Monday, March 30, 2009

Anawangin Photos

Here are some shots from the group of our trip to Anawangin.

Photos from this set came from Sagi, Narra and Blue. Earlier photos I posted came from Mac.

Pit Stop on their trek going to Anawangin via Mt Punaquit

View of Anawangin Cove from Mt Pundaquit

Going down, one is greeted by a stream that runs just at the back of the Cove

Sunsets at the Cove are a thing of beauty

The Circus

"Just Once" Days

As expected, the days following my return from my trip would be one hell of a circus. Deadlines are up and about, some are due one after the other, and others falling due at the same time. I am tired. But the deadlines do not wait, and so I must render overtime. In fairness, the latest I've been this year is 1.30 am, compared to last year, when we got as late as 3.00 am just to finish and fine-tune our work.

On top of the annual reporting we are doing is the looming monthly (and quarterly) reporting we still have to perform, and haven't yet touched. I thank the heavens that at this point, I'm not yet dreaming about work -- something I am prone to having when I know I am late in submitting the reports.

I can't wait till all of this is finished and done with.


Imagine going home after your trip to find all your things lying helter-skelter all over the place, some unceremoniously packed up in plastic and paper bags, the others, just piled one on top of another. Imagine further that the door that once blocked your room from the rest of the world has been dismantled. You're tired from your trip and dreaming of your bed only to find out that your bed is packed full of your things, and thus, incapable of accomodating your sleep-deprived shell. Imagine looking forward to having an alone time with your room and finding out that you no longer have a room -- you've been evicted.

Well, not really. My mom decided not to wait for holy week for the planned rearranging and repainting of the house. My old room has been dismantled to make way for a larger office space, and my things transfered to the adjacent room, which used to be the office. But the painting and other minor repairs have not yet been completed, and so, I am left with the feeling of having been evicted, with no place to stay and to rest.

Darkness Falls

I come home late from the office Thursday night and is greeted by an unsual buzzing within the walls. There is electricity in the air, and all the lights are flickering. I can sense the presense of an inexplicable wrongness all over the place and, tired as I am, I can't help but wonder what is causing this disturbance.

All of a sudden, all the lights went out. The power in my room is gone, and the same is true with the other adjacent rooms. The weirdness of the thing intensifies, for the lights on the floor above is okay, and both floors share the same electric meter. Along with the loss of power was the disappearance of that buzzing sound around the walls. Being late as it is, a deathly silence has fallen all over the place.

The circuit breaker at my floor has failed, and I am forced to sleep with no power, and no fan. On top of having lost a proper bed. Another victory for the mosquito population.

The Earth Hour was celebrated last Saturday, with most lights switched off from 8.30 to 9.30 pm. I have one up on them, as I was forced to celebrate the loss of light and power from Thursday night and all throughout the weekend. I tried to tinker with the fuse box last Sunday, but it just wont budge for me, and I had to contend playing host to EyviCat's birthday lunch without power. It was warm and humid, but at least we had enough ambient light to see what we were eating.

The Flying Bus

We had a post-climb dinner last Saturday night to discuss our last trip and to exchange photos. I was able to bring my flash disk this time, and was able to grab pictures taken by the rest of the group. They also discussed plans for the next climb, which I had to beg off from joining for "Just Once" reasons.

The meeting was held in FAiRview, which is a different world altogether from the one I am used to here in Makati. Good thing I was able to bum a ride with a mate going there. The returning is a different thing though, for my ride left early, and I had to commute going home.

Sagi warned me that the bus I would be riding was notorious for being fast. I stored the info on my thinking cap and left it at that. Late (or rather, early, it being 4.00 am) as it is, I slept in the bus as we were driving along Commonwealth. I woke up just in time to alight at Magallanes, quite a few kilometers past my intended stop of Guadalupe. Fast bus, indeed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Road to Anawangin

FRIDAY: It's already 7pm and I'm still at the office. Today was my auditor's last day, and he's still not done with me. He's compiling his working papers for turnover to the next auditor that would handle my account. We've been at it since 11am, and he's chosen to seat beside me to further enable the transfer of information. I have been nursing a headache ever since that time, getting only a few minute's respite for lunch and afternoon snack. All the while, I'm thinking that in just a few hours, I would be on a bus going to paradise. It did help ease the tension a bit, but my headache just wont abate.

Finally, by 8pm, I was able to get out of the office. I rushed home to continue my packing for my trip. 11pm is looming near, and it was taking all of my will not to panic. It will only worsen my headache.

9pm, and I'm on a bus along Buendia that would take me to Monumento. I opted for this ride so I could sleep along the way. I was deathly wrong with my decision. It was already 10.30 and we've only just passed Cubao. I received a message from Sagi, telling me that Balintawak was a mess, and I wouldn't be able to make it if I continue with the bus ride. I alighted from the bus along Trinoma and rode a taxi going to Monumento, instructing the driver to steer clear of Balintawak. I arrived at the station by 11.30. I am late.

Thankfully, the last trip for the night hasn't left yet, so the group boarded this in lieu of the other bus which we had reservations for. At last, I can continue with my sleep. We arrived at San Antonio, Zambales by 3 am.

SATURDAY: The group headed out by 4.30am in order to get to the Cove early. They will be taking the scenic route via Pundaquit.

Two of our number opted to stay and get more sleep take care of the baggage and the food we will be buying from the local market. My companion and I arrived at Anawangin via pumpboat to meet the rest of the group on the shore.

The rest of the day was spent lazing around, pitching tents, cooking the food, swimming, and of course, whoring ourselves in front of the camera.

We had a lot of fun experimenting with underwater shots.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Won the Contest!

I met with Dong Ho at Greenbelt earlier today to claim my prize from the contest I won recently.

He says he's still amazed that someone has posted the correct answer to his contest as early as 7am, and he was thinking that maybe someone who knew of their itinerary joined the contest. Either that, or someone who came from Pagbilao answered it right.

The truth is, I just got lucky with Google. He hinted in his contest that the place was somewhere in the Southern Tagalog region, so I just typed those key words, and after a few trials and errors, I fount this site in flickr that features essentially the same view, the only difference is the hammock hanging between the two coconut trees.

I knew I struck gold. And with many comments hinting at Cagbalete (which was actually Dong Ho's primary destination), no one even bothered to copy my answer. Which was good for me. Haha!

Photo Credit for Dong Ho's Eskapo 3.0 for the beach image,
Photo Credit for Travel and Leisure SEA for the magazine image,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Return to Anawangin

If all goes well (and I sure hope it does), I will be on my way to Zambales by Friday night. And by Saturday morning, I will once again see those calm, clear waters and that beach with a quaint mixture of black and white sands. I would like to believe that I have earned this chance to unwind after the roller-coaster ride that is work.

I'm eagerly awaiting this chance to once again be one with nature and be in communion with friends. Not to mention this perverted longing to be out of touch with the Metropolis for a whole weekend, doing away with cellphone signals and the convenience of fast food.

More than anything, I will take this opportunity to finally assess where I stand and make my own decisions, away from the opinions of most involved parties. Indecision has wrecked my inner peace for quite so
me time, alternating between staying or going. I wish to resolve this bisected stance once and for all, and a weekend outside my set comfort zones might do the trick, especially now that I am given a myriad of opportunities I would be foolish enough to once again let pass.

I still haven't prepared for this trip. We're leaving Friday night, but I still haven't the slightest hint of what I should be bringing. I haven't even started to pack. If I'm not careful, I will once again be caught unawares, and will be packing -- and over-packing -- at the last minute.

With trips like this one on the agenda, I'm really wishing I had a decent camera with which to capture the majesty of this jewel of sand, sea and sky.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Perspectives: On Burgers and Health

"You should really savor that burger you're eating", said the stranger we were sharing a table with, "some day, you wouldn't be able to enjoy it anymore."

EyviCat and I met Sunday afternoon to have lunch at the Legazpi Park Sunday market. Having been unable to resist the kare-kare served at their place, EyviCat just bought dimsum to accompany me, while I had a grilled quarter-pounder. It was only my second choice as lunch, as the paella I was craving for had already sold out before we even got there. My nonchalance over my second choice probably showed, for the person we were sharing tables with couldn't help but comment on my attitude.

He piqued my interest at that time, seating at the other end of the table, eating tamarinds fresh from the shell. I asked him how come he can no longer enjoy his burgers. He said he suffers from acid influx whenever he eats patties. He was heavy-set, but not fat, and I think he rather enjoyed his food during his youth. And seeing me not enjoying what I was eating seemed like a crime to him, especially that he himself can no longer enjoy something as commonplace for me as a burger.

This has got me thinking: what else have I taken for granted just because they are readily accessible to me? I can't dwell on the specifics right now, but I guess I have a general idea. Whatever. After that small conversation, the burger I was eating did seem to become more appetizing and more filling.

Sometimes, we just need a new perspective for us to appreciate the little things we have...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Addictions: A Cup of Black Sin

I knew from the first sip that it was a wrong idea. But the bitter-sweet aroma wafting to my nose was just too hard to let pass. Never mind that it was only an instant. It was good, strong stuff, and I even doubled the dose; it's no good thin and watered down. I don't really care for the sugar or the cream; I like it better black. Black as sin; deep as night; dark as the hidden corners of the mind. Its bitterness is its allure, its full earthy smell, its siren's call.

I was doomed from the first sip, the moment the heat touched my lips, the sweetness playing with my tongue. I close my eyes to savor the sensation. One deep breath and I dive head-on, wallowing in this forbidden fruit of paradise, satiating my desires, awakening my senses, quickening my pulse. The nagging voice in my head commanding me to stop was silenced, finally giving in to the ecstasy I was clasping with both hands. That inner voice was strong, but its conviction was quelled by the luscious, thick liquid passing through my mouth, coating my throat with a warmth so exquisite, it might have been forbidden.

I realized from the first sip that I am going to suffer for this. Something that excites the senses as much as this is bound to have repercussions. And no sooner had I finished the cup of dark sin, did they come, as I knew they would. My pulse continued to race, matching the little quakes that my arms have started to exhibit. I start to make deep, controlled breaths in the hopes of regaining mastery over my trembling limbs, my palpitating heart. And all the while, I'm fighting this drowsiness that has beset me.

Such pleasures, and such troubles, my morning cup of coffee brings...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Digging up for Lost Wor(l)ds


I fear for me as you try to reach
fifty thousand times I’ve fought
still you are there – pushing yourself
My defenses are unbound

all fears have come to pass
visions haunt me all my days
everything has lost proportion
and gravity has given way
illusion won over reality
time has lost its hold
all the world is bright and crazy
dark chaos unfolds
the universe craves attention
but my focus is you and you and you

You have broken the dam
and I am drowning in you…

0130am, 240903

I wrote this piece after a night of talking with a college friend about her then suitor. Seeing her fall despite of herself painted quite an image for me. I showed her this piece, but I don't think that I mentioned that it was she whom I had in mind when I wrote it.

I really wish that I could write as easily as I did before. But then again, simplier times and untainted emotions make for a faster outflow of words. Conflicted emotions clearly does not make a catalyst for good writing, I'm afraid.

And so, I will dig up my lost works, and try to remember the feelings that sparked them, in hoping that they would, in turn, revive my lost core. More than anything, I miss the release and the relief a newly minted piece gives forth.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

on the coffin rock: a pianist's monologue

on the coffin rock: a pianist's monologue

Strong imagery that made me write again. Read it, you'll love it. :-)

On Writing (Again)

I miss writing. I used to be able to write half-decent lines at a moment's notice -- mostly, just for fun, or, as a writing exercise. I used to write love poems during high school and college (!) and my friends are perplexed as to it's origins, for they know I've never been in love. Those are just words for me, anyways, and stringing words have always been easy for me.

But then, I fell, and the words started dwindling. I couldn't write poetry. I couldn't write prose. I couldn't even draft my essays! The thing(s) I feared the most happened.

This year is my New Year, my new beginning. My recovery. I have found my words, and am starting to sharpen them once more, waking them from the rust-encrusted sleep that took them away from me.

And thankfully, the blogsphere is a treasure trove of inspiration. I just read a new post from an artist and the cogs of my brain started to churn, throwing aside those cobwebs that has become its veil for quite some time.

This is a work in progress, but this is a start. I hope to find more time, more avenues, for flirting once more with the written word.

The keys aligned, from black to white
as shadows and light play on
dreaming of her, radiant, bright
and this emptiness, now she's gone

These tunes of piercing, love-less pain
drives this beating husk crazy
nothing to haunt me in this den
but the shadow of your memory

Our song -- this tune of love and faith
now obscured like road on fog
erased everyting in my slate
but a pianist's monologue...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Great People, Great Place, Great Work

The Crossroads to Destiny.

Deep beneath the walled kingdom of Ba Sing Se, within the Crystal Catacombs -- remnants of the old Earth Kingdom -- an epic battle for the fate of the world is under way. At one side is Azula, the clever and calculating princess of the Fire Nation. On the other, the Avatar Aang, the living embodiment of the Spirit of the Earth, and with him, Katara, the emphatic water-bender of the Southern Water Tribe; the last of her kind. The outcome of the battle would decide whether the Earth Kingdom would rise or fall, after resisting a hundred years of war.

Prince Zuko, younger brother to Azula, is tasked to choose a side. Will he choose Friends or Family; Honor or Redemption? Ultimately, he has to decide, and his decision will have a great impact on the fate of Ba Sing Se, and of the world.

Like Prince Zuko, I feel the urgency to choose a side, but unlike him, my choice would not alter the course of history, or make an empire fall to its knees. I do not presume that my decision would have that much effect on the world. At the start of the year, the decision to act has been set by me. For months, I have been brewing it, tasting it at the tip of my tongue, and only letting a select few be privvy to it.

I have decided to resign.

A few coleagues have, for the past year, been urging me to it, scolding me for my indecision, and lamenting on the perceived opportunities lost to me for opting to stay with my company. But then again, some people (from outside of work, mostly) are telling me to forestall this decision, warning me of the difficulties of finding new work, especially with the looming financial crisis.

At the heart of my decision is this falling out of love with my work. I still find what I do to be infinitely interesting and mentally stimulating, but I have lost the drive and the sense of fulfillment that I feel should come along with the work that I do.

My Superior is no neophyte, however. A year ago, she has warned my then manager to take care of me, as I may be a possible resignee. Said manager, by the way, has already resigned, lasting only half a year with the company. A month ago, my Superior has confronted me, one on one, and asked me where in her division I would like to work; where my talents would be better suited; if I am no longer happy with the current work I do. She is offering me a new post; a new job; a new line of work related to my old one. I feel as if she is pre-empting me from my decision, stating further that we are better off where we are than any place else. I still haven't gone back to her with an answer.

Like Zuko being urged
by Azula to join her and bring glory to the Fire Nation -- and restore his lost honor in the process -- do I choose to side with her, or do I choose to fight a seemingly lost cause and join Aang and Katara in the unknown?


Another One Bites the Dust.

Yesterday, an accounting manager just resigned, effective immediately. Another accounting manager has also tendered her resignation, stating her intention to study and to perform private practice. Upon her exodus, it would leave the population of titled employees (that is, CPA) to two: an accounting manager (the last) and myself.

I am not privvy into the details of why her resignation was effected as abrupt as it did, but still, her leaving was shocking enough to make us all stop what we were doing and start to wonder. The office grapevine thick as it is, I have surmised that it could have been forced. Still, I am choosing to be neutral about this issue as it doesn't really concern me at all. It shouldn't.

It is just rattling to be told farewell to by a coleague fighting back the flow of tears, stating that "she couldn't take it anymore". It is more unsettling to recieve a parting note stating "you can still handle it, right?" I don't know how to answer that, or if I should even try to, when I myself have made up my mind, and am just waiting for the proper time to act.

Avatar Aang, Katara, Zuko and Azula are not figments of my imagination. They are characters on the critically acclaimed animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I can only wish to be even half as creative as the writers of this show.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


BREAKING NEWS: Corporate Slave Drinks Poison, Unable to Work the Next Day.

03 Mar 09 -- A group of corporate slaves met Monday night to celebrate an officemate's birthday. Only half of that number was known to have survived the night. Witnesses claim they saw crates of poison being carted to the scene. "I saw them cart off a crate of poison to that appartment. They did that three times! It's surprising anyone was left standing after that", says an anonymous witness. The poison in question was fermented barley, commonly known as Red Horse Grande. Scene of the crime operatives report that 18 liters of the poison was consumed by the group from 8pm till 1am the following day.

ShatterShards, a full-time corporate slave and part-time online ranter, was known to be in attendance in this event. Survivors to the massacre state that ShatterShards blacked out around midnight, and had to be cleaned off, when the poison took effect and he vomited on the kitchen sink, and all over himself. Witnesses claim that they saw someone who fits ShatterShards' description leave the scene around 10am, apparently still under the effects of the poison.

Interview with Corporate Slave Hall representatives reveals that ShatterShards filed, Monday night, for half-day leave on Tuesday morning, and was supposed to report to work in the afternoon. However, ShatterShards did not report to work as stated, and is still nowhere to be found.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Arena and the Coliseum

B-liscious: Where are you? What are you doing?
Me: Nothing much, I'm just here at home.
B-liscious: Let's watch the UAAP finals later.
Me: Sure. What time is it? Where is it?
B-liscous: 2pm at San Juan Arena. Go now, I'll meet you there.
Me: Ummm... okay... text me how to get there.


I was having my late lunch while watching Flushed Away on HBO when B-liscious called me up to invite (or rather, drag) me to watch the first game of the volleyball finals. Seeing as it was 1.30 when I received the call, I had to really rush to make it to wherever the venue was.


Me: I'm about to go now. How do I get there?
B-liscious: I don't know also. I'm taking a cab going there.


No choice. I guess I'm gonna have to cab it as well. I distrust taxi cabs and their drivers on principle, and would rather commute using public transport going anywhere than put my trust (and my hard-earned peso) upon the taxi cabs. Yes, I am prejudiced, but I have my horror stories to back me up. Still, going to uncharted territories without any hint of where the destination is is rather foolish and a clear waste of bravado. Time to swallow my pride and ride the cab.

Amazingly, I was able to hail a cab with only just a few minutes of waiting. Rather surprising, since cabs usually disappear whenever you need them, and are abundant in numbers when you don't. I got in the cab and told the driver my destination. Another surprise, since the driver didn't even ask where we should go to get to my destination. The driver knows his geography, I think to myself. Good. This places less pressure on me.

A little bit over 30 minutes, and we're in San Juan. He turns left to some street and I see a wall with San Juan Coliseum painted on it. It's past 3pm, I am late. But at least I'm already here. I pay the driver and alight his vehicle. I go straight to the entrance and at the same time, I'm taking out my phone to call B-liscious to tell my whereabouts.

But the noise from the Coliseum distracts me from my musings. There are cheering crowds, but the voice from the speaker system is rather odd, I think. It's in the vernacular, and somehow, his hosting skills does not really suit a volleyball game between two colleges. I look around, and to my horror, I realize that the cab driver dropped me off, not at the volleyball venue, but to a Cockpit Arena!

There it was, a newly painted building with centralized air-conditioning and ample parking space. The San Juan Coliseum. But this is not the kind of game I was expecting, far from it. Immediately, I give B-liscious a call. No answer. I call again, and again, and again. No answer! I am in uncharted territory, on a limited budget, and my contact seems to have vanished on me! I try another lifeline; a friend who lives near the area. No answer as well!

This is starting to feel like an episode from the Twilight Zone. I'm starting to get a little bit bitchy when B-liscious finally answered my call. At last, after innumerable attempts, my call has been answered!


B-liscious: Are you there already? I'm still having lunch.
Me: I'm at the San Juan Coliseum, and it's a Cockpit Arena!
B-liscious: WHAT? Wait, let me make some calls.
Me: Yes, please.


My tension abated, my head finally cleared, I did what I should have done in the first place, and ask the locals for direction. The guard told me that the venue I was looking for was The Arena, and that I can get there by riding a tricycle.

Having finally located the place, I fall in line to buy my ticket and managed to watch the third set of the men's finals. Partway through the 3rd set, B-liscious makes an appearance, and we scan the area for a place to watch the game, late as it is. It wasn't too bad though, considering there was still the women's finals to wait for.

It was a good game, though disappointing at times. A group of ball-crazed fan girls and boy did obscure the view for us, and I wanted to push them down the railings. Thankfully, B-liscious held me back, and I rather contented myself with my partial view of the game and the amusing cheer from the pep squad (GO LUH-SOHL!!!).

It was a good day, and barring the misadventure, it was fun.

By the way, UST won over UP 3-0 on the men's game, while FEU won over DLSU 3-2 in the women's division.

Photo credits for Dondi Nolasco, FEU vs La Salle, 15Feb09.


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