Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There is no summer without the beach!

This year, as part of our 23rd wedding anniversary and birthday celebration of my wife, we all went up north to a town called Bangui, some thirty minutes away from Pagudpud. It is where the clouds and the sea meet, where the winds break ceaselessly for hours making waves upon waves rush to shore to get some sand perhaps to transform it into salt and the night as silent as can be where one can hear an ant sigh if one really tried very hard. But not during those four days and three nights we have been around. We played and partied all night long that had we been doing these in Manila, the neighbors would have been throwing stones at our roof already.

family picture

We left at 10:00 pm and arrived there at 6 am ever thankful that the Yamaha guitar which I had to buy for Uncle Faer was still scratchless as the day I bought it for him. Surprisingly, it was not an uncomfortable ten-hour trip that I dreaded would happen as I am not fond of very long trips.
me and Uncle Faer

The stop overs were just right when I needed them and besides, the bus had its own toilet (just to pee, thank you). There was enough leg room and the chairs were comfortable enough. We saw Uncle Peping who hurriedly met us as we alighted from the bus. He is an 87 year old farmer who commands his carabao in english, much to the delight of the kids.

Uncle Peping tending to his hay

We were immediately treated to a festive breakfast at Doc Rolly's house hosted by his lovely wife, Mimi, while at the other house, Uncle Faer's alalays were already preparing for lunch. Uncle Faer is the youngest of the brood in my mother-in-law's family. He is a retired navy who retired at the age of 44 and worked for the US Post Office where he also retired. He is a no nonsense guy who knows what he wants and has to have it at all costs. He just lost his wife this year which prompted his family to come over and bury her remains here as she wished. As the children are now working, they have all returned to the States while their dad chose to remain here being attended to by a number of alalays who cook, clean and run errands for him.

the cousins with the alalays

After lunch, the kids took off for the windmills, the latest addition to the town's otherwise plain topography. I failed to go with them as I was having a chat with our very gracious host, playing for him some kundimans that I can still play with my guitar. Bringing my guitar pieces was a good move after all, in spite of the bulk.

the latest touch of technology

The following day, we rented a mini bus to take us farther north near the border of Cagayan. We crossed the Patapat bridge and went to Agua Grande just for some photo ops as the kids were not interested in swimming there. Then we headed off to Saud Beach Resort where the kids opted to stay overnight.

the cousins in a Pagudpud hotel

The following day, we just bummed around playing poker. The boys opted to go out with their cousin EJ to experience whatever is happening at the town as they celebrated the town's fiesta. We had a wonderful time!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Score and Three!

It's my wife's birthday today. I always make it a point to write about our escapades during her birthday. Why? Because it also means it's another year added to our relationship as we were married on the her natal day. We make it a point that we do something extraordinary on this day. While the kids were growing up, we would rent a private pool somewhere in Laguna for the family which would include relatives and friends. This was how the children learned how to swim. It would have been a family tradition but we soon had close friends who would take us on a tour or something and the rest of the relatives would soon vow out of the scene.

Anyway, when I started blogging, I saw a venue to put everything before my memory fails me. Of course, that's still a long time to come but just the same, I would want to keep these memories not only for me, but for my grandchildren and theirs. Hmmm, do you suppose blogspot would still be around then? MAybe we would have all moved on to another experience of journaling our day to day existence, right?

This is the first time that I shall be writing about the anniversary on the day itself. We are still preparing lunch, which, hopefully would be enjoyed by all. Later on, we will be hearing mass (something that I do once a year) then off to a restaurant somewhere at the Fort. Nothing much for we would like to save some money for travels we are all looking forward to. In the meantime, should you have more time to browse, you can read about our birthday cum anniversary here, here, here, and here

Happy birthday, mama. I love you very much!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Batang Kaning Lamig

Nick, me, Apol, Batjay and Ajay

It seems like the place to be for Filipino bloggers at around 3:00 pm last Monday was at Fully Booked at the Serendra. I did not realize this until I have gone bloghopping and came upon sites that mentioned they were there, too. I am talking about the launching of my friend's book, Mga kwento ng mga batang kaning lamig. I was silly to assume it was only me and some blogkada friends who will be there from among the bloggers. Well, true enough, Apol,Nick and his officemate Laine were there. We were joined later by the ever so elegantly beautiful Ajay of the Manila Bulletin who managed to sneak in an interview of the "man" of the hour several hours later. As it turned out, there were other bloggers there, too. Why an I surprised when it is the famous two-time awardee of blogger of the year Batjay who has come to town? Naturally, the event will be attended by bloggers!

Our group was approached by Manuel Viloria who unselfishly shared with us some adsense tips while waiting for the ceremonies to begin. I also saw Charlotte who is a frequent visitor at this site and whom I met last December when cbs came to town. Other than these two, I didn't know who else was there. Oh, Dante, that equally famous brother who is known by my generation as Howlin' Dave, was there, too. So were RJ and from the comments in his blog, ayz. What a pity that I didn't know. We could have chatted for an hour as we waited for the ceremonies to begin. Had I only known. Now, I'm sure there could have been others. RJ admitted in his blog that he was shy to approach me at the time. If you're a blogger and you see me, please say hi. I don't bite, for sure.

Anyway, why do you think Batjay is famous? I guess it could not just be because of his pleasing personality since one has to visit his blog for sometime before ths kicks in. I guess it is because he knows his audience, honest with his writings which is never intimidating, witty with his repartee with his commenters, and most of all, funny. He wouldn't have been awarded blogger of the year for two years for nothing, would he?

We both arrived, entered the doors of Fullybooked, albeit from different ends, at the same time. What do you know? It would have been a giveaway had he been donning a Batman t-shirt. However, as complicated as his humor is, he didn't. Instead, he wore a brown shirt with "spiderman" on it.

In his interview with Ajay (thanks for the coffee, sweetheart) to which Apol and I were fortunate to be kibitzers, he was asked to whom he was writing for. Without batting an eyelash, he answered for the OFW's like me so that they wouldn't miss home that much and for Filipinos living here in the country for them to know what it is like to live in a foreign land. There are so much covered in that interview but I would not want to pre-empt Ajay's article which would come out on Monday.

The book caters to a specific target audience as opposed to having a universal theme. How can its humor be understood by Americans, for example, when practically everything in it is culture bound? Take the title for instance. No other nationality would understand the implications of "kaning lamig". Heck I don't even think Filipinos who have never experienced being a "tambay" would understand that. If I may explain, for rice eaters, the preferred choice has always been the steamy-hot-straight-from-the-pot kind. However, for the tambay sa kanto, usually teen-agers who have nothing better to do but to idly while away time at the cornier, perhaps a sari-sari store, smoking and telling jokes to one another, couldn't care if they are served cold rice. Usually, these guys would be invited to eat in a member's house for merienda (in between meals) to which they would be served left over viands and, you guess it right - kaning lamig!

Having said that, am I saying that the book can never be accepted elsewhere? Who can say? There is a saying that the universal lies in the particular. We've seen authors who wrote in their own milieu in their own space and time and yet, their works are known to us simply because the beauty of what they have written has been translated effectively. So, maybe someday, my friend will be known throughout the world once we have learned to translate our culture to be more pallatable to the international market.

At any rate, the book is a sure winner for Filipinos. Batjay has done it again and I am proud I was there to greet him. Go get your copies now before the supply is gone. I tell you, the books were all sold out even before the launch has ended.

Congrats, sir!


In a related story, the Manila berks met last night, April 16, for an evening of fun. We first met at what has become our favorite hang-out, Pot nad Noodles, for some steamed fish, pata tim with cuapao, kikiam, canton (for long life, of course, wink wink) and yang chow rice. We also ordered some cold cuts for appetizer while Batjay was being interviewed. After dinner, we proceeded to Starbucks for coffee and some cake. Thanks for the pic, Doc Emer

Doc Emer,Nick,Batjay,me,Apol. Standing are Mari, and Mec

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pride and shame

I'm so proud of my eldest while I feel ashamed of myself. You see, they have never seen me go home drunk before. Well, at least not in a very very long time. Maybe while they were about two or three years old when all they have were fond memories of toys and dolls and those family outings that no memory of their father going home drunk really mattered. It was very seldom anyway.

Last Sunday, my wife had a three-day seminar in Zambales and I had nothing to do. So, when my friends told me to join them for a drink, I went. As I and my friends know that I am not allowed to drink alcohol, they just offered me red wine. Lo and behold, unbeknownst to me, I have gobbled up two bottles and was pretty drunk. The fact that I came there on a cab made me think it would be okay since I was not driving. Besides, I used to finish a Carlos I with no problem at all. Never got drunk with red wine.

When I got home, I sat on the sofa and before I knew it, I puked! I ran to the toilet but even then couldn't contain myself and threw up some more spilling everything my tummy can offer. I immediately took a bath while my daughter cleaned up after me.

Here's the funny part. Last night, when my wife arrived, my daughter, together with the other siblings, asked her mom, "Ma, has papa confessed yet?" My wife asked what happened? The children were silently waiting for my response. I couldn't look my children in the eyes but I jokingly said, "I was with three beautiful women last night." hehehe

This morining, it was just me and my eldest inside the car on the way to work. I asked her, "have you told your mother?" "No, of course not. It's your duty to tell her." I said I will in due time. All she said was, "you should! Ang kapal ng face mo pag hindi."

I tell you, once your kids have grown, they will always end to be the wiser.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

He's done it again!

The latest buzz in cyberspace right now is that my good friend, Batjay has published another book! This time, there's no denying that it is him. It's Batjay to invade everybody's bookshelf. Launching will be on April 14 at Fullybooked at Serendra, 3:00 pm. What's even greater news is that he will be coming over and will actually be there, straight from the airport. I will certainly be there. See you!