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Archive for October, 2010

When Age Matters

Nurse : Do you smoke?
Me : No.
Nurse : Do you drink alcohol?
Me : No.
Friend : Do you go to bars to hang out?
Me : No.
Friend : Do you work out in a gym?
Me : No.
Driver : Can I listen to loud music while driving, sir?
Me : No.

My answers to these questions all show I lost touch with youth. Or what society considers as youthful. If I answer at least one ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, I would feel really young. But I don’t.

I was a young kid, not even attending school yet, when I admired my older cousins and their taste for clothes and music and wished I was a lot older.

I was in sixth grade when I no longer wore my school uniform but instead went to school in shirts and jeans (it was a public school so it was allowed) and pretended to be a college student.

I was in sophomore highschool, two years short of the legal age, when I started watching R-18 movies in cinemas and no one asked for an ID!

I was in senior year in college when I admired those people pushing carts filled with groceries to the cashier and wished I was old enough to work and afford such things.

I was in my first year of work when I wished I was older upon seeing the success of my boss.

Now, I am in my late twenties, will reach even the latter part of twenties in less than a month. I already have what I wished for – the taste in clothes, the money to afford some things I need, the success in my work – but I feel so old.

Did you ever have that feeling that you grew up too fast? Too quickly? I feel that I did. That I trained myself to think like an older person. That my actions betray my age.

Some people who are old and yet act as if they’re still teens (I mean those people who are really old but act immaturely) have nothing different from me who am still young by some people’s standards but act as if I am in my late forties.

I feel that I am running out of time. That I once wished that time be so fast for me to grow up at once but only wish that time would slow down after.

The sad part is – I know I am not running out of time. That I am still in my youth. That I am still, technically, in the yuppie category.

But I could no longer relate to what young people do.

I do not see the sense in hanging out at night and drinking your heart’s desire. I do not see the sense of listening to loud music when your only time to sleep is the travel from your office to your home. I do not see the sense why should I bother working out in gyms when I could spend time with my dogs and plants.

I am not even mentioning the lines around my eyes when I laugh too hard.

But I am obviously fretting over my age.

The crowd in the office is getting younger and younger, lots of fresh graduates to train, and lots of older people acting like fresh graduates! I feel so different!

Should I start hanging out with older people (James, do not give me that look – this is not about me finding older men sexier) so I could relate? So I could be the younger one?

I’ll be 28 in less than a month, but I look like 38 and think like 48.

Well, I think this is a job for Shiseido eye cream!

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It was a breezy Sunday midday, around 11AM. I was at the garage getting all the slippers I put on the gate to dry after being washed. Beside the bowl of potato also drying under the midday sun (at may kinalaman talaga ang patatas sa story ko diba) sat Fabio, the black-and-white neighborhood Puspin (pusang pinoy) who had the habit of resting in our garage and sharing food with the rest of the puspin gang.

My mom, an animal lover herself, would save kitchen scraps to feed the puspins and aspins in the street. She would put these scraps in an old ice cream tub placed in the same spot beside our home.

Going back to that breezy midday when Fabio, upon seeing me, immediately got up, purred, and went in between my legs, asking to be scratched. I obliged. I went down and scratched his neck, which made him purr even more. He is so adorable, I quickly got inside after remembering that we will have rellenong bangus for lunch – for there’ll surely be some fishbones for him.

I got out with the bowl of scraps and went to the spot beside our house. But before I could pour the contents of the bowl I was holding, an aspin was running towards me, learning of the free lunch. So for fairness, I took out the two sets of fishbones (for dogs don’t like them) and poured the rest of the scraps in the tub.

I saw Fabio waiting by our gate and I slowly put the fishbones I was holding on the garage steps so he could easily take it away with him but he suddenly went forward and bit me! I was surprised! I was still holding the fishbones and thought I could not jerk lest I traumatize the animal even more. I looked at Fabio, who was also shocked by what he has done, and placed the fishbones on the stairs.

I went inside our home, washed my hand with water (for the puncture wound was already bleeding) and told James that I would be taking a bath before lunch so we can go to the hospital to be vaccinated.

Before stepping into the bathroom, I looked down at the garage from my bedroom terrace to see if Fabio took the bones and seems he did. I am glad he was not too shocked to forget about food!

After our lunch with so much hilarious conversation on my mom’s accusation that I am developing a fetish for anti-rabies injections, James and I went to the Medical City in Ortigas. It was a year ago when Mitos, pour deceased first-born dog-child playfully bit me. It did not bleed but I did not take any risk. I went to Makati Medical Center the following day (but less than 24 hours, of course).

After waiting for an hour in the Emergency Room (sensed the irony?), I was finally given my dose of anti-tetanus booster and anti-rabies on both my arms. I still one to go on Wednesday (October 27).

Most peoples’ reaction when bitten by a cat or a dog is anger towards the animal. Let us remember that primarily, they are animals. They are guided by their instinct to survive and to protect themselves. Humans should always think of this and should not do anything to provoke an animal, even if it is domesticated, more so if it is our pet.

When bitten by any animal suspected of rabies, please wash the wound and the surrounding area with clean water and soap and have yourself injected with anti-tetanus and anti-rabies within 24 hours, sooner if the one bitten was a child and on the upper part of the body.

This is because a child’s immune system is generally weaker compared to that of an adult and a bite on the upper part of the body is more dangerous due to close proximity to the central nervous system.

If bitten for the first time, you would be given a shot of anti-tetanus and a shot of anti-rabies on the first day. This would go on for several days with the prescribed interval period (like D3, D7, so on). If bitten for the second time, please tell the attending physician of the dates of your previous immunization for it will play a factor in knowing the dosage you need and frequency of administration.

These post-bite shots would set you off a few thousand pesos in big hospitals but if you are kind of short in cash, San Lazaro Hospital has one of the cheapest anti-rabies shots available in the country. It is in Manila and the people there are specialized in dog and cat bites. You just have to go around asking people to share a vial with you (and its costs) for one shot uses only a portion of the vial and it is you who will buy it from nearby drugstores.

If in case you have a pet cat or a dog, please have them immunized with anti-rabies as soon as their sixth month of age, with yearly booster shots. If you obtained your pet with much an age more than six months and you are not sure if it has been immunized, I suggest we err on the lesser evil and have our dear pets be given anti-rabies shots. This would only cost less than P500 a shot.
But of course, rabies can be transmitted from one animal to another through the saliva of an infected species. So please have your pets stay inside your homes and never allow them to wander by themselves. They can get rabies from other dogs and cats that way.

I hope this post helps you and I will keep you posted on my health. So far, I am still drinking water and not afraid of it!

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My Typical Saturday

Wow! I’ve been in hiatus for a very long time! Super busy sa work and I hope someone missed me! Well, anyway, since holiday and I am in the office working, let me tell you about my weekends!
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My weekends are sacred.

As much as I can help it, I will not work at weekends. These two days – Saturday and Sunday – are solely devoted to me, my partner, family and dogs.

So what do I usually do at weekends? Brace yourself as my schedule might bore you to death.

Saturday 10AM. This is when I usually wake up. After washing my face with The Face Shop’s Apricot Facial Wash, I fix my bed and hide our blankets under the pillows for our two dog-children would soon barge into our room and make a mess of the blankets.

Saturday 10.15AM. The moment Sam and Tessa, our dog-children, sense that we are already up, they won’t stop barking until they’re let out of their playpens. Once I do, the two of them would scramble to get to my face to give me their good morning lick. After that, I prepare coffee and eat a small breakfast since it’s already lunch in less than two hours.

Since I’ve been going home quite late during weekdays, I sleep until this time during weekends. But in times when I get to wake up earlier, I prepare my favorite breakfast set – fried eggs with basil leaves, corned beef with big onion rings, toasted garlic-butter bread, fried rice with longganisa, brewed coffee and orange juice. Then me, James, my sister and her two sons, and my mom would share the breakfast I’ve made.

Saturday 10.30AM. I go out to the garden/garage to check on the plants and two fish (a goldfish and an angel fish) in the aquarium. This is also the time when I sweep the garage of loose fur (from my dogs and neighborhood cats) and occasional feathers from birds, and dried leaves. I check the plants one by one to see if there are any problems such as infestation of hungry caterpillars, annoying frogs who sits on top of ferns and sense for the acrid smell of cat urine.

Lately, two cats had the habit of staying in our garage for the night – something that I tolerated and even given them names – Alejandro (the orange/white cat) and Fabio (the black/white cat) but Sam and Tessa would not have anything of it! Now, Alejandro and Fabio also had the habit of peeing and pooing in the two plant boxes beside the stairs leading to our home. I thought of mixing used ground coffee with the soil to mask the smell (and fertilize at the same time). So with four bags of used ground coffee which I got for free from Starbucks after buying a caramel macchiato and a waffle, I set off to work. Our home smells of freshly brewed coffee all weekend long.

Saturday 12NN. No matter how many things need to be done, we make sure the whole family is complete during weekend meals. We had paella for lunch. Sharing meals is not really about eating but sharing stories, catching up on what your family is currently doing. It is always nice to dine with people you love.

Saturday 2PM. James and I were off to SM Marikina to buy a gift for an officemate who was about to get married. My budget was P1,000 and good thing I found an oven toaster within my budget. James bought something for his mom on Christmas and I decided to buy my mom a waffle maker.

We were already home before 6PM so we can have dinner with the family. My mom is the best cook in the world – our meals every weekend can rival those served at fancy restaurants. And our Saturday dinner was no exception!

We were done at around 8PM (yeah, it took us two hours to finish our meals) and we usually spend an hour playing with the dogs. Samantha would just sit on your lap and wait for you to brush her fur while Contessa, being younger, likes rougher play like throwing her toy across the room for her to get it and if you don’t, she will gently nibble on your fingers till you get her toy.

Saturday 9PM. It’s time for James and I to head to our room and this where the blog-able things stop! (actually, nagliligpit ako for an hour kasi di me makatulog sa magulong kwarto!)

Next boring post – my typical Sundays!

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I was once famous

I was once famous.

Being a consistent honor student and president of most of the school’s clubs would certainly give you ample airtime to increase your popularity.

Everyone knows you. Everyone wants to hear what you have to say. Everyone appears to be nice to you and wants to be friends with you.

Then the evil of popularity strikes. People talk behind your back. Your every move is watched. Your every action is judged. One wrong move or word was quickly blown out of proportion.

Bitter thing about this is you get used to the popularity and you start pleasing everyone else. Like everyone is a fan you could not afford to lose.

I got tired of the spotlight. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be me without thinking or worrying whether I would be liked or not.

I know how to lose the popularity. Said no to all parties. Said no to all engagements. Never went out to meet new people. I stayed with friends I truly trust. I never smiled at anyone without them smiling at me first. I just looked straight and ignored everyone hoping I, myself, would be ignored.

But perhaps, I was born in front of the stage, rather than behind it. Whatever I do, I get attention. Unwanted attention. My actions are judged mercilessly. My name is dragged to common gossip channels. Suplado. Masungit. Mayabang. Namemersonal. Some of the words I’ve been described as.

Worse, you have no chance to prove otherwise without gaining popularity or appearing as people-pleaser. A very wise blogger once said that you have a serious problem if you want everyone to like you. I no longer want to have that problem. I should live happily with the fact that I can not please everyone.

It is just sad that people you do not want to notice you get to notice you while those you want to notice you totally ignores you.

After this, I’d stand up, get my bag, get a ride, sleep and then everything starts all over again…tomorrow.

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Remember the old Balagtasan piece about whose profession is better – doctor, lawyer or teacher? The winner to be declared after the heated exchange of rhyme and meter is the teacher – for the doctor could not be the doctor nor the lawyer be the lawyer without being taught by the teacher.

For roughly 15 years, our lives were touched by these unsung heroes. A year in kindergarten, six in primary, four in secondary and four in college, not to mention additional time for board reviews, masteral or doctoral degrees. While we were still in school, it is safe to say that we spent more time with our teachers than with our parents – especially those whose parents were working.

In salute to our teachers (in and out of school), let me enumerate the top ten best lessons I learned from them:

1. ‘Never believe anyone who is not from DepEd (DECS back then) that there is no class today due to the typhoon.’
I was in first grade then and one rainy morning, my lolo told me that it was announced in the radio that classes were suspended that day. I did not go to school. The following morning, Mrs Pamatmat asked me why was I absent yesterday and I told her that my lolo told me classes were suspended. Her exact words were : ‘bakit, taga PAGASA ba lolo mo?’
Since then, I would always go to school, despite the rain and flood, and I would only believe that classes were indeed suspended if the school guard would not let me in!

2. ‘Your teachers can either build or destroy your talents.’
From first grade to second grade, I was the school’s best in math, until I failed to attend my Math Quiz Bee National Level competition due to a bad tummy. Our school lost and Mrs Cecilia Villanueva blamed me for that. She taunted me for several years until I neglected math completely. I could no longer answer the simplest algebraic problem. It was at the same time when Mrs Santos, our English teacher, was so kind to me. My math brain gave way to my English brain.
I am now very good in English but poor in Math. Two teachers. One who destroyed. One who rebuilt.

3. ‘GMRC stands for Good Manners and Right Conduct, not Silence.’
My grade in GMRC from Grade 1 to 5 never reached higher than 85%. In my sixth grade, it went up to 95%. Mrs Carmelita Villanueva (sister of Mrs Cecilia), our class adviser, said that being a good person does not mean being silent all the time. Oftentimes, good people speak up to defend the truth and the righteous. Since then, I know, I am a good person. I am just so talkative!

4. ‘Friends are nice to have, but they do not hand you the diploma.’
My sophomore year in high school was my most rebellious time. I have friends from all sections, from all year levels. I cut classes bragging that I am bright enough to pass the exams without studying. Then my grades started falling. It was too late. I dropped from being first honor to second honor just within a quarter of year of not taking my subjects seriously. I had many friends, but I almost failed out of high school. It was Mrs Ortiz who brought me back to my senses.

5. ‘You are not poor in Math Scott, you are just too lazy to study it.’
It was Mrs Bernardo speaking. Telling me how she believes I have potential to be good in Calculus (hello, algebra nga nose bleed na, Calculus pa!) if I only put my heart into it. She asked me to teach Calculus Functions to another class with her observing from the back of the class. I prepared for a week, read four books, prepared materials and tests. Surprisingly, I did understand the topic.
For that, I took up Accounting. And passed the Board Exams, even if I know I am not very good in math.

6. ‘Not because you don’t speak their language means they are below you.’
Mr Pacelli was our gay Literature professor. He asked us to say two sentences to describe our most favorite literary piece. I told them about The Boomerang Clue by Agatha Christie. My gay classmate described his favorite in gay lingo. I laughed at him. Our professor asked me what was funny and I said I find it funny because though I am gay, too, I do not understand nor speak gay lingo.
He told the class but everyone is unique and we would have differences. And those alone are not enough to judge if someone is better than the other. From then on, I never looked down on people who are different from me, but instead been curious to learn about what they know.

7. ‘Your good English will bring you somewhere, but your good sense will bring you anywhere.’
Atty Cahayon was our Law professor for almost all our Law subjects in college. His style includes having a short quiz before he starts discussing the lesson. Our grades were based primarily on objective exams and only a little portion on recitation. He taught me that the untrained brain can be fooled by sweet words but only the learned mind can be impressed by sensible arguments.

8. ‘Not all teachers have to be as bright as Einstein to be good teachers, they just have to have the heart to be so.
My older sister, sadly, is not as bright as I am academically. She never finished college as she lost interest for I was about to graduate ahead of her despite having three academic years of difference in high school.
But she was the one who taught me how to write. She was the one who taught me how to read. She was the one who taught me how to speak English.
Without her, I would not have been as good as I am now.

9. ‘Not all gays should work in parlors only. Your son is gay, the more you should take care of him so he won’t suffer the society’s stereotype.’
The words of my lolo on his deathbed speaking to my mom about me. Although I do not look down on our sisters who work in the aesthetic industry, I am glad I was given the chance to conquer industries dominated by heterosexuals. And my lolo taught me how to fight to become a better man.

10. ‘Money can’t love.’
The best teacher of all times – my mom. She brought us up in humble ways. She borrowed money and exerted effort to pay every single centavo back. I used to question how come we lived so poorly. She always told us that no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy respect, admiration and love.
Yes, I value money. Pero alam ko wala akong mabibiling de-latang pagmamahal sa grocery.
I owe that to my mom.

I hope, in my more than 20 years of living, someone, somewhere, believes that I taught him or her something of value, that is worth teaching forward.

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James and I went to the PhilamLife Theatre in UN Avenue in Manila yesterday to watch Koro, Kilig, Kwela, a musical presentation of Coro Illustrado. Coro Illustrado is an all-male (well, technically male) group who has been performing in various competitions and has held their very first concert like the one we saw yesterday less than a year ago.

I had the chance to buy a couple of tickets from a friend in the office who happens to be a member of Coro Illustrado. James and I had our apprehensions in attending the event – James’ concern was whether he would enjoy listening to pure musical bliss or not, my concern was whether my clothes were appropriate for the event or not.

James and I are not exactly the artsy cultured couple I want us to be. Although we are certified movie and book addicts, we are still neophytes when it comes to the concert and theatre scenes.

In fact, we are back at the PhilamLife Theatre after almost ten years! We were freshmen in PUP then when we watched A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, a PUP-sponsored play at the PhilamLife. It was also our first date!

I could remember James wore rubber shoes, blue jeans and short-sleeved buttoned-down plaid polo. He wore glasses then and really looked like a highschool freshman than a college guy. I, of course, was another story. I wore my hair up, glistening with washable silver spray mist, with blue polo with embroidery at the back, tight bell-bottom pants (I just loved the ‘70s!) and chunky Acupuncture rubber shoes!

We looked as if we came from two different but both horrible fashion schools! But we didn’t mind. We both enjoyed the show and I told myself, given the chance to have James as my boyfriend, we would spend all our days watching plays like the one we saw.

Fast forward to 2010. James wore jeans, rubber shoes and a nice blue long-sleeved top. He wore contacts and he just let his hair down. He now looked like a sexy geek. I, on the other hand, was no longer a far story. I wore jeans as well, plaid long-sleeved top and brown leather shoes. My pompadour is back and my mascara from The Face Shop is doing wonders with my eyebrows. According to James, I received considerable admiring stares from the many gays in the crowd. Ego-booster much!

The program (which is actually the topic of this entry and not our fashion tastes) lasted for two hours – two hours of superb performance. For a ticket costing only P350, I tempered my expectations of what the chorale group can do. I was happily disappointed!

Song after song after song, my hands were so red in applauding. I am not musically inclined. I could not recite the best arias nor enumerate the different concertos. But I know good music when I hear it. And Koro, Kilig, Kwela definitely delivered!

My favorite songs of the night were Muntik na Kitang Minahal, I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me, Waka Waka and Bad Romance. Their rendition of Lady Gaga’s hit was hilarious! My friends who watched the show with us would be singing these songs for days!

They say that even old dogs can learn new tricks. Perhaps, it is not yet too late for me and James to rekindle our love for the arts. I am now looking forward to the next shows we will watch. Not necessarily big. Not necessarily mainstream. But something we will surely enjoy.

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