Sunday, April 26

tension, anyone?

A few hours ago, I was reading an old issue of Writer's Digest featuring a whole bunch about writing for kids. On technique pages, Elaine Marie Alphin said that children want tension when they read and continued with "To achieve this tension in your writing, make things difficult for your character."

Tension. That I know a lot about.

As a kid, I was small for my age, thin, shy and a loner. I had few friends but they were 3 to 4 years younger so I couldn't be with them during school days.

Every school has its own bullies and I was one of the targets. I wasn't actually pushed around physically but the verbal assaults were just as painful, even more so because remembering brings pain. This tension continued even as I entered high school, only the assailant is not the same person and a lot bigger, taller. I hated him. Many times I escaped from his bullying for I always see him first and I was in constant lookout. But one day, he saw me first. Escaping was out of the question. Worse, he was with three other boys and they were looking at me, laughing and talking most probably about me. I was angry. I was about to be humiliated again, in front of the boys he was with. Then it happened. I attacked him first, verbally, that is. I just blurted it out. I said "Why don't you look at yourself in the mirror first? You are uglier than I am!"

That silenced them, no, stunned them. But I was trembling hard. I must have looked like a ghost, I don't know but it sure felt good to stand up for myself. The good part is, I was never bullied again.

Well, was that tense enough for you? For me, it was. But I survived.

Saturday, April 25

what if...

What could possibly go wrong? Everything was in order: the drinks were chilled, the food kept warm, the mascots arrived and the birthday cake was set on the table, its two little candles waiting to be lit and blown. A few early guests were there with their moms and dads. It was 6:45 pm and 25 minutes more to go for the birthday party to begin.

Then it happened! Brownout. Blackout. Power Outage. Whichever it's called, it was still pitch dark.

Some kids panicked,calling “ Mom, where are you! Dad?” And vice versa.

The host rushed to the kitchen counter where they kept the emergency light, bumped unto something and yelled “OUCH!”. Somebody chuckled to which he countered with “What, you happy now?

Then everybody laughed!

I have a confession to make: the story three paragraphs above didn't actually happen, well, at least not to me (except the brownout: it's really happening right now). It's just a scenario I made up while waiting for the power to come back. But the thing is, It can't be far from the truth if in case it did happen. Filipinos have the knack of turning a minor mishap into something funny.

In case you're wondering how was I able to post this: Power generator. It's irritating to listen to but at least I have internet :-)

Have a nice day everyone!

Friday, April 24

with a not too little help from my friends

A friend who reviewed this blog said that loading this page took a long time because many of my photos and drawings had big file size and suggested that reducing might help. So to Anish of actuate life, thank you!

I also thank Jojo, a techie friend who stopped posting for his Dauis.Info for a while because I was such a makulit ( pain in the ___). It was easier than I thought, but of course he's good at it.

Wednesday, April 22

about the picture below

I smile every time I look at this picture because I always remember what happened that afternoon. We planned to go to Puntod Island for a picnic but our motorized outrigger just stopped somewhere between the main Island of Panglao and Puntod. Our guide Jojo tried to fix the motor but to no avail. I was a little worried but my companions, Johanna and Alice, were just cool about it. I asked Jojo how long would it take us to reach the main island paddling and he said maybe an hour and half. "Ok then" I said, "let's start paddling!" There was one problem. We only had one paddle. Alice suggested that we eat first so we could use our plastic plates as paddles after and you know what? It worked! We were paddling like crazy and had the most hilarious, fun, and memorable day of our lives. Good thing the sea was calm and as we reached the main island, the sun had set. And then I took this picture.

Tuesday, April 21

hello, sentinel...

from watching the moon
my comfortable old shadow
led me home.
-from an old Japanese collection of poems
-the painting by sally

I've always been fascinated by the moon, not so much with its facts and theories as a heavenly body but rather on how its reflected light illuminate roof tops and tree canopies, creating long shadows on the ground, transforming an otherwise dreary scenery into dreamland :-)

It all started when I was ten years old. I saw a painting featured in a magazine, of an evening sky- the moon as the focal point was full, pale yellow, radiant and to my adoring eyes, beautiful. Below the painting was the caption: The Sentinel.

Saturday, April 18

a breathing space

Just this morning, I was watching a musical show on cable tv. It was a full orchestra and they performed rather well but I missed the introduction so I don't know which orchestra. At first, I enjoyed the 1st movement but as the 2nd dragged along, I felt strangely uncomfortable. There was no discordant note nor was it like listening to Bela Bartok who's not for the faint-hearted listener. In fact, the arrangement was gorgeous (reminds of the movie August Rush). Still, I felt an urge to stop watching and it I clicked off the remote control. And took a deep breath.

Out of breath. Listless. But why?

Ponder. I do that when there's nothing else to do :-)

You know, it's was like diving into the sea, looking at a beautiful coral reef community, immensely drawn to it... but without an oxygen tank on or a snorkel, you can't stay long under the water. That's how I felt... Or reading a whole paragraph in one long sentence without commas? Whatever. I guess what it didn't have were just breathing spaces.

taxes: what they do to your heart, your brain and your pocket...

April is, TAXES month.(what with income tax, percentage tax, withholding tax and Lord knows what else!) If you have business and would do anything in your power to make it succeed, you must, you need to, you have to master taxation because if you don't, it could be very"taxing" (excuse the pun :-) ...) on you, financially AND emotionally.

And how is it that some government employees and officers make it specially hard for you to transact business with them? Starting or renewing business permits (which is your right), you submit papers, legal and in order, but you can't get it done until you get so fed up with mindless and insensitive dismissals like "come back next week" or "the officer in charge is out of town" or "your supporting papers lack this and that" when it could have been avoided by giving complete and correct information in the first place. Such careless attitude is a sure vexation to the spirit.

Starting a business? Huh! Best of luck, my friend. And if you tend to flareup easily, let your faithful assistant do it for you instead ...or better yet, learn anger management first because you'd surely need it once you are vis a vis with those insensitive and calloused pack.

Sad to say, but we do have those kind in our midst. However, there remain a few with kindred spirits. Still.

Monday, April 13

Sandbar of Puntod Island

Years ago, I took this picture while we (me and some city folks) camped there for a night. Even preparing for it was already exciting-too exciting I guess that we forgot to bring flashlights, can opener and yes, you guessed it right: no matches and no lighter. Good thing we bought some bread, cooked bananas, chips, lots of it, some canned food and drinks..So we didn't grill hot dogs like we promised Nang Matea's grandchildren.

It was almost 5pm when we reached Puntod Island on a motorized outrigger and like children, we raced to the sandbar's end. I remember feeling so grand just standing there, looking at the horizon line where the ocean and sky met, smelling the salty breeze and watching the sky turning colors from blue to blue-green, yellow, and then to all the glorious colors of summer sunset. And as if it was not enough, the moon took her turn to delight us. So we dined under the moon and the stars, and until now, I can't very well explain why I felt ridiculously happy...

Friday, April 3


that's odd...

Many years ago, I imagined myself owning an art studio..and that I'd spend most of my waking hours painting, sketching, carving. I never had one and I doubt it if I ever could. But that's ok..I accepted the truth long time ago.

I was jobless for many years. I quit my first job,which was pointless of course, but I was young and full of dreams and thought I'd find a better one. Besides I was really sick and tired of it. So I ended up doing odd jobs like sewing curtains and seat covers, upholster sofa, chairs, paint walls and windows, etc.. I also sketched Philippine sceneries which an American couple bought - the whole sketchbook! The most salable though were the bamboo mugs which I painted with Philippine scenes. I still make them but only when there's a ready customer. It's fun making them but it sure takes a long time to finish one.

I've been asked many times if I had know, for quiting my first job. Yes, I had. I'd be a hypocrite if I say no, none, nada. But I did learn a lot from it.

Thursday, April 2

Books and bookmarks

You never quit on may stop reading for days or months but you always come back to it. The good part of not reading books for a long time is that you treat each of your favorite as if new..even if you knew exactly how a story ends, reading it from the beginning, chapter after chapter, is like opening doors and finding what's inside and thrill you the second.. third time around. Sometimes you'll find a page with a bookmark which could be anything-a folded table napkin, a bus ticket, a photograph, a feather..anything that marks a page as favorite or where you stopped. And then memories come crawling back.

I found one bookmark as I read Alone by Rod McKuen. It was a poem which I wrote years ago on a notebook page...and (don't laugh at me now) it goes like this:

the hills are calling
i hear it in the wind
and smell it in wafts of ylangylang blooms...
somewhere at the foot of the hills
awaits someone

I didn't write it for someone special..I was just smitten by Rod McKuen's poems and tried to write one...