall. I miss the Manila Indie music scene. (By the way, how much is a bottle of Lights nowadays???) Kampai!!!
  8. See friends and more friends to make kuento and vice versa. But I don’t have much of pasalubong ok? (Maybe I'd combine this with number 7 so i could squeeze one mor fantasy.)
  9. Watch Indiana Jones IV at Gateway or MOA and experience again Speilberg and Lucas magic with John Williams doing the scores. Dandarandan dandaran!!
  10. I am to freeze Manila in 2 dimension with my EOS. Yabang! So I would forget the thought that I should have waited several weeks more with my SLR replacement EOS 450d to be out in the market.
  11. Lastly, be a proud daddy to Ez. Make amends times. I miss this beautiful boy of mine. I dreamt of Ez several times here. I love the idea of Ez smiling back at me and falling asleep in my arms. But Nang would love the idea of me changing my son diapers! Aw!

Notes on Going Back Home

I am three nights away from Manila. Yes, after more than 5 months working in Shanghai I am returning home just in time to celebrate my birthday and couple of important things. I realized that preparing myself getting there was focused more on looking and buying pasalubongs for love ones and relatives. I was thinking of these things even as early as last week. It seems I can’t get away with this tradition even I was a self proclaimed modern man.

Anyway, Sunday I roamed the shopping malls of Xujiahui, the streets of BaoShan, Fuxing and Shanxi and squeezed myself in the alleys of this Tutuban like commercial edifice in Yu Yuan to get something to bring home.

In Yu Yuan, I bought steel key chains. The seller showed me secretly Olympics mascots keychains and I was so excited that I purchased two boxes them perhaps because I dreamed of having some. Knock offs summer games souvenirs were very hard to find unless you’d purchase originals on authorized stores original but expensive. That's how the Chinese love this upcoming event that they won't allow such domestic piracy on goods related to Beijing Olympics.

Meanwhile, upon learning that he airport charged 50rmb per kilo if baggage exceeds 20kgs, my paranoia caused me to buy a weighing scale awhile ago. Who would want to spend more on the baggage fee more than the baggage itself. My luggage registered 17kgs and I hope it would stay that way.

I miss Manila and my hometown province so much. I have a lot of stories to tell you about this country so please Manila receive me with your open arms and give me a good dawn in my coming.


Conquering the South capital

About two week ago, my office sent me to a project to look at the site in Nanjing, the former capital of China when it was still republic under Chang Kai Shek. We got there from CRH 2 trains of China the Chinese locomotive equivalent of Japanese Shinkanshen (bullet) trains. Mind you that this train travels at an average of 210kph taking us from Shanghai to Nanjing of less than 2.5 hrs the distance of the 2 cities from Google Earth ruler is about 270kms and it's like Manila to Bicol for which via bus we travel it for 9 to 10 hrs. One way to Nanjing would cost you 90rmb.

Anyway, we got out from official itinerary early so we did small fieldtrip. We headed to have a sip of frap in Starbucks located in Nanjing 1912 which is comparable to Shanghai’s Xintiandi with fancy dining and drinking houses clad on grey (and red) bricks and cozy esplanades but much bigger and not crowdy or because it’s still day still young when we got there.

I got a glimpse of the infamous Purple Mountain from the taxi window. What I like most in Nanjing was the Xuanwu Lake which we viewed from the square near the rail station. The lake seemed to relax the Jiangshu capital landscape. Many travelers ready to depart the city that day for the 3 day long Holiday so they unwind first in the banks of the lake to view the setting sun and wet their thirsty feet on the water lake.

That’s Nanjing in a day.