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Some things we don’t talk about

Rather do without, and just hold the smile…

Remember when I asked you of a part of your life that you feel have been pulled straight out of a movie? Well, I have a list.

You should know ours wasn’t my favorite though.

Yet there we were, in front of a college building so monumental, and so old, at the end of your three-day thinking ultimatum – and you said YES. And I was facing you, and I was supposed to look at you but I wasn’t.

You see, there were all these fireworks up in the sky behind you as you were talking. So I wasn’t really taking everything in. Only that you said yes, and that thin lights of bright colors were mutely bursting in the black sky.

No, ours wasn’t my favorite. But among others, it by far, had its happy ending.

...Falling in and out of love

Ashamed and proud of

Together all the while…

I want to live deliberately. I want to write and learn and walk through historical and scenic places I could have only dreamed before. I want to lose and find, and pick myself up like nobody else can. And only then will I return, or – Do you want to come with me?

You can never say never

Why don’t we all know when

Time and time again

Younger now than we were before…

As a child, a punctuation I always loved is the ellipsis – the empirical three dots. Is it for a last line of a repeat-until-fade song, or an ending that lingers? Is it for words that are yet to be said after the actual conversation? Is it for the momentary pause? Did we ever seem to get silence quite right?

I don’t know what’s it for, I never used it anymore…

Don’t let me go

I’m sorry.

Don’t let me go

I’ll try.

Don’t let me go

Will you hold me?

For the baby boomers, it is the Beatles.
For today's generation, it's Justin Bieber.
For most of us in my high school batch, it is the guy who played MVP in the basketball finals.
For me?

It is Westlife.

Westlife: My Childhood Loves

In 1999, I saw Westlife's cover of Seasons in the Sun and that particular moment started my fan-girling years. It was, in the most cliche I could get, love at first sight.

One thing I don't normally share is how I was most stricken with boybands at pre-teen years. Probably because boybands are like diskettes in an office talk. You can't really get out of the conversation without people commenting how old school it is.

Screw old school, here's my revelation:

I know, and memorize by heart, all boyband songs released in the country for years 1998-2001, I was in fourth grade then. I think it even spread until 2003 but I'm not so sure with that.

And though I am a self-confessed boyband fanatic, nothing rocked my little world like Westlife did. They're the only group where I would spend my hard-saved money for albums, posters and song hits (magazines). 

I remember I would spend my daily after-school time, not playing chinese garter with the neighborhood kids, but in front of the TV because that's the time a certain station would play a string of the group's MTV's. I also think that I became particularly well at memorizing facts they give high school students because I had a personal training in this feat way back. I memorized all of the boys' full names, birth dates, height, weight, what else -- history of how the band became what they were then. Name it, I knew all of those like I knew the back of my hand.

Seriously, without them, I would be a different person. Because if not for this boyband, these things below would have a different story.

If not for Westlife, I --
  • would not have met two of my best friends. Cheers to over 10 years of friendship! 
  • would not be writing. There were times I feel like boring my friends when I talked nonchalantly of the group; when this thing happens, I resort to writing my thoughts down in a diary. And that's how I met my hobby love, writing when no one's there to listen.
  • and I wouldn't be a dreamer, a believer and an optimist like I ended up to be. Being crazily addicted in my teens, I am just glad that Westlife sang of love, believing, hope and not anything negative. Being that young, I would have eaten up anything they have supported.

Last September 29, after 10 years or so, one of my oldest dreams came true. I got to see them, hear them, sing with them LIVE.

I was here! - a decade old dream

Setlist include (in order):
 When You're Looking Like That, World of our Own, What Makes A Man,
Safe, Home, My Love,
Coldplay's Viva La Vida, Rihanna's Only Girl, Black Eyed Peas' The Time, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance,
Seasons in the Sun, You Raise Me Up, I'm Already There, Flying Without Wings,
What About Now and Uptown Girl.

Being a momentous night for me, I was prepared to shed tears of joy anytime during the night so it was a surprise that I got through the show without getting too emotional. Their last song, Uptown Girl is one of my favorites. Upon hearing the beats, I jumped up to my seat and my friends did the same. (And I knew those who were still comfortably seating in Upper Box B did too!) I can't remember the last time singing Uptown Girl with much fervor prior the concert, oh I bet it was years. But singing it at that particular moment, belting my heart and lungs out, together with Westlife and 10-11,000 Pinoy fans -- it was surreal.

And even though I wasn't crazily addicted as I was before, that night, I felt a surge of emotions in me and I knew literally, that first loves never die. And that this boyband still has that special place in my heart, albeit that part is old and a little forgotten thru the long years.

I didn't anticipate it was possible, but I left the concert a big fan of Westlife once more. I knew that I would be singing their classic songs, and perhaps the new ones too, days, months, even years after that night.  

Screw old school.

Two things though:
I really wish they sang my favorite Westlife song, Swear It Again and, 
I miss Bryan. :'(
"The point is you can't trust graduation goggles. They are just as
 misleading as beer goggles, bridesmaid goggles and that's-just-a-bulky-outdated-cellphone-
in-his-front-pocket goggles."
- Robin, The Exploding Meatball Sub, HIMYM

It's one thing to be familiar to an odd feeling when someone bids goodbye, but having a name for it, that's another story. 

And an easier one at that.

See, I've been all too familiar with that nostalgic feeling one gets by the end of something or ending a relationship with someone.

Think high school graduation, when all of a sudden everybody, and I mean everybody seem nice: the bully who taunted your huge pile of books that you look like a hunchback he says, and yes even the teacher who threatened you with a C and you freak out fearing you might not graduate. 

The people, the things that made the journey miserable in the end can miraculously transform themselves to a nostalgic, longing, even close to happy memory.

Add on sepia tones in the tune of that Sarah Mclachlan song --

          I will remember youuuuuuuuu

-- and there's your graduation goggles.

How often in the last day of school do we get to hear the "how I wish this will never end" thing?


In high school, it can even be sweet. We can all be too forgiving (and forgetful) of the past that we remember only the good things. But then later, on several parts of our lives comes the goggles, unwelcome-d and resentful.

- resigning from a crappy job

- breaking up with a cheater of a boyfriend

- leaving home

Don't get me wrong with the last one eh.

The thing is, whoever said "doubt means don't", perhaps hasn't heard of the goggles yet. 

Because in the end, we can't really trust the goggles, no matter how good they feel, because sometimes goodbyes are necessary and the goggles, they're never really enough reason to stay, most of the time, they're the actual reasons to leave.

I stopped writing.

I know right, that was pretty much obvious. But I'm just saying, it was a conscious decision on my part. It wasn't just I-don't-feel-like-writing-today thing. 

You see, I looouuurrrrvve writing. It was my first true love.

But unlike the analytical subject I love just the same, writing takes toll on me, every time. 

Unlike Math where I feel good crunching numbers in post-papers, writing simply depresses me.

It's my most effective brand of depressant. Seriously, even beats my Grey's Anatomy love. 

So I'm stopping. To do the other secondary things I love. Like preparing for a financial exam pre-Christmas and a 4-day vacation I'm so excited for. That reminds me, I need to start packing.

But I'll be back, as with all my (and they're many) writing ruts before I'll be so back. waitforit

No one really thinks their life will turn out just kind of okay.

And when it comes to opening a new chapter in life, expectations grow massively that I get scared more than motivated. The worst part for me, is the night before everything will change. Late night, and I get uneasy, not being able to sleep, anticipating what the following day will bring. And I would wake up minutes before my clock alarms, waiting for the dawn, waiting for that familiar wake up call. 

The time I dreamt the biggest in my life was the day I entered college. It got to me actually, making it in the premier university, able to wear jeans (and flip-flops), the freedom to cut class. That time I actually believed my life would start turning out the way I imagined it to be.

Thirty minutes before my first class, I spent my first day in college in front of the University Avenue, looking at the Oblation statue, the naked man in a fig leaf -- sacrificing one's self for his country. I thought of the sacrifices I made in the last seventeen years and figured out there weren't really much of it. Considering I'm entering the university with working overseas as a goal felt contrite and selfish on my part. 

I stood there for half a minute more when it started to rain. I felt big drops of cold water on my face as I ran towards a jeepney stop for a Toki ride.

That was when I first saw him.

From about ten to fifteen feet away, with outstretched feet and arms rested on both sides, he looked quite tall -- and wide, probably thin for his height. And from afar, he looked like a crane. But of course, that was just me as I had familiarized myself with the crane bird physique the way I am familiar with my feet.

One day, weeks before our high school graduation, I made a hundred paper cranes. We were supposed to give out something uniquely ourselves to other people before we all bid farewell, and I can’t think of anything else but those cute paper cranes I can do for quarter of a minute.

In the end, I managed to make a hundred of them. It wasn’t necessary, but I didn’t want to offend anybody just in case they give me their thing and I don’t have mine in hand. Or it’s probably that I got so caught up in making these paper maches I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be needing as much.

So now I have at home a box of 94 of them, all bright colored, glossy like those in a cosmopolitan magazine. Sometimes, I would get them out and line them altogether in my room, or make stories out of them, or open my box as I stand in my bed and make them fly.

As I ran towards the shed, and towards the crane guy, I noticed that he was looking at me too. And when I reached the shade, I pretended to look the other way but I guess he already noticed that.

It's interesting when raining and people run for shelter, they kind of smile, don't you think?

He had a soft voice, that surprised me. I wondered if he really noticed that with the people around the campus as they scamper for the closest shelter, or it had just been me. Smiling at his direction, or probably at him, thinking about a crane. 

Even if they're alone, like you. And he smiled sheepishly. Whattacutie.

I smiled back, and hoped my semi-soaked face won't sell my blushing.

What's your name? As I held out my hand.

Oh, a freshie huh. I didn't know why but there was something curious about me getting a handshake, and him saying exactly that.

I'm Laura. Laura Santos.

I'm Raf.

At the very least I got his name in time. This is me. I said, standing as a Toki jeep stopped by. I would have said my goodbye but when I looked at him again, he was staring at someplace else. 

He probably didn't realize it that time but he was my first friend in my new life chapter.

Later on the day, I would strike a conversation like he did with a complete stranger, quite a couple of times actually, but I never got their names.

And on several occasions in my life, I would open a conversation to a complete stranger as well, like he did, exactly like he did,  talking about the people smiling in the rain as they ran. But as far as my attempts are concerned, they remained as futile as my other tries on that first day in college.

Wear sunscreen or Sunscreen are common names of Mary Schmic's (1997) essay "Advice, like youth probably just wasted on the young." And popularized in the music single, Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann, 1998.

Lyrics after the jump.

The ways of flirting, or courtship had evolved rapidly through time, much like how Lady Gaga’s image changed in a year, or the latest fad in cell phone technology.
Flirting, or again courtship for a more restrained term, is one of the first steps in removing both physical and emotional boundaries between two people. Nowadays, courtship may just seem to be all about flowers, and chocolates, and 3D movies with free popcorn from your date but believe me, it has gone way far from where it started.

In fact, it started as a dance.

For eighteen months now, I’ve been using the same smartphone I bought myself for passing a "board" exam. I bought the smartphone in less than a week, with two days spent for researching and convincing myself, however expensive, that it’s worth it. 

The moment I saw the phone in the internet, it was love at first sight. I did read the comments and the reviews, and a few of them raised problems but I really didn’t mind.

Because in that particular moment, there were only 3 things that matter:

1. I loved the way the phone would look on me.
2. It’s drop-dead gorgeous.
3. I deserve it.

Indeed, when shopping, the word "deserve" is a deadly sin.

And then, after a few months, I was having difficulties with my new phone. 

With that experience, I told myself that the next time I buy myself a phone (or anything else that costs that big); it would be a sound decision.

I’m not really ogling for a phone right now; since finances are thin, but there’ve been a buzz on the web for genius phones.

a SMART phone 
a GENIUS phone

Who wouldn’t opt for the latter?

There’s a fine connection between superhero movies and locally produced action films, I believe. The latter juggles the typical elements of an underdog protagonist, a bombshell of a female lead, a climax from, it seems a 1960s Bollywood movie, and a confrontation with the enemy that lasts for like – just tick the trigger for chrissake. Not to mention the irresponsibly late police figures in the end.

It’s a classic Pinoy action film, and when it comes to superhero movies; the drift seem obvious every time: same elements and factors, with different super powers and a tight-colored costume. Whatever happened to variety huh?

But the latest installment of a comic flick, the X-Men First Class is most certainly not one of those.


Dalawang taon na rin nang ang mga Hunyo ko ay hindi na tungkol sa pagsisimula ng klase. Ngayon, tungkol na lang sya sa malakas na ulan, DVD marathons, at pagtambay sa kama kasama ang mainit at matamis-tamis na mapait na champorado.

Pero minsan hindi ko rin maiwasang balikan ang mga taong babad pa ako sa readings, naglalakad sa campus na may basang-basang tsinelas at nag-aabang ng jeep pauwi. Minsan andun din ang mga memories nung first year ko sa college, mistulang halo-halo ang pakiramdam ko nuon: masaya, takot, excited, may namimiss, may tinatamad but above all, gutom. Gutom sa karunungan, gutom sa experience, gutom sa sobrang daming pangarap na kalakip ng unang pagtuntong sa kolehiyo.

Eeeeeee! Welcome back to meeeee!
I’m not sure if the overly E’s are for excitement or self-irritation.
I’m thinking the latter, but I think I’m being hard on myself again.
So I was MIA. For a month.
And I swear if it hadn’t been for a particular thing, I won’t even be back here.
Not that I’ve never done it before. In fact, I am so so used of stopping, writing.
I reached the HOLE.

Devon Blacques

I bought my pug.
Oh yes, it seems I couldn’t wait any longer for the time I’ll be more prepared to have my very own pug. Or even the time I would have enough money.
Never mind the debt I currently am. o_O
My infatuation for this dog with the snub nose and wrinkled face started four years ago. 

With this picture.
May 2006

I saw one for the first time and immediately fell in love with it.
Although a big lot of the people I know wouldn’t understand how adorable I find pugs, let alone spend a five-digit savings, ehhh I don’t care a bit.
Devon is as sweet, adorable and lovely as I wanted him to be. Never mind the “panget” scowls we sometimes get in our walks.
PS. Apart from the potty dirty business, dogs are natural stress-relievers. It’s as if they could lick stress away.
Spread environmental awareness. Spread love for our planet.

Once upon a time, in the outskirts of the beautiful Pasig River, a man threw out an empty PET bottle into the sea.

Little Johnny, circa 1900

This plastic bottle fancied to be called Johnny, a name he got from the back of a milk carton a few meters away from where he landed. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to befriend the aging Mrs. Milk Carton, since unlike our bida, her face is made of hard paper that goes overly-wrinkled in water and time. Nevertheless, he wasn’t dissuaded and started his floating career then and there.

It can go without saying that Little Johnny travelled the world. For a hundred years since he named himself, he got to see first the renowned Malacanang Palace, the mountain ranges of Cagayan Valley and Mayon Volcano the next, then the white sand beach of Baler. 

Truly, Philippines is Little Johnny's home country.

Overseas, he witnessed the Irish Dingle Peninsula, the Little Dix Bay in Puerto Rico and the 120-foot Christ structure in Rio de Janeiro among many others.

Just three of a thousand (and more) awe-worthy places of the world

As a child, Little Johnny met creatures whom he had the chance to travel with: a seal from the freezing cold of Antarctica, a 150-year old tortoise and a clown fish looking for his son, Nemo. He was amazed by the various stories his friends told him, as they are very different from the “bottled” life he’s living.

But it has been ages since he’s met a living organism; nowadays, he meets more of his kind: Styrofoam cups, half-eaten plates and lots and lots of plastic bags.

Oh, it wasn’t just his companions that changed throughout Little Johnny’s wandering years. Over time, he noticed that the sky grew a shade darker, rains that scratched his back painfully poured more often (he’s heard there’s such a thing as acid rains), and the sea where he spent most of his life wasn’t as clear as he first saw it.

The world is changing, and Little Johnny knew it. That is why when he heard of a place where his kind settles after years of floating, he vowed to arrive at that haven. Mountains and seas of plastic left by humans, he imagined..

One day, we would rule the world, said Little Johnny.

As of the moment, our planet is polluted with billions of little Johnnies all over, not to mention the enormous amount of plastic bags (or anything in plastic for that matter) that we use daily. And since plastic is non-biodegradable, it can live up to hundreds of years, even longer than the lifetimes of ten generations combined.  

These ordinary things that we took for granted had played a big role in deteriorating Mother Earth; for one, about 100,000 animals like dolphins, turtles whales, penguins are killed every year due to plastic bags.

Can you afford to kill, even inadvertently, such a heart-breaker?

So I asked, at this particular point of human civilization,

Do we really need to start looking for an Alter Space?

I, for one think there's still a lot of things we can do to save our planet. To embrace this obligation of taking care of our home won't be too much to ask, I hope?

And so goes what I believe is the most crucial step to saving Mother Earth. 

Step 1:


Going green is easy, but forgetting the very reasons for going green and reverting back to old habits are easier. To start with self and really BELIEVE this conviction is a solid foundation of going-green habits that hopefully would inspire other people.

I started my first step with this blog post.

And below are three easy-breezy things I think would make a good first step:

I. Watch Wall-E.

This movie, as endearing and touching as it is, also serves as a harsh manifestation of corporate consumer culture.

II. Join mass causes promoting environmental awareness.

Last March 26, millions of people took part in Earth Hour around the world. Now, I know there are a lot of people that are skeptic in this propaganda, what with the trivial amount of electricity that we can save in an hour compared to our massive electric consumption daily, but I think the major impact of this event is the collective commitment to an eco-future.

III. Try Alter Space.

Alter Space is the 1st Filipino environmental awareness game on Facebook.

It also has tips on conserving energy or lower-carbon emissions, best for kids and kids-at-heart who spend a considerable amount of time in the web, facebook in particular (a big e-hem to me).

Proud to be Pinoy!

Speaking of tips, here are 5 things I started doing for my going-green habits, you can do these too! And perhaps you can add some of your ideas in going green in the comment box below. =)
  1. I remind myself to always unplug electric appliances once idle.
  2. Reuse old plastic bags, bottles and just about anything that can still be reused.
  3. I walk rather than ride if i can help it (it's exercise too!).
  4. I read news in the internet rather than the bulletin which saved me 20 pesos a day and trees for paper production.
  5. And something I am quite proud of, I recycle!

Do you remember that Grade 5 Activity of bringing things to school that can be used as another object with a different function than the original? I do. There's actually something about the saying, "what I need to know in life, I learned in 5th grade", or something to that effect. I think they're talking about recycling. :))

Having said all this, I think I ought to tell you what happened to our Little Johnny, but I don't know. Between the Once upon a time and the We can rule the world stuff is Little Johnny's and our ancestors whereabouts a couple of decades ago. Though we know that one way or another, we've withered the plants and somehow participated on the planet's deterioration.

This wandering PET bottle story is one tale I wouldn't wish a happy ending for, at least for our bida.

But a happy ending for us, for a greener and healthier earth.

Parenthetically, the term Alter Space in the title is for alternative space, different from the Facebook game. 

Nostalgic with that ice cream commercial.

Laura & Steve first appeared here.
So this is March's version of --

or torn between doing what needs to be done and the short-lived but oh-so fun things

That's how it turned out, one thing I do when struck with the (and this used to be occasional) usual bouts of laziness is watching movies. The 2-hour (most of the time this includes pee and snack time) getaway is undoubtedly my favorite pastime ever (note to self: blogging/writing didn't even came close, I actually have a love-hate relationship with that one).

So with a bucket of Hershey’s Chocolate Ice Cream and lots and lots of chips, I was off to Wonderland with:


If you’re given a drug that would allow you to use the full 100% capacity of your brain (I’ve read that we can only use around 20% of it) with minimal side effects every day without stopping, because once you stop, you die; I know the last part’s scary but if the drug supply is limitless, just think about the endless possibilities of a fully-functioning brain.

It’s interesting really: everything you’ve read, learned, heard or saw is stored somewhere inside just waiting to be picked up. It’ll be like reading a dictionary and the next day, you’re a walking thesaurus. It also helps one to multitask a LOT of things and focus in each one smoothly.

Just thinking of the things I can do if I have that drug:
  • I could pass actuarial exams all in one take, with approximately 7 days of review in each.
  • I could finish my work before lunchtime.
  • I could write blog posts everyday and make sense.
  • I could try the stock market and get rich.
  • Or frequent a casino with state-of-the-mind poker techniques and still get rich.
Ow, Life!

And I found my own Brad Pitt! I actually don’t get why women go gaga over BP and men go hands-off with this male Aphrodite; I think he’s too jaw-y.

But anyway, as I said, I found my own and it’s Bradley Cooper! I know I liked him on Valentines Day but this movie sells him so well. And he can really act too!


Right now is definitely not my best time to hear a successful true story on blogging. Most of the time, this writing project I spoiled myself with feels like I’m shooting hoops aimlessly, everywhere. Sometimes, even going back to the primary (and overly optimistic) reasons for this doesn’t help.

I just know that I needed to do this blogging/writing thing, once and for all. To keep my nagging self of what if’s in the future.

THAT is my most honest reason for this.

Just what Julie Powell did in the movie, and look at her, she had her happy ending.

Anyone? Anybody out there? Hello???


It’s amazing how the supporting casts of the high-school-themed film Mean Girls are everywhere now, think Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams in Time Traveler’s Wife. Where is LiLo? I kind of miss her, despite all the nasty drama, she did made a number of feel-good films.



I know Johnny Depp had been the sexiest man for quite a long time but what's with all the either drunk/lost/rugged/freak roles he always seem to portray?

I'd love to see him as a typical working man next time; I think he's had his share of too many crazy roles.



Swoon, I'm taking THE exam mid-May.