I woke up this morning quite early. I dunno. The bed was comfy, although the sheets weren’t exactly made of Egyptian cotton. Someone turned the thermostat up during the night. And everyone knows I like my room frigid and blustery cold. Then again, I’m sharing a room with Fafi Cito (whose idea of “cold” would be anything less than 25 degrees!), Fe (totally devoid of insulation), Donna and Sir Larry (let’s face it… age makes people cold intolerant), and August (dunno much about his internal thermostat… the guy needs some serious script-reading!), so I guess I’d have to bear with the slightly higher room temperature than I’m usually accustomed to. Anyway, I woke up before everyone else did (I heard some serious snoring from the bed right next to mine… whoever the culprit was, I had a pretty good idea although my survival instinct prevents me from spilling it out, since she could jump on me and turn me flat as a pancake…), and instinctively headed for the door to check on our friends next door and also to see the sunrise. As a Manila denizen, I hardly ever get to see the sunrise, partly coz of the blanket of smog that shrouds the city, and partly coz I get up before the sun does, or I sleep through most of the morning and shake the sheets off after the sun hits its zenith. On my way out, with my eyes still half-closed and my brain still in hibernation mode, I hit my head on a wooden plank jutting from the roof of the cottage… They freakin’ built the roof way too low for a 6-footer guy like me! Dazed and bruised, and hugely embarrassed after being seen by the other early birds clumsily walking towards the beach, I managed to plop my ass on a chair, massaging my head and trying to remember who I was. Haha!
After a hearty breakfast of, what else, hotdogs and eggs, we started to get ready for what the oldies planned for the day… island hopping and some more snorkeling. Apparently, where we went to yesterday was only a sample of the beauty that Guimaras is. There were still lots more to explore, and more reefs to see.
Today’s adventure began with a short boat ride to an enclosed portion of the sea where the water was still and the coral garden pregnant with marine life. The schools of fish were diverse, and we did see a few sea snakes swimming towards cracks of underwater caves. The water was, as usual, refreshingly cold despite the searing hot sun. Sir Olan swiped a blue starfish. Oh, and did I mention yesterday that he also caught a puffer fish? Well, Aquaman did. I’m not a good swimmer, so I stayed close to the boat. The others went about exploring the reef, sans snorkels. Galing! Anyway, it was really fun!
We had lunch on Turtle Island. I dunno if the name holds special significance, or if it’s really its official name. What I do know is we went there yesterday also, and Donna had her picture taken with a captive pawikan. Paging DENR! Haha! Over a sumptuous feast of grilled squid, shrimp, pompano (a really yummy fish!), clams, green mangoes and bagoong, and followed by an assortment of fresh fruits, the gang got into some serious discussion… on why native dogs are so good at picking meat from fish bones! Haha!
Guimaras, I have to concede, is one place I didn’t even consider in my list of places-to-be during the summer. It has always been either the mountains up north, or Bora. But the place found its way into my heart. Maybe it just wasn’t the place. I went there with a mixed up gang of people I’ve never gone on vacation with, with the exception of Fafi Cito. But that was such a really fun, and loud, group! But, of course, what made the adventure special was the wealth of marine life that greeted us. It’s a good thing the natives worked really hard to bring back the beauty of the place.
Oh, and we missed the crucifixion. Darn. But we did get to do the stations of the cross, all 15 of ‘em, Of course, we had to climb a steep hill (nobody told us about a hill!), but the view at the top was well worth the climb! A small chapel was strategically built right next to an observation tower with a huge cross. I’m suspecting DJ knew about the climb that’s why he opted to stay behind. It’s his loss, though. Haha!
Tomorrow, we’re heading back to Iloilo, and then a four-hour road trip to Caticlan awaits us. Boracay, get ready! :)
The first day of our 2007 summer getaway actually started the time we boarded the Super Ferry en route to Iloilo. I must say, for a first timer in a ship, I really enjoyed it! Of course, it helped that we weren’t booked in economy, and that we had comfy beds and the privacy of our own cabin to spend the night in. We even managed to catch American Idol 6 on TV. I can’t remember, though, if Sanjaya did well that night, coz we were basically channel surfing between AI6 and MSKM, which has become a hard habit to break. I love Anne Curtis. Haha! Anyway, I slept like a log the entire night, gently rocked by the waves outside. And it was so cold! I found the temperature quite cozy, though, even if Donski, Feypot and Fafi Cito were wrapped in two thick blankets each! Haha! I still remember that night in Sagada, two summers ago, when I took a shower, after a day’s worth of spelunking, with really cold water which I found quite, uh, “soothing,” and Fafi Cito and Sheila followed suit, thinking that the water’s temperature was quite tolerable, only to end up screaming their lungs out after the first splash of water hit them. I s’pose I’m one of ‘em truly warm-blooded mammals who take to cold weather like a duck to a pond. Anyways, when I opened my eyes, it was already light out, and we planned on going to the ship’s bow at exactly 6AM to go dolphin watching. We were told dolphins love showing off their acrobatic skills when passenger ships sail close to Iloilo. And that would be around 6AM. Only problem was, it was quarter past 6, and the three bozos were still catching some z’s! First plan foiled. But we didn’t really miss anything, coz we learned from DJ over breakfast that Flipper didn’t really make an appearance that morning…
We got off the boat at the Iloilo port at around 9AM this morning, and went straight by jeepney to the other side of the city to board the ferry that would take us to Guimaras Island, first stop in our island-hopping adventure. The sun was already beginning to sear our skin. Good thing we did dab on some sunblock right before we checked out of our cabin. Mine was SPF 50. I learned the hard way not to mess around with SPFs. The only sunblock I should use, and this is medically-proven, should have an SPF of at least 45. When I went to the mall a few days ago to pick up some stuff I needed for this trip, I was so in a hurry to get back home and start packing that I practically just grabbed stuff that looked familiar off the shelf. The sunblock I brought with me did have an SPF of 50. But it also had whitening ingredients! Good luck, tan. Dammit. Haha! I know I would have to bear with endless teasing from the two hags Fafi Cito and I brought along. Haha! Well, SPF 50 with whiteners is much better than first-degree burns.
We were met in the port by DJ’s contact, a 17-year old kid named Arjay. Fe, behave! Haha! The whole Fe-Arjay love affair started as beautifully as Jerry Maguire’s “You had me at ‘hello’…” Something tells me this would make for pretty interesting, and brutal, teasing for the next few days. It only took us about 15 minutes to reach Guimaras from Iloilo, and our bags were searched for mango seedlings at the Guimaras port. These people are just so rabidly protective of their famed mangoes! I say good for them! We still had to take a jeepney ride though, about 45 minutes, to the resort we’d be staying in for the next couple of days. But first, a quick stop at the market for some fruits, and lunch…
We had lunch at this resort right beside ours. It was a virtual cornucopia of the sea’s bounty! I really didn’t intend on flaunting my belly during this trip, but this afternoon’s lunch did nothing for my diet. Oh, well… We’re here to have fun, and what could be more fun than stuffing our mouths silly with grilled "everything"! We waited for 45 minutes (everything in Guimaras, apparently, takes 45 minutes!) before they served us our lunch, and during the wait, we whiled away the time by people-watching. Don’t you love sun glasses? Especially the dark, heavily-tinted ones? Haha! Anyway, after lunch, we went straight to our resort, unwound a little, then slipped into our swimming stuff and went onboard another pump boat that would take us to the surrounding islands for some snorkeling. Good thing I brought my own snorkel set. I can’t bear the though of using snorkels that have been inside someone else’s mouth. Eewww…
The marine life around the island is so diverse, and there’s not a single trace of that horrible oil spill a few months ago. The water was just too, well, blue and pristine. And the sand’s so powdery white. I didn’t think anything like this could ever be found outside of Bora. On a side note, Fe didn’t jump off the boat to join us, afraid that she’d make the water turn red, or that sharks might be enticed to attack her. Haha! But while I was busy doing my own snorkeling and staring at a school of Nemos (clown fish?) on a coral garden a few meters off the shore, the others moved to another spot, much deeper, with Donna hanging precariously from the “katig” like a huge octopus! Haha! Eloy got stung by sea urchins, and Fafi Cito saw a couple of sea snakes. While Fe, well, she was busy making fun of a group of adolescent boys making a sand castle, or their pathetic attempt at a sand castle.
When we got back to our room this evening, we were met by a huge platter of sweet Guimaras mangoes, honey dew melon and water melon! Sarap! And we had a really delicious feast of sea foods for dinner. And we capped the night with beer, grilled hotdogs, great company and good conversation…
Tomorrow, we’ll be exploring the other islands off Guimaras and do some more snorkeling. And yeah, have our pictures taken with a tortoise (pawikan?)… That would prolly put us on the DENR watch list, but hey, what the heck! Haha! It’s gonna be Good Friday tomorrow, so we’ll see if we can witness this actual crucifixion on some hill near the town. That would be exciting. :)
NOTE: I love my O2 atom... Being away from my laptop is something I can't bear. Ever. But having my atom with me is like having a security blanket. And in the next few journal entries, I'll be posting entries in my atom which I wrote while I was on my 6-day Holy Week adventure with friends. Thank God for small favors. :)
Wet ones, tissues... Check and check!
Boardshorts, shirts, trunks... Check, check and EWWWW!
Guimaras, Bora and Mindoro, HERE WE COME!
It's been a while since I last frolicked under the sun, and, after days of careful deliberation and endless squabbles with Donna, Fe and Fafi Cito on where we're gonna spend our summer break, we decided on joining our other friends on an island hopping adventure that would take us all the way to Iloilo, Guimaras, Capiz, Aklan, Bora and Mindoro. Sagada always was on top of our list, except that Donna pretty much was chicken about the whole "Pag nadulas ka, patay! Pag nakabitaw ka, patay!" thing, that, serious as we were about enduring the 14-hour (total) road trip from Manila to Sagada just to get a whiff of that oh-so-precious fresh mountain air (my sixth, Cito's second, Donna and Fe's first), we decided to save Sagada for some other time when the people we'd be going with would be more "game" about it. I'm quite sure that Fe, cowgirl as she is, would be as game as ever. But Donna might be the proverbial "fly in the ointment." So instead of the mountains, we'd be turning 180-degrees and head instead for the beach! Bora has always been a favorite place of mine. Save for 2003 and 2004, I've spent most of my yearly summer getaway on that paradise island which has evolved from an idyllic to a party place. But it has never lost its charm...
I was very excited about going to Guimaras. Before this, I've never set foot on that island. Most of what I know about Guimaras I saw on the news after that infamous oil spill. But Sir Larry and DJ swore that the spill has been cleaned up, and the island's back to its full glory. And we'd be going there via Super Ferry! A ship. On water! Yikes! I'm scared of being on open sea. I dunno where this virtual hydrophobia came from. It's not so much water that makes me shake in my socks (I don't wear boots), but the thought of not seeing land for miles... I don't remember ever having a bad experience in the water, but my idea of traveling would be jumping in a car, or checking in an airport and boarding an airbus to Cebu, Kalibo or wherever. This would be my first "boat" trip, and this morning, I was excited and anxious at the same time. But being with friends kinda dampened the anxiety and after checking in at the South Harbor (which, I must say, didn't disappoint me... I mean, it looked, well, "acceptable"), we had fun while waiting for when we could board the ship.
Super Ferry looked like an average 3-star hotel inside. And the trip wasn't bad at all. In fact, I'd go as far as saying I actually had fun! Of course, most of it was because of the people I was with. A bunch of real wackos! Haha! And we made a new friend. Stephen, whom everyone mistook for a Chinese national, except that he actually spoke better Tagalog than I do! And I slept like a log until the wake-up call the following morning...
This afternoon, we were on the ship's bow, enjoying the sea breeze (more like a sea "hurricane," what with the wind-blown hair we all sported when we went inside) and took snap shots of the sunset over some island (ano nga uli yun, DJ?)... Nature's so wonderful and awesome. I can't wait to get to Guimaras...
|Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence|
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.
You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.
|Your Personality is Very Rare (INTJ)|
Your personality type is logical, uncompromising, independent, and nonconformist.
Only about 3% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 4% of all men.
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.
God looked around His Garden and found an empty place.
He then looked down upon His earth and saw your loving face.
He put His arms around you and lifted you to rest.
His Garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering, He knew you were in pain.
And knew that you would never get well on earth again.
He saw your path was difficult, He closed your tired eyes,
He whispered to you "Peace be thine," and gave you wings to fly.
When we saw you sleeping so calm and free of pain,
We would not wish you back to earth to suffer once again.
You’ve left us precious memories, your love will be our guide,
You live on through your children, you’re always by our side.
It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone.
For part of us went with you on the day God called you home.
I lost my mom two days before her 66th birthday... Just saying these words is very cathartic for me. For the past four years, I've seen mom on her good and bad days, as she went on to fight the greatest battle she ever fought in her life. And during these past three months, her spirit was at its strongest, even when her body was at its frailest. I'm so proud of her. She's the strongest, bravest, greatest woman I've ever known in my life.
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to give a few remarks on the occasion of her 66th birthday. I've always been an outspoken person, and rarely do I find myself at a loss for words. For that matter, my dad has also never found himself in such a position where he is left speechless. But the tribute accorded to my mom was grand in its simplicity, and it left everyone, including myself, reduced to tears... Tears of grief, for we just lost the very reason why waking up everyday has been a blessing for everyone in our family... Yet, they were also tears of gratitude at the outpouring of love and support from thousands of people who have been touched by mom's magnanimity. I remember saying thank you to everyone who grieved with us. I also remember saying how grief-stricken I am at the loss of my anchor and my inspiration. There are a lot of things I realize now I should have said that time, but my emotion got the better of me. I just wished those present that afternoon understood that I was not just a son who lost his mother. I was speaking as a man who lost the very essence of his life... My mom has been a central figure in my life. Much of who I am, much of who I wanna be is anchored on her. She was my soundboard when all I needed was someone who would just sit back and listen to me whine. She was my echo, magnifying my thoughts and actions until I appeared bigger and stronger than I actually was. She was my cushion, bravely absorbing life's unfair blows for me with a smile, and nary a complaint. She was the nagging voice in my head, always reminding me to follow the right path, no matter how difficult or narrow it seemed to be. She was the ray of light that shone on me in my triumphs, the very same ray of light that warmed my soul in my failure and despair. I was the moon, she was the sun... And if I shone brightly, it was because I was simply reflecting the light emanating from my mom. She was everything to me, and she made me feel that I was everything to her as well.
Mom, mommy, I will truly miss you. And in solitude, in the quiet comfort of a home that has lost its warmth, I shall always look back with sad fondness to the days when I could freely walk into your room and spill everything, for you allowed me to open my floodgates of emotion without judgment or ridicule. I will look at the rocking chair where you usually spent your mornings reading the paper, and wish for just one more chance to see you smiling back at me while we talk about anything and everything over a glass of milk and a bowl of breakfast cereals. I will sit on the computer chair, and still feel the warmth of a woman who spent hours writing, and playing solitaire, free cell or hearts. The vacant seat on the dining table will always carry the memory of a mother who loved so much and gave so much. But in these moments of sweet, silent thoughts, I shall look inside me, in my heart, for the love you so generously showered on me will live and shine brightly long after you're gone. You are always here inside me. I am a better man because of you. The legacy you left will live on through me. I love you, mommy. Sleep well and rest in God's loving embrace. I love you. I love you. I love you...
It's so funny. Just a few months ago, I got this really awkward sms from one of the regulars in my inbox, and she said I gave off this Ross-from-Friends aura. Then I ran into this cool site. Just see for yourself. I guess she was right all along! Haha!
“Javier, Alexander Gunab!!!”
“Jovellanos, Dennis Francisco!!!”
“Khan, Derrick Alan Chua!!!”
“Leveriza, Alberto Tan!!!”
“Maderazo, William James!!!”
“Magallanes, Carlo Alfonso Hizon!!!”
“MAGdamo, Arni AGAWIN!!!!!!!”
“MAGdamo, Arni AGAWIN!!!!!!!!!!!”
(Inulit na, nilakasan pa! Bwiseeeet!)
“Ma’am, present...” (Sabay yuko sa desk…)
I sometimes think about how my family got its name. I mean, I know all about the Spanish decree that forced our ancestors to choose from a list of suggested surnames posted on a board in the plaza to keep track of all Filipino citizens during the colonial years. We studied that in grade school Social Studies. And I know that’s the reason why most Filipinos have surnames that aren’t very much unlike those in Latin American countries, and even in Mother Spain. Of course, there were obvious favorites, often with references to our Christian (or rather Catholic as majority of Filipinos were and are right now) background, like dela Cruz (“of the cross”), delos Reyes (“of the kings”, apparently in reference to the three magi), de Dios (“of God”), del Rosario (“of the rosary”), Cruz (“cross”), Reyes (“king”), Santos (“saint”). Just flip open the PLDT directory and look for people surnamed Cruz. I’d bet the listing would run several pages. Filipinos back then, as they still are now, were prolly status-conscious, and bearing a Spanish surname somehow seemed to erase, at least in their eyes, the brown complexion of the Malay race. Some of them, my ancestors included, were born of interracial hanky-panky, some legitimate, others illicit. The fiercely patriotic Filipinos must've thought it best to go for distinctly Filipino-sounding names, usually chosen from words that were derived from among the many dialects that dotted the linguistic landscape of the islands. For instance, we have Magbanua (from a Visayan word, I think), Manalo (Tagalog, “to win”), and many others like Masilungan (“to provide shade”), Liwanag (“rays of light”) and Casunuran (if I’m not mistaken, it has something to do with “following” or something akin to that). Then, of course, we have the Chinese invasion by way of trade, which brought us surnames like Sy, Lee, Tee, Chan, Chiu (Kim, the object of many pubertal and adolescent guys’ fantasies…), Tan, Gan, Mah, Pang, Peng, Ping, Pong, Pung, Pa, Pe, Pi, Po, Pu… Basta. If it sounds like something only a bell could produce, (Ping!) or prolly lifted from one of them old Batman comic books (Bang!), bet your balls on it, the person prolly is of Chinese descent. Let’s not forget the Americans and their half-a-century’s worth of occupation of our islands. These pink conquerors from the land of WalMart, plus sizes, and Spam were also known for their fondness for everything exotic. Including women. I had classmates before with surnames like Brown, Smith (although I’m thinking Smith is more of Anglo-Saxon origin), Roberts and Anderson. And I used to envy them for their really cool names.
I used to hate my surname. Magdamo. Most Tagalogs pronounce it with the accent on the first syllable. MAG-damo. If you’re not from Luzon, you wouldn’t mind this mild butchering of my surname. But Magdamo, pronounced the Tagalog way, is unflattering. Damo is a Tagalog slang for weed. Or jute. Or marijuana. So MAGdamo could mean “to smoke marijuana.” Now, if you’re a child of the 60’s or the 70’s, that could actually be pretty cool. Flower power! Righteous! Kewlness! Awesome! Yeah, baby! But I’m a child of the 80’s and the 90’s. And I didn’t find (I still don’t… neither do my friends and family) smoking marijuana (or smoking for that matter) “kewl.” I’ve had to deal with a lot of teasing from my classmates and friends every time someone mispronounces my surname. It should be pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. Mag-DA-mo. As if that wasn’t bad enough, imagine having “Agawin” for a middle name. Agawin. Tagalog for “to take forcibly.” I think in the US, the middle name refers to the second name. But in our culture, the middle name is the mom’s maiden name. And my mom’s maiden name is as icky as my dad’s surname. Arni Agawin Magdamo. Eeeewwwwkkk. Blech. And the irony of it all is, my folks’ names have rather unflattering Tagalog connotations, but their families are from the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Weird.
I actually asked my paternal lola where the name Magdamo came from. But after finding out about the origin of our surname, I felt worse. Magdamo, according to Lola Titang, is an old Visayan word which means “to multiply.” My dad was born, and grew up, in the island province of Aklan. Yep, The Aklan. Boracay. But theirs is only a branch of a clan that originated from, and still calls as its home, Davao del Sur in Mindanao. Now, as the story goes, during the Spanish occupation, a fugitive wanted by the Spanish authorities for some unspecified crime, bore the old name of the clan, even though he wasn’t in any way related to our family. To protect the family against Spanish persecution, our ancestors opted to change our surname to “Magdamo” apparently as an allusion to the growing clan. To multiply. Syempre, I had to ask what our original surname was. And she said it was… Dyaran! Carpio. Carpio! CARPIO! Dammit! Why didn’t they just stick with Carpio?! I’m sure the Spanish weren’t all that bad. I mean, they married into the family for Pete’s sake! Arni Carpio. Now that sounds really nice.
Lola Titang, on the other hand, got stuck with Magdamo by choice. She wasn’t related by blood to the Magdamos. But she married my Lolo Badong, and the rest is history. She’s a Spanish beauty. All her sisters were: Dolores, Enriqueta (Lola Titang), Virginia and Raquel. My Lola Raquel (we called her Lola Baby Pig coz she had a pig pen with lots of piglets), we were told, used to bathe in milk. I dunno if it was just one of those old wives’ tales. And Lola Titang, when she was alive, washed her clothes with and bathed in Heno de Pravia. She always smelled so good. But she was extremely austere, and we feared her a lot especially when she was younger. She had distinctly Spanish features: aquiline nose, deep set eyes. My dad looked a lot like her, except for his chinky eyes which he got from my lolo's side which was peppered with a bit of Chinese. When my lola would argue with dad, they’d burst into a litany of mixed Aklanon and Spanish. Going through her side of our family tree, the names Gomez, Regalado, Altubar and Yturriaga pop out. Nice Spanish names. Helluva lot better than Magdamo. I wonder… Wouldn’t it be nice to change my surname back into one of our family’s older surnames? Hmmm…
Arni Gomez <-- Now this one's nice
Arni Regalado <-- Okaaay! Kaso, it sounds like areglado.
Arni Altubar <-- Hmmm… pwede na! Plus, my name will always be on top of an alphabetized list.
Arni Yturriaga <-- Awesome! Only down side is, my name will end up last on the class list.
But my relatives, especially those from Davao, are rabidly loyal to the Magdamo surname. Who wouldn’t be? Despite the seemingly indecent Tagalog meaning of the surname, the uber talented and insanely (and I mean that in a good way) prodigious members of our family made Magdamo “sound” better, at least in the academic and music field. I got to experience this first-hand when I somehow ended up in Dumaguete a few months ago. When people found out I carry the surname, they immediately drowned me with stories about how Silliman University, one of the top universities in this country, was built with the Magdamos figuring prominently in its ascent to the top. My mom, although not really a Magdamo, as she only wedded into the family, I would like to think, is well-respected in her field, and she’s the dean now of a nursing school. Talk about academic. And it’s quite ironic that the surname I hated so much when I was younger turned out to be one of my tickets to where I am now. I mean, if it weren’t for it, I would have ended up practicing law, and prolly quite unhappy and disillusioned. When I went to my interview at the UP College of Medicine (for admission to the Intarmed program), I was fortunate enough to have as members of the panel doctors who knew my grand aunt, at least by reputation:
Panel: So, you’re Arni Magdamo… Are you in any way related to Priscilla Magdamo?
Me: Yes, sir. I haven’t met her personally, but she’s my grand aunt.
Panel: Really? She was with the UP College of Music before.
Me: Yes, sir, I’ve been told.
Panel: So, does that mean you also sing? She’s an excellent soprano.
Me: Sing, sir? Not even if my life depended on it. No, sir… I do sing, but only in the privacy of my shower.
Panel: Ahhh, that’s too bad. The Magdamos are a musical family. Do you play any musical instrument.
Me: Yes, sir.
Panel: What instrument do you play?
Me: The piano, since I was four. And also the violin and guitar.
Panel: Ahhh, Magdamo ka nga! (laughter)
Awww, I love being a Magdamo.
It was 10:15am. While munching on my Apple Jacks in front of the TV, the phone rings (to the tune of Edelweiss… how cheesy can you get?), temporarily breaking the mid-morning silence (uh, not really, coz Martin Mystery was airing on the Disney Channel, and the Boogeyman was chasing after Java the Caveman and Diana Lombard as she made one of her trademark shrill, ear-splitting shrieks… but that’s another story). I lifted the handset:
Lady Caller: Good morning, sir! This is (insert girl’s name) from, (insert bank’s name). Can (sic) I talk to MISS Arni Magdamo?
Me: Huh? (drops the TV remote) Hang on a sec. (picks up the remote and the torn bits and pieces of my masculinity from the floor)
Me: I’m sorry. I might’ve misheard you. You were saying?
Lady Caller: Yes, sir. This is ______ from _________. I would like to talk to MISS Arni Magdamo if SHE’S there.
Me: Uhm, this is Dr. Magdamo.
Lady Caller: Yes, sir. Is MISS Magdamo at home?
Me: I’m sorry. You don’t get it. This is Arni Magdamo.
Lady Caller: (sounding confused) Ma’am? Uh, sir? Uh, MISS Magdamo?
Me: (pissed, and bewildered how such a pretty voice from a possibly pretty girl could have come from a head that’s obviously helium-filled) Listen, lady. It’s 10am. I just did a 48-hour at the hospital. I haven’t slept, I haven’t shaved, I haven’t taken a bath. I’m groggy, scruffy, filthy and hungry. And the only sugar I had that’s keeping my brain from short circuiting and preventing me from going to that God-forsaken and neuron-deficient place you’re calling me from and snapping your neck in two places was three-spoonfuls of Apple Jacks…
(Okay, I didn’t actually say that, although God knows how much I wanted to. But the Dr. Jekyll in me was much stronger than the Mr. Hyde hiding in my subconscious, so this is what I actually said):
Me: Ma’am, this is MISTER Arni Magdamo (at that point, I didn’t think mentioning the word “doctor” was gonna do me any good).
Lady Caller: I’m sorry, po, sir. Sir, I’m calling because (insert bank’s name) is celebrating its nth anniversary and you have been pre-selected to receive a prize of…
Me: (interrupting Anna Nicole Smith’s monologue) I’m sorry. I’m not interested.
Lady Caller: Sayang naman, sir… May I know…
Me: (interrupting Ethel Booba again in mid-sentence) I really am sorry. Try someone else. Bye.
First of all, lemme just say that she started to get on my nerves when she asked if she COULD talk to me. I’m pretty sure she CAN. After all, she’s obviously got functional glottis, a tongue and a mouth. All speech-producing organs. But I’m quite certain that if I had my way, and if I were to betray my Jesuit education, I would’ve said “No, you MAY not!”
Secondly, I’m also positive that nobody, and I mean NOBODY, in the right frame of mind, with fully operational cerebral hemispheres, could mistake my deep, rich, baritone voice for a girl’s.
And finally, everyone knows that nobody should come between me and Disney Channel. That just ain’t right.
But Anna-slash-Booba-slash-Lady caller did have a point. “Arni” can easily be mistaken for a girl’s name. That wasn’t the first time that “Miss” came right before it. I dunno. Some people do find my name a bit whimsical. Prolly in the same league as Kitty, Lily, Dolly, Patty or Timmy. And my name’s been mutilated many times by people from all walks of life. I hafta say that the carcass I hate most would be the version “Arnie”. Yep, Arni with an extra “E”. It doesn’t sit well with me. Aside from having one too many vowels in it, and the “E” at the end doesn’t add much to the name’s value, it kinda brings to mind the Filipino’s unique way of adding panache to an otherwise drab name by putting in an “H”. Like BHoyet. Or LeaH. Or the ridiculous BHadHetH! I swear. A kid I grew up with had that name, and she was awfully proud of it. I say, good for her. But for me, I like my name simple. No extra vowel please.
Now, Starbucks is a common crime scene of many a name’s massacre. So far, only one – yeah, count that, ONE – barista got my name right without needing to ask me how I spell it. His name’s Gail from Shell Mamplasan Starbucks. Yep, HE. Maybe we’re kindred spirits. Brothers in “mutilated names’ paradise”. I mean, having gone through childhood with a name like that, he prolly knew how important it was to get my name’s spelling right. But what’s more impressive about Gail was that he was our barista on more than one occasion and he got my name right. ALL. THE. TIME. Now, THAT’S service. But of course, my name’s been tortured by many of the other baristas. One wrote “Marni” on my cup. Another girl’s name. It didn’t matter to him that the guy standing in front of him was all of 6-feet with a five o’clock shadow. Marni. Crazy. Then there’s “Barney.” My good friend, Ricky, would teasingly call me that when I act dorky (which usually happens when I’m “toxic”), but that’s a private joke among friends. That barista wasn’t a friend at all, and I seriously doubt he’ll be one of mine. Certainly not after that “Barney” boo-boo. Or how about that girl from Starbucks Madrigal who called me “Army.”
“One tall non-fat café mocha with sugar free vanilla for an Army!”
That certainly would be enough to fray everyone’s nerves and send them flying out the door. Imagine an army invading Madrigal. Or how about the one in Corte de las Palmas:
“One grande café americano for Diego, one tall decaf cappuccino for Moi, and one tall hazelnut mocha for… (pauses for a few seconds)… Carmi?”
Good grief. But this one tops ‘em all:
(Starbucks Petron, the one along the southbound portion of South Expressway)
Me: I’ll have a tall hot café mocha, non-fat milk, sugar-free vanilla. Hold off on the whipped cream and chocolate syrup, please.
Girl barista: Okay, sir. And what name should I put on the cup?
Girl barista: Is that short for Arnold?
Me: No, just Arni.
Girl barista: Alright, sir. Besides, you don’t look like an Arnold.
Me: (smells something flirty… activate flirt mode level 1…2…3…4) Oh, yeah? And what name would you give me?
Girl barista: (smiling… I didn’t notice it when I got in, but girl barista was actually very pretty… Donita Rose pretty) Arni’s a cute name.
Me: (flirt mode level 5) Well, remind me to thank my mom for that.
Girl barista: (still smiling) You should. Would you like to try any of our pastries?
Me: (flirt mode level infinity) Alright, I’ll have that one (points to a chocolate cake-like thing, but with yellow stuff)
Lesson No. 1: When in flirt mode, buy. Just buy anything.
Girl barista: One tiramisu?
Me: Is that what it’s called?
Girl barista: Yes, Arni.
Me: (she called me by my first name!) Okay, one tirumisu, tirrasu, whatever.
Girl barista: Okay, here’s your change, Arni.
Me: Thanks… uh (looks at the name plate)… Thanks ______ (Haha! You really think I’ll tell you who she was? No way! She’s mine! Haha!)
After five minutes…
Guy barista: One tall non-fat café mocha with sugar-free vanilla, no whipped cream… for ARNIIIIIIII!!!
Guy barista: Enjoy your drink sir…
Me: (looks at the paper cup where Donita Rose lovingly wrote my name… and saw….A-R-N-E-E!!!)
Pretty barista lady called me ARNEE. Flirt mode infinity…5…4…3…2…1…pffffft… The girl couldn’t spell. Darn.
It was a pretty sedate Sunday. I rarely ever get to spend Sundays at home coz most of the time, I'd be in Manila, talking and talking and talking to nursing students. I must say that I do enjoy lecturing, especially if the students are as good as the ones from UP or PLM or Perps (Haha! Bola!). For the past couple of months, the PLM nursing students who are currently reviewing at RUN (the review center I'm affiliated with... another of my rackets! Haha!) for the December board exams have been my audience as I barrage their brains with my "ode to fluids and electrolytes." But today, I finally had my long-awaited "Sunday at Home". It ain't a big deal pala. Sunday has never been my favorite day even back when I was in high school. I'd usually play all day Satuday, then I buckled down to "work" again on Sunday when I would read all my notes and study the topics for the coming week. I told you I was an exemplary student. Haha! Mabait talaga ako. And when I started going on duty, for some reason, I'd always get the weekend 24-hour duties. I mean, if I weren't on duty on a Sunday, I'd be on duty on a Saturday, and spend the following Sunday with my back plastered to my bed, vegetating, after 24 hours of back-breaking, ego-deflating, sanity-losing, weight-reducing, and ulcer-inducing tour of duty at the PGH-ER, charity wards or ICU. Haaay, the life of a medical student. I miss it, though... NOT! Haha! Nah, I really do miss it. Kaya nga I'm not quite used to the idea of a "free Sunday" and I usually don't know what I should be doing if I get one. Like today. My sister and brother-in-law left for somewhere, my mom and dad drove off to Makati with my sister-in-law, niece and nephews to buy shoes for my mom (the Dean has to always look great, especially when she's gonna attend the capping and pinning ceremonies of her students), and my girlfriend is in the US. So with nothing much to do, I spent the whole day being a couch potato and did a DVD marathon while munching on my favorite Hershey's plain dark chocolate bar and Nestea green iced tea (with mint! - Sarap!).
I checked my e-mail earlier and saw this funny message sent by a friend. It's so hilarious! Here it goes:
MGA KASABIHANG BINAGO NG PANAHON:
>> Ang taong nagigipit... sa Bumbay kumakapit.
>> Pag may usok... may nag-iihaw.
>> Don't judge the book by its cover... if you're not a judge, or else you will cover the book!
>> Ang taong naglalakad ng matulin... may utang!
>> Ang taong naglalakad ng matulin... late na sa appointment!
>> No guts, no glory... No ID, no entry.
>> Birds of the same feather that pray together, stay together.
>> Birds of the same feather... are the same birds.
>> Birds of the same feather... make a good feather duster!
>> Kapag may isinuksok at walang madukot... may nandukot!
>> Kapag may isinuksok... may IPUPUTOK!
>> Kapag may isinuksok... isuksok mo pa! Harder! Yeah! <-- bastus! hehe!
>> Kapag may isinuksok... may mabubuntis!
>> Ang buhay ay parang bato... It's hard.
>> Walang matigas na tinapay sa gutom na tao.
>> Ang taong di marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan... ay may stiff neck!
>> Kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga... Kapag may taga, may tahi.
>> Huli man daw at magaling... UNDERTIME PA RIN!
>> To err is human... To errs is humans!
>> Matalino man ang matsing, matsing pa rin!
>> Better late than later.
>> Better late than pregnant.
>> Aanhin ang palasyo kung ang nakatira ay kuwago... buti pa ang bahay kubo, sa paligid ay linga.
>> Ang sakit ng kalingkingan, kailangan ng Alaxan.
>> And hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika... ay lumaki sa ibang bansa.
>> Kapag maigsi ang kumot, siguro tumangkad ka na!
>> Kapag maigsi ang kumot, bumili ka na ng bago!
>> Behind the clouds are the other clouds.
>> Aanhin pa ang damo... kung shabu na ang uso!
>> It's better to cheat than to repeat.
>> Do unto others... THEN RUN!!! <-- this one's so funny!
>> Pag di ukol, di bubukol... baka baog!
>> Kapag puno na ang salop... kumuha ka ng ibang salop.
>> Magbiro ka na sa lasing, magbiro ka na sa bagong gising... wag lang sa lasing na bagong gising!
>> When all else fail, follow instructions.
>> No man is an island, because time is gold. <-- kakapraning ito!
>> An apple a day... is too expensive!
>> An apple a day... is seven apples a week!
>> An apple a day... is not an orange a day! <-- ano ba yan?! parang drug addict!
>> Hindi lahat ng kumikinang ay ginto... muta lang yan!
>> When it rains... it floods. <-- isa pa ito... kakaloko!
>> Pagkahaba-haba man ng prusisyon, mauupos din ang kandila!
>> Ang buhay ay parang gulong - minsan nasa itaas, minsan nasa... vulcanizing shop!
>> Batu-bato sa langit, ang tamaan... sapul!
>> Try and try until you succeed... or else, try another.
>> Ako ang nagsaing, iba ang kumain... diet kasi ako, eh.
>> Huwag magbilang ng manok, kung ang alaga mo ay itik.
>> Pag may tiyaga... Good luck!
>> If you can't beat them... shoot them!
Oh, it's not nice pala to call our Indian friends "bumbay." It's derogatory daw. It's like calling a Filipino "indio," a Chinese "intsik," or an African American "nigger." Nowadays, it's more prudent to always be politically correct. Race, gender, status sensitivity is the name of the game. So see if you can figure out what I'm really saying when I say...
:: "Yna is pleasantly plump."
:: "Yna is horizontally well-developed."
:: "Our politicians are iodine-deficient."
:: "Those in government are intellectually challenged."
:: "GMA is growth-hormone deprived."
:: "Mike Enriquez is aesthetically challenged."
:: "Piolo Pascual is sexually ambiguous."
I just had an amazing night with my Perpetualite friends. I've been hanging out a lot lately with my "UP friends" and "Ateneo friends" (to identify those people I went to school with), and I've been missing out on the latest chismis about my "UPH-DJGTMU" (Whew! Naubusan ako ng hininga dun, ah!) friends. These are the people I work with. The Perpetualites. But more than being just that, they are among the most fun to have around. And when I say "fun," I don't mean the "get-drunk-and-stoned-till-you-puke-your-way-home" kinda fun. All my friends and I don't go for that. We're the "sanitized fun" kinda people. Badminton (or endless teasing over who bowls like a granny - Donna! Haha!), good dinner, great conversation, capped by even more catching up over coffee at Starbucks. Despite text messaging, nothing really ever beats actual good company, especially when the people you hang out with are crazier than the inmates in Mandaluyong. Haha! But tonight was really fun (by my definition). Oh, and we saw Paolo Bediones (with an unidentified female) and Chase Tinio (also with an unidentified female) separately in Friday's. Wala lang. If it weren't for the awkward turning of the heads that greeted them when they walked in, you wouldn't have been able to know they're "celebrities" (my sister said "Chase who?"). Mas maputi pa daw si Sir Mark kesa kay Paolo. Of course, my friends are also notorious for their hyperboles. Hehe! Sa uulitin, guys! And let's do it in August... for Fafi Cito's 29th. Libre daw niya!
I don't get it. Caffeine sometimes doesn't work on me anymore. I'd down a venti non-fat cafe mocha, no whipped cream, no chocolate syrup, with sugar-free vanilla, and I'd still feel like I've only had 30 minutes of sleep. This happens when I've to give a lecture at 7am. But tonight, I only had a tall... (please don't make me repeat that order!), and I'm still very much "alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic." Anyway, I went straight to blogthings.com and ran across this thing. I decided to try it out. I remember the Johari window we had back in college. It's an exercise on self-awareness. Anyone who's studying to be in the health profession, or who is working in that field, I'm sure, knows about it. Apparently what a person knows about himself is only a fraction of who he really is. There are four "squares" in the window, and each represents one of the following: what he clearly knows about himself that others absolutely don't know, what he and other people know about himself, what others know about him that he may not be aware of, and what both he and other people don't know. I know it's kinda confusing, but that's what's fascinating about psychology. The human psyche is such a convoluted territory only a select few dare to explore. Anyway, this blogthing "thing" claims to be capable of telling what a person is like based on his birthdate... of course it's all in the spirit of fun. And this is who I'm supposed to be:
Lemme just dissect this:
|Your Birthdate: April 22
You tend to be understated and under appreciated.
You have a hidden force to do amazing things, doing them your own way.
People may see you as strange and shy, but they know little.
Your unconventional ways have more power than they (and even you) know.
Your strength: Standing up for what you know is true
Your weakness: You tend to be picky and rigid
Your power color: Silver
Your power symbol: Square
Your power month: April
You tend to be understated and under appreciated.
I beg to differ. What I do know is that I may, occasionally, give off an "understated" aura (whatever that means) but I would like to think that I've been the recipient of a healthy dose of appreciation. My folks did a good job at ego-boosting when I was a kid, I suppose. Haha!
You have a hidden force to do amazing things, doing them your own way.
If there's one thing about me that I'm quite certain of (this falls within the first square of the Johari window), it's that I'm not much of a maverick. I follow convention. I might not get fazed by unexpected twists coz I always have a back-up plan for everything, but I would like to always stay within the bounds of reason and norm. Simply put, when I work on my coloring book, I always stay inside the lines. That's the obsessive-compulsive in me.
People may see you as strange and shy, but they know little. Your unconventional ways have more power than they (and even you) know.
Shy? You gotta be kidding me! "Shy" would be the last word people would use to describe me. I might be reserved, but "shy?" Uh, I dunno...
Your strength: Standing up for what you know is true
Your weakness: You tend to be picky and rigid
Well, at least, they got this one right. Haha!
I know nothing about power color or power symbol. But silver ain't my favorite color. And square? I guess my friends sometimes think of me as pretty "square." Yun kaya yung ibig sabihin ng power symbol?
Naku! At least half of my birthdate interpretations don't agree with how I see myself. Mom, am I adopted? Hehe!
I just found out from mom yesterday that my second niece, Bianca, aced the entrance exam to Fortpitt Grammar School in Kent, UK. And that's great news! She just left with her mom and sister, Nicole (see: The Empty Nest...) exactly a week ago. She would've been in grade six at the University of Perpetual Help in Laguna where she spent her preschool and first five years of grade school. But, coz she passed the qualifying exam in Fortpitt, she'll soon be entering her first year of middle school, which is equivalent to our first year of high school, this coming fall. And, like myself, she'll be skipping a year! Now, I can rightfully brag that brains do run in the family... and she got hers from our side! Haha! Ang yabang ni ninong! Haha!
So, congratulations, dear Binky! I love you! And I miss you! Same goes to Ate Coie... MWAH!
I watched "Superman Returns" on its premiere night, and watched it two more times on its regular run... I'm a Superman addict. And whaddya know? I AM SUPERMAN! Haha! :)
You are Superman
||You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz
Geez... I was going for "You're Angel!" Pero okay na din. At least it didn't say "Eeewwww... You're Giles!"
Which Character from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Are You?
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this blog entry are essentially the products of the writer's very fertile imagination, irrepressible mental farts and incurable verbal diarrhea. Everything mentioned actually happened... except for the Regine Velasquez chismis which could well be the result of the writer's fondness for the written word, including Abante, Bulgar and People's Tonight. Now on with the show.
Blame it on Carrie Underwood.
I am a product of the generation that saw Regine Velasquez transform (literally) from an awkward, lanky girl with huge shoulder pads and hair spray-soaked hair that defied gravity to the (rumor has it) surgically enhanced vixen she is now. Of course, when she was singing her huge lungs out on television, I was still pre-pubertal, worried more about how I was gonna keep all those tutubi I caught (I tried keeping them in glass jars, but forgot to make holes on the covers… Yeah, I’m guilty of tutubi genocide long before I became single-handedly responsible for causing a palaka holocaust in biology class!), than with the adolescent bane – acne. Mom won’t admit to it now, but she was a fan, I think, of the flat-nosed, chinky-eyed, flat-chested Songbird – R1980s, which was a more natural, less recognizable earlier edition of R2K. My older sister, brother and I, on the other hand, would wait for the Bulilit segment of that program to find out what Banig would belt out then. Then there was Donna Yrastorza, the younger, chubby, gopher-looking, horrendously buck-toothed version of Donna Cruz. Maybe Regine can learn a thing or two about “metamorphosis” from Mrs. Yong Larrazabal (Yong, incidentally, was a pseudo-mentor of mine when I rotated in Ophthalmology as a clinical clerk and he was taking up his residency, but I digress). It’s more appetizing (in a male-hormonal kinda way) to see a gradual, believable transformation from an ugly duckling to an elegant swan the way Donna did it (Unless you’d consider wearing braces a form of artificial enhancement, coz if you do, I might have to kill you! Just kidding.) than the “I-swear-I-didn’t-go-under-the-knife-so-I-don’t-have-to-say-salamat-dok” technique Ms. Narito-Ako used.
The newer versions of Filipino singing contests and talent shows, sadly can’t compete with Ang Bagong Kampeon for the following reasons: First, the contestants back then had pipes that didn’t need amplification. I’d bet you could hear them singing from miles away, and not be roused violently from your peaceful slumber, coz most of their voices had a soothing quality, whereas now, contestants’ claim to fame would be their ability to produce sound only animals can hear. Also, I’d bet again that the “losers” back then could easily beat the crap out of “winners” now if pitted against each other. Second, the judges’ panel then had the likes of Ryan Cayabyab and Professor Umali (who, I suppose, had to be very good, coz he had this “Skeletor” – if you don’t know Skeletor and you were born in the 80’s, then you clearly had a deprived childhood – aura you’d only see in academic people who lived and breathed music). Now, the panel would be a hodge-podge of non-talents, semi-talents, and wanna-be talents. I have nothing against having the likes of Danny Tan, Mel Villena or Verni Varga. They’re good at what they do. And what they do is compose, arrange or sing extremely well, respectively. But why, on earth, would you ask Jaya to sit on the panel? Her stray and bum notes outnumber her good ones. And that is on a good day! Yeah, she has this “black sound”, but I’ll take Pinoy sound + on-key singing anytime over her “black sound” + “where-did-that-note-come-from?!?” Even more insane would be the person who asked Agot Isidro or Pops Fernandez to sit as judges. They’re okay, I guess. And as people, I don’t have any doubt that they’re nice. But putting them on the judges’ panel? Crazy. There’s got to be someone else out there, someone who can tell the difference between singing (with full notes) and breathing heavily on the microphone. They’re okay singers. But there are lots of better ones out there. Anyway, Philippine Idol is supposed to put together Ryan Cayabyab, Pilita Corrales and Francis Magalona. That should be something to look forward to. At least, these people know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about. Francis Magalona might seem like an unusual choice, but I honestly believe this guy’s really talented. Anyway, he should be on his toes, coz if he ain’t, he’d easily get drowned by Pilita and Ryan. Third, nobody can beat the tandem of Pilita Corrales and Bert Marcelo as talent show hosts. Even when they’re bad, they’re good. Now, we have Regine Velasquez (But I have to say I usually flip the channel to GMA just to see how “healthy” and “prosperous” her “future” has turned out to be… Feel free to translate this verbatim into Tagalog, hehe!) and her “There can only be on Pinoy Pop Sooooperstaaaaaaar!” Geez. And don’t get me started on the younger ones in ABS-CBN. In fairness to some of them, though, they do show some promise, like, in particular, Sarah Geronimo and Sheryn Regis. But the guys suck (Okay, I meant that figuratively, so no matter what you might have read in the tabloids, I didn’t mean what you thought I meant. Get your mind off the gutter, hehe!).
So, like any corned beef-fed, Spam-nourished and Tang-guzzling child of American television, I turned to American talent reality shows to check if they’re also fond of self-flagellation as we Filipinos appear to be. We didn’t get to watch the first two editions of American Idol coz cable television didn’t start airing the reality show until its third season. Of course, we had a lot to cheer about when the third season featured two Fil-Ams in the final 12. I must say I was a fan of Camille Velasco, but her incurable stage fright and “deer-caught-in-the-headlights look” every time she went onstage got on my nerves by the third episode. As for Jasmine Trias, she with the calacuchi or gumamela or *insert whatever tropical flower here*, she could do a concert with Jaya anytime and I couldn’t care less. I was rooting for the pink-haired girl (Amy Adams?), not because she was really good, but because she could’ve been the product of Jay Leno’s moment of weakness with Janet Reno. LaToya was overrated, Fantasia was histrionic, Diana was hysterical, George was gay, err, I meant happy all the time (hehe!), John was Conan O’Brien’s love child, and “What’s her name?” (the big-boobed African American girl with big hair, big thighs and big voice) was just too forgettable. *Fantasia won. Insert confetti, fireworks and applause here* Whoopee! *rolls eyes*
Last year, though, was something else. I mean, Carrie Underwood! Woo-hoo! And Bo Bice! Yeah! I’ve always resented Simon’s brand of pimping, but with Carrie Underwood, the guy just couldn’t help it. Of course, Paula was acting more inebriated and durog than usual throughout most of the episodes, but when you’ve got Bo and Carrie onstage, who cares about Paula’s tribute to the gods of analgesia, right? I didn’t miss an episode. Even when I was out of town, I made it a point to turn the TV on when AI:4 would be airing. I got hooked on American Idol 4. No, what I meant was, I got hooked on American Idol. Period.
This year, I followed AI:5 from the auditions to the finals and never missed a beat, err, an episode. I had my early favorites, and the earliest would be the girl solely responsible for the McPheever. Katharine was a goddess as far I was concerned. I didn’t really care about her voice, for as long as she graced the screen, ayos na! Kumpleto na araw ko! Haha! But as the show progressed, I knew that the person who should’ve been in the finals (and who should’ve won it!) was Elliott Yamin. Man, that guy’s good! No, that guy’s excellent! Too bad that in the US, as in Banana Republic, people care too much about pogi points… and Elliott had way too much chompers. But if there was any fairness at all, he should’ve gone home with the prize. Not that biologically-impossible progeny of George Clooney and Jay Leno (at the rate Jay Leno is going, he could be populating this miserable place with dreadful seed). Anyway, I now have a copy of the Encores CD that the finalists made and I’ve uploaded the songs to my iPod. I’ve played “Moody’s Mood for Love” dozens of times, and “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Superstition” at least a dozen times. I should’ve rooted for Paris Bennett and Bucky Covington more. But Elliott stole the show, err, made the CD his own. I hope the three come up with their individual albums and I’d be trooping to Tower Records then. Sorry Kat and Taylor. This guy’s a Yamin fan.
I’ve never been fond of Tagalog titles. It must be coz of the way we were raised. Growing up in a Bisaya household (both my folks are from the south: dad’s an Aklanon while mom’s from CDO), our exposure to Tagalog programs, books or music was not quite that extensive. Our shelves were stacked with English titles, from collections of nursery rhymes and fairy tales, to classic novels; from “alphabet books” to Collier’s encyclopedia; from basic science books to Isaac Asimov and Stephen Hawking. Of course I’d occasionally sneak “Funny Komiks” into the house, especially when I had 25-centavos saved from my usual daily school allowance, but most of the time, I’d be raiding the bookshelf for “My Bible Friends” or “Fairy Tales”. I wasn’t much into pictures… I just loved reading new words, then looking them up in the dictionary for their meaning. I remember asking mom, over lunch, what the word “virgin” meant coz I read it in “My Bible Friends” (about the Immaculate Conception). I was five or six then. Syempre, I got a mouthful from mom. Something about spending too much time on books (Weird… some folks would literally shove books to their kids’ faces, but there was my mom, telling me to stop reading!). She said I should go out into the streets like most kids and play tagu-taguan or patintero with our neighbors (kids from the squatters’ area… our subdivision was plagued by a squatting problem, but they were generally not much of a headache for us residents). Hmmmm (insert here: light bulb on the head)… mom didn’t want me to know what “virgin” meant. I figured it was a dirty word or something. So, naturally, when she wasn’t looking, I reached for the dictionary and looked the word up. As in most cases, when I did something my mom warned me not to do, I got caught just as I was about to look up the meaning of the word “hymen” (coz it was mentioned in the word definition for “virgin”). En flagrante delicto. Caught in the act. I didn’t understand the definition, but judging by my mom’s reaction, I held the belief that it was a dirty word, up until I got into high school, something like “pakyu” (kiddie version) or “sheet” (that was how the neighborhood kids pronounced it). Of course, I didn’t see the word definition for “pakyu” in Merriam-Webster, neither could I comprehend why “sheet” would be considered a cuss word. That early experience with the word “virgin” taught me to lay my hands off on anything profane or even remotely profane. I believe the first “bad word” I said out loud was “gago” and I felt super guilty right after saying it. And I was already 15 then, in college! Grabe talaga! That was a really sanitized upbringing… To borrow a phrase, oft repeated by a good college friend of mine who graduated from Pisay (Philippine Science HS) – repressed, oppressed, depressed! Pero, it was really cool, coz I turned into a very verbose kid who knew exactly the right words to express whatever I felt. I gave my dad a headache every time I’d reason out. Namimilosopo talaga! Hehe. The kids in our house developed a taste for everything American. It wasn’t really colonial mentality. It was just that my mom’s grasp of the Tagalog dialect was (and up to now) quite pathetic (sorry, mom!) and, just to avoid conflict, everyone was encouraged to really learn and speak (or write in) English. No, we didn’t run around the house like American cretins, but we were able to hold our own against other English-speaking relatives (most of them from dad’s side of the family – the Sillimanites).
I first read about Bob Ong when a friend of mine forwarded a really funny text message, apparently lifted from one of his now popular books. It was extremely hilarious, by the time I got over how funny it was, my tummy hurt really bad and I kept breaking the wind. During one of my frequent “field trips” to Power Books, I saw a Bob Ong book proudly displayed on the stand right smack in the middle of the aisle. I remembered the funny text message, grabbed a copy, browsed through it and found myself looking for other Bob Ong titles. That day, I went home with “ABNKKBSNPLAKo,” “Bakit Baligtad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino?” and “Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas.” I absolutely loved each one, but my favorite would be “ABNKKBS…” I found it to be a funny yet poignant, humorous yet bittersweet recollection of public school experience which most of us who had been public school-educated could really relate with. Every detail brought me back to my first three years of schooling in Malabon Elementary School. Those were my happiest years in school. If I had a say on the matter, I wouldn’t have transferred to a private school after third grade. But we moved from Malabon to Laguna during that time, and mom insisted that we get enrolled in a private school since most provincial public schools weren’t even half as good as their Manila counterparts (they still aren’t as of last check). I don’t really know much about Bob Ong, aside from the fact that I think he’s a really funny and smart writer, prolly the funniest and smartest of the contemporary writers (no offense to Jessica Zafra, who I think is also super funny and smart), so I can only make an assumption that maybe, just maybe, we are from the same generation. Wait, he did say he’s a Martial Law baby. So we’re prolly of the same age, give or take a year or two. The nutribun, Crest toothpaste-toothbrush-disclosing tablets combo, white-shirt-blue-shorts uniform, everything just screamed early 1980’s public school. There’s also something about his self-deprecating but honest humor that never fails to tickle your funny bone and tug at your heartstrings at the same time. Those were really good years, when all I worried about was how to keep my immaculately white shirt clean (coz mom would have a fit if my brother and I got home with mud-stained shirts). I don’t even remember really studying for an exam, but somehow, by end of term, my folks would repeatedly go up and down the stage and I’d be bringing home a silver medal every year. I thought I did something good to someone, which merited such good attention from my teachers. Bob Ong was right. It’s only now that I realize what amazingly great people my public school teachers were. Kids usually remember the really good (translation: you learned a lot from them) and the really scary (the “Tigangs” and the “Miss Uyeharas”) teachers. In my 17 years of formal schooling (from grade school, high school, college, medicine), the ones I remember the most are Mrs. de Guzman (petite, pleasantly plump and morena, with a mole on the right side of the face, just above the fold between her nose and her upper lip), Mrs. Gungon (mestiza, really fair, red lips, curly hair, easily the prettiest of ALL my teachers, bar none… tragic surname, though,. haha!) and Mrs. Sy (short hair, heavy make-up, really round eyes… she was responsible for my demotion from second honors to, *shock*, fourth honors… but I was okay with that, hehe!). I dunno where they are now. And while I might only be a footnote in their lives, I would like to think that all the things I am now, I owe a lot to them. So, if you know any of them, please let them know that somewhere in the south of Manila, is a really grateful doctor who remembers them and occasionally misses them… And thanks, Bob Ong, for that wonderful trip down memory lane…
Last week, I went to a mall south of Manila to buy a few stuff for my laptop. Since I got there just as most people would be trooping to the canteens for their lunch, I decided to go straight to the computer shop and let the others have their lunch, avoiding “rush hour” inside the restaurants. Working in the medical profession, I know exactly how the people in the fast food counters feel when people troop to them. It gets really “toxic.” And sometimes, people lose their temper. So, I figured I’d have my lunch a good full hour after the others had theirs. When I got in the shop, I found myself lost in all the gadgets that greeted me. I felt like a kid left alone in a candy shop. A self-confessed pseudo-techie, it goes without saying that a planned 15-minute (tops!) stay in the computer shop turned into a two-hour field trip where I touched practically all the new gadgets I hadn’t seen the last time I was there. I really worked up an appetite, so by the time I was ready to have my lunch, I was primed to gobble up anything on my tray. I’d usually go to a Jap resto every time I get to have lunch out, but my fave Jap place was a good 20-minute drive to where I was and my tummy was already growling, demanding immediate attention. My next choice was a Mexican place. But I just had lunch in Taco Bell earlier that week, and one more trip to that place in a span of a few days would’ve made me suspect for stalking a certain server named Lisa. Hehe! Instead, I went to another place, a few feet away from my usual watering hole. I normally wouldn’t go for an “all-beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”, but I was so famished it seemed like a logical choice at that time, since most of the other restos had “hepatitis” written all over them. Logical? I was wrong. Midway through my sandwich, I felt something inedible and strangely icky caught between my braces. When I pulled it out, I was aghast when I saw a dark strand of hair, about an inch-and-a-half. And it was curly. Sonofa*bleep*! I was ready to complain to the staff, but one step towards the counter, I realized the “kids” manning the counter looked all super tired, prolly from the really hectic lunch hour. So I just wrapped what was left of my sandwich, put it back on the tray, walked out of the resto and charged everything to experience. Last time I checked, you couldn’t get hepatitis from a strand of hair cooked with a beef patty on a grill, so it’s all good. I just had to make a quick trip to the men’s room and brushed my teeth silly. It pays to always carry a toothbrush and Sensodyne with you anywhere you go.
I went back to the mall yesterday to pay my overdue Globe bill. While I was there, I passed by my usual “hair cutting” place, so I figured, what the heck! Since I was there already, I might as well get that haircut people have been pushing me to have. Last time I was there six weeks ago, my usual “hair guy” was on his day-off, so someone else snipped my mane off. He was so limp-wristed by the time he was done with me, he transformed me from a dignified professor/medicine man, to a callboy, complete with the pseudo-mohawk top. Buti na lang I was gonna go back to Cebu where I stayed for two weeks so that the people I know back home wouldn’t get a glimpse of that horrible, horrible haircut.
Yesterday was another bad day as far as the history of my hair goes. Usual hair guy wasn’t there again, and same limp-wristed hair guy did my hair. But I made it a point to tell him before his pair of scissors touched me to take it easy on the top and stay out of mohawk territory. It wasn’t really bad. At least I don’t look like a callboy now. School boy perhaps, coz it’s ridiculously short and it kinda reminds me of the haircuts our neighborhood barber gave me back when I was in grade school. It seems like limp-wristed stylist only knows two looks: callboy look and school boy look. I saw the other guys whose hair he cut that day. They all looked like they belonged in Ermita, right in front of the PWU campus, along Taft Avenue, which gets transformed into a meat market every night. Anyway, okay na sana. He didn’t go to mo’ territory, but just as he was finishing off my cut, he noticed my eyebrows. And our conversation went like this:
Limp-wristed hair guy: “Swir, ang kapwal ng kilay mwo.”
Me: “Oo, nga eh.”
Limp-wristed hair guy: “Gwusto mwo, linisin kwo?”
Limp-wristed hair guy: “I-pluck kwo lang, o threading(?).”
Me: “Di bale na lang…”
Oh wait, I think I said…
Me: “HELL, NO!”
This afternoon, I had the best laugh I’ve had in a long while. I didn’t have anything to do today so I stayed in the house, taking care of a few paper works and organizing my lecture materials in preparation for my midterm set of lectures. While I was having lunch in front of the TV with Manang Nora, our super-galing housekeeper, the Alpo ad ran. You know, the one with the golden retriever and the beagle and a mongrel I think. Manang Nora went to the bank earlier that day, and while we were watching the ad (I love dogs! I hate cats! Cats are evil! Haha!), she told me about this dog she saw in the bank:
Manang: “’Ni, kanina sa bangko, may aso dun, dala nung babae.”
Me: "Talaga? Pwede pala magpasok ng aso sa bangko?”
Manang: “Ewan ko, pero ang ganda nung aso, parang laruan!”
Me: “Anong klase? Di katulad ni Sam (our golden retriever)?”
Manang: “Hindi, maliit siya, ang ganda!”
Manang: “Hindi ata, kasi mataba… at PURO BULBOL!”
Me: (Choking on my pearl cooler) “Ano, pakiulit?”
Manang: “Puro BULBOL!
Me: (Beet red, pearl cooler squirting out of my nose, laughing my ass off)!
I was really busy for two days last week, spending my work hours (which for most people, including myself on certain days, would be between 8am and 5 pm) in front of a group of at least 100, babbling about urine. And salt. Urine and salt would be like my "bread-and-butter." Weird combo, I know. I'm a nephrologist. A kidney specialist. And when I'm not asking people how many times they urinated in a day, or if there's any weird-looking thing growing on their thingy, I'd be, like, talking to students about urine and male and female thingies. And kidneys, of course. So for two days, I talked myself hoarse, and downed several cups of "salabat", which I took with taisan loaf (an entire loaf!) when I got home. But I had to keep Friday free. I promised my nieces I'd be taking them out to lunch. That was last Friday. Today's Sunday. They left with my sister, their mom, yesterday evening, to live in jolly ol' England.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me. Long before weblogs, I'd put my thoughts down on a piece of paper. That's what I'm doing right now. And this is supposed to be therapeutic. My first niece, Nicole, has been with us ever since she was born. She was our baby. And I doted on her pretty much like a dad, although only 16 years and 11 months separated us. She was spoiled rotten by the constant affection and attention we showered on her. But she's an angel. Even when she acts all impish. Bianca, on the other hand, stayed with her dad, my sister's ex, for four years until she came to live with us. And for seven years, she slowly came out of the shell we found her to be cloistered in when she first came to our lives. I'd often tease her, and I wouldn't stop until she'd end up in tears - it really didn't take too much to make her cry. But she soon got used to living with an "insane" uncle. And they, Nicole and Bianca, are like my own kids. They ARE my kids, except that I didn't have to directly contribute any body fluid to make their existence in this world possible. Haha! Still, seeing them board the van that brought them to the airport last night left me with a searing pain I couldn't bear. It's like seeing a piece of your heart slowly being ripped off. Unlike mom and dad, I intentionally avoided accompanying them to NAIA. I hate long goodbyes. And the less-than-an-hour's drive from our house to the airport would seem like a lifetime of torture for me. Besides, I didn't want them to see me get misty-eyed. Men aren't supposed to cry. So, I just walked them to our gate and saw them off. I turned my back against them as soon as the van's door slammed shut. And going back inside our house, the silence that greeted me was deafening, I simply had to turn the TV on. Between ogling at Regine Velasquez's artifically enhanced ample bosom and listening to Heidi Klum say "auf wiedersehn" from my fave seat, I couldn't resist taking passing glances at the arm rest of the sofa where Ate Coie frequently left her tumbler, which never failed to irritate me, strict as I was with keeping the house clean. But the faint smell of baby powder on the couch still lingered long after Binky spilled some just that morning. On a normal day, I would have raised my voice and scolded the culprit. But last night, I was secretly hoping I'd see a "sweating" tumbler making moist circles on the wooden varnished arm rest of the sofa, or sneeze from the baby powder entering my nostrils. It's a good thing Manang Nora was there to keep me company while we watched the Pinoy pop superstars make fools of themselves, and Danny Tan, Jaya and Floy Quintos make even bigger fools of themselves. "Smile though your heart is aching... smile, even though it's breaking..." I miss my nieces. Darn, there goes a tear... Haaay...
Oh well. I've to sleep early for tomorrow's another day. And I've to save up for a roundtrip ticket to London. Imma go there this semestral break. Yeah, that's the plan. Goody! Something to look forward to, at least. :)
Soixante-neuf. There is something perversely fascinating about the number 69. When written separately, the numbers “6” and “9” are not particularly special like, say for example the number “1” which evokes an image of perfection or excellence. Or the number “8”, whose uniqueness is imbedded in its symmetry. Or the number “0”, which most don’t actually consider a number since it carries an impression of void or nothingness, but ironically also represents a cycle that has no beginning and no end. “6” and “9”, however, are “odd” (read: weird) numbers. But right next to each other, they “explode in a conflagration” (not of the orgasmic variety!) of contrasts and diversity that, interestingly, translate into something unified. Distinct, yet similar. Unique, yet surprisingly alike. Flawed perfection, or perfect flaws, or whatever. East and west. Hot and cold. Good and bad. Oh, yeah, the traditional Asian concept of the yin and yang. Coolness! Or Hotness! Whatever. It’s funny how a number strikes different people differently. Wala lang. I was just rambling about the number 69, coz I realized it’s been exactly 69 days since my birthday. But I feel exactly as I did ten years ago. I think I might have grown older in years, but my outlook is still adolescent for the most part. I was a precocious kid. Mom said I used to cry a lot when I was younger. But I was an early reader. And I already tinkered with the ivory keys of our piano at age four. And I was the youngest in my medical class. I still read a lot. And I still pound on the same ivory keys. Man, I just realized our, or should I say MY (It has become my personal property, coz I’m the only one regularly using it right now) piano is actually older than I am! At least I can rightfully brag that I’m not the most archaic resident of my room. Haha! Anyway, my really good friends and I are either approaching three-oh, or a little over three-oh. And while it is true that I belong to the 2nd of three generations living in our house right now, my brain still occasionally leads me to act like one of the brats. So I have to constantly remind myself that I have to act a certain way. A more mature way. But sometimes, it’s nice to walk barefoot on the grass, play in the rain, have your hands licked by your dog, or simply act silly with all the other kids in the house, even if you clearly have some, if not all, of the ten signs that you are, after all, already an adult.
10. Suddenly, getting eight hours of sleep every night is a quest similar to the search for the Holy Grail.
I can’t get eight hours of sleep every night. No responsible, employed, driven guy over the age of 25 gets eight hours of sleep every night. But that’s what catnaps and power naps are for. I sleep in the car (of course, I wouldn’t be behind the wheel!), in the bus, on my desk after lunch. I’ve even been known to sleep with my eyes open… Hehe!
9. When you’re eating out, calorie-counting becomes more important than mentally calculating the cost of the menu entries.
I’d like to think that I’m pretty good in math. For someone who doesn’t deal with a lot of numbers and equations on a daily basis, I do go beyond basic arithmetic. And this is put into good use every time we go to a restaurant. Some of the friends I hang out with don’t know Dutch if it hits them between the eyes, so I sometimes end up footing the bill. I’ve pretty much mastered the art of juggling having a convo with a friend while inconspicuously listening as the others rattle off their orders and doing the numbers in my built-in hardware. Lately, though, the numbers have gone way past the cost of dinner and entered into the realm of total caloric intake. I used to be a fast metabolizer. Now I’m not so sure about that anymore.
8. You gain weight even while sleeping.
I thought sleeping makes you gain weight. Then we learned that even as a person sleeps, he burns up 75 calories an hour. And this I know from experience… On my post-duty days during my training, I’d be so tired I’d usually just hit the sheets even before I’d attend to my gastronomic needs. Result: I lost weight faster than anybody could say Helicobacter pylori correctly. Of course it came with gastritis (both the habitual skipping of meals and the H. pylori). Now, I think I gain at least a pound even with just power napping. Darn.
7. You lose pounds only after half-a-day’s stay in the badminton courts – then you gain ‘em back again after gorging on food you stuffed your mouth with as reward for beating your opponents’ fat asses.
6. Mr. Security Guard in your old school now address you as “Sir” or “Ma’am”, instead of “Hoy!” when you pay your alma mater a visit.
I went to Ateneo last week and, of course, I wanted to look “presentable”, which, in my profession, meant something like Patrick Dempsey in Grey’s Anatomy. But, of course, nobody could look like Patrick Dempsey even on a good day. So I jumped into a pair of khakis and topped it with a yellow button-down shirt. And I got a polite, semi-enthusiastic “Good morning, sir!” from manong guard. I guess I pulled it off. But I do miss the “Hoy, ID mo!” I think right now, I prefer it over any polite reference to how formal (and old) I look. Sheesh.
5. Wear pink and you’re easily mistaken for a gay pedophile.
I was, and sometimes on a really bad day still am, a fagnet (magnet to the fags). When I was 15, I went home early from class and I took this bus (the station was still in Lawton, right in front of the main Post Office building) bound for Laguna. I took an empty seat (yung pang-dalawahan) and waited for the bus to get at least half-filled coz that’s when we could leave already. I kinda expected a long wait coz there were only four people inside a bus that can hold 60 or so. It didn’t take too long, though, before a portly (read: fat bastard) Caucasian guy entered the bus and (Horror of horrors!) squeezed himself right beside me! Scared out of my wits, I tried to look tough (Believe you me, Arni at 15 was like any other boy at, say 12 ?! I was a late bloomer) but I guess I didn’t succeed coz the pink mammoth started making convo with me. He talked with an Aussie drawl. And he was wearing a pink shirt that screamed PEDOPHILE! What saved me was quick thinking… I faked a bum stomach and ran the hell out of the bus. So today, every time I see a guy in his 30’s or 40’s or older, pot-bellied and wearing a shade of pink, I’m brought back to the time when I almost ended up in Bantay-Bata as a victim of pedophilia. Haha! But I used to wear pink back in college. I had a pink Giordano T-shirt, a pink polo-shirt, and a pink long-sleeved polo. My mom liked seeing me in pink, coz I was his fair-haired boy. And I’d like to think I look good in pink, but I try not to overdo it coz there’s a fine line between being a fagnet, and being mistaken for a Tinkerbell. Haha!
4. People start asking you when you’re getting hitched.
And the answer would be… Imma get hitched when I have my own home, a new car that can hold a growing family, and at least a million pesos in my savings account. Oh, add to that list a trip to Europe before I take a trip down the aisle. Based on today’s economy, that would be like in 5 years or so… When you’re a guy doctor, the older you get, the higher your market value becomes. Haha! Girls on the other hand end up in ukay-ukays on a buy-one-take-one-free bargain. Haha!
3. Children affect you either positively, or negatively; you either dote on them, or they bug you like crazy!
My older sister had her first kid at 22. My brother at 28. Now, I have three beautiful nieces, and two hyperactive but adorable nephews. I was only 16 when my first niece was born and I became a “dad” vicariously through my older siblings. It’s nice doting on kids especially when you know that you can spoil them rotten without having to worry about dealing with their tantrums; let their folks take care of that. So, yeah. I love kids. But only my sister’s and brother’s. Haha!
2. You suddenly care about politics and the weather.
I don’t care about politics. Neither do I care about the weather, except that I enjoy walking in the rain and I love playing under the sun (my skin doesn’t agree with me, though). So, I guess I’m still young. Yeah, right!
1. Everything goes south, except for the hairline.
I’m “blessed” (insert sarcastic face here) with a high forehead. My mom thinks it’s the reason why I’m “soooo smart.” Baloney! I got it from her side of the family (the forehead, and the brains na din. Haha! Mom, I hope you’re reading this!) so I wouldn’t expect her to take responsibility for this thing that I used to hide under ridiculously long bangs back in high school. I look at my dad, and at 68, he still has a full head of hair, slightly thinning at the back, but you still couldn’t see all the way to the scalp. And, look Ma! No gray hair! Mom on the other hand, has very fine hair, which all of us “kids” got! So there it is, high forehead + really fine hair. I hope I don’t get premature alopecia. But I do thank mom for one thing… when others would be going crazy dyeing their hair and adding highlights, including them metrosexual (What’s with that word? I think it’s just a cleverly disguised term for sexually ambiguous or confused. Haha!) guys, I have naturally lighter-colored hair. I used to hate it, including my high forehead and really fine hair. But, with age comes acceptance. We embrace who we are and what we’re given. I just wish I had a narrow forehead, and dark wavy hair with a loose curl forming an “s” right in the middle of the forehead… And I also wanna have a red cape with a blue body suit, red underwear and red pair of boots. And I wish I can fly.
I was at the mall yesterday and met up with my older sister, nieces, mom and dad. It was one of those rare “free” days and like any self-respecting “young” (young adults, by definition, are between the ages of 18 and 40, so unless you’re in your 40’s, you are still young by society’s norm) professional, I traded off my usual cotton collared shirts and slacks for tattered jeans and an old T-shirt, and I didn’t comb my hair coz I was already running late. As I went inside, I forgot to have my small wrap-around bag checked for any incendiary device (do the security guards really know what they’re looking for?) and walked past the men in uniform. Syempre, I got pulled back (gentle tug lang naman on my shoulders) and one of them said, “Boy, yung bag mo!” Did I hear it right? Did my ears deceive me? Did he just call me “boy?” Of course, it could've meant a lot of things. For all I know, he might have thought that I was a male helper. Or a call boy. Whatever. But I’ve been so used to being called “sir” or “doc”, that hearing someone call me “boy” was like music to my ears. Moments like that don’t come often so I soaked it all up! Weird as it may sound, it certainly made my day. Haha!
I actually had a nice chat with a friend of mine in the US and according to him, most Asians really look younger than their white counterparts. He and I, and the rest of the mongrels in this country, though, are not as lucky. We do tend to look older than most people our age. Add to that the height. And the fact that we’re doctors. Now, everywhere I go, if there’s someone who knows who I am, that person would call me “Doc.” I might as well have my name changed to Doc. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it. But, people, it’s just a title. A job description. Even back when I was still in training, the nurses would call me by my first name, which is something I really wanted. So now, when we’re having fun, can we just scrap the “doc” bit and instead call me… Your Highness? Or Your Excellency! Haha! Okay, I was just messing with you. But you really can call me Arni. Or Arns. Or Ani.
Or Tukmol. Or Mokong. Skip the formalities and let’s just be friends hanging out and having fun. But if you’re my student, you can stick to sir. Haha!
I’m thinking of coming up with a list of signs that tell you you’re actually older than your mind leads you to believe. Sige, in my next post, I’ll do just that. Of course, it wouldn’t be all based on my experience. I’ll have my other friends help me with that. Haha! Oh, by the way, this is called a “teaser”. Hehe. Darn, I need to do something more productive than this.