29 July 2010

Introducing Impassioned Fruit

Let me introduce my latest Web project, Impassioned Fruit. Like Dispatches From Dad--and unlike Starfish Drive--it's a blog with a focus, this time pushing myself to make more stuff while paying albeit unworthy tribute to some of the passionate people I've met on the job. :)

It's got just one post so far, but if I manage to pull off my post-Agatep project this weekend, there should be a new one next week.

I've been sick for the past two days, but thanks to medicine, people's good wishes and prayers, a long sleep, and hey, maybe even that bland chicken noodle soup I picked up from a fast food joint, I am better now. Except for the cough and the nasal voice and the slight headache. But no more can't-get-out-of-bed-urgh-chills-pain, so I'm better now, really.

22 July 2010


Sometimes, in my dreams, my eyelids grow heavier than they ever do in real life, and no matter how I try to keep them open, they clamp down shut. Last night it happened while I was on vacation with my family, whirling down the boardwalk on a red swivel chair, on my way to a party.

The dream dictionaries tell me that there are two possible meanings for blindness in dreams. Either there is a problem that I refuse to see, or I feel lost and uncertain. I think my fight to keep my eyes open in my dreams mean I'm refusing to go blind (it always happens when something fun is happening, or there's something I know I can't
miss). But I guess even my unconscious doesn't know what I'm looking for.

Since we're on the topic of dreams, let's talk the world of "Inception" a bit (I loved the movie).

If I got stuck in limbo, I would probably spend my time doing just what Cobb and Mal did, designing buildings. Except, I don't know much about architecture, so my creations would probably look more Hundertwasser than Frank Lloyd Wright. Or they'd be kinda box-like, because The Sims is about the closest I've ever gotten to designing places.

I'd build all the houses I've wanted to live in, in the places I've wanted to stay--Monterey, Ballesteros, Benguet, Camiguin. But I'd take Cobb's advice and not remake Kalsangi; I'd rather not give into that temptation. I have to admit that part of its magic is in its staying a memory.

If I had a totem, it would probably be the pen my dad gave me when I graduated from elementary school. It seems kind of cliche--ooh, a "writer," choosing a pen as her totem--but actually, I'd choose it because it's old (it was Dad's dad's), a little heavy, and out of ink. I don't think they make refills for it anymore, so if I picked up the pen and could write with it, I'd know I was in a dream. The sentimental value doesn't hurt, of course.

I know the totems featured in the film were tiny, but that's another reason I'd choose the pen; I'd probably lose my totem if it were any smaller.

Do you dream of the same places in your dreams? Over the years, the settings of my dreams have become more constant. Cobb and Mal tended to return to certain places as they built their dreams; is that true of the unconscious in real life? Do we put down roots in our unconscious as we get older? I don't remember places I dreamed about as a kid as clearly as I remember the places I've dreamt about in the past couple of years.

Or is it just a reflection of your current state? I often dream about beaches and hotels. Not always the same beach or the same hotel, just that the events in my dreams tend to take place on a beach or in a hotel. The dream dictionaries say beaches represent a meeting place between the two states of mind, the rational and the irrational (I wonder if Christopher Nolan knew that when he set the entrance to limbo "on the shores of your subconscious"). Hotels, meanwhile, represent shifts in identity. Add the blindness, and, well.

Now I'm a little annoyed. Couldn't my unconscious say anything helpful, instead of just stating the obvious?

19 July 2010

Dream Homes

Beachside places, where the towns are small and the sea is large. That stretch of Sarangani near the hotel that never opened, where whales pass by. Ballesteros, Cagayan, where when it rains, the sand, sea, and sky are almost the same color, and all you have to tell is the scrub on the gray dunes. Camiguin, where you could walk around the whole island in a day. Dumaguete, where your mother was born, where your grandfather built you a swing, where you first learned to love what went on underwater.

Mountainsides, where the air is cold and thin, where the distance from the earth's core makes people grow older faster, but that's okay, because life is somehow slower. Kalsangi, whose corners you know like the back of your hand. Sagada, where the ugly functionalism of the cement houses does little to spoil the sight of clouds within your reach. Makiling, where your kindergarten fiance lives on one side and your paternal ancestors wait on the other.

High-rises, where you can see the line of smog cutting across the sky like a bad Photoshop gradient, and suburbs, for all they represent. Ermita, where the old buildings make you ashamed for choosing the new. The Fort, for your inner yuppie. QC, for your love and his ambitions. Makati, where Grama and her biddy club get to watch movies for free, and where there are kids and dogs in the park on Sundays.

The future, where you can finally get a move on.

In case you missed it, here is my blogging anniversary post. There are also some new photos on my Tumblr.

06 July 2010


It happed again.

After my parents left for the airport, I went online for a few minutes while waiting for breakfast and for my cousins to wake up. I scarfed down a bowl of champorado while watching the latter part of a "Wizards of Waverly Place" episode with Trixi. Then, I threw my stuff into my backpack, and we were off to Ortigas.

I said goodbye to Trixi at Poveda and took the bus to Cubao. Changed clothes at the boarding house and went to work early--force of habit formed after the previous week. I wrote e-mails, made phone calls, and looked for interviewees. I updated this blog. I read the news.

I stopped by SM and Booksale on the way home. Dinner was KFC takeout while reading "Scott Pilgrim" vols. 1-5 for the first time. Then bath, laundry, bed.

With the lights out, I said my prayers over the Cubao night noise. I thought of home--where my last one was, where my next one might be. Then I cried like a baby.

05 July 2010

Coming Clean

The letter-giving didn't happen. There wasn't time. Either I was still catching up on work, or I was having too much fun with my family to bring it up. Before I knew it, I was hugging them goodbye, and then my uncle took them to the airport.

Part of me wonders if I really should give my parents the letter. It's not that I'm afraid of how they'll react. I'm just not sure anymore if making an announcement really matters.

Lunch last Friday went something like this:

Mom: How come you don't go to church anymore?
Me: I have a lot of questions, and I'm not satisfied with the way the churches I've attended are answering them.
Mom: ... But you still have a God?
Me: Yes.
Mom: And you still pray?
Me: Yes.
Mom: Okay. But if you have questions, maybe you should ask Tita Lisa. She's good at those things. You know that she's now handling the religion program for the whole school?

And that was the last we said on my own faith. Maybe she'll ask again, maybe she won't. Maybe my two yeses were enough for her. They were honest, after all.

On Sunday, we went to the Legazpi Village market for breakfast and shopping. Dad had his vegetable noodles, Mom had chorizo paella, Mikko had Russian cabbage rolls, and I had a chicken shawarma. I think Mom had the best time; she found her old schoolmate, artist Sunny Garcia, and then she bought (well, Dad bought) a capiz chandelier, a dress, and some magnets.

We went to church at Union. It was my first time there, and it was really refreshing to hear a witty, coherent sermon that didn't rely on outdated e-mail jokes, corny anecdotes, or fancy PowerPoint graphics to spice things up--it's actually easier for me to pay attention and respect that way. The pastor did say a few things about homosexuality before launching into the meat of his sermon, and that told me that this probably wasn't the church for me, either. But I forgot about my disagreement in order to just enjoy the rare, quiet time with my family. It was simply nice to stand next to my mom singing hymns. It was nice to pass the communion trays from my brother to my parents.

It's these little things that I miss about going to church. But I know you can't go back unless you want the big things, too.

I did say I'd talk about these things on this blog, but I only will when I feel I have to. No more for today. I just want to relish the new memories I made with my family over the weekend, inside church and out. I hope I see them again soon.

03 July 2010

Easing Out

My parents are in town this weekend. Yesterday, over lunch, my mom asked me a question that I had been expecting but still somehow was not quite ready for:

"How come you don't go to church anymore?"

I had planned to have a letter handy in my pocket to gently explain everything, but I guess I got too caught up in all the deadlines at work to write it before I saw my parents. That's all right. I will give my parents the letter tomorrow. And I will talk about it here eventually. Here's hoping and praying (really) that things will work out.