Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Post-emancipation 2: Hop, Skip, and a Week

In a relationship, a break could either mean “cool off” or “break up”, and between me and my blog- it’s probably the former. Indeed it has been a fun ride, and I spent many a sleepless night going over comments, gripes, and raves. Accolades were always a plus, though the fulfillment I found was not in them, but in the freedom I enjoyed as I expressed myself. Sitting gleefully in front of my laptop or even just a piece of paper, I would spend hours just scribbling away. Writing stories I never finish, and opinions ranging from serious to silly.

But alas, reality sets in and along with it comes deadlines, reports, return demonstrations, exams, and papers. Strangely enough, in this state of complacency I have managed to maintain favorable marks. But I also feel I’m treading on thin ice, and any moment now my GWA might slip, so I need to make the move. Yes folks, the crazy in me is taking a leave.

Before I bury my nose in textbooks and a myriad of school work in my most stoic and unemotional manner, I again would like to say thanks to all the people who inspired me to blog. And to those who take time to read my entries and comment- in a way you have become a big part of my blogging life.

I never meant to antagonize anyone with my posts here, so if ever I said anything nasty- I apologize. Don’t worry, God always evens out the score, and in one way or another I bet I already paid for it (probably the time when another person did the same thing to me, or perhaps the time I slipped on a banana peel. Just kidding.), I hope I’m forgiven.

I guess there will always be people who will be vicious and mean, whether in real life or in cyberspace- but I’ve decided I’ll just be the bigger person. No more exchange of harsh words or retaliations; I’ll just walk the other way.

With that said, I’ll leave you with a few lines from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran , one of my favorite authors.

“It was but yesterday we met in a dream.
You have sung to me in my aloneness, and I of your longings have built a tower in the sky.
But now our sleep has fled and our dream is over, and it is no longer dawn.”

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Fresh Take on Bahay Kubo

I was browsing one day when I found this on Pao's blog. It certainly made my day, so folks bring out those baro't saya and let us sing..

Bahay Kubo Bading Version

Valer kuberch kahit dyutay

Ang julamantrax donchi

ay anek-anek.

Nyongkamas at nutring

Nyogarilyas at kifay

Nyitaw, nyotaw


Kundol, jutola

Jupot, jolabastrax

At mega join-join pa

Jobanox, nyustasa.

Nyubuyax, nyomatis

Nyowang at luyax

And around the kyeme

Ay fullness ng linga...

All in a Day

Repression, pressure, responsibilities..

The reasons why I blog had evolved in the span of three months: I came out through it, I attempted to entertain readers, but through it all one thing was constant- my blog remained my journal and my confidant.

Memories, small victories, failures, experiences, observations, opinions, kalandians, every tear, every laugh, every hue that colored my life found its way in this corner of cyberspace. I’ve allowed myself to be completely transparent in my blog.

There would always be a reason why I can’t just blurt things out in real life- but here, I can say anything I want (provided that I take responsibility, of course). Strangely, I feel comfort at the thought that people do hear me, however remotely. Maybe discrimination against gay people won’t ever go away completely, but at least I get to speak about those experiences here, and sometimes that is enough for me.

But it’s not always so serious.. I’ve always imagined I’d meet him through my blog. Here are the favorite scenarios I play in my head:

I am walking nonchalantly and a guy approaches me.

Hunky guy: “Are you Thad? I love your blog..”

Thad (smiling shyly) : “Er, thanks.”

Hunky guy: “Now turn around so I can screw you silly.”

Thad: “Ok!”


A popular young playboy comes up to my table as I’m having my lunch.

Playboy: “Thad?”

Thad: “Yes?”

Playboy: “Baby, I’ve left all my girlfriends for you. They all pale in comparison.. You are Aphrodite’s incarnation!”

Thad (batting my lashes): “If you say so.”

Playboy: “May I kiss your hands?”

Thad: “But of course!”

I seemed to have digressed, so I’ll just wrap it up. My blog is where I whisper all the things in my mind, and I hope that wind blows far, and touch other people.

The Collection (repost)

For new visitors, here are my favorite posts- they pretty much sum up my writing. So go ahead and click the links. You may also use the Categories link on the upper right corner of the webpage. Ciao!

Five Common Misconceptions About Gay People and Allow me To Clear it Up for You There is a newer, less catty version. Or you could choose the old one in the archives.

Six Guys to Avoid An FYI for those who just started dating.

What Some Guys Say Before They Take You to Bed Oh yeah, we’ve heard them all before.

The X Factor Peer into the secrets of straight guys.

Wanna Be on Top? PNTM Cycle 2 My take on the new PNTM.

The Look of Love Yuri. Sigh.

Konsensya A two-part office kilig-fest.

A Conversation with An Angel I have two other posts, but this is the original.

The Long Weekend A semi true-to-life short story.

Bullfrog Battles One of the few that made it to print (wholesome kasi).

Fool’s Gold To all families of OFWs, read this.

FYI On Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality by the APA.

Transitions Journey to being a leader. Look for Part 2 in the August posts; watch out John Maxwell!

Tumbling A not-sot-typical day at school.

Uncommon Teaching Strategies Homage to UP.

Thoughts on Sanction Regulation An opinion.

Friday, August 24, 2007

True Love and the Elusive Mr. Right

I’ve stopped looking. Seriously. It wasn’t just about the lack of great dates, or the lack opportunities, it was simply because I’ve gotten tired of “the game”.

You know what I’m talking about. Boy meets boy, sparks fly on the first date, and bam! It turns into a one night stand. So where is the love? I couldn’t answer that myself.

I’ve gone from conservative to promiscuous and back, and all I ever got was a lousy two-month pseudo relationship. I’ve never been in love, though I’ve cried many times on what-might-have-beens with some guys I’ve dated but never quite bore fruit a lasting relationship with.

Maybe it’s because I’m picky. Or maybe the chemistry isn’t right. Or maybe both? I always managed an excuse. At some point, I decided to stop storyboarding my romances, and see where the wind takes me.

My friend says true love is hard work. Relationships evolve, from the initial fire of the beginning parts of dating to that mellow companionship of two people whose relationship had matured over a period of time. When you love someone, a married friend confided, you adjust and you compromise. It’s a decision you must make.

So will I ever find that? I’m as clueless as I’ve ever been, but I do believe when he comes knocking on my door, I’ll recognize it’s him.

Ah, Love.

Splat! Society Columnist Takes a Fall

Oh no, you didn't! Was the only reaction I could muster, as my blood began to boil after I read the offending article. If you are not aware of what Ms. Fernandez had written in People Asia, click on these links: Part 1 and Part 2.

"..I forgot that the hub was Dubai and the majority of the OFWs (overseas Filipino Workers) were stationed here. The duty-free shop was overrun with Filipino workers selling cell phones and perfume. Meanwhile, I wanted to slash my wrist at the thought of being trapped in a plane with all of them...

On my way back, I had to bravely take the economy flight once more. This time I had already resigned myself to being trapped like a sardine in a sardine can with all these OFWs smelling of AXE and Charlie cologne while my Jo Malone evaporated into thin air..."

People Asia, June 2007

".. I, on the other hand, am just perennially stressed just by living in this godforsaken place in the Third World.."

Manila Standard, May 10, 2007

It is inexcusable for anyone to look down on people, and it is shocking to hear it from a fellow Filipino. I'm surprised that the blatant callousness of Ms. Fernandez's article was approved for print, knowing the possible reactions of millions of OFWs and their families.

Both my parents worked in Saudi, my father staying almost 15 years to put food on the table, and send my brothers and I to school. I cannot even begin to imagine the hardships, the loneliness, and the sacrifices that my father made as he worked in a foreign country away from his family. How dare this pretentious poseur malign domestic helpers and other OFWs who are trying to make an honest and decent living!

Ms. Fernandez ought to live someplace else if she is so stressed living in this "godforsaken place in the Third World". She is so obsessed with material things and appearances that her writings reflect the superficiality of her character. I bet the people in high society she worships and writes for are now shaking their heads at her major faux pas.

Word gets around

A group of Filipino journalists in the Middle East demanded an apology from Ms. Fernandez, as parts of the offending article were posted, discussed, and commented upon in a number of blogs and forums. Clamor for her resignation was evident in every single e-mail sent by outraged Filipinos to the said publications.

In response, an indignant Ms. Fernandez issues a statement that put nails to her coffin:
"Just recently, I wrote a funny article in my magazine column and my friends thought it was hilarious. It was humorous and quite tongue-in-cheek, or at least I thought so, until the magazine got a few e-mails from people who didn’t get the meaning of my acerbic wit. The bottom line was just that I offended the reader’s socioeconomic background. If any of these people actually read anything thicker than a magazine would find it very funny. Most people don’t get that they need bitches like me to shake up their world, otherwise it would be boring and mediocre. I obviously write for a certain target audience and if what I write offends you, just stop reading."
And the b*tch goes down..
Don't get me wrong, I am merely qouting the pet name she has for herself. They say "You reap what you sow", and rightfully justice gets served- on a hot platter. These articles from GMA and ABS CBN just came out recently:
Her final statement:
I am humbled by the vehement and heated response provoked by my article entitled ‘From Boracay to Greece!’ which came out in the June 2007 issue of People Asia. To say that this article was not meant to malign, hurt or express prejudice against the OFWs now sounds hollow after reading through all the blogs from Filipinos all over the world. I am deeply apologetic for my insensitivity and the offensive manner in which this article was written, I hear you all and I am properly rebuked. It was truly not my intention to malign hurt or express prejudice against OFWs.As the recent recipient and target of death threats, hate blogs, and deeply personal insults, I now truly understand the insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice disguised as humor. Our society is bound together by human chains of kindness and decency. I have failed to observe this and I am now reaping the consequences of my actions. It is my fervent hope that the lessons that Ive learned are not lost on all those who through anonymous blogs, engaged in bigotry, discrimination, and hatred ( against overweight individuals , for example )I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


The Emancipation of Thadie chronicles the life and loves of a true blue Leyteño and Waray-waray. Thad studied at the College of Architecture, University of the Philippines, Diliman- followed by another four years of ora et labora at St. Scholastica’s College in Tacloban. He ranked 4th of 190 graduates in BS Nursing.

He was Feature Editor of Binhi Magazine from 2008-2010 and a contributor to several publications.  He was among the selected authors of PDI's best selling series Youngblood 4, and presently the Editor-in-Chief of RTRMF Pacemaker.  Currently he is pursuing his Doctor of Medicine degree, and writes for 8 Magazine, a travel and lifestyle guide for Region 8.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Multitude of Challenges

It was low tide, and a thousand starfish lined the beach. A little boy was walking along the shore, the sun was scorching hot, and soon some of the starfish had begun to die. Realizing this, the boy picked up a single starfish, and threw it into the deeper waters. He picked up another, and again threw it into the water.

A man notices the little boy, and asks him. “Little boy, what are you doing?”

“I am throwing these starfish into the water so that they will live.” The boy replies.

The man looks at the landscape before him. The beach stretched out for miles, and the starfishes were spread out on the shore, as countless as the sand. He turns to face the boy.

“You can’t save all of those, you know.”

The boy smiles, “Yes, but I can save this.” He says, picking up an orange-colored starfish and throwing it into the sea.

“And this!” He smiles to the man, picks up another starfish and again throws it in the water.

“And this.” And so the boy continued to save as many starfish as he could.

I heard this story weeks ago, but up until now it stays in my mind. Like most people, I’m the type who gets overwhelmed at times at the enormity of problems. Sometimes I just abandon all hope and leave it all up to fate. But the simple wisdom of the little boy tells us we need not save everybody or do everything that needs to be done to know that you have helped and made a difference.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Work and Play

The official excuse: interview five PHNs in five different municipalities in Samar. Early Sunday morning, I packed my overnight bag and rushed out the door for the fear that I'd be left behind by the bus.
I arrived just in time as the bus started to fill with passengers. It was going to be a looong day, going to different far-flung municipalities in Samar, but our only consolation was we get to stay at our friend's seaside house. As the wheels started to turn, I thought: this time tomorrow we are going to be lying on the sand relaxing...
All Aboard!
In a crowded tricycle on the way to the next town..
Hey, take the picture of the Municipal Health Office, not that!
The team.
Naliligo sa poso! Hahaha mga exhibitionist daw ba?
Ahh BLISS! A beautiful morning starts.
A dip.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Retraction?

Hardly. But I do want to clarify something. I don’t want to be misquoted, or perhaps have people misconstrue the post as a rant, or a form of disrespect, or insubordination. I have nothing but respect for the people in the Nursing Faculty. I think they are doing a wonderful job, evidenced by the fine nurses the school has produced, not to mention impressive and consistent passing rate for the board exams. Hands down, this is the best Nursing school in the region.

The reason why I am a student is because I want to learn, and that in itself suggest that I know less of Nursing processes than the Clinical Preceptors. I’m not at all saying I know everything, because this field is totally alien to me. The Clinical Preceptors are there to function as our mentors.

I do know, a thing or two about people management, and the purpose of the post was to voice out my thoughts and suggestions on how certain processes can be improved. From the introduction itself, I clarified that I was merely expressing my point of view to my readers, given my right to free speech.

I stand by my opinion, really. Whether it is heard or not, whether it is implemented or not, is no longer my concern. I was able to voice it out- that was all I was after, rather than just do as others do who share the same sentiments- sit back and say nothing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Collection

Binhi Publication comes out next week, with four of my articles printed (yippee!) and my web address printed out. In view of this, I’m expecting an avalanche of traffic, and if not I’ll probably sulk in my room screaming into my pillow. Just kidding.

For our new visitors, here are my favorite posts- must reads actually, as they pretty much sum up my writing. So go ahead, click the links and emancipate yourself!


Five Common Misconceptions About Gay People and Allow me To Clear it Up for You
There is a newer, less catty version. Or you could choose the old one in the archives.

Six Guys to Avoid
An FYI for those who just started dating.

What Some Guys Say Before They Take You to Bed
Oh yeah, we’ve heard them all before.

The X Factor
Peer into the secrets of straight guys.

Wanna Be on Top? PNTM Cycle 2
My take on the new PNTM.

The Look of Love
Yuri. Sigh.

A two-part office kilig-fest.

A Conversation with An Angel
I have two other posts, but this is the original.

The Long Weekend
A semi true-to-life short story.

Bullfrog Battles
One of the few that made it to print (wholesome kasi).

Fool’s Gold
To all families of OFWs, read this.

On Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality by the APA.

Journey to being a leader. Look for Part 2 in the August posts; watch out John Maxwell!

A not-sot-typical day at school.

Uncommon Teaching Strategies
Homage to UP.

Thoughts on Sanction Regulation
An opinion.

Thoughts on Sanction Regulation

It is not my intention to antagonize anyone with this post. I might raise eyebrows, as soon as some people read the title, but by virtue of my right to free speech I think I deserve to say what I have to say.

The word “sanction” strikes fear in the hearts of Nursing students, who in their second year will start their Related Learning Experiences- a course which basically introduce the most basic Nursing practices, under the tutelage of Clinical Preceptors. More often than not, if one is given a sanction, it means an hour or two of what can only be described as “forced community service”. Let me explain further- for Levels 3 and 4 if one missed a day of hospital duty, they will require you two days make-up. Fair enough, yes? At this point, it is necessary for each student to complete the required hours in order to comply with the course requirements. For Level 2 however, they are not yet exposed to the hospital setting, and making up for a sanction will probably mean mopping the floors or cleaning classrooms during the semester break.

The rationale behind the issuance of sanctions seems logical- to promote discipline as early as the 2nd Level. Without regulations however, the arbitrary nature of the issuance opens an avenue for power tripping (I’m not naming names, nor saying that this happens all the time, but this does happen and is bound to happen while there are no regulations). The usual scenario is this: the offense is seen by the Clinical Preceptor, he/ she calls the attention of the student, and makes a note of what he/ she thinks is the appropriate sanction. It sounds fair enough, until almost every minor thing is listed- from the way one holds a Stethoscope to accidentally leaving a notebook in the classroom. These “offenses” are often unintentional, and calling the attention of the student would probably suffice. I mean, it’s not as if the student had malice in mind when he left the notebook by accident.

My second point is this: even the Clinical preceptors themselves are not in the same page as to what the proper sanction is on specific offenses. We all know students are not allowed to use their phones or Ipods while on RLE time; if they are on break, are they allowed to use them? There was already one instance when an item (I’m not going to elaborate further) was returned because a student complained that the other Clinical Preceptor who confiscated the item did it in the time of the student’s break. This left me confused, is it truly that arbitrary? Then if a certain Clinical Preceptor happens to be in a bad mood, will that entail harsher sanctions? We cannot say for sure because there is no written document that puts us all, students and Clinical Preceptors alike, in the same page. Yes, we have our Student Manual, but the corresponding sanctions are not listed here.

I racked my minds for possible answers to this dilemma, and I recalled some instances back when I was working. Let us consider this situation:

When an agent commits an offense, say for excessive tardiness or a substandard quality score, the first thing that is done is Coaching. It is necessary to explain why the behavior should not continue, and mind you this is done respectfully.

When a Corrective Action needs to be served, the agent must place his/her signature on the document that states that he understands why a sanction is given and what he can do to improve his behavior.

Labor laws make sure that due process is followed, and they protect both the agent and the employer. By following the standard procedures, we are sure no one abuses their power, and no one gets abused.

I am aware that these are two very different situations; nevertheless I think the latter might provide clues as to what changes should be done. I can think of two things:

1. A written document that officially states the offenses and corresponding sanctions. Not like the student manual but something more specific (ex. Tardiness--- 1 hour, Unexcused Absence--- 4 hours, etc.). This should be decided in a formal convention with both student representatives and Clinical Preceptors present. This will put us all in the same page, literally.

2. Coaching should be part of the SOP. And not those baleful stares but rather a clear explanation of why the sanction was issued, and get the commitment of the student to improve his/ her behavior.

It might sound tedious, but I believe it will be effective. Allowing students to think on their own why a certain type of behavior is not allowable leads them to mature a little bit and learn, instead of harboring ill feelings and bad blood. It also shows good faith of the Clinical Preceptors in the students- that they trust them enough to correct their behavior, not by using harsh punishments their power can allow but by showing a fine example of mature and grown-up behavior.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Freedom 90

Dripping with the most beautiful women in the world- Cindy, Naomi, Linda, Tatjana, and Christy lipsynch to George Michael's song. Of all the Supermodels, Christy is my favorite- a classic face, gorgeous bone structure, and a brain that got her a degree at NYU.

Transitions (Part 2)

Left: Then (me in the office with my beloved Team), and now (me and my mates at the Schistosomiasis Control and Research Hospital, we won 2nd place in the 2-day exhibit and defense).

CPT 44.1, Quality 83.5%, Productivity 94.64%, Idle 2.5, Attendance 87.03% Retention 96.3%, Team Rating (Qa-CPT) 39.4.

These dismal stats were my constant source of headaches as a young Team Manager. No matter how hard I tried- I’ve threatened, pleaded, cajoled, enticed, bribed, and strangled (Ok, that didn’t happen) my CSRs, and they still would not perform. They were polite enough and seemed receptive when coached, yet they didn’t deliver. Being a novice leader myself, I was puzzled.

Great, I thought, I was now at the position that I wanted, but what good is a team when you are always at the bottom of the rankings? Determined to turn things around, I started by visiting Powerbooks. I became an instant fan of John Maxwell, Bob Nelson, and Ken Blanchard (co-author of The One Minute Manager). I devoured their books and implemented my own interpretations of their leadership and motivational tips.

Step 1: Heart to heart talk.

Conducting a meeting with 27 people plus two Lead CSRs in itself is a handful, so I decided to talk to them by threes if I were to see to it that they realize the seriousness of the situation. It was tedious, but the move was pivotal. These were the points I raised:

a. Our schedule will definitely be affected by our performance, since the Shift Bid is based solely on the rankings of the teams (with Team Rating or Efficiency 50% and Attendance 50%). If we want to get a “normal schedule” (read: morning shift) or at least decent schedule, we have to compete with 39 other teams for it.

b. Teams 1-38 are obviously composed of more tenured CSRs, so we need twice the effort to compete with them. I already scheduled drills, call simulations and monitoring paired with intensive coaching to make those drastic changes. An improvement of Quality and seconds off the time of call is crucial!

c. Collaboration is necessary. The team score is after all an average of all individual scores- meaning everyone should work hard!

d. Communicate your concerns so I can do my best to remedy them- from payroll concerns to benefits to boyfriend troubles (my expertise) to bad blood among team members. I told them, I won’t be able to help you if you don’t tell me. (And since them I became a sounding board for the most horrendous stories from breakups to pregnancies, yikes!)

We can make the change. Starting NOW.

Step 2: A Common Goal.

Now that we all were on the same page, I asked them to create as a group a team goal that would encapsulate everything they wanted to achieve as a team. And here it is:
To be a competitive team that provides Quality Customer service with an efficient call handling time. To have each member receive Premier Bonus (which is performance-based) and eventually move up for promotions; to practice Shared Leadership; and to develop a proactive and positive attitude among members.

Step 3: Collaboration and unselfishness.

Everyone is involved, and this includes making minor sacrifices for the team’s sake. One of our extreme moves was to implement a program that involves texting or phoning members scheduled for a particular shift. “Please be informed that you have a shift at 500PST today. See you in the office.” It was bordering on harassment, but it left no room for excuses (“Oh, did I have a shift today? I thought my Vacation Leave was approved!”) But everyone understood- we have a goal, and we were going to grab the top spot.

For serious cases like illnesses or issues in the family, I made sure that Vacation Leaves and Schedule Swaps were done to avoid a single late or absence. I pulled strings in the Workforce to make sure they were approved. It even came to a point where one of my members, close to having convulsions went in the office to ask me for Voluntary Time Off, which I fought for. My ACCM approved it and the CSR was promptly sent to Makati Med. For 2 quarters since I implemented this system, we maintained a team attendance of 99%- the highest the call center had seen. And for CSRs who didn’t follow? I gave them the boot.

Step 4: Shared Leadership.

I formed three Mini Groups out of the entire team, and assigned leaders (this program by the way, yielded promotions for the CSRs who acted as “Mini Team Leaders”). They were required to analyze their own statistics and produce Action Plans, conduct their meeting (while I observed), and do mentoring and coaching. Natural born leaders rose to the challenge and this further motivated members as the post was constantly circulated every month.

I asked feedback and opinions on the programs I was going to implement because the best ideas came from them. They were involved, competitive, and in constant high spirits (my obsession had rubbed off on them!).

Step 5: Accountability for one's Actions.

I encouraged them to take control of their lives (professional and personal), make decisions, and take risks. If they did something wrong, I would ask them for the truth, and not excuses. OWN IT- I told them, of their mistakes. Sign the Corrective Action form and learn from it.

Step 6: Team Building Activities, Rewards and Recognition.

We became much closer after each out-of-town event we had. Of course, for every achievement, I gave rewards. I went as far as giving trips to Galera, and a P10,000 contest to further persuade them to break their records and reach new heights.

I made sure that in every team meeting, I mention the names of the top performers (for those poor performers, I coached them discreetly so they won’t be embarrassed). At the end of the year, I made plaques for the Top Ten Best Performers of the Year (this is on top the premier bonus they get, plus the gift certificates and prizes). I love seeing their faces and see how pumped up they get- even the non-winners.

After these steps, it was almost effortless for my team to get high marks. I began to concentrate more on my projects for the Call Center (Quality reports for my ACCM team, Payroll Discrepancy, Contests, etc.). The road to success of Team 39 was no easy one, and a lot of drastic measures had to be done (can you believe I fired a total of 32 people in my course as a Team Manager?), but in the end we were able to finally discover the true meaning of the words “Teamwork” and “Leadership”.

The results?

Six people under my supervision are now working as Team Managers themselves (some in other companies), four are now Supervisors, and others in other departments. The highest spot we got was Rank 6 out of forty teams ( a feat considering we competed with tenured CSRs in other teams).

As for our statistics:

CPT 34.3, Quality 99.1%, Productivity 98.31%, Idle 0.6, Attendance 100%, Retention 100% , Team Rating (Qa-CPT 64.8).


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Letter to Anamarie

Dear Ate Anamarie David-Cavanero,

I have a new nickname for you: GC. Gorgeous Centenarian? Gregarious Chimera? Grade Conscious! I noticed your name comes up first when they announce the results of the midterm exams and unit tests alike, while me, Stephanie and Gelo, in various orders, come in after. Hmph!

I never knew a matter of 2-6 points could make all the difference. I observed you during one of our exams with your brow knit in concentration. As for me, I don’t bother to dissect any further. If I’m unsure of the answer, I simply pick my best guess and move on- I just wanted to get the hell out of there! I admire your persistence. For that I’ll stop watching foreign films during exam week and read as diligently as you do ; )

Seriously though, I think you deserve a pat in the back. It’s not easy to be a mother of two kids and make good with school responsibilities at the same time- and on top of that you have to deal with a bitch of a commute from Alang-alang to Tacloban daily. Hats off to you!!

I just love our conversations (over French fries and sundaes) about life stories, school issues, and virtually anything our delightfully unhinged minds touch. Grabe ka mang-okray ha! I admire you as a woman. I remember the stories you told me when you eloped with your husband, fought against the odds while in the big city, and finally your transformation to a mother. I learned a lot, so from the bottom of my nonexistent uterus, I thank you.

In closing, I just wanted to say that the top position is yours for the meantime, but still up for grabs in the 2nd half of the semester (Finals!). We are certainly going to try and wrestle for it, but for now suot mo ang Koronang Itim. Hahahaha!



Monday, August 13, 2007

Two Sad Lovesongs

I had the strangest dream. It was really silly, yet sad at the same time. You’ll get a laugh out of this, I’m sure.

I was in a park. Remember that part in the Japanese Garden in Luneta, where there’s sort of a walkway through the water? I was standing there, but the floor were wooden planks instead of concrete, and it was drifting and moving like it was afloat.

I notice this fair-skinned lady in front of me, and later I realize its.. Regine! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it was like shooting a music video in my head. She was singing a sad Filipino ballad (can’t remember what), and emoting like she always does.

I didn’t approach her, instead I stay a few meters behind as I walked forward to wherever the path led to. At some point I felt a bump (like when a bamboo raft finally arrives in shallow waters and it gets stuck in the sand), and the moving stopped.

Suddenly I was inside a huge building of glass and steel. From the inside, I could see a courtyard outside with a big granite fountain and people milling about. It was like a scene from RCBC plaza, or from LKG Tower looking out. The music, has changed, and Regine had faded away somewhere.

I hear the opening strains of Lea Salonga’s “I Remember the Boy”. And while the song is playing, I try to make my way outside. My footsteps sound on the marble floors and I see this skyscraper just out side the doors. I was curious to see how tall it was.

I opened the glass doors while people whizzed past me. Sunlight hits my face and I look up to see how tall the building is.. but it just goes on and on and I couldn’t see the top.

Comfort Foods

Feeling down? We all have our own coping mechanisms. Some do a little introspection to get a new perspective, some turn to friends, while some turn to alcohol to drown their sorrows.

I have a very classic, modelesque way (sans the bulimia): I eat. With a vengeance, drowning out the voice in my head saying “food is not love!”, I would chow down on anything my tempestuous palate demanded. And then bliss.

Here are my addictions:

Kiamoy- 100 grams will do. I pair this salty treat with diet soda, and would nibble like crazy till all that’s left are the shells of the seeds. If I get really depressed, I would crack the seeds with my molars just for the heck of it. Side effect: orange-colored mouth and fingers.

Cake- Choco Nilusko (from a tiny bakeshop here in Tacloban) and Mango Cake are the ones to die for. Great for foreplay, too. Haha!

Mangosteen- This exotic fruit is from Davao. The taste is complete heaven- almost as sweet as Mangoes, but with a pinch of that saltiness you would taste in Rambutan. It’s hard to explain… Whenever I eat Mangosteen its like I’m tasting it for the first time. The downside? It's frightfully pricey compared to most fruits, and only available when in season.

Double Stuffed Oreos- a bad habit I got from work. These sweet, sweet treats are a must if I’m watching a movie or reading a book, although I’d be compelled to do an extra hour at the gym the following day for my caloric sin.

Junk food- Oh yes. And I’m not talking about those “healthy chips” with fiber. I want MSG, baby. The best source? Those one-peso-per-pack junk foods they sell to elementary kids. Grrrr!

The mere act of indulgence temporarily covers up the annoyance. On a sugar high, everything feels pleasant; and when it fades- I’m ready to deal with the problem.

Uncommon Teaching Strategies

As the University of the Philippines starts its year-long countdown towards its centennial, I am flooded a mix of emotions as I recall my journey as a student at the College of Architecture. I think what makes UP truly unique in producing top quality professionals in every imaginable field, is its unconventional methods of teaching employed. These teaching strategies have produced fearless and unconventional critical thinkers who made their way into the halls of power. If I am not mistaken, UP had produced our country’s modern-day heroes (not to mention modern-day villains) in the political arena.

I was a skinny sixteen year old, who had just arrived in Manila with my father via MV Tacloban Princess, when I was left to my own devices in Diliman. As it was, the enormous scale of things left me flabbergasted (understandable for a small town boy). Having to deal with a room full of pre-selected smart students was another thing- I was constantly on my toes to make sure I didn’t say the wrong things, lest my classmates think I was stupid.

My first class was Comm 1, under Fr. Nudas. He was a man in his seventies (head full of gray hair, wrinkly skin) with a booming voice and a generous smile. He had a weekly column in TODAY newspaper, and was associated with Ateneo de Manila University.

For the entire semester, we did nothing but compose essays (which he would critique), recite Shakespeare’s sonnets to him, read novels like Les Miserables and he would ask us to explain to him in a one-on-one discourse, its contents. I always found it weird, sitting close to him and talking, because he would always close his eyes while I went on. Around 20 minutes into the session, I swore he was fast asleep already. Oh well, I thought, I continued nevertheless.

I tried to recall some of the teaching practices that were employed the time that I was there, and I listed them down:

Alternative Learning

Once every semester (or was it an annual event?), the administration would send a memo to all teachers, declaring a specific day for “Alternative Classroom Learning”. We would still show up, but the topic we discussed could be anything under the sun- and in some cases the astral plane.

One of the architects in the college, who taught Presentation Techniques III, was able to see angels. And for the entire meeting he introduced us to our angels. I gamely asked questions, and hey- he sounded very convincing. It was certainly an interesting time for students- we get to learn other things, even how disjointed it was from the curriculum.

Harshest Punishment for Cheating

I never, ever attempted to cheat in UP. I was assured that they would disown students who did. So I carried that principle even to work- cheating is cheating, no matter what degree. I would rather get a zero, than copy another person’s work.

Crediting Exams

For some courses, including some Math and PE, one may just avail of a crediting exam. If you manage to pass, then it is as good as you have taken the course itself.

A lot of my smart mates have managed to skip Math 11 and other subjects they were already proficient in.

Free speech

This was evident in the rallies and demonstrations, which were a weekly affair, and very much a part of our college life. The Collegian, the school publication, had brilliant articles yet they were allowed once in a while to publish silly, silly editions. One had raunchy jokes, parodies, and inappropriate illustrations (read: penis cartoons as an illustration to a hilarious poem). I doubt if this is allowed elsewhere.

Varied methodologies

“I don’t care if you ever show up in this class.” Our professor was saying, in the cavernous CS Amphitheater. “If you manage to get satisfactory scores in all four long exams, the dates of which to be posted shortly, then you will be exempted for the Finals. Your class standing will be posted after each long exam. The readings are available at the College of Science office. That will be all.”

It was just 7:36 in the morning as I made my way to the CS Office. 7am classes are not for me, I decided. I bought a semester's worth of readings (roughly four inches thick of loose papers), and gritted my teeth. I only went to class for the four exams, and was exempt for the finals.

“We will not be having classes inside the classroom.” Our Humanidades professor said. I’ll tell you where we will be meeting each week. Next meeting I’ll see you all in the open space near the lagoon. By the way, Vargas Museum will have an exhibit, so you might want to check it out.”

“I want all of you to be present all the time. How can you learn if you are not around all the time?” Our weird-looking Kas 1 teacher said.

So be it. I went to class diligently for the entire sem with no absences. Except for the essays he made us do, talking about people who were long dead, he had no other means of evaluating us. It was torture sitting there with him talking and talking, so I would just tune him out and think of other things. The reward for my troubles, at the end of the semester was a 1.25 (according to him I wasn’t passionate enough about my views of Philippine heroes, I had to restrain myself not to give him my truly honest opinion).

“Here are the spaces you will be designing this semester. We will devote five hours per meeting for rendering and drafting of technical drawings. I am only after the output, so you are free to move at your own pace, come up with a particular concept, and research on the standards. Do a site visit, obtain the topography map, and start the design. Any questions?” Architect Galingan asked.

We had a zillion questions, but no one dared ask. “Ok you may start.” She goes back to checking some architectural plates.

For the entire semester, we did our work independently. Our Prof would only glance (with a raised eyebrow) at our work and mutter some comments. “This isn’t right, you need to change this.” Then she’d be back to her corner, engrossed in whatever she happened to be doing.

Later that sem, we too, would be so engrossed in our own designs to the point that I would hardly notice even if she was already scrutinizing my work over my shoulder. I had no time to react, I was busy.
To be continued in the next post..

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Conversations with Nanay

Left: My 81 yr old grandmother and brother Ted

Even after 26 years, Nanay still treats me like I’m some sort of teenage debutante. What’s funny is that she gives my younger brothers, even my female cousins the liberty to do as they please- and they haven’t even really lived independently as I did from college till the time I started working. Here are typical scenarios at home:

“Nay, I’ll be going out with friends tonight.”

“Which ones? Where will you be going to?”

“My highschool friends. I don’t know, we’ll probably have dinner and go someplace else afterwards.”

“What time will you get home?”
“Nay! I’m turning thirty in a few years, I’ve lived in Manila by myself for 9 years, I think I’d know by now how to take care of myself.”

“Don’t be out so late. I’ll leave the keys at the door.”

(And then I’d be obliged to get home before midnight because she stays up to wait for me to come home.)

It was the morning of my flight, and Nanay was knocking loudly on my door like there’s a fire or something. Reluctantly, I open the door, still wiping the sleep from my eyes.

“You’re going to be late for your flight!”

“It’s 5am, the airport is fifteen minutes away, and my plane doesn’t leave till 8:30!”

“Are you packed already?”

“Where’s your plane ticket?”

I point to my desk.

“Where will you be staying?”

“Tatat’s house. Remember her?”

“Where’s her apartment? Do you have your money with you?”


“Didik (a forsaken pet name she and my Mom and Dad gave me as a kid), don’t forget to buy my medication.”

“Yes, Nay.”

“Vascor 10mg and Crestor 10mg.”

“Yes, Nay.”

“And oh, buy me some Menthol Cone. And tell you mom when she calls, I need more of those Equate ointments for my joints.”

“Yes, Nay.”

“Have you have breakfast? Are you coming home for lunch? How come, you are leaving for school so early?”

“Yes, I already ate. I have a lot of exams so I need to get there early, and I might come home late.”

“Don’t forget to bring your water.”


During parties or gatherings, she would pull people aside and point to me, and tell them “UP yan.” She shows them my trophies, and practically shows my thesis book to every passing stranger.

Oh, Nay. 81 years haven’t slowed you down. Since you took care of me and my brothers from the day we were born till now, I can only hope I can take care of you the same way.

Looming 3rd Month

I can't believe it's almost August 17- marking the third month of my blog's existence. I actually went through almost ten headers in that short span of time, each one has a story behind it.. This one is the very first, which was actually made by my good friend Mark- who also was the person who inspired me to blog. If in a parallel universe, I get to publish The Emancipation as a book, this will be the cover. Thanks Mark ; )
My first attempt at a banner. I used a face pic and simply repeated the image. Not entirely bad, but I wouldn't use this one again.
Between the urban jungles of Makati and the pristine paradise of Guiuan.. That would be me in the middle.
A sea of white, minimalist fonts, and oh yeah that's me in my boxers. When I learned that some of the faculty members opened my blog in the Faculty Office, I cleaned this up straightaway. But this was not as risque as the homoerotic ads of D & G, which I also used as a banner for a short period.
Leonardo diCaprio makes a cameo in this orange banner. I always loved that photo from The Beach.. very dramatic, as if he's waiting for his "emancipation".
These pics were taken at the centennial airport. I can still remember the face of the Japanese guy who looked at me strangely as I posed away like crazy.
More experiments with Photoshop..
Thanks for visiting! In closing, I'd like to share this quote I've always liked:
"Surely it is one of the strangest things we know, that mere printer's ink on wood-pulp can so draw two minds together and enclose them for a moment within a single thought."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

5 Common Misconceptions About Gay People- And Allow Me to Clear It Up For You (Ver 2)

Misconception: A mistaken thought, idea, or notion.

We are weak.

Perhaps it is the quality of being effeminate that led most people to harbor this notion. In a macho world where males have to be brutish to assert their power and dominance, any male who shows emotion or fails to throw a ball or engage in “manly activities” is inferior. It is a sad truth that many, especially people who are uneducated or those who fail to open their minds, still subscribe to this antiquated belief.

But we all know real strength is in the spirit, and gay people and members of the fairer sex alike, have demonstrated the power of determination and persistence. It is an amazing feat for young gay men, who journey through childhood and adolescence being ridiculed and criticized for their lack of masculine stance, to achieve great heights in whatever industry they choose. Overcoming such unjust treatment, which more often than not manifest feelings of confusion (“Why me? Why am I like this?), shame, and self loathing, is certainly no easy task.

We jump at every man we see.

Some straight males, especially those who had an unfortunate experience with a gay person, may tend to generalize this to the entire populace. If we follow that line of thinking, then if for example, a person of a different race or culture does something atrocious, would it be fair for us to assume that the rest of his people are inclined to do such a thing? Conduct is specific to a person!

Or this notion could simply be a huge ego stroke for straight men who believe all gay men are attracted to them. Ugh.

We are too emotional.

Once again, this is not true for all gay men. As a matter of fact, all human beings, whether man or woman, gay or straight, at some point in their lives have the capacity of harboring strong emotions. This should not be stereotyped as a “gay quality”.

We are all effeminate and love to wear women’s clothes

This may be true for gay men who cross dress, but a lot of gay men are also happy with their own looks and don’t feel the compulsion to dress and look like a woman. There are so many levels that encompass the whole spectrum: from the most effeminate to straight-acting gay men. Gayness is not defined by sheer stance and wardrobe, so this should be removed as with other erroneous notions about gay men.

We are much more immoral than straight people and will surely go to hell.

Homosexuality and Catholicism are probably the most difficult to reconcile. The bible is very specific (in the book Leviticus) that it is forbidden for a man to have sexual relations with another man. It is truly difficult to find answers to questions like: Is being gay a sin? Does God still love homosexuals? Is it an absolute that gay people not express their love and intimacy physically like a man and a woman would?

To this day, the answers still elude us. But one thing is for certain: only God, not other people can make judgments.

Are gay people much more immoral than straight people? It all certainly boils down to personal conduct. The emphasis is on refraining from making judgments; after all, we are not in a position to do so.

The Bottomline:

Sexual orientation should never be an issue. Prejudice and bigotry spring from these mistaken notions, and they should be struck from people’s minds.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


I know I should get back to my books and study for the next exam, but I’m too upset over the last one I took. Darn, Physics really gets to you! I suppose I might have fared well in the multiple choice questions (some of which needed computations, which was nevertheless worth only 1 point), but as for the rest of the exam… let’s just say I’ll just call on all the Saints today for a miracle.

The thing that I love (and hate) about science subjects like Physics, Inorganic and Organic Chem, and the like is the fact that one need not memorize anything. It’s all about understanding concepts, and once you get it all in your head, the rest is easy. The problem lies in the lack of time.

Imagine: a minimum 100 item exam to be taken in about less than an hour and a half (counting the time the papers were distributed). Instructors say they timed the questions, so that they may be taken within the allotted time frame. This gives students more or less a minute per item. Quite generous if the questions do not require analysis, but unfortunately a large part are situational questions. In problem solving, if you make a mistake in interpreting the problem, you are doomed. Well, at least you’ll get a point for “Given”.

I remember my Inorganic Chem exam finals. I way about halfway through, feeling very confident of my answers, till the proctor announced, “You have 30 minutes left.” Shit! There are 50 questions to go! I flip through the booklet and some of them are long and complicated problems. As I struggled to hurry, I dropped my calculator. As I pick it up, my test permit flies a meter away. Crap! I manage to answer the next thirty questions, and as I answer no. 80, the proctor says stop writing. In a desperate attempt, I mindlessly shade all the boxes from 80-100 (as long as I never leave a blank, I consoled myself). You would think it would be easier in Organic Chem. I was wrong; the molecular structures given made the floor plan of the Sistine Chapel look bland and ordinary. Seriously, it was so intricate I could not even begin to identify the Benzene rings, the main chain of Carbon atoms, and where the branches started. And that was just the beginning.

Moving exams are another story. You are given a minute per specimen, and answer about two to three questions, 50 stations in all. Ding! The bell rings and you move to your microscope or specimen. I try to fight my nervous shaking fingers and try to concentrate on the field of vision as seen in the ocular. Unfortunately, if you will be using the old microscope, hardly any light gets reflected into the lens. You are not allowed to squint (you will be asked to leave), you are not allowed to readjust the focus (you will be asked to leave), or talk to voice out your concern (you will be asked to leave). So you suck it up, and try to make sense of what you see. Ding! Move on to the next microscope.

I remember a funny incident where I thought I saw either Neurons or perhaps they could be Sperm cells (the long projections of neurons could sometimes be mistaken for the flagella of the sperm). The item had two questions: identify the cell, and provide its function, so to compromise, I wrote:

a. Sperm cell

b. To transmit nerve impulses

Hahahaha! At least I got either one of those correctly, that’s for sure. I hate microscopes. In your moving exam suddenly, adipose tissue begins to resemble bone tissue. I could not tell the lamina propria in such poor lighting, darn it!

Our exams are till tomorrow, and the moving exam in Anatomy is scheduled Monday. I should have slipped a bone or two from the samples in class. It so hard identifying each bone and the projections and indentations from memory. I need a specimen!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


While the perfect timing of my shift from the UK to US track proved advantageous (a fast-tracked promotion that only took three months from Supervisor to Team Manager, when it usually it takes about a year minimum), I was also thrust into a new world of cutthroat statistics to be met per team, people management (i.e. managing people in their thirties and sometimes forties, while I merely turned 23 that year), work politics, deadlines, progress reports, punishing schedules, and more deadlines. We had Verizon as our major client; the US office had also just signed a contract with Sprint, which meant the call volume would skyrocket. Everyone braced themselves for the impact; it was going to be a crazy 3rd quarter.

I was barely even finished settling down my things on my new station, after the contract signing, when I was given a barrage of things to attend to. One, go to the Training Dept. to meet some of my future CSRs. Two, shadow a Team Manager as she went about her tasks, and at the same time orient myself on the processes and SOPs of the company. Three, activate my Outlook and set my trackers- QA, CPT, Attendance. Four, learn Kronos software, TCS, and AVAYA all in the same day. By lunchtime, my head was spinning. I felt nauseous, and I seriously considered quitting. I took a sip of my coffee, which had gone stale in my mug.

“Thad, ok ka lang?” A friend asks, as I stare blankly at my PC screen.

“Ha?” I said distractedly. “Yeah, I’m on break. Jen, I really feel like going on sick leave today. I feel sick.”

“Gagah, kaka-promote mo pa lang! Haler, just suck it up. You have a few hours to go before the shift ends.”

“Beyk, I’ll go to the sleeping area and close my eyes for a while. Windang na talaga ako.” I said as I made my way to the 12th floor. Even years later as a TM, it would become my daily habit to nap during my one hour break (I’ve mastered the art of stuffing food in my mouth during 15 minute breaks).

Little did I know that most difficult part of my job had yet to come. Three days into my being a TM, I inherited several CSRs from a Team Manager who resigned. I was backtracking and ironing out their records when I realized the previous TM had left a lot of work to be done. The CSR’s records were last updated months ago, and as I filled in the Attendance records from TCS, I got the first feelings of dread.

Nina was a CSR on probationary status. Her Quality scores and Call processing time were satisfactory, but her Attendance was far from pleasing. She had incurred enough occurrences to merit a Final Warning. Per the probationary contract, it is stipulated that a Final Warning automatically disqualifies them for regularization; ergo they are to clear out their lockers and pack their bags should that day come. I consulted with an ACCM, since the CSR was not informed of her status nor was she coached or issued the preceding Verbal and Written warnings, I was able to initially get her off the hook. I prepared her written warning, to be served the following day.

I was able to go through the process without trouble, and persuaded her to work on her attendance. But fate must have had other plans, because the following day Nina called in sick again. Upon her return, I had no choice. I approached her and asked her to log off the phones.

“Nina! Why were you absent yesterday?”

“Sorry boss, I was really not feeling well.”

“We just discussed this days ago. Nina, you are aware that you are already on written warning, and just days away from your regularization date. Do you have a Medical Certificate to support this? I can file it as an LOA if it’s supported by a Med Cert from a Medicard-accredited physician.”

“No, I don’t have a Med Cert.” She said, sitting up.

I took a deep breath. “I will be serving you a Final Warning for absences.” My heart started to pound, I swear she could hear it. Oh dear, I thought- I’m about to fire my first CSR! I heard through the grapevine she was two months pregnant, and this added to my apprehension.

“Unfortunately, this effectively disqualifies you for regularization. Sorry Nina, but you are already- ” I squirmed in my seat.

“Termed?” She said, looking me in the eye.

“Yes!” I sighed with relief. (Gosh, I was really an amateur!) “I’m really sorry but you have to surrender your badge, and clear out your locker today.”

I went back to my station and collapsed on my seat after that episode. EJ, a fellow TM, walked by and looked at me sympathetically. “Rough day? Let me guess, you fired someone.”

“Tell me about it.” I said.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

EB-able Pics: Sayonara!

To conservative readers, I apologize. I was on the process of cleaning my hard drive, when I found them in one of the folders. I’ve had my fair share of EBs (eyeball), and usually I would post these pics on my profile to “lure” my prospective dates. (Haha!)

For the record, I’m done with this phase. I’ve moved on to a more sensible, mature dating attitude (charot!) that doesn’t anymore result in prospective relationships turning into mere one night stands. So allow them to take their final bow, as I delete them from my PC. These pics have provided my g4m account a constant barrage of Hi’s, Hello’s, propositions, lewd remarks, love confessions, and many more. If anything, I was constantly entertained. Oh well, those were the days ; )

Warning: may cause temporary blindness hahaha!


Monday, August 6, 2007

Kwentong Pagkain

This will be my first post in Filipino, which I’m a little squeamish about. My lowest grades since time immemorial had always been: Math, PE (I hated sports when I was younger, though I crave for it now), and Filipino. Ask me to read aloud in Filipino and I’d stammer a lot, but ask me to read in English and I can deliver it either with an American or a British accent with no trouble. Nakakahiya! Pero, Waray Waray ako, hindi Tagalog so I never really use Filipino that often. Lusot!!

Ayoko ng lasa ng Beefloaf. Yung Fiesta, alam mo yun? Baon ko kasi yun mula 9 yrs old ako hanggang mag-graduate ako ng Grade Six. Napurga na yata ako. Ewan, masarap naman sa akin yun dati, pero ngayon, amoy pa lang naduduwal na ako.

Isda rin. Pero hindi naman lahat. Isda palagi ang ulam namin noon, kung hindi yung kartun-kartong Karne Norte na padala ni Papa galing Saudi. Mangingisda kasi ang Tiyahin ko kaya meron kami palaging isda. Hindi sa nagrereklamo ako pero subukan nyong ulamin ang isda araw-araw sa siyam na taon at tingnan natin kung di kayo magsawa. Kakatwa, pero gustong gusto ko naman yung lasa ng mga pagkaing dagat tulad ng hipon, alimango (yung may gata), tahong, pusit, at tinapa.

Minsan, isinama akong mangisda noong mga 12 taon pa lamang ako. Madaling-araw pa lang ay sumakay na kami sa fishing boat na naglayag papuntang laot. Unti-unting sumikat ang araw, at sinimulan nilang itapon ang mga lambat sa dagat. Ako naman ay nakaupo lamang sa isang sulok, nanonood sa ginagawa ng mga tauhan.

Makalipas ang isang oras, hinila nila ang lambat pabalik sa pump boat. Daan-daang mga isda at lamang dagat ang nagtatalunan sa sahig. Isa-isa itong pinulot at inilagay sa kahong Styrofoam na may yelo, para daw hindi masira ang mga ito. Inulit pa ito ng ilang beses, hanggang mapuno ang lahat ng mga kahon.

Merong tauhang nagsaing ng kanin, at ang ulam namin ay inihanda ng aking tiyuhin. Namili sya ng ilan sa mga buhay na isda, at iyon ay nilinisan at ibinabad sa suka at mga rekado. Doon ko unang natikman ang Kinilaw. Pati ang pusit na ibinabad lang din sa suka ay pinatikim sa akin. Gabi na ng kami ay dumaong (at ako ay amoy pusit na rin).

Kahit hanggang nagkatrabaho na ako, gustong-gusto ko pa rin ang mga pagkaing dagat. Naalala ko noong minsang kumain kami sa Circles sa Shangri-La Makati, bilang handa ng boss namin dahil sa bagong account na kasing laki ng Sprint PCS.

Pabalik-balik ako sa seafood dishes. Ibat-ibang luto ng mga pagkaing dagat: baked scallops, indian shrimp dish, cracked crab on ice, grilled salmon, at seafood pasta. Dalawang oras na yata akong kumakain (himala na hindi ako nagka-LBM), at hindi lamang yun ang sinubukan ko. Pati na steak, lamb chops, mga pastries, mga cakes, crème brule, at tiramisu. At nang malapit ng pumutok ang tiyan ko, pumunta kami sa chocolate fountain at kumain ng isang platong chocolate-covered fruits.

Ah, mabuti na lang walang Fiesta Beefloaf sa Circles!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

150th Post

I have this habit of posting something a little personal every time I reach 50 posts. This is my 150th, so I’m writing this. I always get a little sappy; after all, my blog is sort of my own artwork- pieces of my life patched together, painted over, interpreted and rendered, hoping that it shows me in my truest form.

A classmate once said she learned more about me through my blog than interacting with me in class. True, since back in my closeted days, I was a very reserved person. I Never really talked about my personal life and I averted questions on romance and relationships. Indeed these jumbled entries have completed its purpose of freeing me.

Looking back at my previous posts, I was quite amused by the changes in the tone of my writings. A very angry, catty mood manifested itself in the beginning, changing into provocative, to silly, to mellow, and finally a laid back tone for the more recent posts. These changes in hues actually reflected the colors my personality took on, as it adapted new sensibilities.

I just wanted to say thanks to the folks who regularly read my stuff. Haha pasensya na, not all of my entries are good, but I do try ; ) Growth, after all takes time, and I hope one day I wake up and be this grown-up person I’ve always wanted to be. For the mean time, bear with me.

For the people I see in school everyday.. Hmm. Sorry din, I know I can be a little “out there” sometimes. It’s a given already that I’m a little weird, so try not to be surprised ; ) My colorful moods go as quickly as they come, so just talk to me.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Guitar (Part 1)

(The Guitar)
by Thad Hinunangan


Elsa was pissed. She dropped the pots and pans carelessly on the sink and turned on the faucet. She muttered under her breath.

“Elsa, apo.” Her grandmother walked into the kitchen. “The neighbors can hear that. What’s wrong?”

“What is he doing here?” Elsa was referring to hear cousin Caloy, who arrived a few minutes ago.

“Their band is playing tonight in the fiesta in Barangay Bliss. He’ll stay here only for a few nights.”

“A few nights? Why can’t he leave tomorrow?” Elsa said indignantly.

“Elsa.” Her grandmother reproached. “It’s Christmas in a few days, and he needs a place to stay. Besides, he says his band might join the citywide contest on Christmas Eve.”

Elsa did not answer. She just continued washing the pots. She disliked Caloy. He was the exact opposite of her: organized, focused, and hardworking. Her uncle, Caloy’s father, was the youngest of her mother’s siblings. He was the only one in the family who didn’t finish college, but chose instead to marry at the age of 17 and live off his parent’s money. At 38 he left his wife, then pregnant with his fifth child, and ran off with a maid.

Caloy was third among five siblings. All of them followed their father’s footsteps- none of them ever finished their schooling. The eldest child, a girl, enrolled for a year in college and later eloped with a classmate who brought her to Manila. Caloy stopped school when he was third year in High School. He joined a band as a guitarist, and they played during fiestas in various barrios and towns.

Elsa, on the other hand finished Nursing. She had passed the board exams and was only waiting for her application to the US to be approved. Her parents were OFWs, both in the medical field. For her, the chance to work abroad was her ticket to a better life.

Elsa hated the fact that Caloy and his family depended on her grandmother for support. Now that she had retired, of course her parents were now the ones giving the money for her uncle’s family. She cursed under her breath.

“Like father, like son.” And looks like they are going to drag us all through the mud, she thought. She hated the sight of him sitting down in front of the TV like some guest, while she did the housework. She hated the fact that she endured years and years of hard work in her studies to get to where she is, and her cousin merely quit school to join a band and live off her parent’s earnings.

As she carried the plates to the dining table, she glanced at Caloy sitting idly on the sofa. “Your happy days are over.” Elsa promised.

What Color Are You?

Our eyes are so amazing- they can express emotions and tell a lot of stuff without your lips moving. Altering your eye color is yet another way to express one’s self. If it’s your first time to use lenses, make sure to consult with your ophthalmologist, they should be able to answer your questions, and show you the how-to’s.

By experience, the most comfortable lenses I tried (there are two types- but I usually prefer disposable lenses because they are less pricey than their extended wear counterparts) were Colorblends. They also offer the most natural looking colors (read: you won’t look like Muning, your cat, when you go out on the streets) which are usually three shades blended beautifully to create that luminous wide-eyed look.

They sell them at around P1,500 and they come with a free kit consisting of a pouch, a contact lens case, and a small bottle of contact lens solution. So, what color looks best on you? It all depends on a lot of things: your skin tone, eye color (some are just tints to enhance your existing eye color), your mood, and the look you are trying to achieve.

Me? I go for colors that make my eyes pop, sans mascara and/or fake lashes. Lighter skin tones have the advantage of being able to pull off even the most dramatic hues. Here are some of my observations:

Brown- Almost the same as my eye color, its a little lighter towards the pupil, creating that “halo” look. Too subtle if you ask me.

Turquoise- Very similar to Blue. If you want a dramatic look you can try Green or classic Blue.

Blue- The shade I’m wearing on the header above. I love the color because it almost looks like I was born with it (Charot!). It’s dramatic enough to make my eyes pop. Looks good even in sunlight.

Grey- Looks good on few people (very beautiful people, I suspect). If you are still experimenting, try to put this at the bottom of your list. I had grey contacts before and I rarely used them.

Green- Very dramatic.

Amethyst, Topaz, etc.- These are usually limited colors that contact lens makers sell. Great for parties and that over-the-top look. Don’t wear outside in daylight because there will be some staring and pointing ; )

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Bayot, bakla, binabae, sireyna, jokla, bading, faggot, queer, and cocksucker are only a few of the degrading nicknames used to refer to gay men. Discrimination and stigma of homosexuals still exist even in today’s modern society. Here are some statements made in a school setting, of all places, about homosexuality:

“Ok la maging bayot, basta dire ka mapaopera.” (It’s ok to be gay as long as you don’t have sexual reassignment surgery)

“Homosexuality is a form of deviance.”

“The sixth dimension of wellness is sexuality. Males should act like males, females should act like females. Males who act like females or males who feel like females are more on the illness side.”

If these erroneous statements came from people who are highly educated, how much more for ordinary members of society who have barely finished secondary education? Most prejudices and mistaken notions about gay people spring from antiquated beliefs that have little to do with reality.

In ultra-conservative settings such as in the provinces, people consider gay men as passing amusements. Freakshows, actually, who are jokes and are not to be respected or taken seriously. When they learn that a person is gay, it is as if the person has lost his personhood, and should therefore not be treated as one would treat a "normal" person.

Change in the people’s perception of gay men is still possible, and it would start by correcting those mistaken notions. The following information is from the American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/); it answers the most common questions on sexual orientation and homosexuality.

What Is Sexual Orientation?
Sexual Orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person. It is easily distinguished from other components of sexuality including biological sex, gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female) and the social gender role (adherence to cultural norms for feminine and masculine behavior).
Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive homosexuality to exclusive heterosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality. Bisexual persons can experience sexual, emotional and affectional attraction to both their own sex and the opposite sex. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors.

What Causes a Person To Have a Particular Sexual Orientation?
There are numerous theories about the origins of a person's sexual orientation; most scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, sexual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality. In summary, it is important to recognize that there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people.

Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?
No, human beings can not choose to be either gay or straight. Sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.
Can Therapy Change Sexual Orientation?
No. Even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, sometimes pressured by the influence of family members or religious groups to try and do so. The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable.
However, not all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who seek assistance from a mental health professional want to change their sexual orientation. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people may seek psychological help with the coming out process or for strategies to deal with prejudice, but most go into therapy for the same reasons and life issues that bring straight people to mental health professionals.

What About So-Called "Conversion Therapies"?
Some therapists who undertake so-called conversion therapy report that they have been able to change their clients' sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Close scrutiny of these reports however show several factors that cast doubt on their claims. For example, many of the claims come from organizations with an ideological perspective which condemns homosexuality. Furthermore, their claims are poorly documented. For example, treatment outcome is not followed and reported overtime as would be the standard to test the validity of any mental health intervention.
The American Psychological Association is concerned about such therapies and their potential harm to patients. In 1997, the Association's Council of Representatives passed a resolution reaffirming psychology's opposition to homophobia in treatment and spelling out a client's right to unbiased treatment and self-determination. Any person who enters into therapy to deal with issues of sexual orientation has a right to expect that such therapy would take place in a professionally neutral environment absent of any social bias.

Is Homosexuality a Mental Illness or Emotional Problem?
No. Psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals agree that homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or an emotional problem. Over 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that homosexuality, in and itself,is not associated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems. Homosexuality was once thought to be a mental illness because mental health professionals and society had biased information. In the past the studies of gay, lesbian and bisexual people involved only those in therapy, thus biasing the resulting conclusions. When researchers examined data about these people who were not in therapy, the idea that homosexuality was a mental illness was quickly found to be untrue.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association confirmed the importance of the new, better designed research and removed homosexuality from the official manual that lists mental and emotional disorders. Two years later, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution supporting the removal. For more than 25 years, both associations have urged all mental health professionals to help dispel the stigma of mental illness that some people still associate with homosexual orientation.

Can Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals Be Good Parents?
Yes. Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual and by heterosexual parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in four critical areas: their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, and popularity with friends. It is also important to realize that a parent's sexual orientation does not dictate his or her children's.
Another myth about homosexuality is the mistaken belief that gay men have more of a tendency than heterosexual men to sexually molest children. There is no evidence to suggest that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.

Why Do Some Gay Men, Lesbians and Bisexuals Tell People About Their Sexual Orientation?
Because sharing that aspect of themselves with others is important to their mental health. In fact, the process of identity development for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals called "coming out", has been found to be strongly related to psychological adjustment—the more positive the gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity, the better one's mental health and the higher one's self-esteem.

Why Is the "Coming Out" Process Difficult for Some Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People?
For some gay and bisexual people the coming out process is difficult, for others it is not. Often lesbian, gay and bisexual people feel afraid, different, and alone when they first realize that their sexual orientation is different from the community norm. This is particularly true for people becoming aware of their gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation as a child or adolescent, which is not uncommon. And, depending on their families and where they live, they may have to struggle against prejudice and misinformation about homosexuality. Children and adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the deleterious effects of bias and stereotypes. They may also fear being rejected by family, friends,co-workers, and religious institutions. Some gay people have to worry about losing their jobs or being harassed at school if their sexual orientation became well known. Unfortunately, gay, lesbian and bisexual people are at a higher risk for physical assault and violence than are heterosexuals. Studies done in California in the mid 1990s showed that nearly one-fifth of all lesbians who took part in the study and more than one-fourth of all gay men who participated had been the victim of a hate crime based on their sexual orientation. In another California study of approximately 500 young adults, half of all the young men participating in the study admitted to some form of anti-gay aggression from name-calling to physical violence.

What Can Be Done to Overcome the Prejudice and Discrimination the Gay Men, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Experience?
Research has found that the people who have the most positive attitudes toward gay men, lesbians and bisexuals are those who say they know one or more gay, lesbian or bisexual person well—often as a friend or co-worker. For this reason, psychologists believe negative attitudes toward gay people as a group are prejudices that are not grounded in actual experiences but are based on stereotypes and prejudice.
Furthermore, protection against violence and discrimination is very important, just as it is for other minority groups. Some states include violence against an individual on the basis of his or her sexual orientation as a "hate crime" and 10 U.S. states have laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Why is it Important for Society to be Better Educated About Homosexuality?
Educating all people about sexual orientation and homosexuality is likely to diminish anti-gay prejudice. Accurate information about homosexuality is especially important to young people who are first discovering and seeking to understand their sexuality—whether homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual. Fears that access to such information will make more people gay have no validity—information about homosexuality does not make someone gay or straight.

Are All Gay and Bisexual Men HIV Infected?
No. This is a commonly held myth. In reality, the risk of exposure to HIV is related to a person's behavior, not their sexual orientation. What's important to remember about HIV/AIDS is it is a preventable disease through the use of safe sex practices and by not using drugs.

The author remains hopeful, in seeing changes in people’s attitudes toward homosexuality. People don’t even need a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo to help them understand the plight of gay men, they only need to put themselves in the shoes of those who are oppressed and discriminated upon. Change takes time, but hopefully it has already begun to take place.


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