BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Saturday, June 7, 2008

all my bags are packed but I'm not ready to go

I've been asked to vacate my room, my heavenly abode somewhere in Quezon City. It's the place where I grew up and where I spent years becoming the mold that I am now.

It's that one place which knows all my dreams and nightmares -- every single one. It's my one true home, the only home I've known for a long time. It is my kingdom, my utopia, my universe and my wonderland.

On one wall is a huge cabinet filled with books, photos and other mementos. On one corner is my doll house for all the dolls I've collected from my most memorable journeys around the globe. The origins of the dolls are as varied as their shapes and costumes -- from as far as Slovakia to neighboring Thailand.

There are paintings and posters, too and wooden masks around the room.

But everything will soon be gone. Almost all my stuff are now in bags and boxes. The room that I know will forever be removed from my map of the universe.

How do I move on? I'm not really sure. In the meantime, my displaced soul will try to stay sane amid the chaos of packing stuff and choosing between what can be buried and what can be saved.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

back to school

It looks like I'm all set to go back to school. I received my acceptance letter this morning.

"Congratulations! We welcome you to the academic community of the Ateneo de Manila University, an institution of higher learning known for a tradition of excellence and service," read my letter from the Ateneo Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

Wow. To say that I'm excited is an understatement. I've always wanted to go back to school. It's been 10 years since I graduated from the university, I realized just now.

It's easy to lose track of time when you're in a profession that gives you the opportunity to experience the world as few others will ever experience it. I have been enjoying every minute of my life as a journalist, including the missed deadlines, the interviews with blatantly lying government officials, the outscoops and the scoops, the twisted ankles and tired muscles, the blood, sweat and gore. Everything.

So I'm lucky to be given an opportunity to study without the need to quit work.

In the past, I missed a number of chances for postgraduate studies. There was, for instance, that much-coveted slot for postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom.

I made it to several stages but when the jury later saw my big belly on the last stage of the process, they chose another candidate in the end. But as the Dalai Lama once said, missed opportunities later turn out to be better for you.

I lost a chance to study in UK again (having had the chance to participate in a short course in London earlier) but I would later realize that my experience with my daughter will turn out to be the best adventure I would ever have.

Besides, second and third chances come when you're ready.

I'm taking mine now.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

postscript on the Meralco stockmeet

The corporate war between Meralco and GSIS chief Winston Garcia gets more complicated each day. As I write this, the battle continues at the courts and at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

I meant to update my first entry on the stockholders' meeting held last May 27 but haven't had the chance to do so. Over the past several days, however, some people asked me for updates on it and why I was so exhausted. This, was ofcourse, after Manolo Quezon mentioned this corner in his blog. (Thank you, Sir).

So what really sapped my energy?

For the most part, it was the pressure of coming out with the right story and making sure I got all sides covered (even though I was only there to back-up senior colleague Donnabelle Gatdula).

And then ofcourse, it was everything else. For one, there was the tight security at the gate. The guards did not really know what to do with press people coming in.

When I entered the building, the place was already filled to the brim. Men and women -- serious stockholders or just kibitzers--gathered for the big event.

At past 8 a.m., the crowd booed and jeered Garcia as he entered the building. When I entered the auditorium, I couldn't see much, except for the backs of people standing in the jampacked arena.

My 5'5"-height wasn't much help. I should have worn my only pair of high-heeled shoes but I would later realize that I should have worn rubber shoes and comfortable clothes as we had to sit down on the floor to give way to the stockholders who occupied the seats.

As people might know by now, the SEC, the country's corporate regulator, issued a cease and desist order, stopping the meeting. It was then the start of an adrenaline-pumping, chaotic and noisy corporate event.

Garcia, with booming voice and angry tone, addressed the crowd many times only to be booed, jeered and heckled by the crowd.

It was a long and arduous meeting, leaving me and many others hungry by lunchtime.

During the break, we chased after Garcia for an ambush interview. He dished out a mouthful of lines but some quotes were just hilarious or maybe it's just me. I'll leave it to the readers to judge.

ie. "We will order the freezing of the accounts of Meralco."

"How, sir?" I asked.

"We will write to all the banks," Garcia said.

When we chased after Garcia who went out of the auditorium to vote, a mammoth crowd of photographers and cameramen followed. I was shoved and kicked and stepped on but no hard feelings. It's all part of the job, I know.

TV reporters Karen Davila and Sandra Aguinaldo of ABS and GMA-7, respectively, exchanged angry words, too because one side brought a camera inside the auditorium which was not allowed. The other side reasoned that it brought a camera because the other side already sneaked in a camera ahead of everyone else.

Photographers, meanwhile, were shouted at and scolded by angry Meralco security men.

It was indeed, a rowdy experience. It was tiring but it comes with the territory, especially when one is in a profession which is all about history in a hurry.