Dear Self

I don’t suppose it is age-appropriate to write to oneself. If I were a blushing teenager there would be no problem. I am, however, an aging man who’s expected to by now have figured out where his place is under the sun. I am far from that. I still spend the remaining minutes I have at work listening to Coldplay or worse counting the final seconds until I call it quits. I die to go home and to listen to some acid jazz number on my way.

So here I am now drafting a dear-self.

Dear Self,

My honesty with you can only be to a certain extent as I know the extent to which you can take my honest opinion of you. You’re someone who does not take a criticism too easily and well.

And I hate that you do not finish your thought and stop in the middle of a sente… .

There you go.

So you end your post here because something comes along and you think nothing can be of more consequence.

Until soon,



Getting a second place

After a Sunday breakfast at Kanto in Mandaluyong, I thought of taking a mid-morning stroll (I’m gaining weight these days. The last time I measured I was 200lbs), so from Kapitolyo I walked down Sheridan and finally found myself on Pines street in front of the newly constructed Cityland building at the back of Flair Condominiums. I was there to check out the place and kill time. I asked to see their model unit to get some inspiration on how I will do the interior design of my unit in Cubao that is due for turnover in August. The studio looked okay. After asking some perfunctory questions and making the broker compute for my monthly amortization in the event I get that unit, I decided right there and then to get a unit on the 15th floor and give her my 10 per cent down payment this Wednesday after work. This is my second condominium investment. It is going to be financially heavy for me in the next five years or so, but I think that this is worth the risk.

For a man in his late twenties, I think it is but proper to prepare for retirement. I got a health insurance that will be good for the next ten years, purchased a mutual fund policy, got one condominium unit (now two), saved some money in the bank, and I make sure that I still am able to maintain a fairly comfortable and healthy life.

I am earning enough every month (It would be very difficult if I had my own family). I know that at some point ten years down the road, I will need to slowdown and take things at an easier stride because I cannot work my butt off until forever.

So while I know that it is cute to ruminate upon what the real essence of life is and ask questions like where did I come from, why am I here, where do all these lead to, I have to be a wise man in the latter part of his twenties. I am about to get past that sweet point in my life when my age gives me all the excuses to fuck things up.

Eventually, I realized, aging and the accompanying responsibilities seep in. True, I want to make my life a celebration of that youthful self who was not afraid to speak my mind and to “waste” time daydreaming about a perfect world where everyone does not have to worry about the future; on the side hidden, I am one very practical guy who knows too well what makes up this world. I need to secure the future regardless of how uncertain it will be. The sacrifices I am making now, I hope, will render it less unsure.

Someday, when I am fed up with all these, I will buy a farm in the province, settle there, plant vegetables and fruit trees, then finally begin writing a book.

Or I don’t know. Perhaps go to law school.




I was the official “barista” of my father long before the term barista has become de rigueur in the circles of people who worship coffee. By barista I mean pouring a kettle of briskly boiling water into a small teacup containing a teaspoon of granulated coffee and dissolving a certain amount of sugar that is to my father’s exacting taste. My father doesn’t believe in the supposed perfect temperature for coffee (78 degrees centigrade according to some self-declared experts on coffee). For him it’s violently boiling water, or he won’t have his coffee. Coffee with some froth still floating on the surface to him is not “cooked,” and he will have nothing to do with it.

I took pride in the fact that he never had to adjust the amount of sugar when he asked me to make me a cup. When I visit my parents in the province once every two years or so, I automatically assume the role and pretend that I am making coffee for myself, and out of the generosity of my heart boil enough for the two of us when in reality I am making coffee for him and for the sheer satisfaction of seeing his face brighten up and hearing some nice statement that I will freely paraphrase here: that my sharpness in making his perfect cup has not gone away after many years of being away from home.

Good morning.

Maximum exposure

As of writing this  post the video posted by ANC has already been clicked more than 2 million times. Alma Moreno has eclipsed the APEC meeting in Manila (a meeting that has only succeeded in alienating further the rest of the already excluded Filipinos in the discussion of things that should matter to their lives). The interview by Karen Davila on her morning show Headstart with Alma Moreno, however, seems to have captured the imagination of the exasperated mass. It has put in concrete terms what they have always known but refused to believe, that most of the politicians wanting to get their votes during elections are sham and extremely stupid, their (the politicians’) sense of the ridiculous has all but abandoned them. Alma Moreno thought being interviewed by Davila would not cost her much, her daftness laid out to the open would not matter as nobody watches Davila’s show for, one, it is on cable TV, two, it’s mostly in English, and three Davila sounds way too elitist. She was wrong. The video went viral and Moreno now can only pray the people will forget too easily.

Lunch discussions are occupied by how bludgeoned Moreno was, her vacuousness mercilessly exposed by the very incisive Davila.

Interviews like this are of utmost import. Journalists in this country should take a more aggressive and combative stance and dissect these politicians down to their tiniest parts to expose both their malignant diseases and healthy tissues so the public can make educated decisions come election time.

Looking at it from another perspective, though, we see Moreno as the unsophisticated. Her use of language (both English and Tagalog) as inarticulate like most showbiz personalities moving to politics because they’ve stopped receiving movie projects, their names, however, still with sufficient recall. She was groping for words, unclear, at times unable to comprehend questions in English. Her thought process was simplistic, her responses tired. Whereas Joseph Estrada is so adept at using this kind of language, his indecisiveness taken as wisdom (perhaps a result of his many years in office), Moreno does not have the experience and the acumen to utilize this kind of language to her advantage. She came across as juvenile, even idiotic. Or perhaps she really got nothing to say because she doesn’t know a thing about these issues someone running for the Senate should adequately debate about and argue for or against. Alma Moreno sounded like all of us. What makes her case different is that her stupidity was recorded and is now becoming viral. What makes her case different is that she is running for senate. What makes her case different is that she isn’t we.


Drawing of a plant: cheap oil on paper


On my way home today, I saw this quiet-looking plant that was not so gung ho about getting noticed by your everyday insects. It knows in silence that in very rare instances, on a perfect evening, it will have its one-night only show when the perfect insect will come and pollinate it. And when that happens, all those days of waiting will be worth it.