Don’t look now—I’ve once again redesigned the site (with much help from a template, thank you). There’s just something therapeutic about tinkering with HTML/CSS codes. Half the time I didn’t really know what I was doing, but the thrill was in the discovery. I did have enough sense to keep a back-up of the original codes before I tweaked here and there 🙂

It was also fun doing the header/banner in Photoshop. In case you didn’t notice (yeah, right!), that is sillyserious me on the left (what else would I be—the keyboard?). Nothing like using your own pic to experiment with—that way you’re sure no one will complain if you make a mess of it. Well, actually, some people you know just might complain about your pic’s truthfulness if you overdid the retouching. Hehe. So I’m coming clean now: I did blur a pimple or two (or three) on the forehead and erased a wayward spike of hair, but, hey, who wouldn’t if it was just a sweep of a mouse and a click away, right? Besides, they do it all the time with images on magazine covers and—wait, why am I explaining? Stop.

Come to think of it, I kinda like this design better than its brown and oldish predecessor. Ahh…Change still lingers in the air.

writing fiction

I can recall only three instances when I wrote fiction.

The first was in grade school, maybe fourth grade. I had just put down a book one Saturday morning, most probably a Bobbsey Twins mystery, and decided I would try my hand at story writing. I don’t remember the story now except that it began at the back of some house and one of the child characters was named “Mary.” I read the first few sentences to my elder sister, who was then an English major. Her comments escape me now, but I do remember her chiding me that “says” is pronounced as “sez” and not “seys.” (So does that mean “say” is pronounced “se”? Hehe.)

The second time was in sophomore year in high school. It was the Speechfest and, as class president, I was coordinating our contestants for the various events: dramatic dialogue, declamation, oration, speech choir, etc. I couldn’t find a suitable piece for our declamation contestant so I decided to write one—in Filipino. Written in first person, it was about a girl who saw her best friend being raped, and her struggle to do the right thing by becoming a witness in court, or just turn a blind eye as if she wasn’t there. My classmate’s performance didn’t win the top prize—partly because she didn’t have enough time to prepare since I crammed the piece a few nights before the contest. But I think the piece was okay. The unfortunate thing is I didn’t save a copy of it.

The third time was in college, for my Philosophy class. We were required to watch a play and then write something fictitious along the lines of the play that would apply some of the principles discussed in class. My dorm roommate let me use his computer for my paper, and in no time, I found myself lost in my little story. I just tapped away, sentence after sentence of make-believe. Honestly, I felt a little odd—almost scared that the story seemed to have taken on a life of its own. That was the last time I wrote fiction. There just wasn’t any opportunity after that to dabble with fiction.

Then came this blog. Now, I’m semi-seriously thinking of dipping a finger into the murky and mysterious waters of fiction yet again. I don’t know what will become of it. I know for sure that writing fiction demands a lot more than writing personal essays. But I don’t want to get paralyzed and miss the opportunity to even try. I’ve decided long ago that this blog won’t be about wonderfully written pieces. It will be about expression and connection. But, hopefully, I would churn out good-enough entries to keep you dropping by. I’d be lying if I said I don’t get excited when my blog visitors commend a post I’ve made (

So there. Maybe next time you peek at the tap dancer, you’ll see him tap-dancin’ in mid-air—in a trance. From now on, don’t believe anything you read on here. I don’t promise to always tell when I’m writing fiction or not 😉 Hehe.

blissfully stressed

If there is one thing I’m not complaining about these days, it’s boredom at work. The annual Manila International Bookfair, perhaps the Philippine publishing industry’s largest event, starts next week at the World Trade Center Metro Manila. Our Christian publishing company is an active participant in the Book Fair. So most everyone in the office is busy as a bee. We at marketing are juggling quite a number of projects for the Book Fair, and it’s my job to coordinate and supervise most of these. Truth to tell, there are 101 reasons for pessimistic me to complain and yak away under all the pressure. But I’m surprised to find myself generally upbeat. (Well, except when the lower back acts up and I’m left painfully immobile for several hours. Or when my mind sets me on panic mode by automatically generating a long to-do list the very minute I gain consciousness in the morning.)

I’m actually finding the flurry of activities at the office during this time of year exciting. Then again, the line separating exciting and downright maddening is pretty thin. It gets especially blurred when one has gotten only two hours of sleep – and a fitful one at that – because of a 108-page book catalog that needs to go to press in time for the Fair. Who knows, I could change my mind about this Book Fair mania being exciting after I’ve had a good 6 hours of slumber.

But for now, groggy and sleep-deprived me thinks that this kind of work is actually fun! Thankfully, I work with people who not only have a crazy sense of humor, but who are also committed to giving their 100% to the work they had been called by God to do.

Yes, I’m pooped from all the work. I get awfully frustrated when deadlines are not met or when things don’t work out as smoothly as I had obsessively and compulsively plotted in a Gantt chart. Oh yes, people under pressure can be unreasonable and rude sometimes, myself included. But at the end of the day – like this one – I smile and realize that God has been good to me notwithstanding: putting a song in my heart while the hands were busy working, breaking the strain of a heavy workload with an officemate’s funny aside, and – as I type this – sending down rain on a warm, humid night so that weary, overworked souls such as myself can rest.

Ahh 🙂 Hope you, too, are blissfully stressed.

changing pants and shows

I remember the very first pair of jeans that I liked so, so much. I wore it to the VBS graduation, to trips downtown, at school events. I wished I would stop growing so I could wear those cool sky-blue jeans forever. I was 9 then.

I once declared with unflinching conviction that I would never ever give up Tom & Jerry and the other cartoon shows. Afterall, they’re so much more fun and colorful to watch than movies and shows with real people who just talk and talk. I was 10.

Thankfully, some childhood wishes never come true, and some boyhood convictions are altered. Now when I sense in myself a resistance to positive change, I think of those sky-blue jeans and Tom & Jerry. And how silly it is to hold on to old things when things grander and more wondrous are just a decision away.

hapiberdey, besp!

Today is bespren Roovin’s 27th birthday. This could well be his last birthday as a single guy. I’m meeting him today to celebrate. But before I do, I pause to thank God for this great guy. And since I’m still in “list” mode from my previous post of sevens, here is a list of Roovin’s traits I am thankful to God for. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Lest I succumb yet again to procrastination and miss the moment, here it goes. In no particular order…

1. The guy is spontaneous. I used to think I was a spontaneous person – until I met Roovin. I can’t forget the day he “forced” me to walk in the rain on the way back to Molave dorm. We dripped on the dorm lobby floor. He was laughing hard, I was soaking mad.

2. The guy has faith. During a lull in his spiritual life, he once asked God to give him a major problem so his faith would increase. Whew. I think God “answered” that prayer shortly after. And, yes, it increased Roovin’s faith.

3. The guy is creative. Roovin thinks out-of-the-box. He was the first one to point out to me that I always walk at the center of a pathway (there are lots of these cemented walkways in UP Diliman), following its every curb, even if walking on the grass would be faster. We were classmates in calculus once, where he taught me how to creatively cut classes. It turned out he was better at it than I was because he passsed while I had to review for a removal exam. Hehe. Of late, he has demonstrated an impressive creativity in sales. With a few exceptions, I think I bought everything he’s ever sold me – mostly gadgets! I credit him as the father of my “technolust.”

4. The guy is so friendly he could be a politician or swindler (haha!). I cannot name anyone – man, woman, or in-between – who hasn’t been won over by that smile and amiable personality. But Roovin’s charms are more than superficial; once you’re his friend, you can be sure you can count on him, rain or shine. (See No. 6)

5. The guy is funny! Between the two of us, he’d probably say I’m the clown (but only because he wants to appear as the more dignified one in this duo! Haha). But, really, Roovin is one of the wackiest, craziest people I’ve met. Few people crack me up in a major way. Roovin is definitely one of them. We once made a list of “pirated” sayings in our org’s log book, which included such distortions as “Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ito” and “Ang ilog na tahimik ay malalim, ang ilog na maingay… may naglalaba.” One time, as roommates with nothing better to do, we enacted a gross MTV version of a Jaci Velasquez song. How gross? It involved booger. Nuff said.

6. The guy is dependable. Despite the hectic schedule of work and other things life throws at him, Roovin remains a guy I can always count on. Which becomes a constant challenge for me to always be there for him, too.

7. The guy is passionate – for God, for his family, for his friends. Roovin could be an Atenean in that he is a “man for others.” We all have bouts with selfishness and self-centeredness; and Roovin, time and time again, has given me a picture of how it looks like to win these struggles and truly make a positive mark on someone’s life.

Besp, I used to tell you that when I grow up, I wanna be like you. You must think that has changed. Well, it really hasn’t 🙂 Happy, happy birthday, mah men. May God direct your steps. Love ya, bro.

me in sevens

Seven things that scare me…
(What a way to start! Hmm…)
1. Mannequins used to scare me as a kid. Not anymore 😉
2. Telling someone the truth which I know would hurt them. (Ok, I’m scared that they’d hurt me too – as in beat me up! Haha.)
3. Getting lost in the middle of nowhere. (If you had my poor sense of direction, you’d be scared too 🙂
4. The prospect of missing out on God’s purposes for me.
5. Not being able to be the best I can be.
6. Not being able to express my love for someone.
7. Waking up one day and realizing that I let her slip by.

Seven things I like the most…
1. Making people laugh.
2. Sleeping in until my head throbs.
3. Curling up with a good book on a cloudy day.
4. Honest one-on-one conversations over coffee.
5. Singing! I still can’t figure out why not everyone breaks out into song whenever they get the urge to. I am of the conviction that when a song visits you, you should graciously oblige it with an impromptu rendition.
6. Early mornings when everything is slow, silent, and shadowy. (I know, this conflicts with No. 2. Oh well.)
7. Being in transit – traveling on a bus, plane, ship – but not rushing to arrive. Most times, traveling to a place is more fun for me than actually arriving there.

Seven important things in my room…
(Hmm… looking around…)
1. Kierk, my computer 🙂
2. My sofa bed.
3. My contact lens lubricant.
4. The pile of books under my desk.
5. My two fluffy pillows – hard to sleep with just one pillow.
6. The A-Files *wink*
7. Miscellaneous mementos littered everywhere

Seven random facts about me…
1. It’s very uncomfortable for me to sleep lying on my left side. Hard to breathe.
2. I get irritated – dunno why – when people make audible slurps while taking their soup or hot drink.
3. I have arthritis.
4. I feel I won’t live past 40.
5. I talk faster than I think.
6. I can be sincerly silly and sincerely serious in a snap.
7. I used to have 6 moles on my face – that was when I could still count them, before the oil glands revolted and gave rise to hideous zits. Gross.

Seven things i plan to do before i die…
1. Plan what I want to do before I die. Hehe.
2. Sweep her off her unassuming feet. Hopefully I don’t die soon thereafter 😉
3. Travel, travel, travel.
4. Get published.
5. Have a family and raise sillyserious kids.
6. Get involved in a cause that will consume me.
7. Experience a growing intimacy with God that the next best thing would be seeing Him face to face.

Seven things I can do…
1. Draw. But that hasn’t been put to test of late.
2. Speak in front of people, but I don’t promise to make sense all the time. Hehe.
3. Flare my nose. Not everyone can do this!
4. Pretend like I know how to swim 😉
5. Sleep for hours on end.
6. Survive a dirty room for three years tops – yaks!
7. Be what God has made me to be – for that is the only guy I can be, nothing more and – by His grace – nothing less 🙂

Seven things I can’t do… (for now, at least)
1. Dance. Pramis.
2. Cook. I tried but decided it isn’t my thing.
3. Not sing for a full day.
4. Wake up early enough to jog.
5. Tread water.
6. Keep a straight face when I think of something funny.
7. Play basketball.

Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex…
(Ahihihi… Syowbiz!)
1. The sound of her laughter.
2. Strength of character that shows itself in her calm confidence.
3. Eyes… (yebah!)
4. Kindness and a refreshing tenderness.
5. Wit and sense, can hold her own in a conversation
6. Smile 🙂
7. An infectious faith in God.

Seven things I say the most…
1. “Gudlak!” – means “I don’t want to be in your shoes!”
2. “Boink!” or “Boinksters!” – anything that is surprising or requires a sound effect
3. “Sa presinto ka na magpaliwanag.” – best delivered after someone’s lengthy explanation/excuse
4. “Ngye!” – a general expression of disbelief or surprise, usually negative
5. “Pramis” – to express conviction or signify a superlative (as in, “Pogi me. Pramis!”)
6. “Dizizit!” – for situations that are extreme in nature (e.g. before pouring the first tabo of cold bath water on a chilly morning)
7. “Wag po… wag po…” It’s not what you think.

Seven celeb crushes…
1. Kristen Kruek
2. Keira Knightley
3. Toni Gonzaga
4. Jessica Biel
5. Angelina Jollie
6. KC Concepcion
7. Pokwang (haha!)

Seven people I want to take this quiz…
Aside from the Tropang Kape,
1. Besp
2. Genebebs
3. Bengsky
4. Gelowksi
5. CheloyCunanan
6. Polaris
7. Pamsilog/Pamski/Pamelot

There you go, Bijoi 🙂 Mission accomplished. Whew…

introducing… kierk!

It’s past midnight and I know I should be unconscious and snorring (and drooling? Yak!), but I’m just too excited too turn in. The reason for my late-night excitement? Kierk*! My new laptop, an HP Compaq nx6120 – a fantastic deal for budget-constrained techie-wannabes such as myself!

There were no glitches in the software installation – whew – thanks to Jireh my housemate who, even on the eve of his engineering board exams, just couldn’t resist the call of a new gadget straight out of the box. I was just all too glad to let him lend a hand as I have had nightmares installing software before. After the major stuff had been loaded onto Kierk – OS and hardware drivers – Ji and I prayed for his board exams, and then Kierk and I were alone to get acquainted.

Kierk’s first project? The powerpoint presentation I wasn’t able to finish at work because I rushed to the mall to get Kierk. (Go ahead, call me workaholic.) After that was through, the next best thing to do, of course, was to tap dance on Kierk’s brand-new keyboard! And so here I am, blogging with a silly smile on my now-oily face.

Kierk’s great and all, but I admit I still miss Hobbes a bit. I put up Hobbes, my trusty ECS desknote, for “adoption” last Friday. My weekend was miserable without Hobbes, with only the thought of getting Kierk keeping me sane. I’m sure Hobbes’s new owner will take good care of him – right, Arnold? 😉 Maybe one day Hobbes and Kierk could go out and play together. Would be fun.

It’s getting late. The perk-up effects of the mug of coffee I had are starting to wear off. Thanks for sharing my excitement about Kierk!

*Kierk got his name on a bus ride, while stuck in Ortigas Ilalim with Gladys. Kierk’s namesake is the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. We thought it would be nice to keep with philosophers’ names, as with Hobbes and his twin bro Calvin (once owned by Bespren).

blogsite bits

Yep, I’ve changed the template. Partly on a whim, but also because I was having trouble accessing my blog on my home computer. Apparently, Hobbes my computer is infected with a worm that attacked the tag-board service i was using, which routed my blog to a not-so-nice site. I should have known better than to open that suspicious email attachment. I’m such a sucker for funny emails – now the joke’s on me! Grrr.

My blog roll links are not yet up (So sowi pwens). And I’m still scouting for a new message board provider (any recommendations?). I’m hardly HTML literate so I ask for your patience 🙂 It was fun tweaking this template here and there though – mostly font sizes. My greatest achievement so far in customizing this template: getting rid of the floral background! Hehe. But you’ll still find it as a bullet element in the comments section. I think I’ll keep that one 😉

Thanks for dropping by.

mane thing 3

After a week of double-taking my reflection in the mirror every morning, and having officemates swing by my desk just to gawk at me either in delighted surprise or in polite horror, I can finally say that I have warmed up to my new hair cut. The stylist called it the “layered, out-of-bed cut” —his professional jargon for my request for a short, stylishly disheveled look or, in my own words: “Yung maigsi pero pwedeng guluhin sa gitna.” For some time I had been toying with the idea of trading my perennially longish hair for a radically different cut. Last Sunday that idea reached critical mass and finally achieved actualization, thanks to the persistent prodding (or badgering?) of Ivy and Arnold.

So far people’s reactions have been mostly positive. In fact, some were just too overwhelmingly positive they’re starting to make me wonder how terrible I must have looked with my long, hippie, fly-away ‘do! All those years! Some of the compliments almost sounded like expressions of relief that finally I have outgrown my wild-hair stage. Something to be ticked off their prayer items list! Haha!

Ever since that fateful visit to the salon last Sunday, my fist creative exercise for the day has consisted in contouring the short spikes so they would look nicely scruffy. I’m proud to say that I have come up with several styles: Swept-Down, Right-Pointing-Tsunami, Mildly-Electrocuted, Terribly-Electrocuted, and—my favorite, but one which I don’t have the guts to sport outside my apartment door—Just-Plain-Weird. Interestingly, I find that I am unable to exactly replicate a certain shape that I have serendipitously achieved on a given morning. Whew. All this fussing about hair is so far-removed from my wash-and-wear-and-let-the-jeepney-ride-dry-it hair days.

With this new ‘do, suddenly people notice my rather high hairline (I refuse to use “receding”) which had previously been disguised by long bangs. I’ve always had a rather wide forehead. (Go scan our family album—the grinning little Shaolin monk in a bathrobe is me.) My Pa claims—and he says this is based on ancient Chinese wisdom—that a prominent forehead is a sign of a brilliant intellect. I’ve never protested that, of course. And neither has he, from whom I inherited the prominent forehead. No one argues with ancient Chinese wisdom. Haha. Sure, over the years my hairline seems to have ascended a few…well… millimeters. But nothing to be alarmed about. I think. Gulp. Nonetheless, I’d be wiser to heed the stylist’s advice: “Sir, huwag n’yo pong susubukan ang brushed-up look ha.” Such wisdom, and he’s not even Chinese!

Several people have asked me about the reason behind the radical mane change. Nothing profound, really. Let’s just say that I’m ready for some changes 😉

P.S. Now everyone thinks I am vain! Haha! Wait till you hear that Arnold is contemplating getting highlights! Peace, bro!