Our November…So Far

 

The 11th month which happens to be the birth month for both wifey and I seems indeed to be our November. And although it has not yet reached even its middle part, everything that has occurred after 11 days is like life itself compressed in two weeks. There was confusion, anxiety, boring times, and of course, funny and exciting moments as well.

 

As previously blogged, November 1 was better when compared last year. The days that followed have been spent waiting for results – results that would dictate how 2009 will be for us. And yes that’s right, this month I’m thinking that this may be the conclusion of our 2008 already.

 

I’m very excited to share the details but unfortunately there are reasons (one is time) as well that hold me back from doing so. Instead I’ll just be brief for now what has happened so far: Yesterday, I’m resetting my countdown to bumhood. And tomorrow, we’ll have one that will complete our family. Needless to say, both of these are blessings that I can never thank enough.

 

For now, I’m just feeling lucky even if the news coming from our TV is just as bleak as the weather outside.

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

 

 

 

 

Fishing

I was out fishing with several of my friends again. If my memory serves me right, this is the 4th time for this year and it was at the same place in succession. My friend Mike influenced me in this activity. And after telling some fishing stories and coaxing, my wife sensed that I’m already hooked (pun intended) to this hobby. So two years ago she bought me a Shimano fishing rod and reel as my birthday gift. Nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, my fishing sessions since then haven’t been as often as I want to. The timing this year though has been on my favor after my fishing buddy resigned from our work which enabled him to adapt to my day-off and set our fishing trips – which in my part is just a 10-kilometer drive from home.  The place is Fishers’ Farm Resort, a quite decent place for an outing in the heart of Dasmariñas, Cavite. In here, the resort offers swimming, horseback riding, and of course my favorite – fishing. Although, we’ve had days (most days, actually) when fishes doesn’t seem to take the bait, we still prefer hanging out in this place as bringing in of foods and drinks – esp. liquor – is allowed and the fees here are very affordable.

 

And so today we’ve got all the reasons to go fishing: Roman came back from Canada for a couple of weeks vacation, Mike will be leaving for the US sometime next month, Manny’s birthday tomorrow, and lastly, Manny, Jhun and I are just taking time to relax and clear our heads from the looming closure of our company.

 

The fishermen. Don’t worry NO airsoft guns were used to catch fish.

***

 

Still related to fishing, my uncle who’s also into this activity passed away just this week. Other than the fact that I was saddened by his sudden death, I was also shocked as I’ve been actually considering going back to his place sometime this year for a change of fishing experience – on a bangka (small wooden boat) and in the middle of the sea.

 

His death made me think that we are like fishes in the sea while God is the fisherman. Only he knows when he’ll take us while we spend our time wiggling our tails and fins and innocently taking the bait. A sudden snap, then we’re gone – hanging by the hook, twitching helplessly in resistance and then facing the inevitable death.

 

 And sometimes he may have to catch and release if he sees we are not yet fit to be taken – that’s being given the second chance.

 

***

 

Finally, fishing may be a metaphor. The day will come when I’ll be fishing for jobs. I’m crossing my fingers that when the time comes for me to cast the bait, some company/employer will find it alluring to catch it. And hopefully, I’ll be fit and quick enough to reel it in.

 

That’s life. 

 

Two-Choices

Every now and then, I always remember one of the e-mails I received regarding man having just two choices the moment he wakes up and starts his day. So as this week seems to be a week of confusion, fun, adventure, fun…or in short just confusion, I’m once again faced with these two choices. And what are these? Simply, it’s just deciding if it’s going to be a good or bad day.

So on April fool’s day, despite already having a hint of the things that may happen within the week, my wife and I refuse to let it go down on us. We chose to be happy. By lunch time we decided to eat at Brazilian Bbq restaurant in ATC which is just a couple of months old in the area.

The place is just at the back of the former Saisaki restaurant and is fairly small thus giving a homey feel to it. I think it just can accommodate approximately 50 customers at a time – less elbows to rub (that is if you actually get to be even that near), less buffet rivals, more chance to pick and savor the food. Just don’t be deceived by its size though as this restaurant packs a variety of good food, mostly grilled, in its menu.  I don’t know who conceptualized it, but this place re-defines yoyo diet.

Other than the plates, spoons and forks, and condiments, the waiter also places a yoyo on the table. To a newcomer this may come as surprise as to what its purpose may be. The yoyo is actually colored green on one side and red on the other. Laying the toy with its green on top means a waiter will come at your table with random grilled food still at its rotisserie stake for you – although you may ask whatever you wanted. They’ll be coming right back until you’ve turned the yoyo over with its red side on top. It just occurred to me that this is a good way to keep the customers from saying “stop” while their mouth is “stuffed”. Wise idea.

As we normally do, we checked out the movies after the hearty meal. And as much as I’m longing to watch an animated film – Horton, I quickly erased the thought of it as the grilled meat seemed to make me look for something adrenalin-packed. So we transferred to the nearby Festival Mall and without any doubt I saw what I’m looking for – Vantage Point.

The first 30 minutes of the movie will make one think of seeing a crap film. The scenes keep on coming back to 11:59:59am. What’s good with that!? Sooner though, the plot continues to thicken and it was just then that I begun praising its filmmakers.  The movie stands true to its theme: “8 strangers, 8 stories, 1 vantage point”. The car chase scenes are almost at par with that of Ronin. But unfortunately this film is not free of Hollywood B.S.  One will never fail to notice the clean state of some of the characters amidst the bomb blast and car crashes. Other than that, I find the acting of both heroes and villains convincingly great. Two thumbs up.

  

2008: Year of Changes?

I’m currently hooked to Dan Brown’s books. During my December vacation I borrowed a book from a colleague and brought it with me in Bacolod. On my rest times I tried reading “The Da Vinci Code” – and under some sort of scrutiny from my pious mother. Answering, “it’s just a book” still somehow raised an eyebrow.

On our way back home to Dasma after the holidays, we rented an airport taxi service and that made me finish the book while inside the cozy Toyota Innova (it cost us only Php 1.3K. Very cheap compared to availing Park n Fly’s service). That was at least a week of reading it. Not bad considering the other yuletide activities I have to attend.

Now I borrowed another, “Angels & Demons” and I’m almost halfway since I started it just this Wednesday. Other than the conspiracy theories that seem to have captured my attention and that got me to ask a lot of questions regarding its possibility, one line in one of its pages made me reflect of what has been happening around us since then.

Olivetti looked the camerlengo dead in the eye. “The prayer of St. Francis, signore. Do you recall it?”

The young priest spoke the single line with pain in his voice “God, grant me strength to accept those things I cannot change.” – pp. 169.

This prayer made me pause and reflect on the changes I’ve seen and observed since last month. Some I might expand but others would remain as a one-liner for others who knew about it to explain.

Dec (3rd week). Our company’s shuttle bus provider for more than ten years was changed.

Dec 31. Just as the year ends come also the closure of our favorite restaurant – Saisaki ATC. No more sashimi. No more sukiyaki. I went back to the place on Jan 10 and to see it silent with doors locked and tables turned was a bit sad. I’m wondering where its crews have gone.

Jan. Video City, a video rental store near our place closed. Most likely it’s another victim of the proliferation of pirated cds. I’ve seen ACA video Dasma closed before during the peak of piracy and seeing a second one close is just disappointing.

Jan 18. Now the state of the old Bacolod airport is uncertain with the opening of Silay Airport.  I don’t know if Bacolod City’s officials are still considering retaining the old one or if they will totally phase it out. With the recent experience I had both during arrival and departure – mostly due to deceitful porters and taxi drivers – I couldn’t agree more if they pick the latter option. But then the innocent & honest employees’ jobs are at stake. Hopefully they’ll be re-assigned.

We are just starting the year and I hate to think about the things to come. I’m still trying to keep a positive attitude about what the future holds and whatever it will be, I’m hoping that we will be ready by then.

Que sera sera, as my mother used to say.

   

Changes: Remembering and Learning from It

Walls taken down. Damaged concrete and dug up dirt piling up. Galvanized iron roofs ripped and tossed aside. Noise from hammers and chisels sounding almost from sun up to sun down. Dust fills the air. Diggings done here and there. Commands given, if not shouted, every now and then. Sounds like total chaos and destruction.

Well, almost. It’s actually some of the activities being done in preparation and during a house renovation.

During a recent improvement we did for our small home, the succession of events above brings me back to my childhood days due to several reasons.

One of it is learning on site.

I could very well remember back in the days when I was yet a grade 1 elementary student. We used to live far from school and our parents decided that we transfer just near where my sister and I went to study.

I can still vividly remember that since my father would supervise and sometimes help out in the construction of our new house, he had to build a temporary hut shelter for him and his stuffs and tools right inside our 200 square meter lot. By our countries standard, I think the average Filipino dwells in this lot size at that time. I love eating in the hut even it would have to be done by hand and had to sit on the floor to do that.

Every now and then after school hours, we’d drop by and play in the construction area. We would climb and roll down on the sand piles; run along the ditches where concrete hollow blocks and posts are yet to be erected; Play hide and seek in the unfinished rooms and do any other things that today I have learned as very unsafe. Just the thought of it now sends chills to my spine. And so they say, kids will be kids. Oblivious to the perils of daily life, or in this case the dangers present in the construction site. Thankfully, I didn’t learn the hard way.

Other things that amazes me back then are how the scaffolds are built, how the concrete blocks are horizontally and vertically leveled and how the hose leveler works. At that time I couldn’t believe and grasp the idea of how the workers would refer to the water level as the correct level for doors, windows, walls and flooring. Likewise, the smell of anti termite solution, paint, saw dusts and wood shavings never fails to fascinate me. Later on, I would learn from training that these are more considered as harmful odor (and particles) rather than sweet smell and one would have to wear masks when near or working with it.

Second thing that made me ponder on how lucky I am today is how young some of the laborers are that works in our recent home project.

The man that I got to do the job this time is Mang Narding. He has two sons whom I know are in their teens and yet are already working with him. I just hope that they’re in their legal age, or I’ll be guilty of violating the child welfare act. Or I can just pretend that this is also their on-site exposure just like I had or they have actually no choice but to work instead of going to school. Sadly, the latter is more likely the situation.

When we were young then, my father works as a “panday”, in our dialect, which means a carpenter just like Mang Narding. I just realized now that his job with its meager pay is just enough to support our family and even if I’d add my mother’s salary (who was at that time works as a clerk or accountant for a private business), we would hardly be able to continue our education. Even then, father didn’t require me to join him in his work even after high school. It has just dawned on me now, how both of my parents strive hard to keep us going from elementary to college.

During our school years, I can still recall that I had to asked for my “balon” or school budget daily because mother doesn’t want (or trust) me to have my allowance given in a weekly basis. Despite all that I was able to finish my schooling and was able to work after 4 years of college education.

My younger sister likewise graduated and we are now both working for one Computer Company but are assigned to different positions and countries. I’m still here in the Philippines, she’s in the US with her husband and a son.

I still hope and pray that later on, that Mang Narding’s sons will sooner realize that it’s not yet too late for them to continue their studies and hopefully, they’ll graduate and be able to help alleviate their parents’ situation and provide a decent life for their own family in the future.

As for me, I’m now even prouder of my parents. It’s a cliché, but without them, I won’t be where I am today. There is no doubt about it.