Smile Ebenezer, Its Christmas!  

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Can you feel the warm Christmas air as it blows happiness and cheer to everyone? Can you just imagine the look on that kid's face when he sees all those gifts under the tree? Can you see how wonderful this night is as you listen to the music of Christmas?

I sure can't. Bah-humbug.

Well no, not really. I'll admit that it's not exactly the Christmas that I had in mind for my family this year. I was hoping we could all be together this year, since I'll be home and unemployed and my brother will be on leave from work. Well, he is on leave but he ain't home. He's spending Christmas with his in-laws. So I heave a big Christmas sigh.

But for what its worth I'm gonna make tonight as merry as I can for my Mom. If anyone deserves a merry Christmas it's her.

So to Mom, and to all of my avid readers (yes, both of you), and to those who just happened to hop on my blog...

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Gising Lawian: The Tagalog Experiment  

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Sa mumunting kaisipan ni Lawian ay malayang nakapaglalaro ang mga demonyo. Ang mga talipandas na humaharot sa kamangmangan ng ating salinglahi ay siya ring mga sumasalasa sa kanyang kamusmusan. Ang hari ng mga demonyo ay nagwika, "Huwag ninyong salingin ang isang ito. Siya ay atin at tayo ay sa Kanya."

Mistulang naging mangmang ang mga hudas na gumagambala sa gabi, at tumigil sila sa pagdudukal. Sa kabila ng kanilang pag-aalinlangan ay kawing-kawing silang tumungo sa tulay-lagusan. Habang patuloy ang paglalakbay ni Lawian sa kanyang daigdig na kathang-isip lamang ay napansin niyang nakangisi sa kanya ang haring bulaan, nagbubunyi sa kanyag kadakilaan. Nagbabadya ng panganib ang mga tanikalang nakabalumbon sa gilid nito. Isa-isang nagliyab ang mga demonyo. Nilalamon sila ng bangin.

"Simula na ng katapusan!" bulalas ng mapagpalang Payaso. Niyapos ni Lawian ang kamay ng Payaso habang palalim na itinatarak ang kris sa dibdib nito. Saglit na nagsayaw ang Payaso, nag-alumpihit, at pagkatapos ay nilubayan na siya ng kamalayan. Bumaba na siya ng entablado. Naibsan na ang alimpuyo ng karahasan. Nagsisimula na nga ang wakas.

Iminulat ni Lawian ang kanyang mga mata, at ang mga kerubing nagmamasid mula sa mga alapaap ay naging abo. Sa kabila nang kanyang pagtitika para sa nasawing Payaso ay namumutawi pa rin sa kanyang mga duguang labi ang isang makislap na bahaghari.

The Mind Wipe and Imprint Phenomenon  

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It's the break of dawn and I know I have to get some shut-eye. Partying? Hardly. I'm nose-deep in work - which I am happy to do because I eventually get paid - but I have to let this out first. I'm calling this my "blog break".

I am so heartbroken! I've been watching a dead-show-walking; it's called Dollhouse. I have to say, it's got quite a morally gray tone to it - but being the sick, twisted brain that I am, I don't mind at all. In fact, I love the show. I am sad to hear that FOX had cancelled it. They're just going through the rest of season 2 then they're pulling the plug on Dollhouse. It's like Firefly all over again.

Incidentally, Dollhouse, as is Firefly, is another Joss Whedon creation. It's about an illegal underground operation that involves erasing the thoughts and personalities of human beings, turning them into "dolls", and replacing their thoughts with programmed personalities. In other words, they make people into dolls, and they make dolls do whatever they want them to do. Yes, "morally gray" just doesn't do it justice.

Now I'm not here to write up a sassy review. If you were under a rock for the past 2 years or so, and you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, Google it. But please, allow me to explore the idea. Wouldn't it be something if you were allowed to wipe yourself off, give yourself a clean slate, and then be programmed, or "imprinted", with a different personality? Human trafficking becomes human programming.

Chaos. Now that's a thought worth keeping.

Imagine yourself being a doctor today without having to study for 10 years. Be a doctor for a day, then a pole-dancing stripper the next. You can be anybody. But ironically, you're nobody too. You could be a highly trained assassin, or an innocent school teacher. Asking a kid "What do you want to be when you grow up?" will lose its meaning. Education would be worthless. Morality would be virtually non-existent. Psychology, as a science, would simply cease to exist.

The last time I felt like this was the moment right after I saw The Matrix for the first time; lots of ooh's and aah's. It's a totally mind-blowing mental orgasm. As the all-powerful Yuri says, the mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste. Who knows what secrets can be unlocked in the deepest recesses of your brain. Who do you want to be?

I can almost see the evil wheels turning in your heads.

Promotional poster for Dollhouse
(image from Imp Awards)

Straddling Bridges  

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I just know this post is gonna be so lame, but here we go.

You know how there are some boundaries that should never be crossed, such as friendship, or the law? There's always the risk that if you cross the proverbial line you can never, ever go back, and you'll end up in a really bad place. It's like shattering mirrors; no matter how many times you try to stick all the pieces together you can never get a clear reflection again. The mirror's already broken. You're already broken. You look at yourself in the broken mirror and all you see are fragments. That's seven years bad luck, but it could be worse.

No matter how you look at it, some things simply can't be undone. There are decisions in life that only have a one-way ticket. There can be no such thing as turning back, no u-turns in the road of life. That's why the world only spins in one direction. Say all the cliche's you could think of but those couldn't take back what you would have already lost. Will it be worth all the risk? Will she ever be worth it? Now that I'm standing on one end, only one logical question comes to mind. If getting across that stupid bridge means trouble then somebody please explain to me...

... why the hell do I want to cross it so badly?


25 Days  

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I don't know why I'm even counting. Maybe it's because everybody's doing it, or maybe it's because I'm hoping that Christmas won't be too bad for me this year. I really don't know.

This Christmas will definitely be a little less cheery for me because I had recently given up call-whoring. That means this year I've got no money to spend, no Christmas bonuses and freebies to receive, and no company Christmas parties to attend. It's sad, but it's a choice - my choice.

So far, the best part of this experience though is having plenty of time for my friends and myself. I've taken up a part-time writing job for now, and I've been able to catch up with old cohorts whom I've lost touch with ever since I started working. My social life has slowly begun its reconstruction.

Here's to hoping for a relatively merry Christmas this year. I'm keeping this one short. Cheers!

Brain Drain  

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Do you know how there are days when it feels like you're just positively bursting with ideas and you just want to sit down and start writing about them? Like, you can't wait to get in front of your computer and start pounding away on your keyboard until all the grey matter in your brain spill out?

This is definitely not one of those days.

For one thing, I hate how this accursed machine has bogged down to a virtual standstill. I know its more than four years old, but it's been pretty reliable in the past. Besides, I can't cough up the dough to get myself a new one, not right now that is.

Now I also have to give credit to my ever-so-dependable Internet service provider whom I will not name because one, they're not that smart; and two, because this sentence is just loaded with sarcasm.

I took on a part-time writing gig over at our friends at Talent Shout, and I've just finished my first assignment. Nothing spectacular, I just hope the articles made the grade.

For some time now I noticed how long it took for my blog to load. I'm in a bit of a pickle. I can't decide if i want to start over and put on a new layout or stick with this extremely personalized layout and figure out a way to make it load faster. I guess that's all gonna have to go in the back burner for now.

Yeah, I can feel the grey matter coming out now.

On Ends and New Beginnings  

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Beginnings.

It took me long enough to finally accept that I spelled it right. Such a funny looking word, beginnings. The old adage says "Great things start from small beginnings.". So does the old Milo commercial. Bea Lucero suddenly started doing backflips in my head.

It's been two weeks now since my escape slash immediate resignation. I've practically been cooped up at home, and I hardly ever go out. It's not because I want to, mind, but because I can't. These pockets have never been emptier. But such is the price for freedom.

Cue warped sound effects.

Who am I kidding!? Of course I'm utterly bored and penniless. I miss eating out, I miss all the parties. Oh how I miss the night. Now I've been reduced to watching downloads of Smallville and White Collar over and over again until I fall asleep.

Well yeah, I am getting plenty of sleep now. Unlike when I was in the office slash prison, I was a walking, call-avoiding, technically gifted but financially impaired zombie. That reminds me, Plants versus Zombies is an awesome game. At the very least, its fun to play. Now playing games would've been a really entertaining thing to do if it weren't for the fact that I'm incomprehensively bored all the time.

So why don't I just a get a job, you ask. I definitely have no intentions of living off my mother's meager income for long. I'll find a job, sooner or later.

Fine, sooner.

I just need to tie up some loose ends over at the old slaughter house before I go looking for another employment opportunity slash suicide attempt.

Okay enough with the slashes.

It's a crazy world we live in, I tell you. I was watching the Pacquiao-Cotto fight yesterday, and as the country celebrated Cotto's free facial reconstruction and Pacquiao's seventh world title, not too many of us remembered that somewhere just outside the MGM Grand another boxer was fighting the fight of his life. Literally.

Bantamweight Z Gorres, another Filipino pride-bearer, went under the knife after winning his match via unanimous decision against Luis Melendez of Colombia. Apparently, Gorres got knocked down hard in the tenth and final round and only survived until the bell rang. He's now in a clinically-induced coma and requires further observation by his doctors. My prayers are with him and his family.

Yeah that's right. Apart from my illegal torrent downloads I've also found time to watch television. Now if only we had cable service back. I sure miss AXN and Jack TV, Discovery Channel too.

So I'm starting a new page in my pocketbook called life, and I hope it's worth reading. After all, I wrote the goddamn thing. It's gotta be worth reading. I'm the only one reading it.

Smallville S09E08 has just finished downloading. Yay me.

Start.

A Prayer for Dii  

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This is a repost of TL Brian Bundalian's Facebook note regarding the untimely demise of one of our colleagues, Dii.

Almighty God,

We ask You to be with our friend now, lay Your healing hands towards her. Give her family the strength to understand the trial that they are undergoing. We believe in You and we worship You, this earnest prayer believes in Your promise. Our faith is in You to heal our friend. We trust in Your plans and the path You have for her life.

We ask for Your mercy and grace toward Dii. Nourish her body and spirit in this time of suffering and comfort her with Your presence. Let her know that You are there with her through this difficulty.

We ask for Your mercy and grace toward Dii. Nourish her body and spirit in this time of suffering and comfort her with Your presence. Let her know that You are there with her through this difficulty.

Let Your will be done in our friend's life.

Amen

Sadly, Dii met with our Creator today. I never knew her, but nonetheless the loss of one of our own is indeed very saddening. I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Dii's friends and family.

Maybe God needed more angels in heaven.

My Life, My Terms  

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So for the nth time, I quit my job again.

After staying for a year and a half I finally decided to call it quits. Why? I just felt that there was simply no growth anymore. I can only be redundant for a year, a year and a half tops. I have so many reasons for leaving, but regrettably, I also have several would-have-been reasons to stay.

It's been almost a week now since I submitted my resignation letter slash release papers. I am glad to be sleeping whenever I want to. I just wished I could also go out and be with friends anytime too. I admit, the first thing this decision has affected was my finances. So I've been friends with Jobstreet again for the better part of the week. I just want to clean up some unfinished business before I go looking for greener (and hopefully less stressful) pastures.

I am going to miss all the friends I've made, but then again we'll still be friends even when we don't work together anymore, right? And of course there will be those I could live without too. I still won't like you even in our next lives.

I'll hold off on discussing a few more deeper reasons that made me leave. All I can say for now is that it wasn't so much as causing me to leave, but more like having no reason to stay. The pro's outweighed the con's in this case.

So off I go into the sunset, so to speak.

Trick or Treat! Halloween Costumes!  

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Before we jump into the Yuletide festivities and welcome jolly old Saint Nick back as he plummets through the chimney, let's talk about costumes - Halloween costumes. I've compiled a few of my choice picks, but I promise you'll never see me wearing any of them. Besides, if I did, you wouldn't know anyway.

So here are a few Halloween costume suggestions.

Pyramid Head - He's the dude from Silent Hill. A lot of the other monsters in the film look a helluva lot scarier than this guy but his get-up's much easier to reproduce. All you need is a cardboard pyramid over your head, a huge fake cleaver and some abs. That's my friend Daryl at our company's Halloween party two years ago. Or I think it was him. Yeah I'm pretty sure it was him.

Kratos - The war deity from the game God of War. He's still an easy make as all you need is some red body paint and a gaudy pair of medieval pants. Throw in some chains and fake weapons and you've really got something. Oh, and you're supposed to scowl a lot too. Abs, as shown in the photo, can apparently be optional.

Michael Jackson - I know, right? The King of Pop's popularity continues post mortem. I wouldn't make him my first choice, but I have a feeling you're gonna see Jackos everywhere soon. His look requires less prepping because you can practically buy the suit just about everywhere. Just don't forget to grab your crotch as often as you can when you're in character.

Dick - I honestly don't know who this guy is but I bet at least one of those things is real. If you're going to a costume party wearing this, stay away from the guy wearing the Michael Jackson outfit. And bring around seventy condoms just in case you get lucky with the girl in the Tifa Lockheart costume.

So, there you have 'em. Have fun this Halloween! I just want to get it over with so we can move on to Christmas, and presents. Presents! Yey!

The War Within  

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What now?

I am among the many of us who live a life of indecision . If life was a glass of water, some would see that it was half-filled while some would think of it as half-empty. I'd see it as just a plain old glass of water. I straddle the fence, I shilly-shally, and I keep delaying the inevitable. I keep denying the impending. I refuse to accept that I have to make something of my life, and soon.

Whether my life will be half-empty or half-full, I do not know yet.

As a believer of science I have made it a habit to observe keenly and study my options before making any conclusions. Facts don't lie, I say. Then again, as a believer in God I accept that sometimes you just simply have to take a leap of faith.

I'm just having a hard time making that leap right now.

Until then, I wallow in the pits of uncertainty. I struggle to live a borrowed existence pretending that it's mine. What I make of it is undetermined. What happens next is a surprise.

The battle rages on inside my head. This war has been going on for ages, and neither side has gained a clear advantage. It's sense versus desire, religion versus science, good versus evil; and this accursed pay-per-view has already had so many reruns in my day.

I just hope that when things start making sense around here I'd still be able to breathe.

Angels and Bullets  

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I had been successful at concealing bullet blogs underneath some of my recent posts, but I think this one won't be so inconspicuous.

This whole post will be riddled with bullets. Not those stupid dots that you usually see, but invisible, intangible ones that only seem to make sense to me.

Lio hates these what-i-did-today kind of posts. I know, one less reader right? Who's gonna read this now? Seriously Lio, come back.

Anyway, coming to work still feels weird and sickening. Like I really care if your Internet connection's ridiculously slow or is as intermittent as my chain of thought, right? That's not my problem. But it's my job to fix it so shut the fuck up and do as I say.

Man I wish I could really say that.

An angel sat next to me at work today. I think her name was Arianne, or something. Yeah, I'm stalking her now. I'm a real ladies' man.

I miss my phone. The voice in my head won't shut up about it.

Lightning hit our street last night. Yes, the street. It was raining. Our neighbors, a bunch of half-naked bozos drinking on the street while betting on horses actually saw the lightning bolt hit the wet concrete. Everybody heard the loud crack when electricity met water. Too bad it didn't hit any of them drunk geezers. That would've been something.

I'm starting to think I might have some real anger management issues. I get so cranky when I'm hungry (still struggling with the diet), or when I don't get enough shuteye. Sometimes I feel like I want to hit someone. It's a scary thought.

I've been downloading like a horny teenager does with porn, except that I'm not a teenager and I wasn't downloading porn. This week I saw new episodes of Heroes, The Big Bang Theory, Ben 10, Smallville and Bones. I also saw the new Star Trek movie and I kept thinking Spock was gonna cut somebody's head open. Oh, and I also laughed my guts out while watching Ice Age 3. A typical week in the life of a pirate.

Mom's been badgering me all week about a loan that she says I should make. I'll probably give in to what she wants before month's end. After all, I'm filthy rich and I'll be able to pay back any debt all by myself. Yeah right.

Did I say this post was gonna be riddled with bullets? I forgot to say it will also be smothered in sarcasm.

I really should start blogging more about the happy stuff. Then again, where's the fun in that?

"Oh crap."

A Phenomenologik Goodbye  

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Is this the beginning of the end?

Today my phenomenologik friend submitted her resignation. Part of me feels sad to hear about her impending exodus, but another part of me envies her for being so close to freedom. She's been like a more responsible little sister to me and I can't help feeling mixed emotions. Oh well.

I've been on hiatus for a few weeks and for me that was as close to freedom as I could ever ask for. When I came back, things seemed very different - and not in a good way. Oh it's still the same old vicious cyclic routine work-wise, but it's a completely different story when it comes to the people I work with. I feel like I hardly know them. I feel more alone than ever.

Forgive me, I know this is more of a "dear diary" kind of thing rather than a blog post but I can't help it. I've had nobody to talk to recently, so again I resort to splashing my thoughts around in front of a faceless crowd.

I miss the old days. I miss the old people I hang with. I miss all the parties, the gigs. I miss my youth. I miss not having to worry about consequences. I miss the old me.

I really hope the next life's better than this one.

Where I'm from, Everyone's a Hero  

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This is so true.

I'm not just talking about those who risked their lives during the Ondoy holocaust. No, I'm talking about every Filipino who strives towards a better Philippines each and every day. Doctors who heal the sick, teachers who mold our youth, engineers who literally build a better Philippines - in my mind, everyone is a hero.

Of course, I would've also made my own design that says "Where I'm from, every politician is a crook.".

Just kidding. Maybe.

note: Design credit goes to Mark Gosingtian. I really love that shirt.

Statistics  

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Her sobs go unnoticed in the dark alley. Blood-soaked, hurt and half-naked, 17-year old Katie struggles to keep hold of her sanity while the rain vainly tries to wash away her guilt.

She knew this was all her fault.

Marco's body lay meters away from where Katie slumped. He was quiet. He looked nothing like the horrible beast that just a couple of hours ago ravaged her over and over again behind a dumpster in that dimly lit alley on Third Street. Now, the beast is dead.

Unable to walk, she stared at the .45 caliber pistol still clutched tightly in her shaking hand, the same gun that her drug dealer Marco used to rape her at gunpoint. It was the same weapon that killed the beast.

She had only been using for 5 months. Marco was a college drop out who gave her crystal meth at her high school soiree. Her eventual addiction made her steal money from her parents, or take off with various things that she would sell off for drugs like jewelry or small appliances. A week ago her last deal with Marco went fatally south. He gave her more meth and she promised to pay him back. The next day her dad caught her stealing his cellphone and she ended up running away.

When Marco found out she couldn't pay him back, he went ballistic. He caught up with Katie and demanded that she pay him back somehow. They argued, and Katie made a run for it. She got cornered in a dark alley. Then the monster reared its ugly head. It dragged her behind one of the dumpsters just as the rain started. The storm raged on even as the monster continued to devour Katie. No one could hear her scream.

Her ordeal only ended when she got hold of the gun. They fought for it and she accidentally pulled the trigger. Next thing she knew the monster that was Marco fell with a sickening thud, blood all over his chest. Katie was terrified. She didn't know what to do.

As the police sirens drew nearer, Katie put the gun to her mouth. Her last thoughts were about regret and retribution. She closed her eyes and it was all over.

The hand that held the gun fell lifelessly to the ground. She had just become another statistic.

Ondoy: More Stories of Tragedy and Inspiration  

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Typhoon "Ondoy" has left our shores but not before leaving a trail of destruction and creating countless tales of inspiration. I was going through the news over the world wide thingamajiggy tonight and I came across a few articles that really caught my attention.

The first is a story of tragedy.

Former Philippine Basketball Association chairman Tony Chua was found dead in the aftermath of tyhoon Ondoy's onslaught. He drowned while he was apparently trudging the flood waters to get to his car near his residence in Cainta, Rizal. Being a big PBA fan, I was deeply saddened by his death. I sincerely offer my condolences to his family, and I would like to say that the PBA has indeed suffered a great loss with his untimely death.

The second story is heart-warming.

More than 600 inmates at the Mandaue City Provincial Jail have volunteered to skip one meal last September 30 and donate their rations to flood victims in Metro Manila. Their donation of four sacks of rice and several canned goods was coursed through the Office of the President through the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Disaster Coordinating Council. Even convicted criminals have a heart.

The third story basically sums up the online story of typhoon Ondoy.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter turned into disaster response hot lines as more and more concerned individuals continued to post tweets and status messages that were more like up-to-the-minute reports on the situation in areas affected by typhoon Ondoy. They provided information about missing persons or directions on where to route emergency relief assistance. This was definitely bayanihan in the twenty-first century.

As sportscaster Mico Halili put it, typhoon Ondoy was the "grim equalizer". For once in our society, prejudices and social status were rendered meaningless. Doctors, lawyers, celebrities, construction workers and even convicted criminals were united in dealing with the tragedy. Thousands of volunteers went out of their way to help those who were struck down by the calamity. In the face of adversity, every Juan dela Cruz stepped up and became a hero.

What a great nation of heroes the Philippines is.


sources:
ABS-CBN News
Cebu Daily News
GMA News

addendum: Reach out, lend a hand. More information on how to help those who were hit by typhoon Ondoy can be found on Super Bianca's blog, and on this site.

The Jacque Bermejo Scandal  

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From hero to zero.

If my earlier Ondoy-related post talked about a hero who saved more than 30 lives in a few hours, this one's about an overseas Filipino worker in Dubai who rose to notoriety when she allegedly made the most insensitive remark on Facebook regarding the calamity.

In a span of approximately 24 hours Jacque Bermejo became an instant Internet celebrity slash hate-puppet all across the world wide thingamajiggy. It all started when in the middle of the crisis brought about by typhoon Ondoy, a rather unsavory comment was found on her Facebook page. It said:
"buti n lng am hir in dubai! Maybe so many sinners bak der!so yeah deserving wat hapend!".
This is a prime example of how fast word can travel over the Internet. In less than a day people have started a hate page that as of this writing now has 10,596 members. One cannot blame a nation, who had just suffered one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history, for being sensitive to comments such as that, right?

Then there are also those who defend Ms. Bermejo, stating that her alleged Facebook and Multiply pages have been riddled with "trolls". They give a rather informative defense, as seen here. I just don't bite it.

Personally though, I really see no point in pursuing the matter further. If Ms. Bermejo was indeed an innocent victim of haters, I'd chalk it up to tough luck. No such thing as bad publicity anyway. She might even get her 15 seconds of fame on TV one day. But seriously, what is there to do about it? I highly doubt that anybody's gonna get a good spanking from mother, much less arrested, over this. If you're worried about clearing your name, think about the Gabby Concepcions and the Maricar Reyes's. Like I said, no such thing as bad publicity.

Now if she really was the culprit, then I hope she's ready to suffer the nation's electronic wrath.

Screenshot from Facebook

update: Jacque Bermejo's official statement. Fine, I'll shut up.
another update: Told you she'd get her proverbial 15 seconds of fame.

Muelmar Magallanes: Real-Life Hero  

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I came across a Facebook post about a dude who saved more than 30 people from drowning in floods caused by tropical storm Ondoy (Hurricane Ketsana) before meeting his own demise after rescuing a mother and her infant. The article reads:

Philippine man loses own life after saving dozens from floods

An 18-year-old construction worker braved rampaging floods in the Philippines to save more than 30 people, but ended up sacrificing his life in a last trip to rescue a baby girl and her mother who were being swept away on a styrofoam box.

Family members and people who Muelmar Magallanes saved have hailed the young man a hero, as his body lay in a coffin at a makeshift evacuation centre near their destroyed Manila riverside village.

"I am going to be forever grateful to Muelmar," said Menchie Penalosa, the mother of the six-month-old girl whom he carried to safety before being swept away himself. "He gave his life for my baby. I will never forget his sacrifice."

Mr Magallanes was at home on Saturday with his family when tropical storm Ketsana unleashed the heaviest rains in more than 40 years on the Philippine capital and surrounding areas.

At first the family, long used to heavy rains, paid little attention to the storm.

But Mr Magallanes and his father quickly decided to evacuate the family once they realised the river 800 metres away had burst its banks.

With the help of an older brother, Mr Magallanes tied a string around his waist and attached it one-by-one to his three younger siblings, whom he took to higher ground. Then he came back for his parents.

But Mr Magallanes, a strong swimmer, decided to go back for neighbours trapped on rooftops.

He ended up making many trips, and eventually saved more than 30 people from drowning, witnesses and survivors said.

Tired and shivering, Mr Magallanes was back on higher ground with his family when he heard Ms Penalosa screaming as she and her baby were being swept away on the polystyrene box they were using in an attempt to cross the swift currents.

He dived back in after the mother and daughter, who were already a few metres away and bobbing precariously among the debris floating on the brown water.

"I didn't know that the current was so strong. In an instant, I was under water. We were going to die," said Ms Penalosa, her eyes welling with tears and voice choking with emotion.

"Then this man came from nowhere and grabbed us. He took us to where the other neighbours were, and then he was gone," Ms Penalosa said.

Ms Penalosa and other witnesses said an exhausted Mr Magallanes was simply washed away amid the torrent of water.

Neighbours found his body on Sunday, along with 28 others who perished amid Manila's epic flooding. The official death toll stands at 100 with 32 missing.

Standing next to his coffin, Mr Magallanes' parents paid tribute to their son.

"He always had a good heart," said his father, Samuel.

"We had already been saved. But he decided to go back one last time for the girl."

His mother, Maria Luz, wept as she described her son as incredibly brave.

"He saved so many people, but ended up not being able to save himself."

Maria Luz Magallanes grieves beside the coffin of her son, Muelmar, who saved more than 30 people from rampaging Philippine floods over the weekend

Time Machine  

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As some of you might have already noticed, the number of posts on my blog suddenly increased. No, my blog's not on steroids. I decided to merge all my blog posts from the multitude of platforms (exaggeration) I've been hopping on. All them ruddy posts from '05 on Friendster up until the last post I made over at Multiply have been migrated (err, copy-paste) over to The Stories from the Simian Crease. They're still my stories after all, right?

So back-read a while. Let me just ponder about life's purpose for now.

"We can't go back to 2007 Sheldon, we can just read his posts."

Fresh Vegetables and Napalm  

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Yes. Napalm.

I swear this had to be one of the wildest gustatory sensations my tongue has ever had in years. I was eating lumpiang ubod (sauteed wrapped vegetables) earlier today when I felt my mouth was on fire. It wasn't the usual spicy chili pepper burn that you get when you eat red pepper, it felt more like gargling acid. The burn was in my mouth. I then realized the lumpia was spiked with loads of chopped raw garlic. Now I usually love garlic, even raw garlic, but not in these combustively volatile amounts. I thought it had burned a hole through my tongue. Talk about a chemical burn. It just had be right up there with military-grade napalm and C4.

Scrumptious!

*Note: Photo is from www.maxschicken.com, and was not the actual combustive delicacy I had consumed earlier.

Firefly Day  

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Now who would've thought I'd be writing about this?

Yup, I was there. Well, there but not really there. I was at the SM Megamall yesterday with some of my team mates to see Cosplay Mania '09. Too bad I had to go before we could get inside the Megatrade Hall 2, but at least I still got to see all those people in costumes. Now despite my Chinese slash Japanese appearance, I'm no authority when it comes to anime and manga. I'm not a real big fan, you see. I'm just big, period. The real anime buff here is Firefly, and I wouldn't be surprised to see if she comes out with a more detailed blog post about Cosplay Mania '09 than this one soon.



It was amazing to see how everybody seemed to have put in so much time and effort on their costumes. From the gaudy to the ridiculous, everybody was strutting their stuff dressed as some anime cartoon or comic book character. Some were pretty off, but there were also those who really looked like the real thing. It was like seeing these characters come to life. I must admit though, I was a little mean to those who looked funny in their costumes. But I soon learned to keep my mouth shut when I saw Darth Vader staring me down while brandishing his lightsaber. I wouldn't want to cross paths with that dude when he's angry.

The girls were awesome too. I just couldn't help noticing how their striped socks were longer than their school-girl skirts. I wish all the girls would dress like that. On second thought...maybe not all of them...school girls...

Okay my mind drifted there for a sec. Oh, and you should've seen the kids, some had little geisha dresses and some had monkey tails. Kids are always adorable; too bad not all of them stay that way until adulthood.

Well that's probably as much as I can possibly say, seeing as I did leave the event early. Maybe next year I'd come back dressed as Big Bert from Voltes V. Or then again, maybe not.

Firefly, hiding from Team Rocket

Marauder's Path  

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So Senator Noynoy made his announcement. He came out to the waiting press and proclaimed:

"I solemnly swear I am up to no good."


Sorry, I was reading The Daily Prophet and not The Philippine Star. What he really said was:

"I accept the call of the people."

It was so aptly said. Weeks prior to his announcement the idea came about of Senator Noy running for the highest seat in government. Pleas of "Noynoy for President" spread far and wide, because the people were sorely looking for change. With his candidacy, the people now have hope. With the elections still a few months away in 2010, Senator Noynoy's political machinery barely has enough time to mount a full campaign.

Unlike his mother though, Senator Noynoy actually has more time to prepare for the elections. That can work for and against him. I'm sure his detractors can see an opportunity here, as they have a few more months to ruin the good senator's credibility before the people cast their ballots. That much can be expected. After all, we are in the Philippines.

And how does the proposed computerized voting system affect 2010's results? That remains to be seen.

I'm curious to see how the race to Malacañang unfolds. As previously mentioned, D-Day is still a few months away. We might still see a certain former president turn his Arthro commercial into a prophecy. There are talks of he-who-must-not-be-elected making another go at the presidency. Talk about greedy.

That's all for now. Too much politics can be dangerous to one's health.

Mischief managed.


Oh Nine! Oh Nine! Oh Nine!  

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Today is a day of nine's: September 9, 2009. In short, 09/09/09. So, in commemoration of this rather interesting but utterly useless fact, I would like to make a rundown of some of the things that I miss the most.
  • I miss the days when I wasn't sogging wet down to my underpants. Lately, the weather has been literally raining on my parade. Not to mention my shorts, my socks, my hair, and my lit cigarette too.

  • I miss my TV shows. The good news is that its September, and I'd soon be seeing Leonard and Penny (The Big Bang Theory) and Claire Bennet (Heroes) again. Both series start their new seasons on Monday, September 21st.
  • I miss Dad. I would've put him at the top of this list but I know he wouldn't want me going too sentimental on account of him.
  • I miss reading. After the Harry Potter series was over, I felt like everybody left Hogwarts and I was stuck there with Peeves and Sir Cadogan. I dare not touch Twilight. I'd rather wait for Dan Brown's new novel, The Lost Symbol. It will also be coming out in bookstores this month.
  • I miss being a kid again. Being a child at heart really has no significantly positive effect on one's physical well-being whatsoever. I just want to live without thinking about consequences again.
  • I miss being in love. Holy crap, what's this doing here!??
  • I miss sushi. Okay, now I'm really hungry.
  • I miss playing in a band. Oh God I really do.
  • I miss my high school allowance. Wasn't it great when you didn't have to work your butt off to get money?
  • I miss my old clothes. Especially those pants that had a smaller waist line.

I decided to keep the list as it is, without edits, so it's random and not based on importance or how badly I miss them. Okay fine, this is another bullet blog, though this time with bullets. Sue me. So many thoughts, so little time. This stupid new work schedule's a bitch, you know. Oh and by the way, if you're in the US please follow this friendly advice:

Reboot your fucking modem before you make that goddamn call! Morons!

There, I feel so much better.

A Call To Leadership  

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Destiny. Or a really compelling feeling of deja vu.

The idea of Senator Benigno Aquino III running for the country's highest electoral post has been one of the most widely discussed news items these past few weeks. Many Filipinos believe that the son of former president Corazon Aquino would be able to continue in his mother's footsteps and lead our nation to true democracy; freedom from greed and corruption that threaten to bring our economy to its knees.

Senator Aquino, more popularly known as "Noynoy", has been in the hotseat ever since news of the possibility of him entering the presidential race in 2010 came out. The people immediately took to the idea and clamors of Noynoy's potential run spread like wildfire.

It can be recalled that before Mrs. Aquino became president, Salvador "Doy" Laurel was favored to become the country's chief executive. He withdrew his candidacy in favor of Laurel ally Ninoy Aquino's widow and slid down to running for vice-president. It became a double success for the United Nations Democratic Organizations political party as Aquino and Laurel became president and vice-president in 1986 respectively.

Today, it may be less of a coincidence that similar circumstances are apparent in Senator Aquino's political career. For months now, Senator Mar Roxas has been slowly building his campaign to become president. Liberal Party chairman emeritus Jovito Salonga has been pushing for a Noy-Mar tandem in 2010 with Aquino being Roxas' running mate.

Public opinion may soon change that as more and more "Noynoy for president" signature campaigns have been initiated. Calls for Senator Aquino to run for president have been at an all-time high. Talks of him leading our country have been widely proposed even in the far reaches of the Philippines.

He has also gone on a spiritual retreat in Zamboanga, as he seeks guidance just as his mother did during her time, in making this very important decision.

Senator Aquino is expected to announce his decision on whether he will take on the biggest challenge of his political career or not on September 9, which marks the end of the 40-day mourning for his late mother.


Okay so enough of the snotty serious journalist. I personally believe in Noynoy. I think it was destiny that Mrs. Aquino met our Master when she did and that calls for Noy's candidacy came out. I think it would be a real challenge for him because he has to live up to his parent's legacy, but at the same time this will be an opportunity for him to bring about change to our country. What better time than now, when Filipinos are thirsting for a fresh start away from leaders whose reputations have been stained by corruption or issues of morality?

Senator Aquino, heed our call. Turn this ship around. Run for president.

Septemberfest  

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Yeah so I wanted Oktoberfest early, so what?

What a way to start the new month. I ushered September in while lying on my back throbbing with my highest body temperature ever recorded. It wasn't exactly how I would like to define "hot in bed". I had to miss two days of work because of the flu, as if I won't be missing enough workdays already. I'm serving out two of my three-day suspension this week. Ironically, they suspended me - forcing me to not go to work - because of absenteeism. It's like winning a box of pizza in a pizza-eating contest. What a riot. It's like serving detention in the forest with Hagrid.

Just before I got sick, as stated in my earlier post I went to Batangas with some of my old college buddies. We went to this far-flung little haven in Laiya located deep in San Juan, Batangas, called Sabangan. I wanted to show you guys the good times we had there but unfortunately I don't own the camera that took all our photos. I'll post another... er, post, when they come around to uploading them. Maybe I'll do another bullet.

Last night I saw an old flame of mine and boy was she smokin' - figuratively and literally. She's one of those topics that I would usually just skirt over, but I decided to put a little more detail in this time. Her name is

Nah, I won't name her just yet. But here's the etchy part: she works as a bar girl. You know, the girl you pay to sit at a table with you while you chug away bottles of booze. You can even throw in some videoke while you unscrupulously let your hands crawl in places your mother would never had taught you to put them in.

Yeah, she's that kind of girl. Our mothers warned us about her.

The conundrum is, I think I'm crazy enough to be serious about her. Don't worry, I'm still thinkin'. I've had enough trouble with women to last me a lifetime. So I'm not adding to my list of hastily-made decisions just yet.

Thing is, she found another job as an inventory clerk at some factory in Alabang and she's slowly quitting the bar girl business. She said she gets slightly more than minimum wage, a lot lower than what she gets from the club every night, but its decent money. I for one sincerely hopes that she makes a turnaround. Well I'm one to talk.

I'll talk about another more personal taboo when I feel its safe to tweak.

I'll also talk more about Noynoy Aquino in a later post. For now, I want to see how the story unfolds. He has my vote though. I just don't feel like trashing any senators or former presidents this morning.

Whatever happens, September sure seems like a heck of a way to start 2009's send-off party. I can't wait to see what happens in the next few months. I sure hope I still have my job though. Cheers!

*note: There really is such a thing called Septemberfest, I didn't make that up.

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Stories from the Simian Crease by Binchee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.
Based on a work at binchee.blogspot.com