Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Panic Attack

I grew up in a family of neat-freaks. Everyday, my two aunts meticulously clean every nook and cranny of the house. One of them gladly added cleaning the bathroom every 4am to her morning ritual. Once she gets home in the evening from work, she cooks then scrubs the kitchen tiles and counters until they are spotless (to the point that they perpetually smell of Domex). My other aunt is no exception. Every afternoon, she would sweep and mop the living room, the dining room, my room (hehe), and even the terrace. She would also tirelessly clean up our messes, scolding us in the process. In short, I am used to living in a very tidy house.

I can also be a neat-freak. However, I usually let the mess accumulate a little then I would do an all-out clean-up drive. I am especially particular with two parts of the house: the bathroom
and the kitchen. The bathroom is sacred to me. Not only is it a place to cleanse the physical body, it is also where I cleanse my mind from the unnecessary pressures of real life. Most of my brightest ideas come up when I'm thinking in the bathroom. Heck, even Archimedes shouted "Eureka!" after stepping into a bathtub (or an ancient version of it). The kitchen is equally important. I love food and I love cooking so I ensure that the food I serve is not only delicious but safe.

This afternoon, our driver brought me to the apartment that the company found for me. It was my boss' old apartment. It's quite spacious: 4 small bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and two small balconies. All of these for the price of RM450 (PHP 6260). It's really quite cheap, especially since most flats of this size would cost around RM700-RM1000. They even said that I can sublet it. Most rooms would cost RM200-RM300 per month. If I can get others to rent, I can easily earn RM600-RM900 per month.

Such size can be an investment. However, it's worse than an unfurnished apartment - it's a dump. After my boss moved, the flat was rented by several engineering students.

When I got there, it seemed that the place has been abandoned for months. The floors are dirty and littered with hair. It seems like the past owners need a milder shampoo. In the living room, only
a broken end table and a rattan couch are usable. However, the cushions are too old and dusty to be of any use. I can probably try to wash and salvage them, but I would be better off buying new ones. Here's what the living room looked like after I cleaned the floors:

They even dumped all of their old and dirty stuff in this room:

The kitchen, or what's left of it, was even worse. The grime on that metal counter is so thick, I wouldn't want to put food on it even after bathing it multiple times with clorox. Honestly, it's in a state where it should just be replaced instead of cleaned.

The same goes for the bathroom. The tiles are lined with dried mold and mildew. The toilet, shower, and sink aren't working. Moreover, there are no usable appliances. I would have to buy everything from scratch.

The absolute worst of the lot is the presence of a certain pet tank. At first, I thought it was a normal aquarium. Apparently, it was home to a 7-inch snake. When we got there, this was the state of the tank:

We asked the landlady if the snake has died. Having pity for the creature, she looked after it. According to her, the snake was very much alive the last time she fed it - which was last week. The question is, where is the snake now?

I tried my best to clean the place with the limited resources that I have. But the thought of sleeping there chilled my very soul. The thought of dust, grime, and snakes slowly gave me a panic attack. I hurriedly took a few clothes, locked the rest of my stuff in the room, and went out of the flat.

So friends, dear fellow bloggers, do you think I should keep the flat?
I wouldn't mind investing, but I wouldn't live in here at this current state. If I had a few days to clean it up, buy some furniture and small appliances, and look for that damn snake, I can probably transform it into something livable. But is it worth the stress, the labor, and most especially the upkeep? How long will it take to make the other rooms enticing to promising renters? Or should I just seek for a semi-furnished/furnished room that would save me from all the hassle?

I'm really confused if I should keep it or not. But for now, I'm searching for rooms around the area, comfortable at the thought that I'll be sleeping in a hotel tonight.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day One

You might not be aware (and sorry if I didn't inform you Mr. Lao) but I've decided to move to Malaysia to work with the International Tropical Fruit Network of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Yes, fruits.

Here are some of my random thoughts for the day.

* The Philippine Government's protocols on OFWs and Expats aren't very clear. I was at a loss on what documents I need and which agencies to approach. I checked the website of OWWA and POEA and didn't find them useful. There were not clear guidelines on what to do. I asked repatriated expats for advice and said that my current documents are enough. When I got to airport immigration in NAIA, they were suddenly asking me for an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from POEA. I would have to go to Ortigas and apply for a moot document that might take days to process. I stood my ground and the immigration officer asked me to go to the POEA desk. After an inquiry, it turns out that the OEC is a requirement for skilled labor. The government should really make clear cut guidelines and definitions on what requirements are needed for OFWs and Expats. Furthermore, these guidelines should be transparent and available in their websites. All these back and forth wastes time and money. When I got to Malaysian immigration, they let me through without a hitch.

* The Kuala Lumpur International Airport quite unique. While located in the heart of a protected forest and palm oil plantation, its architecture is modern. The whole place feels like a space-age biodome facility.

* I still can't believe that they provided me with my own office. It's pretty spacious! The walls need some decorating and they gave me the freedom to do whatever would make me more comfortable. Here's a tour!

* It's strange that there's almost no means of public transportation. Trains can only get you somewhere. There are hardly any buses around. Taxis are also pretty rare. I talked with my co-worker and it seems that most people own a car. All my co-workers drive to work in their own car. There's no means of public transpo to the office. Hence, they've provided me with a driver (and the company car) until I get my own ride. Uhm, kelan kaya yun?

*Since most people own a car, hardly anyone walks. It was eerie that I was the only one walking in the streets. I suddenly feel so poor. lol.

* I'm starting to become an expert in multiplying everything by 14. I know that you shouldn't mentally convert to peso every time you make a purchase. This time, I can't help it. Everything in Malaysia is at least 30% cheaper than Philippine prices. Food is really affordable. Clothes are also cheaper. I should have shopped here.

* Malaysians are some of the friendliest people I've met. Locals greeted me with a smile. During dinner, a stranger kindly moved a few chairs so I can pass through with my tray.

* I need to learn Bahasa. I get mistaken for a local. Or Thai.

* An open fly is funny in all cultures. A kid pointed at my crotch and laughed. I nearly cursed him to become an open fly when he grows up.

* For a country with huge coins (that are still usable, unlike yung baryang may butas), it's hard to find a coin purse. All I found was this teeny bopper coin purse.

* I'm in love with wintermelon tea and milo dinosaur. =D

* I still don't have an apartment so I'll be staying in a hotel for a few days. That's great. I'm not that excited to unpack yet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aliens, Murderers, and Royce Chocolates

Just woke up from this dream. When I was in college, my dreams used to be this vivid. It's been years since I had anything like this. I decided to write it down as soon as I woke up, carefully remembering the details before it fleets from memory. Can someone please interpret it?

Here it goes:

I was traveling with a buddy. We were going to a resort in the mountains. To get there, we Had to walk for more than an hour. Halfway through, we reached a lookout overlooking the resort. A river separated it from the mountain resort. We passed by it and walked through valleys and 7 hills, all along a river. When we got to the resort we saw a huge swimming pool. Everyone in the pool were my high school batchmates. I stripped and swam. The water was warm. 

Suddenly, I was in a facility built for technology research. There were huge machinery and massive cylindrical containers. People were busy going about their work. I was given a tour. There was a helicopter delivering something. I went there and saw a demonstration. A man was whispering to a helicopter toy, the size of a small model. He then kissed it then placed it in front of his crotch as if it was giving him a blowjob. Then he turned it on. The small chopper flew, and as it stayed mid-air, the propeller transformed into gray tentacles. Smaller black tentacles grew from the roof of the chopper. Then suddenly, the chopper spoke. This was not a toy helicopter, this was an alien life form! Taken aback, I left the demo. 

Exhausted, I went to one room and sat down. In front of me, two others were sitting in the different rows of chairs. Once I sat down, I felt a dizzying sensation an I couldn't move. Suddenly, machines started to operate, trying to seal us in a cylindrical container. I was Conscious about what's happening but I couldn't move. Someone called out and said that there are people there. "Let them out first." 

I got up and started walking away with a friend. We were talking about joining "the event". I wanted to but he was hesitant. He's had enough of nearly being sealed shut. I was trying to coerce him but failed. I went on to the venue of "the event".

The venue was our old house in San Antonio. I was waiting for "the event" to start. Can't remember exactly what the evebt was. All I recall was I felt tremendous fear, so did everyone else. It was gut-wrenching fear, like we were in mortal danger. I wanted to get out. Friend doesn't want to join because of fear. He had enough with what happened in the research facility. It starts at 10pm. It's just 6 pm. Was talking with other participants. They were scared but would wait. I left out of fear. 

I came to a school. There were a lot of rooms. People were also there for "the event". Apparently a murderer would come to kill everyone, or someone. Anxious, I was holding a book. Friend came in and shouted that people named "Jackson" will be among the dead. The time came and a black girl stabbed someone with a knife. Aliens were starting to materialize. Before they did, I shouted: "explode!". And all the killers and the aliens were caught on fire and exploded. We ran out and rejoiced that I defeated the enemies. 

After the victory, we were talking about Royce chocolates and I wanted one. I went to greenbelt and grabbed 2 different flavors and ate. I was looking at the name of the store. It wasn't Royce. I realized that the clerks didn't notice I was eating. I was thinking of not paying. Conscience got the better of me.  I just showed my half-eaten piece and paid 33 pesos for it. A friend came and had a chat. 

I decided to go back to the resort. I would go there and my friend would catch up. When I reached the lookout, I asked if the river is deep. I didn't want to go all the way through the hills to go back to the resort. She said that the water is shallow but the current is fast. I saw students in white high school uniform wade with the current, not to cross the river, but to go downstream. They were diving at the deep parts. I prepared to cross the river. They gave me a plastic water protection case so my phone wouldn't get wet. I started walking towards the river. 

Either I woke up or I couldn't remember the rest. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What a catch

I've got troubled thoughts and the self-esteem to match. What a catch.

Monday, May 16, 2011

the mystical buko

My former supervisor has quite an adventurous spirit. Last March, she convinced our director to conduct the brainstorming of our Project Completion Report in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan. The place is simply breathtaking - a theme park of sorts, dedicated to create a Spanish colonial getaway. The park houses various 16th and 17th century homes, reconstructed to look like the original. Some houses are even built from the same materials, shipped from their respective locations in the country. The photo below shows the "center" of the park, with the reconstructed houses from Escolta in the background. I will write a more elaborate photo blog some other time.

In old places such as this, I can't help but feel nostalgic. Since the park lies on the seaside, I frequented the beach. As I was walking along the shore, this caught my attention:

To those of who who are unfamiliar to this green thing, that my friends, is a baby coconut. In tagalog, bubot na buko. The sight of this coconut brought me to when I was a wee little bubot kid in the province. I used to play a lot with this things, pretending that they are some mystical artifact enchanted with magics of the olden times. I would go about, searching for unusual trinkets that I believed were laden with powers beyond belief.

While I was reminiscing on the beach, I tried to recall how this childhood nonsense started. Then it hit me - I used to watch an old cartoon called... uhm... and I'm not proud of this... Princess Starla and the Jewel Riders.

Here's a clip of an episode called "song of the rainbow". Here, Starla and the Jewel Riders secure the rainbow jewel - one of the crowned jewels of the kingdom. The episode starts with Starla and Tamara fussing over what to wear for the fair that they are hosting. As the magical animals are about to perform, a traveling minstrel approaches Tamara with a harp (harp ba yan?). Tamara then starts to perform, the music enchants her and turns her into a zombie bard. And the rest of the story is so typical that I won't even bother to tell it.

Come to think of it, "Princess Starla and the Jewel Riders" would be a great title for a group of drag queens.

Oh so stubborn

I’ve always been hard on myself. Whenever anything unfortunate happens, I always end up blaming myself for what happened even if it isn’t my fault (which is usually the case). At good days though, I can brush some things off and forget about it but there are times when I find it so hard to forgive myself.

This extends to my self-concept. I’ve always thought that I’m unattractive. Hence, I’ve distanced myself from people before I attended Migs’ party at LPL.I never opened up because I’m afraid of being turned down. I’m afraid that people would find this ugly guy uninteresting and forgettable. When I attended Migs’ party, I was stunned and baffled that some people find me attractive.

Oblivious of how to handle the attention, I mistook it for romantic interest. I was ignorant of the concept of NSA sex – I thought that every gesture towards me was rooted to their desire to become their boyfriend. Clearly, I was wrong. Some feigned interest to abate their libido, while some genuinely wanted to become friends. Not knowing the difference, I was ready to fall madly in love with anyone that showed the slightest hint of affection.

I recently understood why I am wired to think in such a way. Since I’ve always seen myself as a person of little value, I would jump at anyone to feel validated and accepted. I never saw the beautiful person that people see in me since I haven’t really accepted myself. I need to learn how to find the beauty in me. And in order to do that, I need to stop finding myself through how others view me.

How can I accomplish this? One way I’ve thought of is to improve myself as an individual. I used to eat healthy and exercise when I lived in LB. I miss the feeling of being fit; my growing love handles are starting to feed my insecurities. This may not be much, but physical wellness can be a start.

I also want to satisfy my creativity. I used to love writing prose and poetry. Right now, I am beyond rusty. I need to let my creativity flow by rediscovering the joy of writing. I think it’s also time for me to brush away the dust on my old guitar.

Next stop: to plan for the future. I’ve always been drifting aimlessly in the cosmos. I need to set my direction. What do I want to become and how can I achieve it? I have a vague idea of what I need to do. I just need a little push.

Hay naku life, I will eventually figure you out.


I talked about this with my housemate, and his knee-jerk reaction was: "talaga? ngayon mo lang narealize." Hahaha. Leche. Ako lang pala ang oblivious. Hahahaha. Come to think of it, most of my friends have been telling me this. I was just stubborn.

Of course, my entry wouldn't be complete without a song:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Neil Gaiman understands me

'nuff said.

from The Kindly Ones (Chapter 9, pp. 8-9) by Neil Gaiman.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Panic! no more

I'm a huge fan of Panic! at the Disco. (Good music + Cute boys = Winner!) Well, I used to be.

More than a year after the ugly and controversial "break up", the boys are back with a new album. "Vices and Virtues" was released March 22 and is available in iTunes. The whole album can also be live streamed in their Facebook page here.

As I was listening to the whole album, I'm just disappointed. The songs have no charm at all. I do understand that the band is trying to go back to their old sound but they just fell flat. They are just trying too hard, even to the point that they are pretentious. As much as I want to rant now, I would be better to preserve them in an i'm-too-much-of-a-fanboy-it's-starting-to-get-freaky kind of post.

Anyway, "Sarah Smiles" is the only track that seemed to retain the charm of the old band. The accordion intro fits perfectly with the naive theme of the song, giving it a whimsical, playful, and care-free vibe. Here is the song:

And if you want to see how bad and pretentious the others are, here's the official video of "The Ballad of Mona Lisa".

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Apollo 13

Gliding through the highway in the sky,

on the verge of collapse, yet I flew with all might.

Strings of light shine on my wake

as flames engulfed my weathered state.

Screams of torment shatter my ear

while flames scorch the beings near.

And as I glide through the highway in the sky,

on the verge of collapse, I dreamed of a new life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aroma of Despair

papel, gunting, bato.
ano ang pipiliin mo?
papel, gunting, bato.
apat na beses na akong talo.

isang talo na lang at tapos na.
may magagawa pa ba?
kaya't anong pipiliin ko?
papel ba, gunting o bato?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I couldn't see when it was you and me...

I'm a fan of Hey Monday. There's just something so adorable about how raw Cassadee Pope sings. I know a lot of people find her annoying but I just love how delicate she sounds... You can feel her vulnerability in every word.

"Candles" is my favorite track since Hey Monday released the album "Hold on Tight" in 2008. Three years later, they finally released the song. Now, I just heard that Glee made a version of the song for Kurt and Darren Criss (dunno the character name). Anyway, I just want to post the original version before it becomes the new gay theme song. lol. :p

I personally prefer this acoustic version...

...over the full version.

Glee's version can be found here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm taking my stand, I'm risking it all.

I really had a blast watching Tangled! Apart from the lovable chameleon Pascal and the horse-cum-dog Maximus, the movie had a lot of funny scenes. Others may remember the movie because of Rapunzel and Flynn's love story but what struck me the most was the tavern scene with the thugs and hooligans. In the scene, the characters were saying that though we are thugs, we have dreams too.

It got me thinking, what is my dream?

I thought about it for a while and I couldn't give a direct answer. I thought about my current work and I simply can't imagine myself staying in this field.
Though I love research, I'm not particularly keen to business research. I do love doing research on ICTs and culture - something that I would want to pursue in the future.

Then I tried to recall the things that I've done that fired up my passion. Once, I dreamed to become a musician. Hello. Itigil ang ilusyon. Hahaha.

Three years ago, I did a couple of stints directing videos. I've made a couple of AVPs for YFC events in my community. I've also done a short film and a music video. The short film was a finalist for a filmfest in PWU while the music vid won best song for a Sulong CARHRIHL.

I would have wanted to hone the craft but I grew apart with my production team. But I do miss creating films. But the question is, should I pursue it?

Again, thanks to Purebliss for letting me create a video for Pilipinas. Thanks to all my friends/actors (naks!). And thanks to my production team. I love you guys. I miss our college shenanigans! Let's bring the old crew back together!

Here's the music vid that I directed:

Purebliss - Pilipinas from christian cangao on Vimeo.


by Purebliss

When they all seem to stumble,
am I alone?
United and divided
standing we fall.
I'm taking my stand,
I'm risking it all.

The hourglass has too small a hole

maybe I should just quit.

I'm drowsy debating with a wall
I'm breaking out, I wanna fall.

I cannot hear you, I can't comprehend
Back-off I am bent.
I'm taking my stand,
I'm risking it all.

To see you, I hope is the end.

I'm all about lament.

Ching Custodio - vocals
Juno Santos - rhythm guitar
Efren Peria - lead guitar
Coco Martinez/Darwin Talay - bass guitar
Benjo Ricarte - drums
Joseph Roble - kudyapi

Sarah Salazar
Joshua Torres
Ian Manigbas

Hiyas Luis
Rose Caraan
Roel Cruz
Karen Janiya
Kaye Pascual
Daryl Santos
Cyrus Fernandez
Anna Sabularse

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My dream world is out-of-date

I had the weirdest dream last night. (when you come to think of it, almost all of my dreams are weird.) Oddly enough, I had the exact dream a few years ago.

I was in a club. The song "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston kept on playing....

....but with different lyrics.

My dream version went like this....

You way too stink for a girl.
You've never really had a bath.
Here's soap that's
(i can't remember the rest)

I was really laughing when I woke up.

Weird. and corny.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I miss the dance...

...the short but witty messages and the waiting in between.
...the subtle suggestions that would lead to spontaneous decisions.
...the lurch in the stomach before the furtive meet-ups.
...the exchange of glances in spite of proximity.
...the quasi-bargaining that always leads to a mutual decision.
...the bittersweet goodbyes.