February 26, 2009

Ang Una kong Panulat sa Multiply gamit ang Tagalog.

Ito ang unang pagkakataon na sumulat ako sa Multiply gamit ang wikang Tagalog.

Sanay kasi akong magsulat sa Ingles. Datiing guro sa Ingles ang aking ina, at mula pa nung bata ko't naglalaro ng baril na yari sa dahon ng niyog ay minulat na niya ako sa pandaigdigang wikang ito. At ngayon na binata na ako't naglalaro ng baril na yari sa pixels (Tawag ng Tungkulin. Medalyon ng Karangalan. Tagabilang-Welga. Pili ka na lang.) ay walang halong paghahambog kong masasabi na magaling ako magsulat sa Ingles. Kung tutuusin ay mas komportable pa akong magsulat sa Ingles kesa sa Tagalog. Pero hindi ibig sabihin nito ay minamaliit ko na ang aking sariling wika. Ipinagmamalaki ko na ako'y Pilipino at anak-Bikolano, kahit na katayin man ng sariling kong mga kababayan ang katagang "uragon" at "magayon" (Takdain mo mukha mo Dyosa ).

Pero kahit Pilipino ako, mas gusto ko pa rin magsulat sa Ingles. Yun na ang kinasanayan ko. Kaya medyo naninibago rin ako sa sarili ko na nagsusulat ngayon ako sa Tagalog. Iniisip ko marahil ay pagod lang akong magsulat pa sa Ingles. Trabaho ko ang magsulat para sa mga banyagang kliyente limang araw kada linggo, at dahil sa dami ng sinusulat ko araw-araw ay nangangalay na ang utak kong magsulat pa ng mga bagay-bagay na hindi naman kasabay sa trabaho. Burn-out ika nga. Pero nakakapagtaka nga lang na meron pang puwedeng sunugin sa utak ko.

Isa na rin siguro sa dahilan kung bakit wala ako sa kondisyon magsulat ng Ingles ay dahil naaksidente ako kaninang umaga. Sumabit ang manggas ng aking salawal sa bisikleta at nawalan ako ng balanse. Pangalawang beses na yun na humadusay ako sa kalsada habang nagbi-bisikleta ngayong linggo (Yung una ay dahil nasobrahan yung pagliko). Nasugatan ako sa kanang tuhod, natipak ang kuko sa isang daliri ng aking binti, at sa lakas ng pagbagsak ko ay bumaon ang ilang malilit na bato sa paa ko. Nagpapasalamat ako sa Diyos (at konting pamuri sa Nestle Low Fat Milk) at hindi nabali ang aking tuhod, pero isa yun na karanasan na ayaw kong ulitin.

Idagdag mo pa siguro dito ang dahilan na isang linggo ko nang hindi nakikita yung nililigawan ko. Mahirap man aminin pero mahal ko na siya at miss ko na yung tao. Eto na ata yung sinasabi nilang lovesickness. Lovesick. Burn-out. May pang-tawas kaya si Manay Bebang dito?

Pero, kahit siguro ganito ka-epal ang kinalabasan, at least nakapagsulat ako sa Multiply ng Tagalog. Nakakagaan-loob pala sa pakiramdam, parang Downy sa kaluluwa.

Oh balon. ^ ^

January 16, 2009

Angels and Ninjas

It was already past eleven when I got her message. I reached across the bed for my mobile phone, and tried to stave off the impending drowsiness that came with the closing of the day.

She apologized for breaking her promise of sleeping early. Her timber design had some kinks and it, and she has to redo all of the computations from scratch. I asked her if it was that important enough for her to stay awake all night. She didn't answer my question, instead she asked me to sleep early for my trip to Naga City in the morning. I refused.

It has been like this ever since I've met her last October; a whirlwind of words and emotions exchanged in the realm of reality and fiber optics. And my life has changed drastically as well; a few months ago my only concern was how am I ever going to find time to watch John Stewart and the Colbert Report. Now I find myself forcibly awake in the middle of the night, trying to persuade a girl as stubborn as I am to hit the sack.

And at these times that I ask myself why I am doing this. After all, we are just friends. Yes, we date on a regular basis and there is affection between us, but we are still just friends. Though I would be a hypocrite if I said I wanted it to stay that way.

But right now I am happy, in a silly but heartwarming kind of way. I feel as though I have been a prisoner of war, seeing the barbed-wire gates open into the vast expanse of the desert of non-existence. And as I march into the freedom of the endless void, I hear a faint song in the air; of a memory of what once was.

She asks me to go to sleep for the umpteenth time now, and although every cell in my brain is urging me to do so I don't feel compelled to sleep. How will this end I don't know; it's still happening right now as of writing.

But whatever happens, I know it will end someday. When it will be, I don't know. I'm just walking.

December 6, 2008

Five Things I Recently Learned from DotA (And why we lost from the last game)

(Disclaimer: this was never made for serious thought. Paloko lang. Seriously.)

1. Clicking on the corner of the mini-map (where the World Tree or Frozen Throne is located) no longer causes your hero to retreat. Instead, makes the hero stop and wait for its demise, like an emo fanboy eagerly waiting for his wrists to be slashed by a crazed axe-wielding demon orc.

2. Never go for that "last" hit. Yes, it's addictive and fuels the hope that you might turn the tables on your pursuer. But really, if you've got the chance of pawning the bastard, why the hell are you running in the first place? Guns don't kill people, greed does.

3. Teamplay is always the key to victory. However, asking your teammate of his sexuality while waiting for respawn and singing along with Rihanna's "Umbrella" does not count.

4. The victors are to sing "Umbrella", and the vanquished are to suffer. 'Tis is the circle of life.

5. Always be a sport. Whether or not the game ended in your favor, always say "GG" to your the fact that you've wasted 2 hours of your life staring at a computer screen automatically makes you blood brothers.

December 2, 2008

The End begins when you see the City Lights

The tricycle dropped me off at the side of a dark highway junction. I got out, paid the man a twenty, and headed out to the side of the road.

It was a relatively cloudless sky that night, but despite the starry canopy above and the bright headlights from oncoming vehicles, the expanse of nothingness the highway offered seemed to be as dark as pitch. I always found places that I’ve never been to as dreary, especially if it’s 10 in the evening.

But I really had no choice. A friend of mine has died, and there was nothing else I could do.

I remember Gerrol with only the vaguest of memories. It was 6 years ago when I first met him at the university: a guy with a taste for sharp clothes, the last name of a local political family, and a Harley Davidson. Okay, so it was a Chinese-made Lowrider that looked vaguely like a Harley, but I was a broke, gullible kid studying in a public university; in the land of the blind the Chinese Harley was the one-eyed king. I also clearly remember riding that bike to the local mall on the first day I had met him. Gerrol was pretty much a nice guy. He also had that certain charisma too, which was probably brought about by his years as the youth council president in his town of Sto. Domingo. But either way, he was still a nice guy.

Gerrol was an irregular student, and the irregular students in our college seemed to create a strong bond with each other. Maybe it was because we were different from the others that made us stick together that way, but next thing I knew I had Gerrol for a buddy and Gerrol had a lanky, mentally-disoriented sophomore for his.

But the next memories I have of Gerrol are now mere shards of its former self. Probably because of his budding political career, he lagged behind in classes, and pretty soon we kept seeing less and less of him. And what’s more, I have also moved on. I’ve met friends beyond the circle of irregulars in my class, joined a school paper, fell in love, and did some crazy stuff. But still, Gerrol and I remained good friends, and he would always invite me for a drink every time we saw each other.

And on the last time that I saw him alive he was still inviting me out for a drink. If I knew the events that would unfold later I should have took him on his offer and told him to wear a helmet. Because on the next time I would see him was through the glass window of a casket.

Gerrol died instantly when the motorcycle he was riding on crashed with another on a dark Friday night. It was another 5 days before Beth, another Irreg friend of mine, told me of what happened. And as usual, the feeling of numbness replaced shock. It was like I was a hundred miles away, a spectator in the travesty of life and death. But then again, I’ve had my issues.

But whether those issues were real or imagined, I found myself on another Friday evening with Beth at Gerrol’s house, staring at his remains and wondering what the fuck happened. I should thank Beth someday for bringing me there; she always made me remember that I existed in a coherent world. And we stayed for a couple of hours in his wake, talking with Gerrol’s fiancĂ©e and family, reminiscing the memories we’ve had of him, and thinking of life in it’s entirety.

While waiting for a bus bound for our town that night, I thought deeply of Gerrol’s death. He was barely 25, an age wherein death was considered unlikely. But it happened, and the implications of it brought more ideas to mind. I thought of Gerrol’s mortality, and what his life and his recent passing had in value. I thought of my own mortality, and asked myself that should a crazy truck driver run me over on the side of the road that night, would people come and visit me as well. But most especially, I thought about life.

So as always, though we forget, life is always unexpected. Beautiful, but unexpected.

Sto. Domingo was only a few kilometers from Legazpi, so the city lights were clearly visible in the dark. And as I looked at it as I climbed up the jeepney on the way home, the lights glimmered brightly until they were hidden from view by the trees. I gave one last look back, and turned to the road ahead.

November 18, 2008

A Letter To President Barack Obama

President-Elect of the United States of America

Soon to be living in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington DC

Dear President-Elect Obama,

First of all I’d like to extend my sincerest congratulations to your election as the 44th President of the United States. What you and the American people have done was truly ground-breaking, considering the fact that it wasn’t that long ago that the concept of an African-American President can be found in a Chris Rock movie. It’s not that I have anything against Chris Rock, but you get the point.

Also, please forgive me if this letter may seem odd to you. To be honest I’ve never written to a President before, which is even made more complicated because you are not my President. Or to be exact, the President of my country. If you haven’t known it yet, I’m a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines. It’s a quaint group of islands situated near Taiwan, China, and Indonesia, but you probably know where it is already especially since you’ve taken primary school at Indonesia. You should try and visit our country sometime; we’ve got a remarkably nice place and we Filipinos always have time and a hot cup of coffee for well-meaning visitors.

Anyway, the reason I wrote this letter is because it has come to my attention that our President, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has been trying to contact you ever since you won the election. Now, I just want you to know in behalf of my countrymen that we don’t really mind if you don’t pay much attention to her for the time being. We know that you’re busy getting ready for your new job, and besides we don’t really pay much attention to Mrs. Arroyo either. I didn’t even vote for her during the last election, and I’m not even sure if the majority of Filipinos even voted for her at all (kindly ask your Ambassador here, Ms. Kristie Kenney, about the “Hello Garci” scandal for further details). Some people claim she was elected fairly, which could be true considering the fact that we really didn’t have much in the way of better options; aside from Mrs. Arroyo the other presidential candidates we had back then was an actor-turned-first-time-politician, a former cop with an alleged habit of whacking people he doesn’t like, and a crazy-looking guy with an even crazier-looking wig. One could say it was choosing the lesser evil, but that would be an error in so many ways right now.

I’m not really sure why our President is so eager to see you. Maybe she’s trying to score a PR bonus by meeting you in person (with an accompanying photo op, of course) to boost her sagging ratings back home. Maybe she wants to show her political opponents who’s boss by getting an endorsement from an even bigger boss. Maybe it’s because the Philippines is a long-standing ally of the United States, and she’s just trying to secure the support of your upcoming administration, given the fact that she was a staunch supporter of Bush’s. Or maybe just like most of her countrymen, she’s just really excited to see you and get your autograph, in which case I should also consider making my first letter to her as well and ask if she could get your autograph for me too

why doesn't he call back?

But enough of that; I’m pretty sure you’ve had enough of politics during the election campaign. I just wanted to say that we understand whatever decision you make concerning Mrs. Arroyo’s desire to make an eager acquaintance of you. Maybe she could even learn a thing or two from you and get us out of the economic, social and political problems we have right now. I think that’s a long shot though, but you’ve got me with the entire “hope” and “change” thing you’ve been spreading around.

And speaking of spreading around, I’d also like to take this opportunity to ask for your help. I know that this is embarrassing, as we Filipinos (contrary to what others believe) are a proud and noble people, and we try not to involve others into our own affairs. But for the past 300 years other people, including those in your country, have been involving themselves in our affairs (despite our occasional objections). In fact, Mrs. Arroyo’s groupie-like enthusiasm to meet you further shows that the United States still plays an influential role in Philippine policies. So I think it’s only fair, considering that my country has been faithfully backing up yours even when others are backing out, that the American people give a bit back.

So I ask of you President-elect Obama, can you please help us by declaring war to our country?

Right now you’re probably thinking, “Duuude…wait. What?” But you’ve read it right, and I want you to look at it little longer. I want you to declare war on the Philippines. A War on Corruption. Yep, a War on Corruption. Heck, President Bush waged a War on Terror in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction that aren’t there, so why can’t you wage a War on Corruption in the Philippines because of graft, exploitation of power, and rampant dishonesty that’s there and will be there for years to come? Send in a battalion of auditors! A fleet of American government observers! For crying out loud, send us Al Gore!

I’ve heard that one of the core platforms of your campaign is to change the old self-destructive bureaucracy in your government into something new and better, so what better way to boost your foreign policy than to extend that platform to our government through such a war? How you will do that is up to you of course, though I have some suggestions which I have listed below:

1. Influence Mrs. Arroyo executive decisions and policies to support agendas that will improve the economy, increase jobs, and raise the overall standard of living.

2. Subject Mrs. Arroyo’s non-essential entourage who want to tag along on her official foreign trips to a full-body cavity search and intensive military interrogation before departure to discourage them from going.

3. Instead of money, supply high-ranking police officials (with or without their wives) with rations, medkits, tents, and other necessary survival gear when going on international conferences.

4. Post a crack team of Navy Seal auditors, accountants, and administrative conflict scenario experts in every major government office.

5. Overhaul the Bids and Awards Committees into resembling that of a military tribunal.

6. Coax delinquent senators, congressmen and other public officials to perform their duties in accordance with the Constitution and Civil Service regulations under the threat of a surgical missile strike.

7. On public relations, assign Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to perform a live demonstration on waterboarding whenever he says something and promote Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago as special liaison inside Guantanamo Bay.

8. And as a special environmental advocacy, make Al Gore bitch-slap every bus and jeepney operator that violates the Clean Air Act.

Drop that fertilizer fund Mayor, or I will shoot!

The list which I have here contain some of the suggestions which I thought about, and you are free to modify them or create new ones should you decide to wage war on us. And don’t worry about the Filipino people retaliating to a War on Corruption. Sure, there will be a couple of demonstrators who will say that Americans are imperialist pigs, but they usually go home before Deal or No Deal is on TV, and if you play your cards right and keep to the game plan you’ve been showing us in your campaign, you might even win them over. Just make sure that you set an agreeable pull-out timetable though. Guests who stay too long are usually made to clean the dishes here.

So this is where I end my letter to you President Obama. I’d like to exchange further views with you regarding our countries’ relations and other matters, but I know how busy you are finding the right dog for your two kids in the White House right now, so I thought it best to let you focus on that. But I still hope (you really got me with that hope thing), that you would take my letter into consideration in your upcoming administration.

I give you the best of hope (damn, there it goes again!) and luck in your historic endeavor.



Guess what? I made a “Hope” joke:

Q: What would an Obama administration do to the tobacco industry?

A: When you buy a pack of Hope, you get Change!

Really, that “Hope” thing works in so many ways.