Can’t Be Taken Back

April 13, 2017

I didn’t realize that I could still cry myself to sleep at my age, but apparently I still had it in me.

Had a big fight with my sister, and about the laundry, of all things. And despite using a joking tone, I said something that really offended her. As a result, she says that she’s leaving for her home in Quezon City this Easter weekend… And she’s taking her son with her, and they’ll never visit ever so as to no longer bother me about the extra laundry.

I said sorry, but the damage was already done. Foot into mouth, as usual. Even my father got angry at me, and how I was being such a stick in the mud for complaining about something as trivial as extra laundry, and how because my sister was still family, of course I should also do her share. It’s all too much…

And then, and then I realized that, with my sister leaving with her kid, and with tatay staying over there on weekdays, the house’s will go back to being quiet… And lifeless. And with just ol’ me as the place’s occupant.

I found the thought of being left alone in the house to be terrible and so, so lonely.


Quite A Day It Was

March 25, 2013

It’s been quite a day, and I’m not sure where to start, though I suppose logically my shift at work would be a good place to begin.

Let’s see… Apparently the Lowe’s sale was still ongoing, which meant that despite it being a Monday, there was quite a bit of calls to go around.  Although not at yesterday’s levels, where I’d usually be dozing off, I was taking in calls every two or so minutes for a good part of the morning.  Good grief.

Now for the weather.  While the day started quite warm as usual, around nine or so it got surprisingly dark.  It was like a whole cloud bank decided to park on the general Makati-Alabang-Pasay-Paranaque area, and sat there being ominous until around eleven.  I was actually worried that I’d be rained on once I got out for lunch (I didn’t eat by the way — instead I went out to withdraw my pay, then headed to the closest Metrobank branch to have it deposited into my savings account). 

And it did eventually rain close to noon, building up from a shower to a downpour that actually made it hard to make out the other buildings outside our office windows.  Sadly I wasn’t able to appreciate the coolness the rain brought, as by the time we got out less than half an hour after the rain ended it was once more scalding hot.  And the streets weren’t even wet anymore, that was how hot it was.  Sheesh.

Anyway I got home, but there was still no news about my sister’s condition.  My father promised to wake me in case we needed to drop by to visit, so I was able to get a two hour nap.

… When I was roused from my nap however, we got a message from my brother-in-law that she’s already given birth, and was just fine.  Cue me and my dad getting ready, and having my cousin cook a meal for us to eat and bring as a pasalubong to the new mommy and daddy (for the curious, it was sweet and spicy pork and chicken adobo).

Getting to Medical City Ortigas was a bit of an ordeal, let me tell you.  The MRT was absolutely packed by late six, so we had to stand all the way to Ortigas station.  Then there was a bit of a walk up to the corner of Robinson’s Galleria, where we were then supposed to catch a ride all the way to the hospital… Only when we got there, there were a whole lot of other people also waiting buses and whatnot to ride, except every piece of public transport was filled to the brim.

Given our family, there was only one thing to do: walk all the way there!

Now this was the first time I’ve ever been to the right side of Robinson’s Galleria, and go beyond Meralco Avenue.  It took some going, but hey it was a new experience, though I wasn’t quite able to take in the apparently huge area that the Meralco main office occupied, or how Medical City itself seemed more like a swank hotel it ambiance (it even had a Starbucks cafe close to the foyer, plus a convenience store!).  The room that my brother-in-law was waiting in was very nice too, if a bit small (smaller than even the room I had at home).

Apparently my sister didn’t deliver naturally, but had to undergo a C-section, which meant that she’s going to stay a while in the recovery unit.  That meant that we couldn’t see her, or the baby, even after waiting thirty minutes.  Oh well.  Tatay will just have to upload the baby pictures bro-in-law took, and visit tomorrow.

We walked back to the MRT station obviously, and the ride home was a lot less crowded than the ride we took earlier.  As tatay went to work uploading said baby pictures, I went to watch the Girls und Panzer finale.

And the verdict?  IT WAS GLORIOUS.  A great topper to an already very okay day.

Small Blessings And Celebrations

May 17, 2012

As far as week-enders at the office go, today’s shift was kind of okay.  While there were some odd spikes in the call queue, it wasn’t as frustrating or stressful as one might expect, though I did wish that the avail times were longer by the half-way mark of my shift…

By the way, it’s my father’s birthday today.  As with a lot of things in our family, our celebration was a very low-key and small-scale affair, with just the four of us taking part: myself, my sister and her husband, and of course the old guy himself.  There was the usual bilao of pancit Malabon (though I didn’t appreciate that tatay dissed the bilao of pancit Lucban that I bought some time ago), plus cake, soda, and pork barbecue.  

That’s a lot of food for just four people, and I had to close my eyes and forget for the evening that not only was I supposed to be on a diet, but I had just come from the gym a few hours prior, meaning all my efforts (to lose weight and lessen intake) ended up a wash.  Maybe I’ll just fast for tomorrow to compensate… Ugh.

I’d actually forgotten tatay’s birthday was this week, and if I didn’t notice the big bundle of pre-skewered and marinated pork I’d probably be caught flatfooted (we rarely buy pork barbecue, except for special occasions).  After that, it was easy to narrow down what it was for.  It’s kind of embarrassing actually, for something like that to just slip my mind.  I mean, my father and I’ve had our share of arguments, but it’s still his birthday.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how old he is, the family pretty much stopped counting at sixty.  It’s much happier for everyone involved, ahaha.

Walking the Last Aisle

April 15, 2012


If I were to describe the day today, it was anything but boring.  From the time we woke up very early in the morning (incidentally much earlier than the time I usually do for work), it’s been a flurry of activity for the family gathered for this occasion.  From the moment the womenfolk put on the shuttle to the Bayleaf hotel for prepping (because, y’know, we need all morning just for our makeup), to the fitting of gowns (guh, what a nightmare that was), to say it was hectic would be an understatement.

In the end though we managed to get dolled up just in time for the ceremony held at noon.  Complaints of delays by the ushers aside, the wedding proper itself went without incident.  As for my role in all of this, well, suffice to say that I dodged the bullet of being a wedding sponsor/godmother, and got away with just serving as the lector for the 1st and 2nd readings.

After everyone was ushered back to the hotel for the reception, things likewise went more or less as expected.  Okay, so we weren’t provided a program to begin with, and my sister just had to spend ten minutes having her make-up retouched (which meant everyone had to wait to get to eat), but those were pretty minor wrinkles to an otherwise well-ironed event.  There was a lot of food to be had (apparently the caterers prepared for about a hundred people), which meant I had to figuratively look away while I stuffed myself to the bursting (we have a saying in the family: if someone else is paying for the food, you can’t afford to be shy about things).  Oh, and apparently nanay (who against all odds was contacted via wireless) cried her eyes out at missing her younger daughter’s most important day. 

At the end of things, the reception ended without incident.  There was some weird scrambling by the family to have all the food that hadn’t been finished wrapped for take-out (waste not, want not), but I suppose that’s normal for this particular family.

And so ends the last day of my sister being unattached, and begins the rest of her life as a married woman.  Hilariously enough we fully expect her to be back home in one or two days. They don’t have a house yet, which means that my sister’s going to stay in her room, separate from her husband until the time where they can find a place to move into.  They already have a few places in mind, but at the earliest that means she’d only be able to move out around the middle of this year.

Incidentally I fully expect to hate myself over the next few days, ugh.  It’s back to the gym, and diet limitations again for me.

One After The Other

February 21, 2011

It’s a little worrying to think that, had some of my co-workers not come in for overtime this morning, I would have been left alone to fend for myself on the floor.  I understand that the cross-skill training period is supposed to last until the end of this week, but given the fact that we seem to have lost two people over the weekend does not help.  Unless more overtime is offered, then only two of us will be taking calls up to the end of the training period, which bodes ill for my health.  A high queue of calls is bound to stress me out, and I’ve never handled (work-related) stress well.

One would have thought that the company would have made moves to cover up the loss of personnel (we’ve been losing people since the start of the year), but apparently it’s stopped hiring.  I don’t think that’s a good sign, really, but I’m determined to keep working there as long as possible, as it’s the only company I’ve encountered that had work schedules that didn’t conflict with my classes.

On the home front, I had to pick up my father at the airport after work, but I almost fell asleep waiting for him.  Thankfully his flight arrived on time, and the ride home wasn’t delayed by the traffic in the city either, so I was able to get some sleep once I got home.  With what had happened at work, it’s not too surprising really that I just conked out, and while I feel refreshed now, I think that kind of exhaustion will be all-too common until the end of the work week.

Oh well, I’ll just color my Pixiv project a bit, put up some downloads as usual, then head back to bed.  Not exactly a pleasant start to the week, but not a total loss either.

Another Planned Trip

March 14, 2009

I think as of last count, me and my sister have visited Singapore three or so times, with my sister having one visit more than I have. I have to say after all those visits, the fact that the city-state, located at the southern end of the Malaysian peninsula, was not really that budget-friendly got impressed on my mind, but with a little creativity, it can be a worthwhile tourist destination.

Now, a few background notes on Singapore itself for the first-time visitor. The Republic of Singapore is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia, and as mentioned is located at the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. Although it started as sort of a shipping hub (and it still is, in a way), the city-state is more of a financial center these days, although tourism also plays a big part in its economy.

The primary means to get to Singapore, of course, is via air travel. A tourist has more than a few options open to them, and depending on their budget, can choose which airline to take to get there. Cebu Pacific has regular flights to the city-state, and so does Philippine airlines, but in my experience it’s better to take the latter, as while it’s slightly priced more than the former’s tickets it does provide in-flight meals, which is always a plus in my book. For those really on a budget however, there’s Tiger Airways, but unlike Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines, one has to endure a drive to Olongapo to board their planes.

The trip to Singapore doesn’t take two hours from takeoff at Ninoy Aquino International to Changi International Airport. Depending on the airline you took, you’ll either be deposited in ‘Old’ Changi, or the so-called Budget Terminal. The Budget Terminal is accessible by both car service and taxi, but Old Changi does better with direct access to the country’s MRT service. In either case, it’s best to keep in mind the moment you step off the plane the fact that Singapore is a land of laws, and rather harsh ones; things that one can get away with here in the Philippines with a proverbial slap on the wrist like throwing waste on the street or smoking in non-designated areas are fined mercilessly (and quite expensively too), and let’s not get into things like jaywalking… Don’t let that scare you though, as all the laws make Singapore one of the cleanest and safest cities to be in.

If you’re visiting Singapore the first time, it’s really suggested that you do so on a tourist package—in fact, that’s what my family did on our first visit here, before Tatay actually started working there, that is. Although it’s very likely you won’t get five-star accommodations (indeed, my father, sister and myself got deposited unceremoniously in a 2-star hotel in the middle of what might count as the city’s red-light district), packaged tours do have the advantage of giving you time to get familiar with the sights of the city. Pay close attention to the places located at Orchard Road as it’s one of the city’s major shopping hubs outside of the Downtown area, and it’s a place one might one to return to in subsequent visits.

And really, one can’t really appreciate the place on one visit alone, or at least that’s how I felt during my first visit there. Call it a personal bias, but I really do prefer going over a place on foot, and despite the fact that one might be able to walk across the city in less than a day, there’s just so many things to see that only be accessible via walking. Okay, the ride up the Singapore River was quite an experience, as was the visit to the historic Raffles Square, and the Merlion Statue in front of the bay, but I do feel that it’s more personal to go about wandering in the city with just your map in hand, dressed casually, with comfortable sneakers enclosing your feet.

One of the places I was able to go to on my visits to Singapore was Sentosa Island. Meaning peace and tranquility, Sentosa is one of Singapore’s so-called resort islands, and is accessible via MRT as well as bus, and the island itself has a dedicated bus service, but I have to say it was very much a pleasure to explore it on foot. The island is the location of several attractions, such as the Underwater World, as well as a Dolphin Lagoon, but since on both occasions that we visited there we were on a budget, we weren’t able to partake in any, though the sheer amount of greenery on display more than makes up for it, I think.

As Singapore is thoroughly cosmopolitan, it’s inevitable for a visitor not to encounter the city’s many, MANY malls. My sister and I had an unfortunate experience of walking through what seemed like an endless, endless series of interconnected malls, starting of course from VivoCity to SunTec City. I have to admit, going through all those linked buildings can be an alternative to walking in the sub-tropical heat—although Singapore is one of greenest cities ever, with the sheer amount of trees it has, it’s still only 1 degree cooler than Metro Manila, which isn’t much—one can only take so much shops after all.

A visit to Singapore would not, and I stress, not be complete without trying the local cuisine, which is often viewed by people as a prime example of the ethnic diversity of the city-state’s culture. The so-called Hawker Stores, open-air complexes housing stalls that sell relatively inexpensive selections of food, are commonplace enough that they’re located within walking distance of many residential complexes (and indeed, one is located just across the street from the apartment my father is staying at for the duration of his work there). There are also various restaurants that cater to specific tastes, and I had the privilege of eating at an honest-to-goodness Indian restaurant that sold genuine spicy curry… Of course, everything else was spicy as well, a fact that my sister and Tatay weren’t able to appreciate. There were also the expected Chinese restaurants, and we were able to eat at the variety that sold VERY delicious noodle dishes, as well as the types that served more traditional meals that could be eaten with rice.

If there’s anything that Singapore isn’t, it’s definitely not a shopper’s city. Frankly, the goods you’d find there on sale are only slightly on this side of expensive. The souvenir shops are an exception of course, where you could find a variety of knick-knacks to bring back to relatives in the Philippines. The Merlion keychains are a perennial favorite, as well as the T-shirts printed with the city’s major tourist attractions, but I have a fondness for the inlaid lighters; while I don’t smoke cigarettes myself, one of my ex-supervisors at work and more than a few teammates do, so it’s something I make sure to pick up for them.

Then there is Lucky Plaza.  If there was any doubt about the presence of Filipinos in Singapore, then one need not look further than Lucky Plaza. Lucky Plaza, in a nutshell, is a five story building filled to the brim with shops and eateries.  Not a single shop is bigger than two or three hundred square feet, and there are literally dozens of shops all selling cameras, or clothing, or jewelry, or leather, or furniture… you name it.  It’s also filled to the brim with Filipinos, especially during Sundays, where the OFWs gather to socialize, or just send money back to their loved ones back home.

Although I’ve already visited the place two or three times already, I feel that there’s still more than enough places left for me to discover there. I’m not really sure how things would turn out, but my sister is planning another trip to Singapore this summer, as a sort of commemoration of what might be my father’s last few months of work there, and even now she’s reminding me to reserve some leaves just for that occasion. You can bet that I’m looking forward to the trip.

Reality Intervenes

January 29, 2009

I’m the first to admit that I don’t possess a lyrical or poetic soul.  It is probably one of my father’s secret laments, when I think of it, that neither me or my younger sister seemed to have inherited his love for poetry; I can barely rhyme to save my life, and in fact it was one of those factors that nearly made me fail my English classes in Malate Catholic School, all those years ago, while my sister has little interest in Literature in general, unless it happens to pique her attention at that particular point in time (Harry Potter during her years La Consolacion, or more recently Twilight).  By comparison, my father, old in appearance and stubborn in temperment, whom I will probably butt heads with in this life (and in the next, if I were so lucky), writes multi-stanza poems as his passtime, on top of his already labor and time-intensive work as a Geologist (this time as part of a team overseeing the construction of some tunnels in Singapore).  Compare this to me, who these days can barely compose a semi-coherent two-page essay, much more multi-page corporate report; although my father might be considered a rank amateur when compared to some of the professors in DLSU, he’s still got more talent and, more importantly, more passion than I could ever muster.

For all the praise I’ve received from my old boss Sonia Atabug at PWU’s PMRO, I just can’t measure up.  I’ve never really completed anything at this point, even the short story I started way back in Elementary…  And at 27 years of age, frankly, too old to start writing again.  Hearing some of the examples that Dr. Baytan and Dr. Cruz mention in class, heck, learning under such personages makes me feel that I dragged my heels for far too long.  Most of the giants of our country’s Literary traditions literally reached the top of their form before their mid-20’s. 

It’s… galling.