BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

five seconds of fame

It's not a particularly gorgeous day. My hair's not that pretty today and my pimples are breaking out. My bosses are ranting and the worst part is, I just learned that I'm suspended from work for two weeks because of a leave form I failed to sign. Sigh. One just can't have it all. Just when I thought that my 201 file gets a major boost because of a story-of-the-month award, I get a two-week suspension, which will just erase all these gains. Or at the very least dampen it. It's like getting a grade of 1.0 for one subject and a failing grade of 5 for another. Sigh.

But I forgot about my morning blues when I went to the House of Representatives this morning to attend a legislative inquiry.

The lawmaker opened the hearing by saying that three stories prompted the inquiry -- by Myrna Velasco of Bulletin, Iris Gonzales of BusinessWorld and Jezz Diaz of the Philippine Star.

That felt good because it meant that with the slow and futile impact that journalism has in this world, it still can move people into action. That's among the few rewards I get from this job. Money, after all, is never a consolation in this field.

Tomorrow's another day. There won't be a legislative inquiry anymore and my hair will probably look bad again but I can't let it stop me. I have to get on with my job, chase another story and beat my deadline.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I'm going on a journey, a once-in-a-lifetime ride which I can't afford not to take. It's going to be tough, I know but I'm going because miracles such as these do not happen to everyone. I am excited. I'm scared but I'm more excited than scared.

The best part is I'm not going on my own. I'm going with people I love and who, in turn, genuinely love me back.

Will I survive this ride? I think I will. I can be strong when I need to be. I had my first major victory when I killed the monster of my childhood years and it's partly the reason I am my own mold now. Crazy but strong enough. Nothing more can diminish me.

I look forward to realizing this dream, this miracle. I will rest on the wings of angels and I know I'll make it.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

the bellas

I feel like blogging today but for lack of anything to write about, I'll write about the bellas. The bellas are funny, smart, hilarious, weird and beautiful despite the hang-ups.

bella #1
We are all maarte but bella #1 is the worst when it comes to kaartehan. The second she opens her mouth, you'd know right away she's maarte. She doesn't know it or maybe she does but she's a manipulative bitch. She wants the world to revolve around her but you can count on her just the same. She can be a loyal friend and a good listener, too. She's not pikon unlike bella #2. She's brilliant, too because she has a good command with numbers.

Bella #2 is eccentric. She likes to keep emotions to herself. Or she feels like she doesn't have feelings. She fights her feelings when she can despite her frail body. She hates being called engot and she specifically said so. She said something like, 'for the record, I don't like being called engot, tanga, panget etc. Never mind that she can't really spell capuccino or newsstand correctly. Oh, but don't worry, Lois Lane can't spell very well, too. She also has an only-child syndrome but you can't blame her. She buys C2 just for herself and when you would want to meet up with her, she doesn't arrive on time. Oh, and she's really lazy. She hates doing things even for herself. She's too lazy she won't even finish a sentence. She likes to procrastinate, too. And if you ever decide to have her as your housemate, think again. You might as well move to Payatas or to the Smokey Mountain.

But (and I know she's waiting to read about the but)...she's nice anyway and has her head over her heart, at least when you seek advice about men. Asking her to apply it to herself is asking too much, though.

bella #3
She is an occasional bella. She doesn't always show up. She enjoys hanging out with our sorority sisters more. She's too safe and too uptight. She can't even take calculated risks. She's just always on the safe side. Too safe, too boring sometimes. Her worst quality -- she has very poor driving skills, if you can even call that skills. Her best quality -- she sings well. She's also genuinely nice and pleasant and has very good listening skills. And the best part is that she's not usually pikon.

Now let me stop there because I risk losing all of them as friends. I can almost hear them say, 'look who's talking?!?!'

Friday, August 4, 2006

The best in the business

There's this senior colleague I truly admire. I've been encountering him more often lately because we have more or less the same coverage. Everytime I see him, I really get excited because I know I'll learn another thing or two from him through his very sensible questions.

The best part it, he's so humble, so much unlike other senior economic journalists who act as if they're the best in business. They're not.

And he has guts, too. He debates with the sources especially when they try to avoid answering his questions. And when he writes, he writes so well, you feel like he's speaking to you. He tells the story very well.

I saw him yesterday at a press conference on a very complicated topic -- the electricity rate reduction which consumers will enjoy starting August. President Arroyo announced in MalacaƱang that it's a 52-centavo reduction while Energy officials during the briefing said the reduction is 89-centavos.

The reporters and the officials started debating about the whole thing and which figure is correct.

My favorite economic journalist explained it so well. He's truly the best in the business.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

delightfully unconventional and absolutely real

I've been to weddings but never to a perfect wedding until last Sunday. Des, friend and colleague walked down the aisle in a delightfully unconventional style. True to form -- Ms. F. is probably the most unconventional person I've ever met -- her wedding, in a garden setting, is far from the traditional cheesy, mushy, boring, gushingly sweet and solemn ceremonies I've seen.

There wasn't a religious ceremony because bride and groom are atheists. Thus, there was no mention of God, Allah, Jehovah or any Supreme Being. "Godless" as the ceremony was, it was magical. The heavens seemed to be cheering the whole time and all one thousand plus deities seemed to be clapping, too. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just my imagination. I simply don't know how to explain just how everything went perfectly.

Central bank deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo, a Christian layperson gave the blessing of sorts which was short, funny and honest.

Yes, there's the candle lighting and the rings, but there's no first or second reading, ofcourse. There's only a reading of an excerpt of Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit story:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

There's a classical string quartet, too and the marching song would have been the Imperial Death March, better known as Darth Vader's theme song if Ms. F had her way. Fortunately, the quartet didn't have that piece on its list.

Amid the drizzling but beautiful Sunday morning, everyone gamely watched the spectacle. Ms. F's closest friends, relatives and colleagues enjoyed the comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. It's a dress-as-you-please wedding so the guests left their pretensious, uptight gowns, fluffy hairdos and all-made-up looks at home.

The food was good, too, a stark contrast from the bland hotel food which makes you wish you had already eaten.

Most did not bring gifts because bride and groom said so. On the invitation, they wrote: "We prefer if you do not bring gifts, if you feel you must, we like all sorts of candles."

Des' wedding and love story drive home a point: Real love happens. And when it does, the wedding is certainly a lovely one. You don't need a lifetime to prepare for it. You don't need to wipe out your life savings. You don't even need to hire wedding coordinators who will bill you a fortune. You only need gorgeous friends (and not give them a chance to say no) to act as the Comite de Festejos and voila! you'll have that perfect wedding.

Perhaps, marriage like love, just happens. It knocks you off your feet before you know it but you're glad it did. And you either plunge into it with every bit of yourself or you cling on to safety to protect your fragile heart. Maybe or maybe not. I don't really know for sure. Cupid still needs to work harder on my case.

(photos courtesy of Stella Arnaldo's blog: