mush-ic and screaming instructions

Mush. Mush. Mush. Relaxing to the acoustic strains of MYMP (Thanks, Bijoi.) Ahhh… Coooool voice (the girl’s; the guy’s is ho-hum). Like rain on a hot summer day. No Ordinary Love. Constantly. Say You Love Me. Valentine’s in summer. Ahihihi.

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Went to the BoyzIIMen concert last Friday night. It was one of those “Huwat?? It’s samkindovafreeeeee??” surprises from a friend (won’t tell who, hehehe). My chinky eyes bulged at the sight of the price marked on the ticket: P5000! Whoopee. (Okay, scalping did pass my mind for a microsecond.)

I’m not a big fan of the group to start with. I know two or three of their songs. But watching them live, you just got to love the groove of those guys! The harmony is ooooh-some!

Sometimes I think concerts are just an excuse to scream. No, not the “Taxi! Taxi! Taxi” kind of scream. More like, “Saklolooooh! Sunooooog!” Yep, that kind. Screaming that burns your throat, dilates the blood vessels in your neck, and bloats your lungs, but sans the unfortunate incident of fire or crime. The concert’s dim lights and the booming sound system coax people out of their vocal inhibitions. No one really cares if you SCREEEAAAAAM! Yes, even if you don’t follow instructions. For example:

BoyzIIMen to crowd: “Say ‘Ooooh, yeah’ “
Teen gals behind me: “AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”
BoyzIIMen: “Ooh, ooh, ooh yeah!”
Teen gals: “AAAAAAAAHHHH!”

Fine! Simple follow, cannot instruction. But then again, who cares! 😉

curious non-poet

snaps. elusive verses
little strings of words

claps.
winding sentences
coiled loops of words

why say in snaps
what you can convey in claps

i clap because
my snaps are insecure

but who says
one shouldn’t try

snap… snap… snap…

drawing mountains


Banaue highlands.

Someday I will have children of my own. (Yes, little human beings who will actually think I’m the wisest, strongest, bravest, and most handsome man on earth—at least until they turn eight.) As soon as they are able to wield crayons, I will make sure to teach them to draw mountains. But not the way I had learned to do it as a young boy: with two huge inverted V’s and a semi-circle in between as the sun. Mountains, as I have been recently reminded, are much grander and spectacular than that.

Instead of perfect triangles with pointed summits, I will guide my little ones to draw irregular peaks, both rugged and gently sloping. Sprawled on the floor, we will outline mountains that fill a large sheet of paper. (Drawing on walls or floors, though fun, will surely get us in trouble with their mother.) We won’t want small mounds; we’ll aim for majestic heights. Our mountains will be colored in shades of green, brown, black, even yellow and orange. All sorts of trees will spring up from the body of the mountains. Some tall, some small. Some lush with leaves, some bald and brown. And grass, drawn as specks of green, will cover the empty spaces—yes, I believe we’ll want verdant mountains.

And when my little Michaelangelos finally get bored with drawing mountains with paper and crayons, I will know to bring them to see the real mountains. Together we will stand in awe of this great work of art: still yet alive, mighty yet inviting. And, hopefully, they will look up to me and ask who could have drawn this great wonder before us. Then I will tell them of the Great Mountain Maker….

And then maybe, just maybe, they will never stop drawing mountains. They will live their lives always in awe of mountains and their Creator. Until they themselves hold the chubby hands of their own offsprings, drawing mountains and then telling of the Great Mountain Maker.

pitter patter

I unplug the earphones for a moment to listen to better music: the sound of rain. And I realize it’s been a long time since I last heard rain music.

Here I come, Banaue and Sagada. Isang tulog na lang.

unpacking 4: the album of people

Let me now employ the assistance of the proverbial thousand words that pictures paint, to help me unpack. Here are pics of the people–with anecdotes, of course–that made my first visit to the US exceedingly memorable. Thanks to you all!

United Colors of Christian Publishing. The awesome men and women I spent two weeks with attending the International Christian Publishing Institute in Colorado Springs. Together we learned, laughed, ate (a lot!), prayed, and played. Missing you all. (This pic taken after a hearty Mexican dinner served with live Mexican rondalla(?) music.)

Proud to be Pinoy! The first time (after my brother’s wedding 13 years ago) that I wore a barong. Not exactly the perfect weather for it, hence the coat. With me, from far right: Tarun (Bangladesh) told about how God worked a miracle in his family; Nikolai (Bulgaria) is an engaging conversationalist who claims his English isn’t good, but I disagree; Roman (Russia, now in US) brims with ideas and ideals that will definitely bring him to places.

The NY Subway with K.Fernan. I think he won’t mind if I divulge that he’s 40, because he definitely doesn’t look it at all! That’s Kuya Fernan, a former officemate now based in NY. This pic taken during my first subway ride on my first night in New York City. Behind us is the map of the famed NY subway, a crazy yet efficient labyrinth of trainssss that I dared not venture on my own. The next day, we took the subway again, this time with my luggage–on rush hour! Imagine the stares we got. An irate passenger, a huge black man, standing right behind me exclaimed, “Step on mah foot, and am gonna put it in yoh face!” Gulp. Thankfully the threat was not addressed to me. Had a great time, Kuya Fernan! Super thanks, superduperdude! Next time I’ll come in the summer! Hehe.

In the company of scientists. Gelo and Cathy, research techs at NYU Hospital and friends from college, made NY seem like home to me 🙂 Gelo let me crash his apartment (love the sofa bed!), lent me his sneakers when my climacool ones got soaked in slush, accompanied me for last-minute pasalubong shopping (even if my list included lipstick!), breezed me through NY streets, buses, and trains! Cathy patiently fetched me when I got “lost” in Manhattan, even drew a map for me when I decided to walk around Manhattan one day, dipped my hand in wax just for the fun of it, let me view cells harvested from the nether regions of infant male anatomy (go figure!)… and many more! Thanks, pwens, for making my NY stay a blast! 🙂 Hi to Mare and Esteban! (“Stole” this pic from Gelo’s blog.)

Too much good stuff, Rhea! On easter weekend, I took the train from New York to Washington, DC. I wanted to stay awake the entire three hours so I can appreciate the landscape. But since I got only an hour’s sleep the night before, I snoozed through most of the train ride. But I was glad I rested in the train because I would definitely need lots of energy for the fun Rhea had cooked up for me when I reached DC! Museums galore 🙂 We even went to the Capitol, the Library of Congress (this pic), the White House (a long peek through the fence), the Lincoln monument. Even had the opportunity to meet the awesome people from Rhea’s church caregroup. Great experiences all! But, Rhea, I enjoyed our talks the most. Your life is a compelling invitation to worship God, kapatid! Keep blooming where you have been providentially planted.

With Da Man! Easter Sunday, I went to church with Rhea at Covenant Life Church in Maryland. Guess who the senior pastor is? (Besp, it’s none other than the man we loved to “hate” in college! Hehe. By the way, that’s a compliment.) Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye and, more recently, Not Even A Hint and Stop Dating the Church, spoke about Paul and his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus. Nothing fancy or phony about his speaking style. More meat and heart, less theatrics. Which is very good, in my humble opinion. After church and after I sheepishly posed for this pic (“Hi Josh, we publish your books in the Phiippines.”), Rhea and some friends from her care group took me to Flowerhill Starbucks, the place where Joshua did most of his writing 🙂

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*Yawn* Tap dancer needs to hit the pillows soon. Next time, “The Album of Places.”

next stop

The backpack is getting loaded again. This time it’s going to Banaue and Sagada for our company’s annual retreat. A few days ago, I stopped myself in midsentence when I realized that I was about to complain about having to go through the hassles of traveling again. Boink. This is something I shouldn’t complain about!

And so I won’t. Although the closet is still a mess and the laundry is still half-done, I will gladly fill the backpack and anticipate an awesome time admiring the beauty of God’s creation up north and bonding with co-workers. The bus trip will be long (over 10 hours, I hear) that’s why I’m loading the iPod with favorite tunes. I still need to buy a pair of sandals for the trek and maybe another pair of hiking shorts. My cheap dark glasses broke the other day, so I need to buy another (cheap) pair.

I signed up for the more difficult trek: to Batad. This is quite a stretch for me and my arthritic limbs. But since they miraculously did not give me much trouble in the face of the cruel winter cold, I’m having faith that they will cooperate with me as I traverse Mt. Province terrain. But, as a precaution, I am starting to get chummy with the burly guys at Sales just in case my knees throw a tantrum and I need to be carried. Heaven forbid!