At the gym 

I was doing chest this evening at Gold’s Twin Oaks, doing the usual flat and incline bench presses, flyes, triceps dips, and some other routines whose names escape me now, when a trainer approached me and asked why I haven’t joined a competition yet, perhaps referring to a bodybuilding competition. I replied that I got “no time.” Really I don’t have, but I am more daunted by the fact of appearing in front of a crowd in thongs or board shorts with a body that is less than perfect. 

Haha. I’m kidding about the last sentence, but seriously who wouldn’t be? I’m an aging man whose present concerns do not include joining a bodybuilding contest.

I’m lifting heavy these days. The heaviest I can lift lying down is 230lbs. I can deadlift 300 but can only squat 140. I’m currently weighing 200 with a BMI of 22. My weight hovers between 198 to 202lbs. The heaviest I’ve gotten is 208lbs. That’s during the summer of this year when I did not have to stay up late to prepare for my classes and other work.  I’m doing cardio only when I remember, which means I don’t. My abs appear in the morning, but retract after lunch then reappear before I sleep at night, but they are not as defined as when I was in my early 20s. I know they’re there, only that they’re surrounded by a rather thick layer of adipose tissues that some lovingly call love handles. But I am working on this part, too. 

I’ve reached a point when I workout out of routine and nothing more, not even to look good, because I’m way past the point when I’d still care about what people think of how I look. I’m out of the dating scene for more than six years now. I’ve stopped hooking up, going out on a Saturday night, and checking myself out in mirrors. 

I go to gym in the same way a bald man runs his fingers on that space that used to be occupied by his now gone hair. 

Working out is the closest I can get to that really physical activity that has shaped the male’s anatomy for millennia. I’m sedentary most of the day except at night when I sweat it out, doing routines that do not serve any practical significance except exhaust the body so it can be as exhausted as the mind. 

Afternoon coffee

This isn’t exactly the best view one can have while sipping a 5-peso coffee dissolved in boiled tap at five in the afternoon. But who cares?

I feel good inside.

This feels like afternoons back home when my father would ask me to make him coffee and we shared talks about how our day went while my mother gossiped about our neighbors as she tended her ornamental plants.

I’m excited to be home this Christmas.

Breakfast before workout

psx_20161101_094455As soon as I finished mopping the kitchen floor and the inside of the cabinet which had gotten flooded by water coming from the main pipe, I went downstairs to ask the personnel at the lobby to call a plumber to fix the leaking pipe. I thought of complimenting her for the bangs she’s sporting, but decided against it because I was not in the mood for small talks at that point. It was 7 in the morning. When the plumbers were done, advising me to buy a longer pipe, which I reckoned isn’t necessary, I had to face the ordeal of ridding the cupboard with plastic bags I have accumulated for months thinking I will have use for them to contain the poops of my cats among other things, without realizing I was becoming a hoarder.

I made myself a really heavy breakfast before I hit the gym today. It did not take much time to prepare. I sunny-side-upped two eggs, boiled two pork sausages, toasted a frozen bagel, spread on it my one-year-old guava jam which even the ants dared not touch, and completed the plate with a slice of cheese I got from a Sunday market on Pines Street. Of course, I had to make coffee, the three-in-one kind because my coffee maker broke last week, and I couldn’t find time to buy a replacement.

I guess this is where things lead for some, in being caught in the everyday and the quotidian. While everyone seems to be heading somewhere more important, doing stuff that will change the world, some choose to mop the floor, throw trash away, make breakfast, workout and be comforted by the belief that this is all there is to life.



Cats will never allow anyone to use a leash and use it to rob them of their dignity. Nobody is going to walk them. They will walk whenever they want. This I learned this afternoon when I attempted the stupidest thing in the world, putting Tumi on a leash. He jumped all over the place, hurt himself, thrashed the room, and almost scoop my eyeballs with his claws. I had to wrap him with a towel to control him then quickly unbuckled him. He suffered some small cuts plus I will have to wait for a week or more to regain his trust. This cat demands respect and will not let anyone to shame him. Sorry, Tumi. It won’t happen again.

Retirement and living in the present

I’m spending my long weekend resting, playing with my cats, cleaning the condo, checking some papers of my students, and making a summary of my monthly expenses. I plan to purchase another retirement instrument, my third, in order to secure my old age. I got two earlier retirement plans under Philam and Insular Life and this third I am getting is under Sunlife. Given my very modest salary, and factoring in the two condominium units  I’m currently mortgaging for ten years and an HMO I have to complete paying in the next two years, by 45, I shall be ready to retire, go back to the province, and tend a small plot of land which I bought last year. Capital indeed perpetuates itself.

Security wasn’t my biggest value when I was in my early twenties. Back then, seizing life by the neck was my ultimate goal. I was willing to squander the future in the name of carpe-dieming, or YOLO-ing in the parlance of my students. I could risk it all for love and for that one moment. Now that I am a little older, I know better that this life and this city are only for the young and ambitious. I can toil here for another 10 years, build more capital, and when the time to say quits comes, I should be able to let go without much pain and love lost for this city where I have spent almost a third of my life.

I think I am writing this post because I want to put some order to my seemingly disorganized thoughts that are made more muddled by this suffocating November heat. No matter how many showers I take in a day, the stinging humidity reminds me endlessly of death and all the sad things that come with one’s last days. And I find comfort in the fact that my 60s will be spent comfortably with my family and the cats I will have by that time because Mimi and Tumi will not be with me anymore by then.

Funny how I had to look up for a nearby cremation service yesterday. And my cats are only eight months old. I shall be spending 10-15 more years with them. But they too will have to go, and the thought of their leaving me is more than enough to make me shed a tear.

If only entropy can be reversed and my two kitties be with me forever, and I don’t have to pay for all these retirement instruments and just enjoy the present.



Dear Cats,

There are days when I wish you both gone. You’ve given me endless sneezes since yesterday, you scratched me, Mimi, while I so gently clipped your hind claws, you, Tumi always occupy the whole bed and cover it with your fur, you both scream and attempt to manslaughter me every month whenever I give you warm bath. You, Mimi, has achieved that rare expertise of finding my jugular veins and clawing them, always unsuccessfully, but one of these days, once you’re bigger and more experienced, you’ll be successful in the attempt, I’m imagining myself rotting for weeks on the floor of the bathroom surrounded by dried-up blood while you and Tumi escape through the window and use the elevator from the 21st floor to the ground floor, getting your freedom at last. If that happens, Mimi, please take care of fat Tumi. He will not survive outside, unlike you who’s independent and strong.

In spite of all these, I know that what I have for you two boys is the closest I can go to what they call unconditional love.

Your human,



The two kitties trying to escape.