the teddy mark

At the pedestrian entrance of the Land Transportation Office on East Ave, a strange man screens everyone who seeks entry into the government agency’s grounds. He is imposing, like a seasoned sentry of an imperial palace. He sits behind a glass window and speaks into a microphone. (That alone should warn you not to get into an argument with him.)

Ano’ng pakay mo? (What’re you here for?)” his voice booms from the sound system, and I suspect everyone within a one-kilometer radius hears.

“Student permit po,” I answer, deciding it is wiser to play meek visitor rather than arrogant tax payer. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I brought a megaphone or my neighbor’s portable karaoke system–just to even the playing field a little.

The Guardian doesn’t turn me away, unlike what he did to the two men before me. Instead, he grabs my right hand before I can even think of protesting, and then stamps on my palm the blue image of…

…a teddy bear!

I have been marked for entry. He points to the gate with his pursed lips and the guard there steps aside to let me in. In less than an hour, I get my student permit. The process is quite efficient, to my delight (and great surprise?).

Must be the teddy magic.

So. What is the very first step to getting a student driving permit? Why, of course, get a teddy bear stamp on your palm.


(Thanks for emailing me the pic, Shii!)



Two minutes before midnight, and it is raining.

I had a not-so-good day, staying home and enduring lower back pain while running a thousand and one things in my head, and then hoping they would all sort themselves out after the long afternoon nap.

But now I hear raindrops and feel the cool breeze on my skin. And everything seems perfect and fresh. I hope the gentle rain continues its lullaby throughout the night…

Five minutes past midnight. A new day has come. I will rest and anticipate a fresh serving of the Lord’s mercies, more refreshing and invigorating than rain, when I wake up.

Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3.23 (NLT)

the day the rain came

If you sniffed hard enough in a crowded place today (say, the MRT), chances are good you’d get a whiff of… moth balls! And it shouldn’t be a surprise. The naphthalene scent is from the jackets, sweaters, and other cold-season wear that have been stowed away in closets far too long this year.

After a tortuously overstaying summer, the rainy season has finally arrived. The showers prior to the recent downpour were apparently a result of cloud-seeding, a multi-million rainmaking effort of government to keep hydroelectric power plants functioning. Or so I overheard on the jeepney ride.

It’s interesting that even our seasons this side of the tropics are inflicted with Filipino time—coming belatedly, but not without drama or incident.


I thought I had lost forever the post above, written sometime last week when typhoon Chedeng paid us a visit. One of the housemates was tinkering with the phone line just when I was about to upload. I clicked Publish, and then nada! Then tonight, I saw the post saved as a draft. Thank you, WordPress, for remembering my words 🙂

way back into sanity

I’ve been hiding all my hopes and dreams away/ Just in case I ever need ’em again someday/ I’ve been setting aside time/ To clear a little space in the corners of my mind/ All I wanna do is find my way back into love/ I can’t make it through without a way back into love/ O-oh-oh!

[Repeat forever.]

I’ve been… trying to ignore it for the past hour! But one of my neighbors – down in the first floor from the sound of it – seems determined to permanently imprint Way Back Into Love into the psyche of all residents in this four-storey apartment building! This saccharine tune from the movie Music and Lyrics has been playing in loop mode for the past hour or so. Imagine that!

Don’t get me wrong, I like the song. I think it’s cute and hearfelt. I even have the lyrics memorized (go ahead, laugh). The first few times neighbor played it this afternoon I happily sang along. Somewhere between the hundredth and thousandth repeat, I was humming…

On the millionth time it played, I started to feel the urge to break something. Anything.

But because I am a firm believer that violence is never the answer, I resort to blogging for release. Having to listen to a song, no matter how beautiful or cool, played 2.5 billion times is nothing short of torture. I’ve never loved a song so obsessively as to turn it into a hypnotic mantra by my repetitive playing and/or singing, and in so doing irk someone bad enough that he must blog to avoid resorting to violence… (Let me catch my breath.)

Fine. Maybe I do need to find my “way back into love.” But, hey, don’t rub it in this way!

Arrggh! It’s still playing.

UPDATE | Monday 9.41AM

Just about to shut down comp (it’s running Ubuntu now!) and leave for a meeting in Ortigas (i’m running late!). Guess what neighbor is playing again… Ibang level na ‘to!