the last day of the year

christmas tree at daley plaza
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

with the santa booth and german village - or what's left of the village, they closed after christmas day.

ohmigosh, the 31st of the last month of the fastest year of my life has finally dawned. and it's rapidly running out.

i blinked, it was dec. 24, las vegas, trying to keep up with my mother. we were running on adrenaline after being awake for 22 hours. she liked to gamble, and i wanted to collect a chip from every casino as a souvenier. i would leave her only long enough to purchase a $1 chip. it was my way of not screaming DON'T PLAY WITH YOUR MONEY DURING THE VACATION YOU PAID FOR!!! at her. by the time i came back, she usually won all the $10 she started with, and then some. we only got through half of the strip when she wanted to turn back to the hotel and eat. we had this awesome pasta at the cafe bellagio inside the hotel-casino she picked for us. my mother can't stop talking about her winnings, and i relished the italian pasta. she paid for the food. freeloaders rule, hehe.

i need to learn how to put down the camera, and just... be. ahahaha. no more freakywierd loner tendencies where i take pix of everything coz i think i can recreate that reality somehow. i should just blog or journal it instead. ahahahaha.

go see more movies and eat out more. to prepare for that so i won't blow up like a balloon any more than i already am, don't eat at all that previous week. yay!

share a story or a photo or a freakyfilm and win a friend. yanno, sharing is good.

celly phones are for communicating, not for letting slip from pockets and falling to the ground type of thing.

stop breathing caffein. you're not a fish. there are other drinks, yanno. like WATER.

i need to make this year, 2006, the year where i fulfill promises even to myself.

i blinked, and here i am blogging, wondering where the year went. smiling, grateful for friends who yank me out of my brooding. i know you guys are tried of hearing this, but thank you. :-)
  dear anne
Hello! Christian greetings it's anne from the Philippines I would just like to ask you about some facts of being a registered nurse there in the US I am a newly registered nurse here in the Philippines and I wanted to try working there in the US can you please give me some advise. Thank you very much and God bless!

hi, anne,

aside from required tests and the need to have people you know around you for support, i guess you'd also like to know which places in the u.s. are best conducive to filipinos, no? ahaha. it's not much, but here's what i think -

there are the coasts - california and new york. california is saturated with pinoys, especially los angeles. it rarely snows there, and people keep on saying LA's weather is a lot like baguio. (although i think baguio would be cooler, cleaner and a lot prettier.) the pinoy community in any part of the west coast is abundant, the catholic community is everywhere; you'll still be homesick but it would be easier to obtain the things you need to remind you of home.

there are also pockets of filipinos in alaska and hawaii. next year, hawaii celebrates 100 years of filipino immigration. alaska is where the bulk of "america is in the heart" is written, that seminal memoir by carlos bulosan, who taught himself english and wrote about the hardships of working without labor laws to protect him.

the further east you travel, the more american the country would appear to you - or at least, it coincides with what we thought the u.s. is like, living in the philippines. some say the mountain region, where the movie "brokeback mountain" is set, is hostile to people of color, that is, people who aren't white, that is, people who don't have blonde hair and blue eyes. but there are pockets like phoenix and salt lake city and denver where you can thrive.

the south is a lot of fun - texas, louisiana, kentucky (although there's a joke that texas isn't part of the south, it's a whole region on its own). the big cities there are friendly to people of color, and so needing all the nurses they can get. texas has a huge catholic community. they like to vacation in colorado. i find it hard describing the south because it really is a strange place, even though most of the friends i have in community live in houston and dallas.

the north central part is where chicago is. you're more than welcome to join us. (although i'm inactive in the community.) chicago is the third largest city in the u.s., second to los angeles and new york. i've heard a new yorker call it an extremely white city, and this was also my first impression when my family and i moved here a decade ago. but there is the community, the rizal center, activist groups, artists, a theater group - you'll still be homesick, but around here, i learned there's many alternatives to pining for home. :-) there are also many filipinos in every big city in the midwest, like milwaukee in wisconsin and detroit in michigan.

the east - the east is where new york city is. it's where orlando is, in the south, and disneyworld. it's where "message in a bottle" is based, in the carolinas. it's where "rent" is set, where "king kong" was brought, in new york city. it's where the sept. 11 commission is based, in washington, d.c. the east is where philadelphia is, of the movie of the same title, where the u.s.' first constitution was drafted.

way out east the snow blizzards are tremendous because they're fresh from the atlantic. but i haven't heard it said it's colder there than it is here in chicago. out east is where most of our ideas about what the u.s. is like in winter, with the cozy houses lit with yellow lamps inside while snow piles up outside. out west in LA is where our ideas about beaches and hollywood and gangfights and "baywatch" are at. across the u.s., you'll definitely be homesick, but you'll at least be given alternatives to pining for home. :-)

you shouldn't occupy yourself with dealing with people of other races - there's a real issue there, but it's not what you're after in coming to the u.s., right? i think the best way to talk about that issue is to experience it yourself.

and dude, i'm not sure why you want to leave the philippines, but if it involves helping out your family and fulfilling your own dreams, i totally understand; and this will sound strange coming from someone already living here, but i think you know that you would best spend your time in the homeland. i hope you find a place where you're absolutely sure you'll thrive.

the best of blessings, and a happy new year.
  christmas2k5 cards

christmas2k5 cards
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

made them out thursday, 12.29, sent them out, 12.30... hehe... they're late. but at least i tried. hehehe -

wednesday was one of those days that you can't really remember what woke you up, but you hadta, a day when you reversed words coz you're secretly dyslexic and you got yourself to a bookstore to finally purchase presents coz monday at the moviehouse your friend picked out a shirt she wanted you to buy coz she's broke so she picked it out for you and you thought, she just told me what she wanted for christmas, so you bought the shirt, and then wednesday you bought her cousin royksopp coz the only asian thing he knows is japan despite being filipino, next year you're hauling everyone who still has money to steppenwolf to watch them render murakami - awwwe, your first-ever murakami, sweetums! yay! - in their own language, that is, if you can read the book first and if ms. anna could pursuade them. coz you're just not the outgoing type. ahahahaha.
i've finally checked into a clinic that i thought suites me, after hopping from one to the other, clear across the city. downtown. barrington. woodfield. the gold coast. michigan avenue. lincoln avenue. wicker park. esquire. the AMC. lowes. i've seen just about every holiday movie available to a night owl, and now i've OD'ed on hollywood flickering, hollywood moving.

i'm in detox.

last night was the second to the last straw, because when merry ann (yes, she's a happy ann) picked up a gift card that featured "ice age 2," i knew we just had to see that come the new year. but as the three of us sat there watching joaquin phoenix play johnny cash who was then trying to teach us to "walk the line," i thought,

i can't do this anymore.

is this what my life has amounted to? a cup of coffee after one hour of chomping sushi at todai and hijacking witty shirts at american eagle?

i've become a true consumer. yay! yay! yay!

the day before, my friend and i ate at shula's steak house at the sheraton, and the weekend before that we ate at osteria via stato. all of those, including todai, are $25-$40 a plate. and then we also had the movies and the coffee.

i love it.

coz i don't think i would have had fun at regular restaurants, or chains, anyways. the flavor this season is to try restaurants way beyond our means, ahaha. my money is rapidly running out. and it ain't over yet.

and yes, it is prolly about time, and yes i'm turning into the bad influence to these fresh college grads, and yes, i'm turning out to be the rich kid in the company of bohemians, like that lawyer in "rent," except i don't think i'm gay. ahahahaha.

cooking is fun when you're living with someone or when you're having friends over. eating out is for people like me who don't yet have anyone to cook for, or people more interested in looking outside, to what the world looks like, rather than developing a hearth and home.

last week i said i can't wait for this year to end. 2005 is getting old. old, old. old like bringing lunch in a plastic case to eat to work when it's the holidays. which i still do. coz i need to save up for new year's and after new year's. don't got much goin' on - just a couple friends coming for the cold and the snow. i'm highly hopeful for good times - ahahaha - the wholesome kind, of course, you're reading ulanmaya here.

four more days of 2005. have a happy tuesday. :-)
suddenly just as i've finally seized a spirited reply to a topic too worthy for the likes of me, frickin' xanga crashes. oh, i cannot type quick enough to list obscenities that would have made your pretty little heads spin. if there's something i absolutely detest and will curse to kingdom come, it is errant servers that service BLOGS.


anyways, one of my friends had finally understood the term "imperialism." yay! yay! yay! ten people have sent her comments and i'm sure the rest just chose to keep their minds coolly air conditioned, and the rest are like me, fuming over xanga's servers. GRRRRR!!!

oh for heaven's sake. imma get over the server thing.

so i wanted to tease her hanging out at one of UP's campuses again, possibly diliman, coz she blogged her uncle once dropped her cousin off that campus while classes were still in session. as it is UP, i wondered if she'd ever get a chance to learn about "imperialism." this is a girl who had been born and raised here in the u.s., so there's not enough chances for her to really learn the term, "imperialism." what's more's she chose to become a missionary - so, depending on how you look at the profession, added edge or padding to the wiles of the wicked world.

whoever was able to go through to her, congrats! but then, even the locals find it difficult to come to terms with this topic, even if you live in the capital.

because if all you're after is to give your family something to eat everyday, then you will want to leave the country for where the money's better. and even if you want to experience the good life and think that another country will help you evolve, then you will move because exodus by filipinos from the homeland has become the norm. even if it's not supposed to be. we can't escape letters, blogs, e-mails, phone calls, text messages, packages, visits from balikbayans. we can't deny their extensive contributions and achievements to the new country they chose to live.

but the deal is, in my opinion, you're not supposed to trade anything for your dwelling place. immigration may be a human phenomenon, but one isn't supposed to be made uncomfortable enough that they feel the need to leave.

There is a problem with the air conditioning that affects our servers. We will be back up shortly.

The Xanga Team

well, as of this post (at 5:39 a.m. dec. 27, actually, ahaha - dec. 26 i just watched a movie with friends and had dinner at this crazy japanese place called todai), xanga is still down and i'm still extremely annoyed. my tummy is doing the twist, so i know it's bad. i am glad some sort of conversation's started between the missionary and her friends. but knowing the group that she works for, the same that i also used to paricipate in, the conversation will be short and only among the select few. i wonder if it's too much to hope that the conversations remain public and somehow perpetuate.

one missionary from our ranks chose to go home to the philippines for the right reasons - she wanted to help out. one other missionary from australia, a caucasian woman, did the same almost eight years ago - go to the philippines to help out and learn more about her faith.

but it's very common for white folks to do that - fly to a developing country and go help out there and go learn about themselves and their movements there. it's very rare for a fellow filipina to actually take the leap and follow, albeit temporary, if not her heart or her conscience, her curiosity for a country her parents call "home."
  midnight mass

midnight mass
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

maligayang pasko, everyone! thanks for reading this blog. :-)

one of the christmastime traditions i dearly miss is simbang gabi, nighttime mass. filipinos in the homeland celebrate it at around 4 a.m. for i think nine days before the 25th. on the 24th, it culminates in a lengthy mass from midnight of the 24th until the early hours of the 25th, complete with reenactments of the annunciation and the passion. it's followed by a breakfast of sweet desserts, bread and hot cocoa. now is also the time to open presents. since it's daylight, my siblings, cousins and i don't sleep until that night, and we're permitted to play outside all day.

here in chicago, it's literally celebrated at midnight. during retreats with my old catholic group, participants and leaders would gather for an early morning prayer and short worship service. there's just something trippy about staying up in the early morning before sunrise. the midnight mass at holy name cathedral lasted 90 minutes.

in the end of mass, a woman screamed protests and obscenities from the back of the church, making cardinal george stop his closing blessing but not loosing momentum. isn't that remarkable - the woman was most likely protesting many practices that make the roman catholic church appear increasingly inaccessible to regular people. and yet the cardinal just regarded it as someone rudely interrupting a regular speech of his and moved on.

my mother wondered at that, and concluded that maybe she was just overcome with her prayers, and knew of no other way to express her strong feelings. i dismissed it as yet another consequence of holding public religious service.

which then made me wonder about my actions this past year. when i first started working at my present job, i was frightened of the smallest squeaks colleagues, fax machines, printers, TV and instant messages made. it annoyed me to kingdom come that i was so touchy - even after a couple years on the job.

i didn't realize how much i'd changed since then until my siblings and i picked up a copy of the latest harry potter book earlier this year and had to take the red line train home. a woman sat on a soiled seat in the train, and all i could do then was watch as disaster struck. i knew it was strange because i didn't even flick an eyelash. i didn't feel remorse or embarrassment for the passenger, because i thought no one was getting physically, irredeemably hurt.

which worries me a lot, especially last night at mass, i remembered how much i really enjoyed mass, midnight, noon or any other time of day. i used to go to mass everyday, and i didn't go mindlessly. i knew why i was there. now i hardly ever go, and i'm not sure why. maybe it was the classical music that bounced off every crevice of intricate wooden cathedral ceiling. maybe it was the purposeful way volunteers excused themselves in front of me, while they made sure misalettes and baskets were adequately passed around. maybe it was the relaxed and peaceful way people heard mass, standing with my family and i in the back of the church.

but i realized that come new year's day, one of my resolutions must be to find some sort of balance again where i would improve on my writing, but more so find what else it means to be truly human.

i have no clue how to do that. but i remember nameless volunteers at the madonna della strada church along katipunan avenue somehow managing to hoist a huge parol from the ceiling's pinnacle and lowering it slowly down to a manger to one side of the church. i watched hands through the ceiling's grillwork sprinkle flowers to the assembled. i noticed how the jesus character tripped over one of the "blocks" upon resurrection. they looked like regular gray hollow blocks used in construction sites, but they bounced around and cracked like the styrofoam that they were. i was in grade school, and i thought, how cool.
  the secret life of princesses
the secret life of princesses

one is a true princess only if she has a fairy godmother to help her. ;-)

a tribute to the vanishing unique signature city retailor - marshall field's is being absorbed by macy's - here's this year's christmas window display, the last one the giant department store will put together as marshall field's.

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

the secret life of princesses

*the end*
  recent reads
please be advised that the following comments have spoilers. ;-)

memoirs of a geisha

in "memoirs of a geisha," i'm on the part where hatsumomo beings home a friend, korin, a fellow geisha. hatsumomo makes chiyo ruin an exquisite kimono by writing on it. i think she'll use this to blackmail chiyo later.

the writing is memorable, descriptive as if to inform the reader. i'm intrigued by the amount of detail writer arthur golden inserts into events in her life, almost making her life parallel to certain customs repeated through generations. this takes me away from my idea that geisha are natural sorceresses; they're actually regular women who work to earn a living.

but when allowed to speak by herself, chiyo's story haunts you each time you take yourself from the book. her voice is coy, open and inviting - and who doesn't want to hear a good story when such an invite is given?

i want to finish this book before i see the movie. :-)

einstein's dreams

just recently the illinois humanities council celebrated "einstein's revolutions," a monthlong series of events to celebrate his 1905 papers.

i completely missed it. there were lectures by renowed scientists and writers. the opening lecture tried to explain einstein's research on time, much like what alan lightman tried to do in this novel, "einstein's dreams": einstein tried to describe time. time, and how it affects individuals. time, and how it affects relationships. time, and how it affects events. time, and how it affects perception. time, and if it could be bent, cheated, tricked. time, and whether or not time itself is a thing alive that you can see and touch, and if so, is time then a trickster, a grandfather, a lord or leader of some sort?

lightman's thifty prose is lyrical, rounding out a luminary - just like this stamp of einstein on a bike. einstein really did spend hours on end writing and revising theories, but i'm sure he also ate, slept, played.

i like how the novel seemed poised at a moment in time, like a scalpel over skin. time is suspended, like winter in midnight, like watching snow fall from inside a skyscraper. from several hundred feet above ground, snowflakes fall in layers like a curtain and at uniform speed. they disappear. they don't seem to hit the ground. there is a timeless quality to falling snow.

at the book's outset, einstein is caught with his head on his latest manuscript, fast asleep with dawn steadily creeping on him. at the end of the novel, he awakes groggily and hands over his papers to a typist. in between are his dreams of fishing with his friend, lovers making split decisions, universes colliding, realities forming, families leaving each other. how long has it been between his waking up slumped on his desk and his smiling to his typist and giving her his papers?

this is another beautiful thing about the novel - it reverts to the beginning, almost as an advance apology to you, lightman's reader, for having wasted your time reading it. so lightman reverts to the beginning, maybe hoping to give you your time back, to remind you of what you were doing before reading his book; you can go back to that activity now.

i chafed at this ending because i had no way of assuring lightman - or einstein - that their ideas are original and extremely fascinating and had quite successfully captured my attentions, retaining them to the end. you could say it's lightman's subtle commentary on the millions other worthy novels out there waiting for me to read them.

but as i reached the corner of madison street and wells close to midnight on my way to catch a late train back to my house, i decided to regret the end of the novel. i thought none of my time was wasted by reading it.

57th street books

The elevated price for a degree of selectivity is the sad realization that, no matter how hard we try, we will miss someone's work, work that could actually transform us. ~ Sofia M. Starnes

  multiple choice postcard
disneyland hong kong

a. nalungkot ako kasi si totoro nakakulong!

b. bakit nakakulong si totoro? tapos may trees pa sa background niya! si totoro na gustong magpa-grow ng all things natural - pinigilan!

c. baka reflection lang yung image niya! gusto niyang bumiling ticket, pero sarado na yung booth! gusto niyang magpakalunod sa hong kong disneyland, pero it wasn't meant to be!

d. disney hijacked studio ghibli! instead of generating growth from fertile young minds, they're making totoro generate income for disney! pinagbebenta siyang tickets!

e. di makapasok si totoro sa disneyland kasi pumapatay ng imagination ang disney kasi sinusubo na lang nila lahat ng bagay na imaginative sa bata! yay!

~ thanks sa postcard, eugene! :-D
  trois films
three written pieces translated into film. syriana from a book, innocence and brokeback mountain from short stories.

please be advised these reviews are personal and include spoilers. ;-)

[ webpage ]

what i REALLY like about this movie are the desert scenes. i am so curious about the book - it's based on a true story.

there's one moment in the film that summarizes the entire three-hour experience - when george clooney's character was suddenly lost in a clash of unnamed highways in the middle of the iranian desert. he is trying to intercept the iranian prince's entourage to warn him about sinister plans. his character had to make a u-turn and is seen driving full speed away to another place that looks exactly like the intersection he had just left, exactly like the direction he had just come from.

this is another important film that everyone has to see. absolutely recommend it, without any of the apprehensive BUTS that i bumped against when talking about michael moore's films. yuck. i'm a tad disappointed in moore.

this film leaves moore's methods in the dust.

[ webpage ]

based on the novella, "mine-haha, ou l’éducation corporelle des jeunes filles," i mean, "mine-haha, or the corporeal education of young girls," by german symbolist playwright franz wedekind. director lucile hadzihalilovic said in an interview that she took pains not to explain too much in the film. so imma be brief. or at least try to. coz i really like this film.

i want to read the novella. ahahaha. in an interview with the director (the web site where i found this is down) wedekind showed the passage of time by using one girl to tell his story. hadzihalilovic used three. i think wedekind wanted to show the growing up process by using one girl, and if so, this was a little hard to follow in hadzihalilovic's film because at first it was only clear to me that hadzihalilovic just wanted to tell iris' story.

it was easy to overlook this fault, if it is one, because there was the unifying theme of how a girl grows and changes. it's around this time that girls get their periods, and it's a change that only other girls can understand - how's that for exclusivity and secrets, ahahaha. i like how one writer says that there's always something wrong with girls' bodies - if you don't get your period, there's something wrong with you, if you do but irregularly, there's still something wrong. ahahahaha. but i can't remember who she is. i'm sad. anyways.

many critics say that the movie is about girls maturing into womanhood, but i say that's making her grow up way too fast.

this movie reminds you of all those years you thought the world can't run around any more slow than it already does. i remembered every swish of heavy grey private school uniform skirt, how you'd compare it to the other girls, every wound and scratch magically materializing at night before bed. how you're taught to always follow the line, or with the case in this film, the lamps. it tells you that utopia can't contain curiosity, no matter how high the school walls are.

and then the final main character actually meets an alien species: a boy. you're disappointed that the film ends its storytelling there. you finally understand why the interminable credits were placed in the beginning. hehehehe. not just coz it wanted to build tension.

unlike many films, this movie is to be savored at every frame, not gulped all in one go. if you like photography, colors, poetry, dance, nature, biology, symbolism, mystery, dark corners, points of light, the tension of growing up, perfect worlds, majestic old houses, secret passages, water, leaf and rock, see this movie. it heightens the experience of the world the way a girl would see it, and leaves much to the imagination. if i were to choose one perfect movie for this quarter, it would be this one.

c'est film est superb! heehee. blush it was released 2004. i can't wait for the DVD. and... ahem... christmas is coming soon. ...

brokeback mountain
[ webpage ]

heath... heath... sometimes, yanno... i can't understand what you just said.

"yer fergit sumtaymes wut itz layke ta be dffzkt ol the tayme."


"yer fergit sumtaymes wut itz layke ta be BROKE ol the tayme."

oh! ahahahaha...

i was extremely embarrassed for the scriptwriters, ahahahaha. poor souls hadta translate entire lyrical paragraphs into dialogue that made me groan, laugh out loud or groan and laugh out loud. it reminded me how guys by themselves, if you give them a videogame and they like it, can go at it for hours and hours without food or water. like lizards sunning themselves on a rock. ahahahaha.

but that's the case for every book - or in this case, short story - made into film, i suppose. i mean, they added, "you've captured me, body and soul," in pride and prejudice, but managed to skillfully insert the scene where you use the line "sometimes i miss you so much, i can't take it," smoothly after a trip with a popular mountain range in the background whose name escapes me right now (yes, shame on me).

the part that i liked the best is "it's nobody's business but ours." it's celebratory even if it's just the two of them who knows. but it's also devastating when you realize that it really is just the two of you who knows - there was a scene in the short story where ennis del mar drives past jack twist's family's cemetery, and it was described as run-down, obscure, and neglected. of course you don't want someone you love forgotten in that plot.

ennis in the short story shoves the image from his mind. this is where i think the movie deviates a lot from the short story. the movie didn't address this because it ends with ennis still alive, in solitude with his memories, in a highland prairie. unlike the short story, he's sticking numbers in his mailbox, which tells me that he's finally settled on a place of his own. in the short story, he needed to get up early to move again because the farm his trailer is parked is being sold.

in the film, his daughter visits him and tells him she's getting married soon. he looks at her pointedly and knowingly; what a great reminder about honesty and risks.

the short story offers the idea of change - it was first published in the late 1990s, perhaps ennis' moving is a premise that things should still change. in the 2005 movie, ennis is settling down, maybe because, like all great stories, his is one that will endure.

at a speech at the 2005 chicago humanities festival, writer annie proulx said that one should always visit the place you are writing about. i'm not sure what proulx was doing in wyoming of all places, but her prose in this story is sensitive and beautiful. the movie's photography is breathtaking, and sometimes steals the show. the writing still played centerstage for me - i found myself watching out for the "dirty water" that proulx said flowed between the hills.
  brown - joey flores

Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_deux.

brown is not just the color of my skin...
it is the layer of my heritage covering centuries of history... both the
documented and the undocumented...
it is the umbilical cord of my life

brown is not just the color of my skin...
it is the duyan cradling me to sleep
it is the tree trunk I made basketball hoop out of wire hanger, nailed at
both ends... and it is the dirt on my 8 year old feet and tsinelas while
playing... alone... amidst guava and banana trees in standing ovation with every shot...
it is the bora bora paper plane tied with mama’s sewing thread i lifted up
to the sky
it is the 10 peso bill for one week’s worth of allowance
it is the leather belt my parental units used to whip my butt to prove to
me, there is a higher power than the rod…point very well taken
it is the rice in sagada... the pandesal in the morning…the champorado during
rainy days... adobo on rice...

brown is not just the color of my skin...
it is the chocolate used as bait so my uncle and cousin can feast and dine
on my body and innocence... bittersweet...
and it is the bag I unconsciously covered my face with all these years to
hide the shame
it is the stain that revealed the woman in my tiny little body and I
realized the gay girl in me was now a gay lady and yet still ashamed
it is the bottle of san Miguel that drowned my father
it is my father’s casket
it is the camaraderie and freedom I fought for in front of fighter tanks in
it is the suit of a fallen hero of my people on the tarmac
it is my diploma on my mother’s wall

brown is not just the color of my skin...
it is the box I packed my life in when I moved to chicago
it is my ethnicity denied by bleaching with papaya soap and whitening
lotion... to blend in, in this western world...
it is the caffeine pumping my veins to keep up with never-ending bills
it is the brick of the American dream

brown is not just the color of my skin
it is the leaf that paves way to winter breeze
it is the murky water in the wishing well of my sugar coated dreams
it is who I've been... who I've become and who I'll always be...
it is my beginning and my end...
it will be the debris of my existence scattered on mother nature...
it is a saga that goes on for generations to come
it is history unfolding before my eyes
brown is not just the color of my skin
it is more... so much more than JUST the color of my skin

14 yeoj
  being a very talkative person...
when you get me started on a topic that i might have an idea about, i turn into a runaway freight train en route to canada: i've become difficult to stop. and if you talk about something i have no knowledge about, i turn on one of my complexes and suddenly, i know which part of my life that certain topic of yours has something to do with.

i'm not sure what writing block is. but i think i'm feeling it now. i tried to write about something today, just now, about even just the movies i've seen this weekend and the events i've been to, but somehow, when i tried a different approach to writing about it, other than my usual straightforward manner, the story comes out flat, dimensionless, tiresome, boring. when the event is precisely just the opposite.

it reminds me of a four-corner stop in the middle of nowhere. it doesn't matter which direction you take, because all of them look alike anyways. you might as well choose one.

which is troubling to me because if that's the state of my mind, then there's no reason for me to describe what happened this weekend, at all. it was fulfilling to me, why else should you care?

it reminds me of bedtime. i tried to hand write my thoughts this weekend, and i just about fell to pieces. i wonder what that means. i told a friend over late-night dessert that it's incredibly great to be finally talking about life here, as opposed to life in the philippines, what it was like in DC, if we're going out west in january, where should i allot my spare paid vacations this year. it's finally great to not be talking about drama in the homeland, and drama in our own houses, but drama between friends that's beyond mere silly stupid gossip.

(ahaha. no offense, but i'm extremely uncomfortable practicing gossip. hooray for y'alls who like it. ;-) wish i could join your revelry, but now isn't my time to contribute to what appears to me as the utter crumbling of someone's world and perceptions.)

a couple blog friends have started a tradition in their posts to thank something that's happend to them that day, both mundane and magical. well, thank you for jorge luis borges, gabriel garcia marquez, annie proulx, emile zola, cornelia funke, writers who take their readership seriously, performers who respect their audience, club music, nonalcoholic beverages, perpetual lines of good food, incessant leftovers - both in food and jokes and political tirades; thank you for lampshades and ridiculously thick blankets that turn into lifesavers in the dead of december, for christmas lights that inadvertently take the place of inadequate streetlamps, for comfy blue sweaters, seamless rubber bracelets, black pony tail holders, cell phones that work and loyal purple gloves and sweater scarves and hats that do the job.

thank you for lots and lots of mirth and laughter. thank you for the quiet, thoughtful afters.

thank you for the end of semester/quarters. for me, lack of required readings mean space and freedom to attack the books and the food and the movies and the trips that i want. thank you for deadlines and time constraints, however, for they remind us of budgets and unnecessary indulgences. ahahaha. we're not rich, yanno. yay! thank you for listening. thank you for telling. thank you for reading. good night.



i wanna watch this movie. :evil laugh: yay! :pleased:
  un cafe, s'il vous plait

gOOd cOfFeE, grE@t viEw!
Originally uploaded by bogza_stelian.

cafe a la european. oh la la. and then it turns out that this is acutally a cafe near the university of toronto, ahahaha. ...

Ten Ren @ Rowland Heights, CA.
Originally uploaded by I_M_BonBon.

bubble tea coffee. only coz it's asian and from cali. anything asian + cali + something to drink = bubble tea. even though it's not all fruity. ahahahaha

Originally uploaded by kingofmonks.

or we can have a cup in italy... oh la la... and pay more to sit down in a cafe. hehehe

Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

macadamia nut mocha. but i still like their coconut macaroon mocha. mmmm... kept me awake and laughing all night. oh la la.

Originally uploaded by tajayana.

cool close-up swirl

lazy day
Originally uploaded by wackocatho.

  mere postulation
using my office's considerable reach, i looked for the original column patricia evangelista allegedly wrote that writers sarah raymundo and bogart jaime attacked. i'm not supposed to do this. but what can i say - i'm a sucker for a good story. oh la la.

well, i found it, and i totally understand where raymundo and jaime are coming from. absolutely love all 2,738 words of their reply to evangelista's original 1,101, published nov. 27. i also read her 1,129-word reply, published dec. 11.

and i must say:
+ 1129

so raymundo and jaime still win. ahahaha.

but if you actually read the three pieces, you'll understand - why can't evangelista just admit that she's, very simply, wrong? that after graduation, there's actually still much, too much, to learn.

that no, students can't say they don't know this, or that no one showed them this. if they open their eyes just a tad weeny wider, this bit o'wisdom's actually very accessible. she wears rubber slippers to the movies. some kids don't even have plastic bags for slippers. they don't even have enough pay to watch movies. ahaha.

her column would have even been more effective if she just went, "i am wrong, and i apologize; i didn't realize that learning ends not in the classroom or upon ascension of the stage to receive my diploma; it ends not, period." hehehehe. but i guess she needed to put in her weekly 1,000-plus words.

it's actually also unfair of me to speak up about an issue i distanced myself from, concluding from the very start, "she's a train wreck waiting to happen." i'm sure she's heard that too many times already for it to be effective. but the thing is, i don't read her unless she's caused yet another catastrophe.

and that's just totally it. if you want to be a columnist, you must first be a journalist. journalists, ideally, don't make news. they cover them. they're not the newsmakers, they're adept enough to subtley point, "and this is the news, by the philippine daily inquirer." they don't make splashes. while we can say that you don't hear from or about writers unless they cause disasters, it seems to me that evangelista makes nothing BUT disasters.

it's entirely distinct from revolutions. that, she's not doing. (sure... she's not doing this yet. maybe someday. i hope she lasts long enough to come up with something.)

it's kinna annoying, even if she were older and seasoned. it's annoying, because you know you'll be hearing from her again next week. if you walk and you have a pebble in your shoe, any normal person would stop and take out the errant stone. while i think it's a good idea that PDI made someone evangelista's age contribute to their pages weekly, i think the paper is desperately, sorely lacking in guiding her to the light.

please, this isn't an attack at the esteemed writers who may have mentored her. i admit i have no clue what i'm talking about. but it's exasperating that they seem adeptly leaving her alone to write her whims, and her editors are reduced to copyists.

i see the philippine version of jayson blair yonder near horizon. a girl, no less. what perfect irony, especially if you're trying to boost female ego in a male-dominated field. i just want to scream bloody hell.

evangelista's next job after graduation should be to snap her up to a general assignment reporting desk. quick, before some other paper gets any ideas. chain her there until she learns what it is to be a real reporter. many columnists are grateful for robotic, snappy editors who seem to have nothing else to do in their days but look up from their pencils and their stories and bark at you. those violent ones are actually some of the best mentors around. they actually really do breathe under that mountain of paper and smoke. they promote you and show you off and give you chances to let you dig yourself out of your holes. :-D

it's fun! don't be scared.

but i should shut up, i live comfortably far, far away from manila and memories of being stuck in traffic trying to get to my uncle's house 20 minutes from my parent's house on a good day without traffic are, with the same speed as my youth, rapidly dimming. oh, for the love of learning. but i must get back to work.

i think due to extreme popularity, the philippine daily inquirer removed the three pieces from their pages; or at least, i can't find them. you might be able to google these:

"Sound and Fury," Patricia Evangelista. Philippine Daily Inquirer, Nov. 27.

"Patricia Evangelista: 'A Rebel Without a Clue,'" By Sarah Raymundo and Bogart Jaime. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Not sure when this was published, but some yahoogroups list it was published Nov. 30.

"Into the Sound and Fury," Patricia Evangelista. Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec. 11.
  falling - mike maniquiz

by Mike Maniquiz
California State University, Fresno

On that day you jumped the air smelled metallic.
It has always been like that in Manila.
Vehicles clog the arteries of the city,
fumes from exhaust pipes rise like incantations.
But it is beautiful and silent at the top,
above metropolitan rush,
and like a possessed priestess bestowed
with absolute knowledge, you knew just how
to name the wind who witnessed that day.
I cried like you once did
about a subject you could never paint:
uncertainty, the beast you strove to tame.
You painted patterns of our subconscious
in monotone gray and black, saying too many
times that the canvas is the human mind.
How pleased I was when I walked in once
and saw a smudge of yellow in the frame.
How much of what we do is surrendering?
Did your arms spread when you left into the wind?
Did they ache, ripped of mortal weight?
Did your heart burst and scatter
into a million moths swarming your sky?
Did you hear the black sound of the earth's lullaby?
Your slender body, a blade of grass in the universe,
how could it have contained the whirling storm
inside you? Where I live now in the Midwest,
old-timers talk of how dry the air tastes
before a funnel cloud touches ground.
But I will remember you for the flower
that fell on the floor when you wouldn't spend
the night with me in the mountains of Baguio.
That was years ago and in monsoon season.
Have to catch the midnight bus, you said,
and snapped up the bouquet of wildflowers.
In your haste, you failed to notice
one dropped from the bundle.
I now imagine you on the bus,
the sallow yellow light,
the window where you could see
nothing but your reflection,
nothing of the twists and bends of the mountain road,
nothing of the cliffs that plunge
hundreds of feet into the darkness.
In some other time you would have stayed
because of the rain.
The tiled floor that framed the blossom's fall
I now recall, was of a deep burgundy,
and the purplish wine,
that flower is called Everlasting.
It retains shape and color even when it dies.
You had enough demon inside
to spring a suprise on us, however trite.
At that moment, my mind could only offer
this envelope. Inside it, a note that says,
No one hears a tornado touch ground.
No one knows it's heaven's terrifying flower.
If your stay means anything at all, I should
be able to picture you soaked outside the door,
amid the scent of mountain rain and pine.
But there's always the day you jumped.
Even in art, we are constrained by the lines
before us. And we are at the mercy of the sun.

published in the mid-american review, 25th anniversary issue

Mid-American Review 25th Anniversary Issue

mike - thanks for the lines, and for letting me post this. :-)

ahahaha... oh. i'm still giddy about this book being given me for christmas.

images of baguio
images of manila
  shameless scavenger

circa fundraising 2k5
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_deux.

food!!! querubin brothers attack leftover food as jennifer looks on.

this weekend, friends and i attended a couple different fundraising events for community organizations here in chicago. and yanno, there's always food in these things. there's snow, there's cold, there's free rides, and there's always lotsa food.

well... the food that i harvested has fed me for two days now. it totally works just leaving them in the car to chill, too. ahaha. i've food for two more days. hehehe. yay!
  city sticker
2006 winner of the chicago city sticker design

the 2006 city vehicle sticker design, the decal you place in your car's windshield to show it's registered with the city. designs are always winners of the annual city of chicago vehicle sticker design contest.

several signature chicago landmarks are one by one being traded for mundane brands. the sun-times building was razed to give way to a new trump tower. the marshall field's department store is turning into a macy's. and bye bye, comiskey park - you turned into u.s. cellular field. they call you "the cell" now, no different from the cell-o-phane.

happily, the "el," or the elevated train tracks, a remnant of the city's 1893 world's fair days, is still ricketly intact, in use, and invoked, "the el." yay!

dinner at osteria via stato
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

dinner at osteria via stato
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

dinner at osteria via stato
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

ignorance is NOT bliss, i say. just like when the last pope died and all the wives of dignitaries wore veils. i thought, only the women in my family still wear veils. (except my mom. i think my mom shed her veil when she got married. viva la moi mommy!!!) so i announced it to everyone, colleagues in the office and friends at sala cafe, friends online all the way out to california, texas and DC, laughed about it in someone's xanga all the way out to vancouver, why are they wearing veils?

and then my mom said you do that for formal funerals. (... viva la moi mommy.) coz i thought the dignitaries were just pandering again, but in reality i think they actually really did want to pay homage to the great JP2. :plum blush:

so when you check out dessert at an expensive italian restaurant, you should read menus carefully.

dinner at osteria via stato
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

dinner at osteria via stato
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

they just gave us two slices of cheese! :bummed:
  sa poetry
ahahahaha... i found two poems closely related to each other.

please pass the peace to any spirits i might have provoked.

and a third. i chose to include the third here coz... coz... coz... i don't know. i have long hair, too?... nevermind. ehehe. anyways.



Sa Poetry
ni Rolando Tinio

Sa poetry, you let things take shape,
Para bang nagpapatulo ng isperma sa tubig.
You start siyempre with memories,
‘Yung medyo malagkit, kahit mais
Na mais: love lost, dead dreams,
Rotten silences, and all
Manner of mourning basta’t murder.

Papatak ‘yan sa papel, ano. Parang pait,
Kakagat ang typewriter keys.
You sit up like the mother of anxieties.
Worried na worried hanggang magsalakip
Ang odds and ends ng inamag mong pag-ibig.

Jigsaw puzzle. Kung minsan, everything fits.
Pero sige ang pasada ng images
Hanggang makuha perfectly ang trick.
At parang amateur magician kang bilib
Sa sleight-of-hand na pinapraktis:
Nagsilid ng hangin sa buslo, dumukot,
By golly, see what you’ve got -
Bouquet of African daisies,
Kabit-kabit na kerchief,
Kung suwerte pa, a couple of pigeons,
Huhulagpos, be-blend sa katernong horizon,
You can’t say na kung saan hahapon.

[ more ]

Exhibit C: Sa Poetry Writing Workshop Class
ni Vladimeir Gonzales

"Sa poetry, you let things take shape,"
sabi ni Tinio; "that's bullshit!"
sabi ng propesor
pagkatapos isara ang libro.
What about authorial control daw,
what about the lipunan,
and insight, and katuturan, and all
that kinda deep stuff.
May pulitika daw ang panulat;
if not, you're just simply walang isperma
kasi you don't have balls.
"You know sir, that's just pure shite,"
sabi ng bagot/pa-goth, adik-adik na classmate
who just read Irvine Welsh,
"that's pure existential angst."
Jigsaw puzzle akong nakinig
sa odds and ends ng kanyang pagpapaliwanag.
What about individualism daw,
hyper reality, the postmodern condition?
What about decentered centers,
borderless borders, disconnections from
collective consciousness, what about that?
"Si sir talaga, such an Immanuel Kant,"
bulong ng isa pang classmate
who's halfway reading Sophie's World-
for another class, of course-
at by golly, bigla akong tinawag ng prof!
"What about you, mister, what do you think?"
Sagot ko naman, "well, sir, this is
just, like, like my Humanities elective
so fuck you,
fuck you all, I guess
(I hope I don't get 5.0 for this).

[ more ]

How to Lose a Poetry Competition
by Ramil Digal Gulle

Somewhere up a mountain, inside a cheap hotel,
the breath of pine that was green when invisible candy puffs
in each young writer's earlobe-cool Baguio cool-was ignored.

When each poem lay there, legs spread-pinned arms, perverse
cruciform X. Everyone had glass-shard, scalpel, post-mortem
lower lip quiver of craftsmanship's class. Voodoo dissection inter-
stitial orbit of learning's erotic machete curve. Beauty. That's

what they're being taught to accomplish. Truth-telling. Somewhere
they brought out the objective-correlative, eventually. It looked like
an old, foot-long rubber sausage. Young writers all around squeezed,
rubbed and stroked it. One of the old writers took it by one end,

made a grand gesture of a job blowing it, twisted it into a
pretzel of air and let it float, bounce about the workshop hall.
That was the day's form and content. The next day's assignment?

Catch a metaphor, alive if possible.
Not easy because the slippery
things kept changing shape, from cobra to tin can to toothy vagina.

For the first time, I wasn't listening. I wasn't
teaching. I didn't care about craft anymore.

I was thinking of the Baguio woodcarver, sitting on a wicker chair,
who stomped his foot, sending a cloud of red earth flying
about us. He told me: I was a guitarmaker in Cebu. I once made

a special guitar with strings made from my wife's hair. Hair I collected
the seven years we were married, collected because I loved her.
Then I hated my wife, and I made the guitar. He brought the guitar

out and played it for me. The fog was creeping towards our feet, its
whiteness broken by long streaks of red earth, threads of bloody spittle.

And I heard a young woman's voice singing:

Ask him what happened. Ask. Ask him what happened to me.

[ more ]
  moving pictures
i want to see all these movies!!!

the what's this?!:

the hollywood must-haves:

the i guesses:

the hmmms:

i don't have money to see all these movies!!! ahm... christmas is coming very, very soon... ahahahaha. ...
  le modèle de GK
i'm sorry... i have to open my loud mouth again for GK.

kudos to the communications department for getting the BBC to cover baseco! the town was ravaged by fire, and rebuilt using the GK model. woohoo!!!

now... can we please, please, PLEASE stop naming the new villages after european, australian and - heaven forbid - american states and cities?

this just irritates the hell out of me! no, this isn't something i just came up with right now, this has been stewing in my mind since i found out we were naming the villages after the people who live in the u.s., i believe two or three years ago when GK took off like a rocket.

naming an entire village after donors is common practice in business and politics, but it shouldn't be followed by not-for-profits. the whole reason why the nfp industry exists is because a group of people wanted to break from the corporate model of, among other things, naming things after them.

thus, to mention a few, the field museum, marshall field's department store (whose name change to frickin macy's is being condemned by many people including roger ebert and, of course, me), the pritzker pavilion and the pritzker prize for architecture.

naming things in other contexts is all well and good, but not for GK; especially not for GK. it panders too much to our meager intelligence here in the u.s.

we gave freely of our time, money and talents in every other aspect of couples for christ, without expecting anything in return. why should GK be any different?

it also undos whatever hope's installed in residents, especially the kids. with all that newfound confidence, they'll all someday make up majority of student populations in the philippines' best universities. and before you know it, all those GK villages will be home to no one but their grandparents.

why? coz generations of their kids are off working elsewhere. who'll want to go back to tiny houses five ping pong tables wide when you can have an apartment that size, all just for you, in europe, elsewhere in asia, and the u.s. - because you now work there?

of course, i should mention, GK was built on the foundations of... love.

"We simply have to accept the Philippines is a poor developing country and we realise it should not be a money-based development," founder tony meloto told the BBC.

maybe that love will be strong enough to pull them back to help in the villages they helped build with their bare hands when they were little. or even shift the minds of GK leaders to remind them that some villages may have been funded by foreign money, but still built by the locals.

i could be wrong - there was this video of a young man who was asked if he would still leave the philippines, if given the chance. he said, almost definitely, at least, as definite as could be mustered at that point in time during the video interview when he was 22 years old, "hindi na." he said he'll not leave the country anymore.

yay!!! i hope he won't change his mind right away.

residents might never, ever want to leave now that they have new houses. they've always wanted to make their dreams come true and their roots grow strong in the country of their birth.

and also, what's in a name? it's just a name. it isn't self-determining. we could ask the same about words - they're mere words. only the writers and politicians and superstars who need to keep up appearances deem words of value. words are the only things we use to communicate fears, ails, aches, concerns, victories, joys, discoveries.

but ah - what are words? they're just words. only it's contradictory to rebuild a village in caloocan and then name it, for example, illinois village. ahahahaha. forget everything, after all, the old village was burned down. we must move on with a new name, a new identity. hopefully someday soon, we can find out just where exactly this illinois is, and maybe someday we can also move there.

there are several villages i've heard of that still carry a local name - villa filipino in camarines sur, antique marina village in iloilo, GK mohon in misamis oriental. at least, i hope these are local names. ahahaha. sorry, i don't want to guess for metro manila. that's one city that's all but lost its original memories. they all sound too foreign to me.

and yes, there will always be something new to complain about.

let this be one less thing to gripe about in the future. the philippines is already named by a former colonizer - spain - and haunted by a new one - the u.s. we want to heal the country, yes?

and yes, maybe i am wrong all about this. why leave the place that fulfilled your dreams - especially if it were a GK village? meloto and his colleagues know about all this i've ranted, of course, because, during a visit to chicago a couple of years ago, he said we have to be patient about GK and the philippines. as we've seen, GK villages partnered with the government seem to be moving slower than ones done by GK alone. ahahaha. they could heal only one wound at a time.

and who knows - knowing filipinos, just like all of humanity, they've talent for turning something foreign into something they own, like the jeepney. names are their specialty.

soon, there might be rows and rows of dusty, ghost towns, colorful in the sunset. everyone will know they're GK houses. but i hope they're just quiet because residents have settled for the night, and had not deserted town.

ANCOP Foundation
Gawad Kalinga
  another day
this post has spoilers.

i want to see rent... again. ahahaha. but of course the broadway's still the best. that certain song is still the best in my book. the music is totally 90s ahaha, and producers made sure that we knew we were watching a movie as opposed to a broadway production - there were scenes shot on location, overlapping events, fast forward events, music video-like moments, a dance in a moving train car and flashbacks.

the creepiest scene was when angel died. in college while studying documentaries, i fell asleep watching this film on AIDS. the filmmaker wanted to show his progression, death and internment. he had his partner continue after. he made sure he brought his camera everywhere. his movements became so mundane, that even as i totally tried to stay awake throughtout his life - this is someone's last moments, after all - i feel asleep just as he was in the hospital, waiting.

there was no indication that that night was going to be his last. the camera would switch on and off, and he would speak that he was still around, and then the camera would go dark again. i decided to nap. and then i decided to wake up.

just as i opened my eyes, there was screaming and crying on the TV, and an expressionles look on the subject's drawn face, his cheeks shrivelled and his skin sallow. it was the moment of his death. i thought, but no one was holding him. he was being filmed. was this really what he wanted for the last, last-ever moments of his life?

collins rocks angel back and forth.

There is no future
There is no past
I live this moment as my last

There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss

No other road
No other way
No day but today

someone's grandma just died. her whole family is feeling it. their grandpa is still alive. isn't that strange - usually it's the other way around, like my parents, the woman survives the husband by decades.

but i'm not thinking of that right now. i'm thinking how many wonderful moments just seem even more gorgeous on hindsight. and whether it was still worth it to have experienced those moments if you're stuck here in the now, just remembering. maybe someday i'll find out. and then i can blog 'em properly. ;-)
  sweet christmas gifts
i got my first christmas gift today. yay! :-D

Mid-American Review 25th Anniversary Issue

the poet in the office gave it to me. i was so happy! ahahaha. i opened it and there was this name in there that sounded filipino.

like great pieces of art, i was rendered speechless. words are the most abused medium, in my opinion. we punish them relentlessly without thinking.

so, when you also write in the same space as the midwest and but have never seen a tornado before, or have only vague images of manila and baguio in your memory, your thoughts shift and you wonder if you can just stop your life for a moment so you can read this book. or how you must return to manila and baguio at least just this once more. how there's that other book too, waiting. and other books and movies, too. you haven't even really chosen one, even. you stop after you remember a bookshelf in dire need of organizing. and then you're hit with a subtle wack behind the head: just reading? you sure you can do that?

i digress.
Carlo Gruber Snow Parka - Adidas

Carlo Gruber Snow Parka - Adidas - whole

the north face tripleC parka

eddie bauer aubergine downlight

the north face metropolis parka

eddie bauer weatheredge

hindi ito mga multo. these are parkas, makakakapal na jackets. negative freezing na temperature dito (high: 20°F/-6°C, low: 13°F/-10°C). i already have this huge parka, but standing under the train station heater today waiting for the bus, i realized i don't have one that covers up to my calves yet... hehehe. i like the adidas one. but i'd settle with the others, too. even though i like the first one. it would be well-used, i promise. hehe. yay!
  ulanmaya's 2k5 south east asian games
hehehe... here's another request. yay! i like requests. it's like someone's making song requests. parokya ni edgar did that a lot... *swoon.* hehehehe. these requests might look like just something for me to do, but ulanmaya is all too eager to speak. ahahaha. sorry this is a whole week late, ahaha.

[ official web site of the 2005 south east asian games ]

wushu a few years ago, high school batchmates and i started chatting online. we can't see each others' faces, so we invented many expressions to communicate emotion. one such (overused) emotion that night is disbelief. i told them what had finally happened to me all this time and where i had managed to find a stable job nowadays, and one of them interjected, "wushu!" i had since adopted this term for my own use, and had employed it liberally since then to express teasing disbelief. i've used it so liberally, i have no idea now in which context. i swear, i didn't know it was an esteemed asian sport, with sharp weapons, no less. :blushes: my bad. heehee!

arnisone of the things that young filipinos here in chicago like to do to make sure they're doing all that they can to learn as much about philippine culture is to learn sports developed especially in the homeland. one of these sports is arnis. the first time i've heard of this sport was in third grade, and i wasn't allowed anywhere near those two sticks, even though i recognized them as sticks. i wasn't totally obtuse, excuse me, if you weild them the wrong way, i know they'll hurt. but of course none of my cousins listened to me. so when our physical education teacher gave us a demonstration, i stood as far as i could from his flying tricks. later, here in chicago, i would see salons open that offer classes in arnis, but because of the cold and the warning when i was little, i didn't take lessons. it was expensive, and i had already accepted my fate as a klutz. later, by the time i developed a rebellious, "i'm filipina and i can do this, dammit!" attitude, my work schedule had shifted to nightside. so each weekend afternoon for almost the entire summer past, i edited video of my friends taking lessons in arnis. there totally is no substitute for actual practice - or redeeming qualities in bitterness. sigh.

dragon boat racingchicago has a lake and a river, and there is a rowing team at my school. there are also several community dragon boat racing teams around the city. friends continue to dare each other to row the chicago river, whose waters become, um, a little shiny and thick around where we live, on the northside of the city. hehehe. the river snakes under several main bridges - irving park road, montrose, lawrence avenue, hugs the side of von steuben high school and continues outbound to lake michigan via downtown chicago. as part of a credited service activity, my sister spent a saturday fishing debries out of the branch of the river near her school, von steuben. she fished out plastic wrappers, candy wrappers, glass bottles, aluminum cans, rags, clumps of hair, blocks of leaves, webs of tree branches, rods of steel, an old car tire. they stopped after they found the tire. in the river downtown, you row with skyscrapers looking down on you. sometimes you actually see office workers wave to you from their windows. they mean well, but they look like expressionless mannequins with arms, and you worry a bit. in the summer, the city raises its drawbridges one at a time to let you and your fellow boaters pass, the yatchs and the tourboats, the kayaks and the regular rowboaters. there's no way your head could still get caught in the lowering steel and metal, but you worry still; pigeons roost under those bridges. and the last thing you'd want to do - trust me - is dip your hand into the river to wash whatever muck off. you'd at least want to do that in lake michigan. but even then, you might want to take a shower after. hehe.

archeryahh, archery! legolas. the elves' specialty. cupid with business emo. ancient wartime machine gun long range firing squad. the most elegant of sports. not sure if the field set up next to a highway near our old house is still in use. they built it in the middle of the first SEAGames that i could remember, in quezon city. but i guess that field isn't in use anymore, ahaha. archery is the coolest of sports because it is also the meaning of my first name. ;-)

welcome, and thank you for boarding the ulanmaya transit express. tickets, please. mind the gap as you depart. have a pleasant experience.

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gromit is curious

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