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2009 is coming to a close and so I thought of doing some reminiscing of the past months to identify the 10 newsmakers and noisemakers in 2009. Here goes my list, in no particular order: 

  1. Nicole a.k.a Suzette Nicolas: She recanted rape story against US lance corporal Daniel Smith, mocking efforts of feminist groups that lobbied in her favor, leaving many wondering “sino ba lasi? sino ang tunay na baliw?”
  2. Ted Failon: The broadcaster who was made primary suspect  for his wife’s death, but was proven innocent
  3. A(H1N1) or swine flu: The only kind of pig Pinoys won’t dare touch
  4. Hayden Kho: His sex videos with actresses Katrina Halili and Maricar Reyes put some porn films to shame and his license for medical practice to eternal rest
  5. Cory Aquino: Her death reawakened a sense of nationalism in many and made her son Noynoy the ‘sentimental’ candidate for the presidency
  6. Ondoy and Pepeng: The uninvited that ravaged Manila and parts of Luzon, making Pinoys realize that LVs and Secosanas are both equal in floodwaters 
  7. Manny Pacquiao: Pacman makes history with five boxing titles made more interesting with a cover in Time and an alleged illicit affair with starlet Krista Ranillo
  8. Ampatuans: The megalomaniac clan who are allegedly the masterminds behind the Maguindanao Massacre with the main suspect pleading insanity to be scot-free
  9. Efren Penaflorida: The Tondo boy who was named CNN Hero of the Year for his kariton classroom that educates streetchildren in Manila

 

Who do you think should complete the 10?

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never again Ondoy

This is another sharing on Ondoy experience, but this is all about me and this is not a sad story.

Don't come again, Ondoy. You're not welcome here.

Don’t come again, Ondoy. You’re not welcome here.

It’s been over three weeks but the typhoon Ondoy experience still feels like it was just two days ago. I think maybe it’s because I haven’t really gone back to life as usual. Everyday as I travel the ‘long cut’ to work and back using public transport, I keep remembering how much easier life was before Ondoy, at least for me. Now it feels like I don’t have a choice but to live with its aftermath until, well, life is back to normal. Heaven knows how I hate not having choices.

Walking was never this fun. Yeah right.

Let’s go jogging, anyone?

For the first time, I braved waist-deep flood to buy food from the nearest grocery from home, which was like walking from EDSA Central in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong to SM Megamall in Ortigas, Pasig. I didn’t mind the walk; it was leptospirosis I was most worried about. My mom was most concerned about my panic-buying tendencies. 😀

The other things Ondoy wiped out

The other things Ondoy wiped out

When ankle-deep water inside the house subsided the night of that Saturday, I thought Ondoy was over and we can go on with our lives again until we learned that roads outside the village were impassable and the only way out was to ride a tractor or a make-shift boat. I thought I could deal with it; I would just have to think of it like an adventure trip, backpacking and all, and pretend that it’s a new culture I’m immersing myself in. Ah, a preview of Tonle Sap, I thought.

Not all best things in life are free

Not all best things in life are free

But the first time I went out of the village to report to work, I had to line up for hours at the village gate waiting for the tractor ride. It was free ride alright, but the dump truck was filthy beyond compare and it took in as many bodies as it could, leaving people with no choice but to bear the one-hour ride sweating like pigs and smelling all kinds of odor known to man. Even my boy scout and ROTC years didn’t prepare me for it.

Not your typical street party

Not your typical street party

Going home that first day out of the village was no different. In the city rotonda, I lined up for hours again for the free ride. I sat on the street gutter like many did, unable to hold up standing after a tiring day at work, trying to amuse myself by downloading songs on my mobile phone. Birthday Sex by Jeremy. Apologize by One Republic. Tokyo Mix. Jai Ho. Daughtry’s Home. Ahh, how appropriate, I thought.

A day in the life of a chicken. Or pig.

A day in the life of a chicken. Or pig.

Several days after riding dump trucks and moving chicken pens and pig pens, we found a new way out of the village—the ‘long cut’ going to Taytay, Rizal. I have to take a tricycle passing through what they call a Floodway, a long stretch of residential homes, many shanties, where people crowd the street like it was part of their houses. I said in one of my previous posts that I have become numb, even blind, to poverty in Manila. That still holds true to this day, but for the past two weeks I have no choice but to recognize it because it’s right before my eyes.

Front-seat luxury on a truck

Front-seat luxury on a truck

All the conveniences of travel that I was used to because I always chose in their favor were all removed post-Ondoy. I say ‘conveniences’ to contrast my experience with many others who lost loved ones, their property, and possessions to the flood. I say that to remind myself of the many stories I heard on news and overheard inside jeepneys and buses of how people survived that day, or how many others didn’t. I say that to remind myself that I have so much to be grateful for and I believe that with all my heart.

While for others Ondoy opened their eyes to new realizations, it reaffirmed to me what I’ve always known about myself.

That I can adapt to the call of the day but that I refuse to accept anything less than what I can get for what I work hard for.

That I easily abandon the idea of having choices and making them in times of need because I stare at what is too long rather than on what else I can do.

That I’ve always hold on to the belief that one can still reach out and help, even when you yourself are wounded.

That I’ve already learned not long ago the lesson on happiness and fulfillment brought about by doing, not by having.

And that I can stand a long walk, a long ride, and a long day, but not bad odor. Never. 🙂

If you’re a parent who’s confused with your kid’s lingo, EZ  (easy) on the  judgment. It’s most likely that your kid is simply using abbreviations that are commonly used by many others in texting, chatting, and microblogging like Twitter, where a user is limited to 140 characters (including spacing) per post.
photo credit: roadsidescholar.com

photo credit: roadsidescholar.com

And as long as there’s texting, chatting, and microblogging, there’ll be word abbreviations. So instead of stopping your kids from using these (they won’t) or cursing the new generation for bastardizing human language (they aren’t; who started the abbreviations like TBA, ASAP, FYI, and LBM? Certainly not this new generation, right?), take time to understand these common abbreviations and you’ll realize that it won’t hurt knowing them or using them when appropriate or when communicating with your kids. 🙂

ADIH – another day in hell 

AFK – away from keyboard (thanks lyshee for the contribution)

ASL – age, sex, location (almost a staple at the start of a chat)

AYDY – are you done yet? (what do you think are they doing? LOL)

BIF – before i forget

B4N – bye for now

BOOMS – bored out of my skull

BLNT – better luck next time

BBS – be back soon

BCNU – be seeing you

BRB – be right back

BTDT – been there, done that

BTW – by the way

CID – consider it done

CUL8R – see you later

CSL – can’t stop laughing

DQMOT – don’t quote me on this

EG – evil grin

FOAF – friend of a friend

FWIW – for what it’s worth

FWM – fine with me

FUBU – fuck buddy

FTW – for the win or fuck the world (take a pick!)

GAL – get a life

G2G or GTG – got to go

HAND – have a nice day

IDC – i don’t care (or IDKIDN – i don’t know, i don’t care)

IKR – i know, right?

IME – in my experience

IMHO – in my humble opinion

IOW – in other words

JK – just kidding

JTLYK – just to let you know

KIT – keep in touch

LBH – let’s be honest

LMAO – laughing my ass off

NMU – not much, you?

NBD – no big deal

NOOB – a newbie

OMW – on my way

OTP – on the phone

PAW – parents are watching

PCM – please call me

PIR – parent in room

PROLLY – probably

POS – parent over shoulder (or MOS – mom over shoulder)

ROTFL – rolling on the floor laughing

SIT – stay in touch

SFETE – smiling from ear to ear

SPST – same place, same time

SYS – see you soon

TAFN – that’s all for now

TOY – thinking of you

TTD – things to do

TTFN – ta ta for now

TTYL – talk to you later

WFM – works for me

WTF – what the fuck?

WB – welcome back

WTH – what the hell?

WYGOWM – will you go out with me?

XOXO – hugs and kisses

 If you want to find more acronyms and their meanings, click here or here.

Do you know of other abbreviations? Drop it in the comment and I’ll include it here.

Hate the abbreviations? GAL! 😛

dare, durian, and Davao

One of the things that I look forward to in my job is out-of-town travels not only because I can take a breather from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, but I can also visit new places and experience new culture. And the best part is, it’s almost always an all-expense-paid trip 😉

Some weeks back I went to Davao City in Mindanao, south of the Philippines, for a brief 3-day business trip. Though the limited time didn’t allow me to visit the more popular tourist attractions like Samal Island and Philippine Eagle Center, among others, I still made the most of my first visit to Davao. 

Davao

  • Considered one of the world’s largest cities with a land area of 2,443.61 square kilometers
  • Ranked 10th in the Asian Cities of the Future by Foreign Direct Investment Magazine
  • Typhoon-free; balmy weather year-round
  • Home to the world’s largest eagle, The Philippine Eagle, which is also the country’s national bird
  • Named one of the most peaceful cities in Southeast Asia for its low monthly crime rate
  • Home to the world-famous waling-waling, considered one of the world’s most beautiful orchids, making it the “Orchid Capital of the Philippines”
  • Most celebrated fiesta is Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival, which happens every 3rd week of August
  • Once home to Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower, found in Mt. Apo

Durian

Davao is also home to the famous durian, popular in Southeast Asia as the ‘king of fruits,’ but usually banned in hotels because of its distinct smell 😀 

And visiting Davao won’t be complete without trying the durian. But instead of eating the fruit, I opted for the ice blended durian coffee called durian larcepuccino, which you can buy from any of the Blugre Coffee branches in the city. I went to Blugre’s branch at the Matina Town Square—a hotspot for food, booze, and live band—just across Ateneo de Davao University.

durian in a coffee

durian in a coffee

Dare

A must-do in Davao City is the XCelerator zipline at the Outland Adventure (address: Diversion Road, MAA, across the GAP Farm; tel.nos.082/224-5855 and 082/271-6067).

Outland Adventure is the largest ropes course facility in the Philippines and its XCelerator Zipline is the only US-certified zipline in the country that’s also the longest speed zipline in Asia.

The adventure is made more fun because before the actual zip ride, you first take a 10-minute uphill hike (bring a bottle of water!) and ride a bamboo raft to cross a lake.

bamboo rafting (credits to outlandadventure.org)

bamboo rafting

a thrilling ride

a thrilling ride

upside down adventure

upside down adventure

Photo credits: outlandadventure.org

I took the “Superman” ride and enjoyed flying over the lush greenery and a large fresh water lake, feeling the cool rush of wind on my face as I shouted “I’m aalaaaaiiivvve!”

And travels—like the one to Davao—give me that same kind of feeling that I’m truly alive; of an experience that’s more for the spirit than for the body and mind.

DSC03626

One of Cory‘s sons-in-law gifted me with the book Poems, Prayers, & Letters from Ninoy & Cory a few years back. I was surprised to find out that one of the prayers included in the small book is Cory’s Prayer For A Happy Death, which she wrote in 2004. Here’s the prayer:

“Almighty God, most merciful Father, You alone know the time. You alone know the hour. You alone know the moment when I shall breathe my last.

So remind me each day, most loving Father to be the best that I can be, to be humble, to be kind, to be patient, to be true, to embrace what is good, to reject what is evil, to adore only You.

When that final moment does come, let not my loved ones grieve for long. Let them comfort each other, and let them know how much happiness they brought into my life. Let them pray for me as I will continue to pray for them, hoping that they will always pray for each other.

Let them know that they made possible whatever good I offered to our world and let them realize that our separation is just for a short while as we prepare for our reunion in eternity.

Our Father in Heaven, You alone are my hope. You alone are my salvation. Thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.”

 

Five years later, Cory’s prayer for a happy death was granted. One only needs to see the outpouring of love and respect for Cory to believe this.

Cory magic? Maybe. Power of prayer? Absolutely.

 
photo credit: rog3rs

photo credit: rog3rs

 A life well lived,  Tita Cory.  Thanks for your contribution to Philippine democracy.

This same month a year ago, my college pals and I had our first foreign trip together to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was memorable because it was the first time we ever agreed to doing a trip together (being busy old farts in Manila) now that we can, well, afford it. And so to celebrate the anniversary of that trip, I’m posting some photos here. Who says you can only celebrate anniversaries of relationships? 😛
Petronas view from Prince Hotel

Petronas view from Prince Hotel

Thanks much to bismuth because we got the accommodation at Prince Hotel for free. Yay! 🙂

Merdeka Square: symbol of Malaysian nationalism

Merdeka Square: symbol of Malaysian nationalism

English Gothic architecture of St. Mary's Cathedral

English Gothic architecture of St. Mary's Cathedral

Inside the oldest Aglican church in KL

Inside the oldest Aglican church in KL

The age-old Jelutung Tree was preserved even with the construction of the KL Menara Tower

The age-old Jelutung Tree was preserved even with the construction of the KL Menara Tower

Inside the Masjid Negara, the national mosque

Inside the Masjid Negara, the national mosque

View of KL Menara Tower from Masjid Negara

View of KL Menara Tower from Masjid Negara

Observation deck of the Petronas Twin Towers

Observation deck of the Petronas Twin Towers

giant gold statue of Hindu god Murugan stands at the foot of the Batu Caves

giant gold statue of Hindu god Muruga stands at the foot of the Batu Caves

A Hindu ceremony at the foot of the Batu Caves

A Hindu ceremony at the foot of the Batu Caves

Climbing over 200 steps to the Batu Caves

Climbing over 200 steps to the Batu Caves

Dinner at Bukit Bintang

Dinner at Bukit Bintang

First time to eat frogs :D

First time to eat frogs 😀

Former wet market turned heritage site

Former wet market turned heritage site

inside Central Market

inside Central Market

Picture happy at Petaling Street (China town)

Picture happy at Petaling Street (China town)

Cheap but good coffee at Suria KLCC Mall

Cheap but good coffee at Suria KLCC Mall

inside Aquaria KLCC

inside Aquaria KLCC

 Watch this video showing us fooling around during the laser show at the foot of the Eye on Malaysia. 😀

it was nice talking with you again. in that little corner where we try to hide from the stares of many. where we don’t mind time. or deadlines. or annoying bosses. or from the truth that we shouldn’t be seen together like this.

because like this is that wide space where people volunteer to join in to cover the distance, to create a false sense of certainty when all they have is a fraction of an abstract, to rush into a shared meaning where there’s none. it’s a wide open space that can fit my bloated ego and someone else’s bloated sense of insecurity.

but what if we did own up to that wide open space, claim it as ours, and fit that right into our little corner? we don’t know because we never thought of asking. we’ll probably not even consider answering.

i’m on the losing end on this one. i’m so used to it already. losing. being a loser. but i take joy in knowing that should we wish, we can always go back and claim that little corner—yet always tentatively—hiding from the stares of many, not minding time or deadlines or annoying bosses. not even from the truth that we shouldn’t be seen together like this.

because like this is how we both want it to be.