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and Pablo Neruda.

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Before I went to bed last night, I had conditioned myself to wake up at eleven today because today’s a Saturday. I wanted to make up for the lost hours of sleep this week. But breaking a habit is difficult, so at seven I was already making coffee and reading news online. From my table, I could hear the caged birds (they’re love birds, and so many of them) chirping from the nearby apartment.

I opened a box of Pepero and munched on these chocolate-covered pretzels. They’re my breakfast. It’s a drizzly morning. If it were a weekday, I’d be feeling down and bleak, but it’s the weekend, and except for taking my phone later to a service center in Ali Mall, my day is going to be free. No amount of drizzle will ruin it.

I’m spending two hours of my morning reading some poems. I want to do four today. Poems are a little tricky. They only manifest themselves after some painful extraction, but, if a poem is good, it’s worth all the bruises and cuts.

I think, this can be good life–a free morning, a cup of freshly-brewed coffee, a light breakfast, chirping birds, and Pablo Neruda.

pablo neruda

On why I quit Facebook

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I quit for a reason:

The freedom from it is refreshing.

Adult moves and a home loan

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home loan


For a guy in his 20s, adult moves include but are not limited to establishing a family, changing career path, going to law school, buying a car, giving up the city, or getting a mortgage. I’m doing the last.

One has to do an adult move at some point in his life because it is but normal doing so. Although the ‘normal’ here may be subject to some degree of disagreement among readers, to a certain degree, we all have an idea what normal is. And although it might be interesting to write a post on what constitutes normal, it is not the object of this post. Normal is that realm of security some of us would someday want to settle in.

And I cannot anymore pretend I am not one of the ‘some.’

A home loan means making sure that I must not default on my monthly payment, ever. It means I will have to work harder because I need to pay my monthly rent while paying my monthly amortization for the next two years until the turnover of the unit in 2016. It means I will have to postpone the purchase of that nice-fitting Zara coat I was meaning to buy for a friend’s wedding this weekend. It means moving some part of my savings to that other account that is solely for the monthly payment of my loan for cover if, God forbids, I run short of cash. It means cutting on my weekend eat-outs. It means not buying anything impulsively, bringing with me a list whenever I do my grocery. It means planning my vacations well and doing away with some, having, at most, one in a year.

Honestly, it’s a decision I made because I went tired of my sister’s constant goading to find a place for myself and my conscience telling me that I will not stay a marauding nomad for the rest of my life.

Perhaps, the normal has gone too tempting to resist as nothing can be more normal than finding that place one can call his.

It’s a bit scary, though. That idea of being tied to a place by a mortgage, at least for the next ten years or so scares me.

But of course, I got to do an adult move.

A visit

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Our parents are visiting us for the weekend. The last time they were in Manila was thirty years ago. I found out while rummaging into my mother’s documents when I was ten that she and my father got married in Pasay in 1983. It must have felt odd for my mother who’s now 53 to see how much the nation’s capital has changed after all those years. And even more dizzying for my father. They will leave tomorrow evening for Baguio City with my younger brother. In the afternoon, my sister and I plan to take them to Quiapo to attend mass or maybe say a short prayer and Binondo for those delicious dumplings sold in that quaint hole-in-the-wall dimsum place I know.

Molar extraction

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I had to wait for a trip to Tagaytay to have my first molar extracted (next project is an implant). The dentist asked me whether I had a drink the previous night. I said, no of course. He then said I shouldn’t do heavy lifting at the gym in the next two days. I promised I will not. He asked me if it felt painful. The pain was killing me. I said I was just feeling a slight numbing sensation. He warned me that the anesthesia would not work if I was feeling pain. I lied, telling him that the pain wasn’t that bad.

He instructed me to open my mouth and rubbed a bitter-tasting substance on my upper left gum. It dulled the pain that was bothering me that time.

Then without warning, he proceeded to injecting my gum with anesthesia. He was without mercy. I could feel the needle touching the bone that held my first molar. I closed my eyes. I knew a drop of tear fell from my left eye. Then he told me to wait for a while for the anesthesia to take effect. I hoped he’d give me an hour, but there were patients waiting outside. After a minute he took a stainless apparatus I cannot describe here how it looked because I did not dare check it.

He pulled one. And then he told me that he’d need to do another pulling. I never though it was broken in two.

The idea felt painful.

So my brain must have told my body, that normally, if pain was that bad, I would begin to faint. And I almost fainted.

He told me to rinse. I saw blood, a lot of it. Mixed with my saliva which I’d never thought could be that thick.

He told his assistant to give me those tightly packed cotton balls and place each between my upper first molar and the space that my lower first molar used to occupy.

He asked me whether seeing blood freaked me out. Without waiting for my answer, he asked his assistant to take the extracted tooth, now broken into two, away from my sight. I could never be more grateful.

I attempted to stand up. He told me to stay, wait until I felt better.

He didn’t prescribe any medicine; I thought he’s give me an antibiotic.

I dragged myself outside, telling his assistant that I would be back to get my change. I ran to the nearest supermarket for capsules of mefenamic acid.

Losing a tooth which has been with me in the last decade has been tough. However, the pain I had to endure because of it was too powerful keeping it wasn’t worth it.

An old photo

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I found this from one of the posts I wrote five years ago. I wonder what happened to this guy. He gained some weight, obviously. But he looked so much sure about the world then.


Brand managers on TV

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“You need to come to our store and experience our product,” says a Bose brand manager.

“We are in the cutting edge of sound technology, and we give our clients the chance to customize their music experience,” he enthusiastically adds as he holds his company’s latest product in front of the camera, touching what seems to be an application icon but which he refers to as a “product” (among the many products in a singular device he is holding).

He drops the word ‘experience’ once every two sentences.

“Here at Magnum, we give our customers the pleasure to indulge,” says the brand manager.

Looking straight at the camera without any sign of flinching, he adds, “We have 250,000 possible combinations of our Magnum bar with eighteen different toppings that will blow your mind away.”

His plaid shirt is framed by his khaki coat and unusually subdued pink tie. The young brand manager is almost my age.

Without any hint of irony in his voice, says, “My personal favorite is Magnum with potato chips and chili flakes. It’s so different.”

Then his spiel fades out with, “We also have an intense offering of comfort food,” as the background house music cross fades.

“From September 1 to 30, we will be online 24/7. And aside from being online we will be available in fiiiiiiive malls all over the country,” an autoloan bank manager says.

“It’s so easy; it’s crazy. Avail of our ridiculous price.”

Brand managers being interviewed on television are intense. After the salesman of encyclopedia so common before Wikipedia gobbled whole their market, brand managers spewing their spiels on TV are the third most irritating people one will meet in his lifetime.

They come almost too close to those who audition for artista searches on TV.

These brand managers are a bunch of driven and ambitious young men and women who’ve completely convinced themselves of the superiority, durability, benefits, and the seeming indispensability of goods they’re describing in glowing terms. A sense of the ridiculous has altogether abandoned them. It is, after all, like any forms of employment. Job requirements often force us in doing things we would otherwise not do if only we were given a better option. And for that I am sympathetic.

Perhaps they only need to learn some lessons on irony.

Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' Sponsored by Internet Sales Company