Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Baguio Episodes

We left Manila at around 11:30pm on a Saturday evening. By 5:30am on Sunday we arrived at the house where we were staying. We got lost a couple of times; we didn’t have the exact address of the house, and there were few people awake whom we can ask for directions. But we finally found it.

The House
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It’s an old wooden house, I guess first constructed in the 60s but with subsequent additions to it. but the bulk of the structure is like a wooden cabin.
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One enters through the dining and kitchen area; it looks like it’s either been renovated or added to the old structure. Further inside is a huge den. What’s breathtaking is the window stretching across the whole length of the den—it allows a breathtaking view of the mountains.

The whole house feels quite cozy and homey. However, the problem with a wooden house is that there are so many sounds one hears at night, especially when most of the sounds die down. Doors creak even when they stay shut, footsteps are heard outside the bedroom when there’s suppose to be no one there, switches click even when the lights stay off. One of us swears she heard voices whispering in the bathroom hallway and assumed it was us; when she looked up from the bed, she saw us fast asleep in our own mattresses. Luckily I was super-dedma to any creaking or shuffling of feet I personally heard; I was too tired to be bothered, since I was driving on the way up and the whole time we were there.

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In the den is a fireplace. We bought two bundles of firewood, but the wood in one of them was damp. I had a crash course in Making Fire 101. I figured out how to position the wood so that the fire can go up really high. Soon we have a huge fire going—at one point it became too hot for toasting marshmallows, so we had to wait until the fire died down a bit.

Driving Me Baguio
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The last time I was up in Baguio was for the Advertising Congress two years ago. Still, when we got there it was so easy for me to remember the different routes around the city. My god, I think I was a taxi driver in Baguio in my previous life!

Eats Ruined!
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Café By The Ruins is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. It’s a little pricey and the choices are limited, but it’s like comfort food—it can’t do wrong. So imagine my disappointment when I found out they weren’t serving strawberry soda anymore (it’s not even in the menu). Argh! But the strawberries and cream was heavenly.

We Got It All For You!
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SM Baguio is my favorite SM I’ve seen so far (I’ve only been to most SMs in Metro Manila, and I’ve seen SM Cebu from the outside). What I love about the building is that they made use of the environment and made it open-air, so there’s no need for centralized airconditioning. Plus because it’s nestled on top of the mountain, they constructed verandas all over so that one can enjoy the view of the whole of Baguio. Of course most people would use the view as backdrop for their photo ops.

While I was framing one of my shots, I noticed someone was within the frame. I was thinking of moving him off-frame when my phone started ringing. I took the shot, picked up my phone and noticed the missed call.
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Oh my—it’s __________, a regular viewer of The McVie Show! For so many months we kept promising each other, “Let’s meet over coffee” but we couldn’t get our schedules to match. So imagine our surprise that instead of in Manila we ended up meeting in the flesh for the first time in Baguio.

I managed to catch him on camera, but he requested that I keep his identity a secret. So… secret!

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Bag Me, Bag You, Baguio

Strawberries, honey, vegetables and cool air: this weekend I’m going up to Baguio with a couple of friends. We just want a road trip, a food trip, lots of photo ops and a chance to get away from it all.

Girls just wanna have fun, wheee!

Unfortunately this is the time when Orlando’s air conditioner decided to break down. I brought him to the casa but they said it’ll take two to three working days. So we’re going up with the windows down. Happily we’ve timed our trip so that most of the time we’re on the road will be at night, when the air is still cool. By the time we get to Baguio, the mountain air will render the use of the air conditioner irrelevant. I just hope it’s not too rainy there.

Happy, happy, joy, joy! My wanderlust is acting up again, and the trip this long weekend will scratch that itch.

A Snigglet for Pinoy Big Brother Viewers

Umamin (v): when Uma admits that he is pa-mhin


When I started having my hair done by Ipe, one of the first things he taught me was, “Learn to accept your curls.” I tried—oh how I tried—and I believe I’ve reached a certain level of peace with how my locks look. Still there are times when I look at the mane in the mirror and ask myself, “Can I change its waves?”

The option of hair straightening is out; as a wise gay once told me, “Umamin ka na bakla ka, ‘wag ka lang umamin na nagpa-straight ka,” which can also pertain to sexual behavior as well. I can go semi-kal once again; I wore my hair short for more than five years before. Coloring my hair or even have it streaked is out of the question—I’m fine with my ever-increasing white hair. Gosh what else can I do to my hair?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Disorder in the Court

(When nothing much is happening in your life, post something that’s been passed around via email.)

These are from a book called Disorder in the Court. They are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place. Some of these are excellent—don’t miss the last one.


Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.


Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.


Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?


Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.


Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?
A: He said, “Where am I, Cathy?”
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.


Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?


Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?


Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?


Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.


Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.


Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, never the less?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Achtung Baby (Blue)!

Walking in our building lobby this morning I was floored by this astounding sight: Kuya German Moreno in a baby-blue (!) suit, pale-yellow shirt and multi-colored necktie. He’s a lot whiter in person (not pale but white, as in powder white!), and his hair is lighter than it looks on TV. And he’s actually shorter than me!

After he passed by me I was singing in my head, “That’s entertainment…,” followed by the OMC song: “How bizarre! How bizarre, how bizarre.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Brand Name

If you’ve watched the latest Harry Potter movie, chances are you’d have seen the highly intriguing trailer for the movie, Lady In The Water. It stars critically acclaimed actor Paul Giamatti, but that’s not why it’s intriguing.

The trailer opens with idyllic scenes from an apartment building in some seemingly quiet district in some U.S. city—butterflies on the wire gates, children swimming in the pool, tenants going about their business. Among them is the superintendent (Giamatti) who goes about his daily chores—fixing the plumbing, cleaning the windows, taking out the trash. The score is a classical song, very lyrical; the images are shown mostly in slow-motion. We follow the superintendent as he finishes his daily chores, and by evening he goes home to his run-down shack behind the pool. There you see him in his solitary existence, whiling the time away by writing in his notebook.

Then you see text on black.
(The font is reminiscent of the title logo of The Polar Express, the Tom Hanks/Rob Reiner Christmas CGI movie which spectacularly tanked last year.) The lines appear one after the other:

“Once upon a time…”

“There was a man named Cleveland Heep”

“whose life would change forever.”

In the score, the instrumental intro gives way to the singer who sounds like Josh Groban. Onscreen you see the superintendent wake up with a start; he had fallen asleep on his chair. He stands up; behind him is a window, and outside you see the pool—there is splashing in the water. Next shot is outdoors: you see the superintendent step out of his shack, flashlight in hand; in the foreground, you see a wave ripple across the water.

Then the title comes in; the music soars magically, clueing you in that the movie is neither horror nor suspense. And in the final shot, the camera’s point of view is underwater; you see the superintendent’s refracted image peering into the pool as he sweeps it with his flashlight. As the light hits the center of the screen, the image is replaced by the following words:

“A Bedtime Story”

And—here’s the clincher—a second later the following words appear below:

“Written and directed by
(the following are in big, bold letters)

When his name was revealed, there was a palpable gasp in the audience, and the whole theater was abuzz with anticipation and excitement.

After Steven Spielberg, no other living film director could generate that kind of instant identification, anticipation and excitement from an audience just by flashing his name onscreen. I guess perhaps Alfred Hitchcock’s name onscreen had that kind of effect before, but as I said I’m just guessing. Peter Jackson may be revered by film geeks, but he still has to put “director of Lord of the Rings” under his name so that ordinary folks can recognize his name. Martin Scorsese is revered, but his name doesn’t generate excitement anymore. Even Tim Burton’s name has lost its glitter. Michael Bay’s name, on the other hand, generates a different kind of feeling, something akin to nausea (then again, that must be because his shots are vertigo-inducing).

Shyamalan’s name has become, literally, a brand name. Ironically most people have a problem pronouncing his name, so most refer to him as “M. Night”. My brothers and I call him “M. Night Shawarma” for short.

I expect that this movie may have that twist-in-the-end which he is already known for, but who knows? The synopsis—which I read in the official website—is intriguing enough: Giamatti discovers that the lady in the water (played by Bryce Dallas Howard, his star in The Village) is a narf, a fictional character from a bedtime story. He and the other tenants try to help her get back from this world to hers. As he falls in love with the lady, he begins to realize that he and the others are also characters in this bedtime story. Twisted, isn’t it?

Maybe the twist in this movie is that there’s no twist. But twist or none, this is one movie I really want to watch.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Cup Overfloweth

I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire twice this weekend: Saturday with my older brother, his wife and kids, plus my younger brother and sisters; then on Sunday with my mom, brother and sister. I will not bother reviewing the movie, but I will say the following things:

[1] I wished there was more of the Quidditch World Cup—that sequence was wicked! Plus I thought that the stadium was amazing. I’m not really a fan of the Quidditch in both books and movies, but that World Cup sequence made me want to see more of the game for the first time.

[2] Frankly I was disappointed with Lord Voldemort’s appearance. Ralph Fiennes is a great actor, and I’m sure he had devilish fun doing the role (he said in an interview that it was impossible not to go over-the-top with Voldemort), but his appearance was underwhelming. I like the idea of making him snake-like, but I was hoping he’d be more frightening, maybe more skeletal-looking. Well, that’s the problem when one brings to the screen a character that’s basically created in the readers’ imagination—the actual often pales in comparison to the imagined.

[3] Cedric Diggory has that awkward, I’m-not-a-boy-not-yet-a-man good looks—at certain angles he’s not cute at all, but at other angles he can charm your pants off. But I find his sleepy eyes attractive. Viktor Krum is hulky, but I think he lacks the brooding intensity of the book’s character; still, no matter. My brother did observe that if Goblet were cast with Filipino actors, then Viktor would be played by Ramon “Monching” Christopher and Cedric would be played by Jojo Alejar.

[4] SPOILER ALERT! Anyone who hasn’t read the book nor watched the movie is probably an illiterate hermit and may skip this paragraph. Otherwise, read on. After watching the movie, it occurred to me that Barty Crouch, Jr’s plan was too convoluted, too elaborate and too risky to actually be believable. He disguises himself as Mad-Eye Moody so that he can transform the Triwizard Cup into a portkey. Then as Moody he had to make sure of the following: [a] that Harry’s name be included in the Triwizard Championship; [b] that Harry will survive the three tasks; [c] that he’ll be the first to get to touch the Cup. Why the elaborate plan? Why not just transform, say, Harry’s Firebolt into a portkey and be done with? Heck, why not turn Harry’s glasses or blanket or books or spoon and fork for that matter? I’m just amazed at myself that I never realized that woozy of a plot device after reading the book. It took several years and the movie to come out before it occurred to me. I guess that’s a testament to J.K. Rowling’s engaging writing that I forgot all about the main plot and focused instead on the death of Cedric. What a magical sleight-of-hand trick, Ms. J.K.!

Speaking of Ms. Rowling’s writing, haven’t you noticed that she’s not particularly good at describing the setting—particularly the spatial surroundings—of a particularly busy fight scene? In Order of the Phoenix I had a hard time figuring out the action within the Ministry’s walls: where was it happening, how big were the rooms, who was where at what time, etc. And it was the same in the final fight scene within Hogwarts in The Half-Blood Prince. She needs to improve her writing of fight scenes. Heck, she’s so rich maybe she should let another writer take a look at her fight scenes.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Don’t Cha Wish…?

So I bought the CD of The Pussycat Dolls because I like their song “Don’t Cha” and what do I get? Enclosed in plastic along with the CD is a black thong panty with the logo of the group. Oh! Since that was the first time I’ve ever had a close encounter with a thong, I decided to try it on, knowing it’s built for a woman’s contour.

Yes, the joke is true—like a cheap hotel, that panty has no ballroom. It felt weird to have my family jewels straining to get out of such tight confines. But what’s interesting is the feel of a strip of clothing between my butt cheeks. It’s awkward and kinky at the same time. People suffering from hemorrhoids should stay clear of thoingy-thoinga thongs. So aside from ballet dancers, what kind of guy would want to wear a thong? If a guy doesn’t like brief lines, he can always wear boxers or go sans underwear and just, uh, hang loose. I see no reason to rub your deeper nether region with cloth—doesn’t it get embarrassing come laundry time? The only other reason I can think of wearing a thong is if one delights in the feel of the rubbing sensation between cheeks (which I must admit has a certain kinky allure).

So now I don’t know anyone who’d appreciate that thong. (Of course, I had it washed surreptitiously after that one trial!) The only female friend I know who would dare wear a thong might not want to wear one anymore due to her change in status. But I’ll ask her anyway.

Otherwise, here’s a question for all you girls out there: Don’t cha want a Pussycat Dolls thong? Just holler.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Confusions On A Dance Floor

The title alone clues you in on what to expect in Madonna’s latest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor.

The album is aurally cohesive, literally—it is a non-stop dance album, with each song seamlessly flowing to the next. The songs are all relentlessly dance tunes; a lazy club DJ can place this disc on the turntable, press play, and for the next 56+ minutes can have dinner, grab a few drinks and flirt with the other patrons.

Sounds like one big ball, doesn’t it? Well, hold on. It seems that age and kabbalah are the party-poopers here.

Apparently Madonna took the album title seriously. From a simple admission of attraction (“Hung Up”) she moves on to more weighty confessions: “How high are the stakes? / How much fortune can you make? / Does this get any better? Should I carry on? / Will it matter when I’m gone? / Will any of this matter?” (“How High”). It is one thing to sound like a dance tune but it’s another to dance to someone singing, “Wrestle with your darkness / angels call your name.” Her musings on fame and fortune are nothing new; ever since her album Ray Of Light she’s been wondering if her climb to the top was all worth it. But the appeal of a dance tune is its deceptive simplicity—just like with classic pop songs, it’s not easy to come up with a well-crafted dance tune like Kylie’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”. Part of the fun is in its simplicity in notes and words.

Madonna does stack some silliness in the first part of the album. “Do you believe in love at first sight? / It’s an illusion / I don’t care,” she sings in “Get Together,” a straightforward love tune. And she channels her “I like to singy-singy-singy / like a bird on a wingy-wingy-wingy” nonsense (from Music’s “Impressive Instant”) in the cut “I Love New York”: “I don’t like cities / But I like New York / Other places / Make me feel like a dork.”

But towards the latter part of the album she turns more serious. If this were an electronica album, I can imagine the songs to sound reflective, moody. But the music remains steadfast dance, and here’s where the juxtaposition falters at times. The dance floor is not a venue for repentance and reflection; it is a place to let loose and have fun. And ironically it’s when one loses oneself in the dance that one finds salvation. Unfortunately Madonna is determined to be taken seriously as an artist; instead of just letting us go, she forces us to pause and ponder. But in the middle of the dance floor? Where’s the fun in that? C’mon Maddie, relax; we only question your acting choices.

So here’s my advice: groove to Confessions on a Dance Floor but don’t worry if you block off some of her lyrics. Anyway, the Material Mom doesn’t care—in the last cut (“Like It Or Not”) she sings: “Cleopatra had her way / Matahari too. / Whether they were good or bad / Is strictly up to you. / This is who I am / You can like it or not, / You can love me or leave me / Cuz I’m never gonna stop / No, no.”

Even on the dance floor, Madonna has the last word.

“You don’t look 39!”

Yeah, I know. I hear it all the time it’s practically a mantra. But before Nikolai can roll his eyes and say, “There he goes again with his age angst,” let me assure you all that this won’t be about me dealing with my advanced years. Oh no, no, no, I’m aiming for something higher and nobler. Ahem.

“You don’t look 39!” Listen to it. Doesn’t it sound so commercial-ready? Why, it’s practically begging for the follow-up question: “What’s your secret, McVie?”

So, in the interest of those inquiring minds who wanna know, I will attempt to answer that question. (And maybe someone can make a commercial out of this, who knows?) Besides whenever somebody utters that statement, our conversation rarely goes into examining the reasons why I look younger than my age. It always gets stuck in the “Well, you don’t look your age too!” bull and the mandatory “Age is in the mind” shit.

So here I go. The short and truthful answer? I really don’t know why I look younger than my age. But I will posit some theories:

It’s the genes. Okay, that was a no-brainer. I remember my mom telling us that when my dad was still single, his officemates called him “Babyface.” And my mom’s no slouch in that department either. She’s already 60+ but she looks like she’s just in her late 40s to early 50s.

It’s the disposition. I’m not a happy-go-lucky guy, nor am I Mr. Bright-Side-of-Life. I don’t go around singing, “I’m walking on sunshine, wooo-hooo!” What I do have is a coping mechanism rooted in humor. While others cry, get mad or get even, I laugh at things. I laugh at myself. I don’t take most things seriously, especially me. Oh yes, I get sad or depressed or mad. But I just need to blow off steam, and then I see the humorous or ironic or incongruous side of things. Then the waters become placid again. Besides laugh lines look better on a guy’s face versus frown lines. So whip out your old copy of Desiderata and read it again.

It’s the oily skin. I know that oiliness is next to ugliness—that’s what my friend says whenever he whips out his handy Gatsby Oil Facial Strips—but I think that in my case the oiliness helps keep my facial skin soft. Mind you my skin’s not smooth; I had my share of bad-skin days, and I have the small pockmarks to remind me. But at least my skin’s not dry and craggy-looking.

It’s the company I keep. Er, no, I’m not encouraging you to go all Michael Jackson on kids, okay? My decision to stay in touch with 17-19 year old kids year after year (thanks to TA) has resulted in my staying in touch with my inner teen. What’s more I’ve seen trends come and go with them, and the changes in pop cultural tastes. But some things never change, especially on how they view love and relationships. One generally hopeful trend: the kids today are less homophobic and more open-minded when it comes to gays. Sure we still have a long, long way to go but at least that’s a bright spot on the horizon.

It’s the dancing. No one contests that physical exercise is good for aging gracefully and in good health. But I think dance is unique because if you strip it down to its bare essentials, it’s actually a joyful celebration for both body and spirit; there’s actually something close to spiritual when you lose yourself in the dance. (Dancing can also be used as bait for hooking up, especially in Bed, but let’s not get into that.) Dancing uplifts my spirits and burns calories to boot.

What, no sex? You see, it depends. If it’s great, then it’s like dancing. But it’s the hunt leading up to the sex that can dampen the spirits (not to mention lower one’s self-image).

Oh dear. I don’t think Myra-300 E or Enervon would like what I just listed down. Only the publishers of Desiderata and dance clubs would want me as an endorser. But none of them are advertising, so there goes my commercial career.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Da Code Decoded

At last I gave in and decided to read the book The Da Vinci Code. I had no plans of reading it, especially since everyone seemed to have read it already, but the upcoming movie made it a required read.

Frankly it’s really just mostly smoke and mirrors, a crafty piece of mystery that’s actually simpler than it appears to be. Thanks largely to Dan Brown’s extensive research into the Templars and the Holy Grail, the book entices the reader with a potentially humongous mystery spanning several continents and centuries. Only when the whole plot is revealed that the reader realizes he was taken for a ride—what seemed controversial in the book are in fact just effective smokescreens. So for me while the pay-off is generally satisfying, it comes off feeling a lot smaller. In the end the novel deflates like a balloon, releasing what turns out to be just a lot of hot air.

I Confess

I’m currently listening to Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor. I just got my copy from Tower Records about an hour ago and now the whole album is in my iPod—all the better to listen to it while driving. Right now I’m enjoying the fact that all of the cuts I’ve heard so far are dance tunes. Her last album, American Life is the Madonna album I’ve listened to the least number of times (once), a tie with the soundtrack to Who’s That Girl?

I really miss the fun Madonna. She’s huffing and puffing to be taken seriously, and I guess for an artist that’s her prerogative. I suppose there are those who’d like her not as the Material Girl but as the Material Mom. Whatever—so long as she doesn’t kabbalah herself to become an immaterial artist.

So far there’s an aural cohesiveness in the songs, but I need to hear the album several times. Aside from the first single “Hung Up” the other songs—while generally danceable—do not leap out and grab me by the ears. Only my feet are reacting, and they’re just gently tapping along. Oh no. In the iPod and MP3 era it’s already quite a feat to craft an album that’s meant to be appreciated as a whole piece and not as a collection of hit singles. I think my ears are getting more and more singles-oriented.

Oh well. I will reserve judgment of her album until a few more listens.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Soda Me (say the title fast several times)

I grew up drinking Pepsi Cola. I don’t know why that was the favored soft drink at home, but Pepsi was what my parents bought every time we had a party or a special occasion. I remember tasting Coca Cola and found it too bitter compared to Pepsi’s sweet taste. And even though I don’t remember any Pepsi commercial but the “I’d like to teach the world to sing” Coke campaign is etched in my mind, I remained loyal to Pepsi.

When I grew older I discovered that it was Coke not Pepsi that was the world-wide market leader in the cola war. Suddenly I was reminded of my tomato-vs.-banana ketchup predicament: as a kid I thoroughly loved banana ketchup until I found out that ketchup was actually tomato. But by that time I was old enough and my taste buds could appreciate not-so-sweet ketchup, so my switch to tomato was painless. (At home we often have both tomato and banana ketchup because my sister prefers the latter.) So I switched to Coke.

I moved on to Diet Coke when I started working out. “Diet” became “Light,” and for the longest time that was my poison of choice. Despite employing Michael Jackson (and burning up his hair), Madonna (channeling her controversial “Like A Prayer” to sell soda) and Michael J. Fox in several humorous TV clips, I remained a die-hard Coke addict.

But lately a change has happened. I noticed it the first time a few months ago when I was in front of the freezer at a convenience store and I was staring at my choices. Looking at the Coke Light cans I suddenly felt like skipping those silver-with-red-stripe cans and reaching instead for a Diet Pepsi. The Coke Light can design hasn’t changed for several years and now it looks so old, so tired. Though the taste remains the same, the packaging now turns me off. So for the first time I tried a Diet Pepsi. It tasted almost the same; as far as I was concerned, Diet Pepsi was a viable substitute for Coke Light. Good gosh, was I getting soft on my drinks?

Then Pepsi Max came along, and now I’m a fan. Okay, let me clarify things before you brand me a “turn-coke.” I still like Coke Light, but given a choice between that in can and Diet Pepsi in can, these days I’m more inclined to pick the latter. (Sometimes I’d chose the former for loyalty’s sake, but that really depends on my mood.) And if I’m in the mood for something sweeter I’d choose Pepsi Max. My only problem with it? I don’t like the very dark color of the packaging—it’s too much like Pepsi X, which was a flop. To me a lighter color fits better with a diet or “light” drink. Plus, I don’t like the font used for the word “Max”—it’s too Mad Max-ish.

Oh dear, it’s the packaging. My taste buds are now being led by my eyes. I must remind myself: Beauty is only packaging-deep. Real taste is inside the can.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I attended a wedding last Sunday and what caught my attention for most of the mass? It’s this beauty parked just outside the church.
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It’s my inner butch again. It manifests in my fascination with vehicles (I love cars, boats, airplanes and spaceships), hardware supplies (I find browsing through hardware stores strangely relaxing) and weapons (I like playing with swords and guns, but only for make-believe; I’d hate to own the real things).

When my gay friend saw I was taking lots of pictures of the car, he asked me why I was interested in it. I explained to him my inner butch. He looked momentarily puzzled then said, “You know, I don’t think I have an inner butch.”

“Are you fascinated with cars?” I asked.


“Airplanes? Boats? Other kinds of transportation? Spaceships?”

“No, no, no, no.”

“I actually like going to the hardware store.”


“How about sports? Do you play any?”

“Just volleyball.”

“Jeez, that’s the default gay sport, along with bowling.”

He sighed. “See? I really don’t have an inner butch.”

“But you look more like a butch than I do,” I told him. True enough he’s bigger and bulkier than me. Plus his semi-kal hairdo and rough facial hair make him look like a goon.

Surprise! The goon is a faggot. Goes to show how looks can be deceiving.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You’ll Tide Over This Season

In a few weeks it’ll be Christmas.

My feeling towards Christmas was never ambivalent: I love the season. Oh sure it’s much too commercialized, traffic is extra heavy, and people expect you to be generous to them even if they don’t deserve it. Still if you focus on what’s really essential in Christmas, it’s really all about love. And unlike Valentine’s wherein romantic love takes precedent, Christmas is all-encompassing: love for family and friends, God’s love (if you have the faith), love of mankind. Yes, Christmas and the miss-universal prayer for world peace are made for one another. My relationship with my family has been peachy-keen so far. I have tried-and-tested friends who’ve known me for years. I have no reason to doubt God’s love. And I have no stupid ex-boyfriends to ruin my Decembers.

Before I was the one who’d put up the Christmas tree and the lights; my mom and sister would decorate the tree. My dad would install the parol and the lights around the house, while my mom made a career out of putting up the belen. This year will be the second Christmas we’ll have without my dad. I’ve taken over his duties; I’m planning to buy a new parol because our old one is too dilapidated already.

My saddest Christmas happened when I was still in high school. I remember waking up before everyone very early that Christmas morning and checking out the gifts under the tree. I started counting the gifts for me and then those for my older brother. He had two gifts more than me. When we were growing up we always had the same of everything—clothes, shoes, toys. Now for the first time there was inequality, and it hit me hard. I felt a heavy sadness descend on me, and I found myself crying alone under the tree. I went back to bed; later that morning during the distribution of the gifts no one in the family had any idea of how bad I felt earlier.

My happiest Christmas was also my dad’s last Christmas. We spent it in Bohol; it was just family and close relatives. I remember my dad telling us how he’s at peace and that he was ready to die anytime. Of course none of us wanted to take him seriously and so we just made a joke about it. But I remember feeling we were one family, how close we were, just us inside the ancestral house of my mom’s parents. Just as the Visa ad says: priceless.

This year we’ll be spending Christmas in Manila, but we’ll be flying back to Bohol for New Year. It’s our annual getaway from the hectic metropolis.

This year I wish that all of you find your special place in this season of love and peace.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Men In My Past

Chatting with someone online got me reminiscing about my childhood crushes, specifically on TV. So in the tradition of my favorite magazine Entertainment Weekly, I will list them down. I’ll try to make it as chronological as possible.

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Robert Conrad in Wild, Wild West and Black Sheep Squadron
In the TV series he played the Will Smith part, although with a more Caucasian-type cowboy bravado (Will’s was more of a street-smart punk from Harlem). I was attracted to his piercing eyes which crinkled whenever he laughed or squinted. Plus he wore this ridiculously tight pair of black pants which made me imagine what kind of a gun that cowboy was packing. He surfaced several years later as the leader of the Black Sheep Squadron in this WWII series. By that time I was more enamored with the Corsair fighter planes featured prominently in the series, but his smiling eyes were still just as piercing, just as crinkly.
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David McCallum in Man from U.N.C.L.E.
I don’t remember much of the series, simply because it was my mom who was the fan, not us kids. Still, I knew enough that the two leads were spies or secret agents with cool gadgets. David was the blonde one (the other a brunette). As usual, the blonde one was also the younger, more impulsive one (talk about typecasting according to hair color!) who often got into trouble. (Yuck, he looks like a mongoloid in the picture!)
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James Darren in Time Tunnel
This sci-fi series of the 60s was produced by Irwin Allen, who also produced a couple of blockbuster, all-star cast disaster movies in the 70s (Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno). But enough about Irwin. James was one of the two scientists who got bounced around from time to time due to the malfunctioning time machine. And though the tunnel was able to bring them back safely several times, they would always, for one reason or another, end up lost in time again. James was the more impulsive of the two, and he had this slick black hair that was shiny with pomade. I was actually more attracted to the visual spectacle of the tunnel, for it literally set off explosions while sending or bringing back an object through time.
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Bob (McGrath) of Sesame Street
Bob was the guy with the straight hair and the prominent nose who sang, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” He had a great singing voice and a very kind face. He looked like he smiled 24-7. He was also the only Caucasian male adult of “crushable” age (the late Mr. Hooper doesn’t count). The rest were African-American or Latino. Luis was younger than Bob, but I remember Luis coming in a little later in the series. By the time he arrived I thought I’d be betraying Bob if I shifted my gaze to Luis. I should have just chosen a Muppet, like Guy Smiley.
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Nick Tate (as Alan Carter) in Space: 1999
Nick continues my fascination with blonde guys who are young and impulsive and often get into trouble but are also the emotionally passionate ones. Alan Carter was their fly-boy pilot in Moonbase Alpha who would often jump straight into battle without much deliberation. He was also one of the youngest in the cast of oldies.
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Paul Michael Glaser (as Starsky) in Starsky & Hutch
Here come the policemen/detectives. First off is curly-haired Paul. Strangely, I didn’t like the blonde one in this due (Hutch, played by David Soul) because he was so damn dull. This cop show flipped stereotype by making the dark haired one the younger, more impulsive guy. Plus he was the owner of one of the coolest, most distinct cars in TV series history (K.I.T.T of Knight Rider excluded for obvious reasons).
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Eric Estrada in CHiPs
Another dark, curly haired hunk. His toothy grin was enough to make me swoon. But bless the production designer who made his police uniform one size too small—his thighs and butt were practically bursting at the seams. So whenever he mounted or dismounted his bike—whew! Pant, pant!
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Lance Kerwin (as James) in James at 15
This is funny—I never actually saw any episode of the TV series! But Lance was always featured in the local magazine TV Times, and his cute smile enamored me. He appeared in the movie “Salem’s Lot” based on Stephen King’s horror novel, and I braved watching it alone in the movie house just to see Lance.
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Patrick Duffy as The Man From Atlantis
Haaaaaaaayyy!!! First of all, his character was more often than not shirtless, because he’s from Atlantis. Next, he swam in this undulating, erotic manner. Third, Patrick was this very handsome actor with these sad eyes; looking into them made me want to bring him home and curl up beside him in bed. But the series didn’t last long. After several years Patrick reappeared in “Dallas” but by that time he was older and out of shape.
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Jan Michael Vincent in Airwolf
Another blonde looker, though this time he’s not a young man. But I liked this man-in-uniform because he was this loner who spoke little but was a man of action. And having a cool hi-tech helicopter certainly boosted his pogi points!
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Bruce Willis in Moonlighting
His David Addison was a witty, infuriating, dashing debonair who swept Maddie Hayes off her feet. He also had this cutest dimple whenever he smiled or smirked. And at that time he still had a bit more hair. He was for me the epitome of a “bad boy” who actually had a good heart.

Whew. Noticed how I’m also enamored by machines (time tunnel, airplane, cars, helicopters)? That’s my butch side showing, hahaha! But more of that next time.

Can You Say, “OA na ‘to!”?

My officemate got this off the web. “The first reality-based food store in town,” says the sign. This is getting really silly.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I’m Just Not That Into It

“It” is the book He’s Just Not That Into You. After all the hullabaloo I heard about it, I decided to read Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s bestseller and see what the fuss was all about. It’s a very easy read; at 165 pages long, one can breeze through it in less than a day.

The book is subtitled The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys, and three-fourths of the book mostly Greg clueing girls on the different kinds of excuses guys make when they’re not really into her. Greg, an admitted former bad boy, mines his past to slap women silly when they waste precious time with their girlfriends trying to “figure out” the guys they are seeing (Liz provides the skeptical female perspective and asks Greg questions for further clarification). One just has to read the chapter titles to know the excuses: He’s not that into you if he’s not asking you out; …if he’s not dating you; …if he’s having sex with someone else (duh!); …if he’s breaking up with you (double-duh!); and so on.

But you don’t need to reach halfway into the book for you to figure out that while majority of the book talks about “he”, the real focus of the book is in “you”. Greg’s basic premise is simple: women should be into themselves so that they won’t settle for guys who aren’t into them. Get it?

The book’s simple objective is to help single women—like the girls in Sex and the City where Liz is a writer of the show—try and understand the men they are dating. Greg insists that men aren’t all that complicated; if a woman needs to “figure him out” then most probably he’s not that into her. What happens after you meet the man who’s into you, how to sustain a long-term relationship, well, that’s for other books to tackle.

The book’s all well and good—if you’re a straight woman. A gay man however has to sift through the book to be able to get stuff that’ll be relevant to homosexuals. For example: Greg’s philosophy presupposes that women have to be optimistic a right guy will come along. This is all well and good because women have 90% of the men to choose from. But what about us gays in the 10% zone? We have fewer guys to choose from (this gives me a convenient explanation why I’m still single).

Also, Greg is so optimistic that he believes it’s better to be lonely or alone than to be with someone who “makes you feel shitty or doesn’t honor the person you are.” So how does one cope with loneliness? The book isn’t much help.

In the end we can look at the hetero world for lessons, but I believe we still need to make our own rules and define our own standards. All in all He’s Just Not That Into You is a good read for all of our smart, single women friends. Meanwhile, we need our own Greg and Liz to write our pink version.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Write Stuff

Some of my high school batch mates, especially those who’ve not been in touch with me for quite some time, were surprised at my essay-writing skills. You see, I was asked to write a personal essay about our batch, and I emailed my first draft to some of them for their comments and reactions. I was quite taken aback when one of them wondered why they were unaware of this writing talent of mine in high school. That got me thinking.

In high school I never really saw myself as either a writer or a comic, much less a comic writer. Back then the funny man of the family was my older brother. The funniest thing I ever wrote, and this my first-year teacher can attest to, was a sentence for a grammar quiz: During Holy Week, meat turns to ashes. My teacher (who was also my brother’s teacher), upon returning my quiz paper, looked at me and said, “I see there’s another comic in the family.” But I never did take his words to heart.

However I was already a big fan of Erma Bombeck, the funny essayist whose works often appeared in Reader’s Digest. Her humor and human interest writings had me in stitches.

In college I discovered I can be funny onstage. But my writing did not progress beyond the usual reports, papers and of course our thesis.

After college I discovered the magazine Entertainment Weekly and Jessica Zafra’s columns. I especially liked how the former would often use puns in the titles of their articles. Working as a copywriter in advertising must have also prodded my love for the funny phrase. My favorite print ad headline is also, I think, my wittiest: to announce that Lucky Me! Pancit Canton had a new package, we had a visual of the new pack placed on a hanger and a simple headline: New damit, same pancit. (Now that I think about it, the headline might not actually be mine, but my creative director’s. Oh shit.)

Then I discovered blogging and things were never the same again.

I know I’m not the wittiest or the funniest writer online. But perhaps one day I could parlay this writing skill of mine into something more lucrative. My only problem is, the moment writing becomes work it’s not fun anymore. Argh!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


After a strenuous Saturday in Bed, Sunday found me in bed the whole day. Monday morning my mom came to me and said, “Your brother wants to have lunch in Amici.” I was out of bed immediately and soon I was on my way to Makati with my mom, sister and brother.

My brother had told us of Amici di Don Bosco, a restaurant found near Don Bosco in Makati that serves heavenly pizza, pasta and a whole lot more at friendly prices. I think their canteen-like set-up helps keep food costs down—no need to pay extra for ambience and service charge.

We immediately ordered two kinds of pizza and two kinds of pasta. I loved the pizza with lots of anchovies and garlic; as for the pasta, I preferred the one with lots and lots of garlic and bits of anchovies. (And I wonder why I’m still single—plus since garlic is supposed to be good for the heart, I’ll be single for a very long time.)
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The only downside to a visit at Amichi is the parking—one has to park either at the nearby Makati Cinema Square or at Walter Mart and walk. I suggest you park at the latter; there’s a Bibliarch. After filling our stomachs we ended up buying books to fill up our minds: Neil Gaiman’s “Anansi Boys”, Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events book 12: The Penultimate Peril” and (for me) Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

A Queen-size Bed

Thank god for all the saints and thank Allah for Ramadan! Last weekend was a four-day vacation thanks to All Saints Day, and this next weekend will be a three-day respite thanks to the end of Ramadan.

Saturday was another fun night out thanks to different Halloween events in the city. I was particularly interested in seeing the newly-renovated Bed. True enough, when I entered the place, I was taken aback. This wasn’t the oh-so-crowded, this-feels-like-Divisoria-during-Christmas-rush, dancing-equals-bobbing-one’s-head kind of Bed that I knew. Oh no, this was a Queen-size Bed—it now boasts of a huge dance floor and several ledges where gyrating go-go boys can strut their stuff and be ogled at the whole night through. Truly, it’s a Bed fit for and can fit all queens of Metro Manila.

After saying hello to several usual suspects, I waited by the bar for two students from TA. They had been in Bed once before with me as their tour guide; now wanted to see the new Bed and I agreed to meet them there. After a few minutes they arrived and we moved to the dance floor. I thought that they can take care of themselves, so I left them alone. Besides, I thought that they’d have better chances of hooking up for the night if they weren’t seen with a senior citizen.

I immediately planted myself at a ledge near the main dance floor. Heck, I was determined to just dance the night away. This was Bed, this was home, this was fun!

When I checked on the students after a while, one of them whispered to me, “I met these two cute guys!” and when I looked, sure enough there were these two gorgeous twinks who looked just a little over twenty years old. Ah, the advantage of youth! I think the only ones that can trump the Youth card are the Cute Afam card and the Filthy Rich card. Feeling out of my league but happy for them, I moved back to the ledge.

After several minutes of boogying, I decided to get a drink. With the widened space, there were more walls and corners where couples could link up for the night. Sure enough there were already several in locked-tongue positions. I was just looking for a place to rest my back; I leaned against the wall near the fire exit. I was contented watching the people partying away on the dance floor when I happened to glance at my left. A couple was busy making out, but one of them was staring at me! He gave me a smile, and maneuvered so that he could grab my hand and fondle my fingers. Hey, who am I to ruin someone’s kicks, right? So I just let him. Pretty soon he whispered to his partner-for-the-night, who first glanced first at our locked hands, then up to my face. He smiled. Hmmm, I told myself, is this the makings of a threesome? They both pulled me into their embrace. Okay, okay, so it was.

While we were busy entertaining ourselves someone was also entertaining himself by watching us. Soon he moved even closer to where we were standing. He was around six feet tall, medium built, a fair dancer, Chinese-looking. PK* in other words. My companions also thought so; one of them dragged Mr. PK into the fold. Uh-oh, this is getting a wee bit complicated, I thought to myself, not to mention a little too busy. Still, it’s nothing that I can’t handle.

Soon one of them was saying, “We should find a place!” Unfortunately no one had a ready place available. The suggestion of getting a motel was quickly shot down—will they allow four guys in a room? Getting a hotel room got an even colder reception. Soon the initial thrill and excitement gave way to a dawning realization that we were in over our heads and budget. Mr. PK was the first to go. The other two were willing to proceed with a threesome, but I wasn’t too hot on it already. After the initial thrill, I put the whole situation through my mental processor, and I came to the conclusion that I’d be a lot happier if I extricate myself from the situation. So goodbye threesome, goodbye TA kids, and goodbye Bedizens. See you all next week.

*PK – It is generally acknowledged that PK stands for Pang-alis Kati, but we prefer Puwede Kna (with a silent “k”).