pork and the paper

Just when I thought that my day’s highlight was the slab of pork (liempo—my favorite!) wrapped in aluminum foil, which the wife of one of our authors thoughtfully cooked for me, I learn that an article I submitted last September to Philippine Daily Inquirer’s “Youngblood” section actually saw print last Saturday!

I was sharing the liempo with my housemate Jireh when he kidded me abour being secretive regarding my published article. What article? I was stunned and excited at the same time, almost choking on the slice of pork I was chewing on. It turns out that while I was away in Davao over the weekend, Jireh got a text message from his brother who came across the article.

How could I have missed it last Saturday? I was at my parents’ house then. My father is a loyal PDI subscriber and I remember seeing Saturday’s issue on the living room table. But instead of reading the paper, I opted to play the piano (which proved stressful because I soon discovered that the High-F key had been pounded dead by my 7-year-old nephew.)

I had been published once in the “Youngblood” section in 2000. But with this recent submission, I wasn’t too optimistic about getting published. My piece did not tackle any national issue. Neither was it particularly clever or fresh, in my opinion. Heartwarming, perhaps? Not even close. So why did I submit it in the first place? Well, it was the only full article that I had on file when, out of nowhere, I got the urge to submit something to PDI. I remember thinking it wouldn’t hurt to try and neither would it be inconvenient since all I had to do was copy and paste and press “Send.”

And so I did, and the rest, well, is history. Friends I have shared the good news to tell me they may have a copy of Saturday’s paper for me. That’s something to look forward to tomorrow.

Maybe Manang Dolly (the author’s wife) gave me the yummy liempo because she had an inkling that I would need to celebrate tonight? Quite unlikely. Nevertheless, the pork and published article seem to me the work of a caring Heavenly Father who seasons His children’s days with good things.

Barring the back pain attacks earlier today, I’d say today was a good day. For the writer’s bio at the article’s end I wrote, “he lives on fast food and other people’s cooking.” Receiving the liempo on the day I learn about my published article (which incidentally is about my “fondness” of cooking) is just perfect.

Before it gets buried deeper in the archives, here’s the link to my article on Inquirer’s online edition.


There we were—slumped on the metallic seats at pre-departure, wondering what time we would be boarding our flight to Davao City. Or if we ever would. The boarding time printed on our boarding passes was “1850,” for an ETD of “1920”. Both times had long passed and my boss and I still hadn’t heard an advisory about our flight over the PA system.

We had already used up our time-killing tactics which included, in the following order: animated chitchat (mostly about work), listening to music (I, with my Shuffle and he, with his Motorola phone), reading (I, my new novel pick and he, photocopies from some marketing book), using our laptops (I, catching up on 24’s fourth season and he, playing Bookworm). Two hours since our original ETD, the other delayed flights—to Iloilo, Cebu, Bacolod—were airborne after their passengers had been pacified by a free meal in Styrofoam and a bottle of C2.

At about 11PM—six hours after we checked in!—the speakers chimed and a lady’s voice announced, “To all Davao-bound passengers, we are sorry to inform you that your flight will be delayed…” Really?! A wholesale groan filled the air, the irritated kind that said, Would you pleeease tell us something we don’t know yet!

“Your new ETD is 12.30AM.” Colorful language popped up here and there. One irate passenger kicked a trashcan. Boss and I just sighed in frustration. At least we now knew the new ETD. Good thing the two of us had earlier found a way to amuse ourselves with a good laugh. How? Well, each of the flights that took off before us, all delayed by at least two hours, didn’t leave right away because of one or two passengers who probably got bored and left the pre-departure area. These “last remaining passengers” had to be paged several times. When they finally walked to the gate after what seemed like eternity, some rushed while others strolled as though by the beach! Now imagine how the passengers already onboard would react to these Johnny-come-latelies. Think flying footwear and Goldilocks cakes (melted), deadly stares, sarcastic reprimands… Clucking our tongues, boss and I mischievously snickered, “Gudlaaaak!” to these poor souls. It’s one thing to be on a delayed flight; it’s another to be causing the further delay of an already delayed flight.

I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the airline’s ground crew. Enraged passengers were approaching them with all sorts of complaints. You can’t blame the passengers, of course. These are people—“guests” (as Cebu Pacific people have started calling their passengers of late)—with schedules to keep, anxious loved ones waiting for them miles away, even emergencies they need to attend to. But the fact remained: we weren’t flying until 12.30AM. And no amount of stressing or harassing the crew could change that. From where I was seating, I’d rather chitchat with boss, read my novel, listen to music, tinker with my laptop—yes, go through the whole cycle again—than invite a stroke or usher a weary airport employee to hell on earth.

But then again, who knows, maybe if they hadn’t served dinner in the nick of time, this Jekyll might have transformed into a Hyde. It’s very likely that my sanity and even-temperedness are largely dependent on the state of my stomach.

Delayed flight and all, it was nice to be back home in Davao, even just for the weekend.


Oh how I get stuck. Bono of U2 was reprimanding me when he crooned this line: “You’ve got to get yourself together; you’ve got stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it.”

I’ve been stuck in moments, places, and people. Too many times. It’s a tricky thing, being stuck. Seldom do I realize that I’m, well, stuck until after a significant amount of time has slipped away (say, ten years?). I may have a unique talent in that I am able to create an illusion of motion. All too often I think that I’ve already gotten up from a stumble, brushed the dust off my pants, and started walking on. And then it hits me (always a little bit too late and in the most unguarded moment) that I’ve never really moved an inch! Worse, I have comfortably pitched a tent at ground zero.

Maybe I should just accept my “fate” and wallow in my pitiful holes, forever stuck and forever living in an illusion of having trudged past certain moments, places, and people. Or, I could lift my hands heavenward in utter desperation and pray to be unglued, unchained, unstuck from certain moments, places, and people. While at it, I wiggle my toes, shake off the lethargy from my limbs, and depend on God to get me moving again—until the next time I get stuck.

Because if I really think about it, life is about getting stuck here and there, until we learn to keep journeying forward in order to discover particular moments, places, and people to get stuck in that don’t make us feel, well, stuck.

five things

Got tagged. Twice, actually. So, gandooze and turkangel, here are the five things you (and the other readers) probably don’t know about me…

I used to have a birth mark the size of a coin on my left (or was it right?) forearm. Now there isn’t a trace of it. How interesting is that?! Haha… Hey, don’t doze off!

I won first prize in the annual speech contests I joined from Grade 1 to 5. (I was second in sixth grade.) My father taught me a secret to combat public speaking fright: Think that your audience are all cockroaches. As in, Ipis lang sila! It did work – until I had to dissect a cockroach in college Bio. Then cockroaches ceased to be innocuous creatures to me… (Excuse me, I need to puke…) P.S. My sister hates cockroaches with so much passion she can hear them flap their wings in the night. I’m serious. (Now I’m seriously in trouble for sharing that bit about her! Hello, Chi! 😀 )

My face had skin as smooth as a baby’s butt… until freshman in college when, well, the ‘baby’ part ended and the ‘butt’ part began. I read somewhere that Butt, er Brad Pitt – yup, that hunk of a guy who snagged Angelina Jollie – has bouts with adult onset acne. I’m in good company, I know. Now if only I could find a way to earn his millions so I can buy my own dermatology clinic…

The first time I flunked a quiz (in Grade 1) was when I spelled “together” as “togeder.” My 7-year-old mind was so convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I spelled the word correctly; I marched to my pretty teacher to give her a piece of my brilliant mind. She was kind and gentle, so no childhood trauma for me. Of course, now I know better. I’d rader die than commit the same mistake ever again.

I pick my nose in public. Eeeew! Gross oversharing! Aren’t you relieved the tag just asked for five things? 😉

Don’t forget to laugh heartily today, friends. Yes, even at your expense. Now those of you who haven’t done this on your blogs, go ahead! It’s funnnnn.