Friday, April 23


Ever wonder why some pinoys are fond of putting the in-famous H on their nicks, or sadly even on their formal names?

I'd like to ask my yaya one of these days.

Speaking of our young yaya, Nheneng with the H, can be a character sometimes.

One morning, I found a Pentel pen and asked her to put our name on the 5 gallon container of our drinking water so it wont get mixed up with other customers' jugs again. She eagerly reached out for it and started writing. A few seconds passed...

"Ate, oki na ba ito?"

She wrote "MORINO FAMILY" in her prettiest handwriting, complete with a little heart on the I dot.

"Mali Neng, E dapat, hindi I...."

"Ay! sorry, po."

With a confused look, she quickly got the pen and wrote again.


I was in stitches but did not attempt to open my mouth, lest I embarrass her again.

Tama naman siya di ba?

Thursday, April 22

Hog Day

On my way to work today, a tricycle sped by. Slumped behind it was a wilted lifeless body of a huge hog with its innards already taken out, ready for the butcher to butcher at the marketplace.Oh poor pig, I could only sigh. What have you done to deserve such hideous end?

I will never think of eating an inch of you again....

Tuesday, April 13

Angst of the Great Unwashed

It's nearly the end of the income tax season. Like last year, I and my officemates will have to huddle with the sweaty crowd again and endure the whole pathetic process of filing our income tax returns. We submit ourselves to the caprice of the government workers who feel self-important on those days and who seem to find pleasure in sending you back from one beeline and forth to another for no apparent reason, while you had to smile your most tolerant smile to kiss their arses, and at the same time shell out your hard-earned pesos for the piece of scrap which says Community Tax Certificate. We are all weighed down with all these impossible taxes and whatnots, and yet we don't even have the luxury of an airconditioning or a large enough room or even a decent treatment from these municipal gluttons. What a crying shame.

Anyway, apart from Tuesday morning angst, I am quite happy with the turn of events during the weekend. Two days at The Heritage proved to be a great breather for me and my two guys. Gabby must have known we were in some special place because he was acting quite smug and especially thrilled everytime we go out into the lobby. He was popular among the hotel crew. I'm glad he was in his best behaviour during meals except for the last time when he was probably dead-tired after two days of swimming and food-tripping that he almost fell asleep on his high chair in the middle of lunch.

As for Oliver and me, in spite of its being Lenten, we could not pass up the good buffet that at one dinner even, I helped myself to a slice of roast pork...I was terribly guilty afterwards. Otherwise we ate our hearts out until we could take it no longer. I expect another number up the scale. But what the heck, it was free for all you can eat!

There was nothing much to do in the hotel except curl up in the sheets and watch cable movies. Basically, we stayed inside our room all day and headed for the swimming pool when it was getting a tad boring. Not for Gabby though. He was tinkering with all the buttons he could muster on the console, rolling himself silly unto the carpet. He also enjoyed swimming and was not frightened at all of the water, even if Oliver had let him slip off his hands a couple of times.

I observed there were many others who were on a complimentary stay like us. They must be bookers like myself who got this freebie as well. Anyhow, it was one terrific weekend that I'd like Gabby and us to remember.

Sunday night, we watched a Roman Polanski film The Pianist on cable. It is a real-life story of a talented Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman who lived and survived in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw during the World War II. Once again I am reminded of the cruelty of the German dictator Hitler, although in the story it was a Nazi officer who saved the life of the pianist after hearing him play a rending piece in the ruins of Warsaw where he was hiding. The german however died in the Soviet prisoner camp later when the Russians took over. And Szpilman, despite his best intentions, came too late to have rescued him from the throes of death.

It was particularly touching to watch the german officer crouched among the prisoners of war, stripped off of his past glory, (and yet knowing that he helped our protagonist hide until the Nazis pulled out from Warsaw), ask succor from a Polish Jew who spat and shouted invictives at him, called him and the others murderers. He only had to mention the pianist Szpilman and he was a breath away from freedom, but the jew who cursed him didn't hear his name. By the way, it was Captain Wilm Hosenfeld. Ah, the ironic reversal of fortunes.

It is the kind of movie that sends you into the depths of introspection about humanity, the bad and the good-hearted in the face of atrocity and war. You can never believe that man himself can cause to destroy---in a carnage that annihilates not only scores of lives--the essence of the spirit in men.

And yet it would be wrong to say that Germans were the most ruthless and evil of all.

Tuesday, April 6

Semana Santa Etc.

Five straight days off from work! How good is that? I guess we'll be watching more films starting tonight, aside from the usual helping on cable tv. Tomorrow, or tonight rather, is the start of a long repast, in order to observe the holy days of the Lenten Season. I hope Oliver doesn't forget to rent the much-needed vcds on the way home from work.

Years ago, we would travel to Bacolod for this occasion. It becomes a Lenten cum Family Reunion cum Lolo's birthday affair. It was always a great gathering as we were eager to participate the Pieta in the yearly traditional procession of saints and holies. Grandfather reconstructed the very old wooden statue of Pieta which was handed down from many previous generations of devotees. It was virtually falling to pieces when it came to our family's possession, and for many years it was put away among the junks until he decided to do something about it. He used pulped papier mache for the missing parts, and being the artist that he was, painted it new and lifelike. It was our pride when for the first time we marched Pieta right behind the enormous Christ who was nailed on the cross. The people were awestruck with its solemn beauty. Mary is in a purple gown of gorgeous velvet, and surrounding her and Jesus were pretty mauve and lavender roses of fine satin. I wonder who maintains them now, since I have not gone home for many years. I hope he's doing a good job with it.

In the recent years, the airfare and even the boat fare have shot up to impossible rates that it's simply wise and practical to stay at home and go to church and say some silent atonements for our sins. I'd really to take the two guys to the place where I grew up. Oliver has never been anywhere outside Manila, save perhaps for Baguio and Laguna, which are virtually still in the island of Luzon. But this year, with our very limited means, we have decided to be at home. On Friday, we head to Heritage for an overnight stay. That at least is a welcome change.

I've seen The Passion of the Christ but since almost everybody has written about it and their personal experience when watching it, I'd keep my comments to myself. Nonetheless, we watched Frida last night. It's a story of a mexican painter Frida Kahlo who created most of her masterpieces while bedridden, having suffered from great physical pain all throughout her life as a result of a trolley accident which left a pole pierced from one side of her stomach and out to her pelvis on the other side. She could never have children. I admire her for her passion and rebellion, and like the other great women I've looked up to, she was intelligent and precocious. Most of her paintings were self-portraits that cut straight into human emotions, because they depict the surreal ravages of war, deaths, separations and also the bliss of love, ecstasy and passions that are all inherently and fundamentally human. In other words, she speaks the language of the common man through her works. It was one colorful movie.

Thursday, April 1

My Bambino's First Invite

It is almost the end of the workweek, but I could not think of what to write. I dread the moment when I confront a blank page and purge my mind of ideas and events I came across with in the prior days. Not that I don't enjoy writing, I certainly do, next to reading. But sometimes one goes through episodes of vacuity, when nothing appears to have meaning or purpose. And it is simply hard to start writing about it.

Maybe it's proof that my life is fundamentally lackluster and boring. Where it not for the little guy whose everyday progress is something I look forward to writing about. No matter how commonplace it may sound. Am I going over the hill and experiencing the proverbial midlife crisis? Is thirty-two middle life anyway? And am I doomed to the insufferable monotony of a mother-wife-office worker lot? Maybe I need shrink? Geez...

Gabby has changed almost overnight. How time flies!!!Just yesterday, he was an angel with the most adorable smile and helpless stance, you could have nothing but compassion for him. But to date, he has broken a few precious things at home, has caused me to be late to work, for days running, by throwing his new-fangled tantrums precisely before and when I leave for work. My compassion may be slowly turning into exasperation as everyday he gropes for a new trick. But it's my fault, it must be scary for him to be left alone. It breaks my heart to entrust him to a stranger's hands everyday. But for the moment it has to be that way.

Last Saturday we were invited to a birthday party of Bea, the pretty daughter of Oliver's friend Bon. It was a posh residence inside the Ayala-alabang. We got there a bit early, by Pinoy standards, but it turned the guests were a small number, the others having called off, to the disappointment of the hosts, Bon and Ollie. They were by the way a nice and gracious couple.We huddled together with a respectable crowd. It was a pleasant afternoon altogether although we had to throw a few tentative smiles here and there to save our awkwardness. For the record, I didn't know anybody except the hosts.

On the other hand, my son didn't seem to have a care in the world. He was soaking up the afternoon sun and gallantly playing by his lonesome in the Fisher Price playhouse they put up at the outdoor garden, where the party was taking place. When the magic show began, he was seated snugly in a monobloc kiddie chair, all eyes on the conjurer, serious in his intent not to let any thing pass before his eyes. I smiled earnestly from behind where I was watching them.

That is my son with the intrepid little heart, just a one day shy of his fifteenth month on earth, but bursting with life and wonderment!!How enviable the little children who only think of themselves and their own pleasure and do not yet clout on what is and what is not.

The food was great, Oliver had a kick with the magic and balloon-making and talked endlessly about it afterwards to my chagrin, but we managed to beg off and leave at around 6pm, having planned our grocery shopping on the same night. Bon was kind enough to drive us out of the village to Alabang Town Center. We had a small pleasant talk on the way. He's a nice guy, no airs about him, but certainly exudes the confidence well heeled persons like him aptly manifest from the moment they venture out into the world with the precious silver spoons in their mouths. I'm not trying to sound awestruck by the way.

By the time we got home from all that tiring business of commuting, Gabby's flaccid body was dead-tired and in dreamland already. I'm sure he was relishing every second of that party, at least in his own childish comprehension, as I saw that unmistakeable half-grin on his sleeping face, on our way out to the door again.

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