It’s my 33th Bday…or is it 34th?

Life is full of ups and downs. The trick is to enjoy the ups and have courage during the downs – Author Unknown

Nov 30 2006 was one of the most exciting times of my life. And the week prior was just as eventful.

Since I’ve got to learn to write my birthday, I’ve been writing it as Nov 30, 1973. Lately though, while I was processing my Transcript of Records from where I got my Bachelor’s Degree, I had a frustrating and confusing time at the Registrar’s office. I learned that they’re reading or interpreting my birth certificate’s photocopy as showing 1972 instead of 1973. Ti abi. How could this happen? I argued. I’ve been using 1973 in my passports, government issued ID’s, licenses, including gun license (I don’t know if it would have helped in convincing them if I brought this one along). But it all fell on deaf ears. I was short of choking someone’s neck that day. Good thing, my good side prevailed (Psycho thriller movie music playing).

I left school that day with a confused mind, wondering if I would be turning 33 or 34 this year.

So yesterday, I anxiously went to claim my birth certificate from our NSO (National Statistics Office). And there it was. 1973. Legibly typed written on my birth date space. I’m a certified 33-year-old man, indeed. Never before have I appreciated my age.

November 29th. Coming from Starbucks near Shangri-La Makati, by the wee hours of the morning, I drove and made my way to SLEX on our way home. At one intersection in Pasay Road, going East, I was made to decide which way would took me to where I should be. I have the right, which is Skyway ramp. I have the left, which looks like a direct way to where I am going.

So left road it is. Wrong decision. Upon exciting that lane, I was apprehended by what appears to be a policeman and was asking for my license and who likewise radioed for back up. The back up came and was implying that I could get an easier way out of it. Now this is where another dilemma occurred. To bribe or not to bribe. I was anxious to go home and get over with it. But I’ve been a firm believer that bribing someone, in this case a policeman, is making one a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. So I chose the path less taken – i.e. I got my ticket and left the policemen with nothing but my driver’s license. I drove away disappointed but proud of what I did. That would cost me more, but at least I stand up to my belief.

November 28th. This day was unique for the T3 folks. That’s what I call my wife’s group. Instead of the usual Japanese buffet at Saisaki, this time, they’re turning Chinese (sort of). We had dinner at Tong Yang Hot Pot in SM Megamall. Majority of the guys are newbie to this sort of dining. Nevertheless, they enjoyed preparing their own hotpot and grilled foods coming from a variety of selections from the counter. There were oysters, dimsums, tuna bellies, chicken innards, tuna, salmons and veggies just to name a few. And the boys’ favorite was of course not missing – free flowing beer for P50 ($1). And surprisingly, it was San Miguel beer. I was at first thinking that it was home-brewed. And if you’re wondering, yes I followed the 1 bottle per hour rule for a driver like me.

Other than the beer-deal surprise, my wife went creative too. She got me a cake, delivered right into our table by the waiter while a repertoire of birthday songs played over the whole restaurant. And that was all for me. What a wonderful way to have an advance birthday party.

Right after that belly busting dinner, a bowling match followed. Yes, bowling. Good thing I didn’t got confused if I was picking a bowling ball or some else’s round stomach.

To cap the night we went to Nipa Hut bar in Pasig where we met up with a couple of ex-intellites, had some chitchats. We also had a couple of killer sisigs and killer gambas. And what could be more perfect match to those killers than beers. Yes. Beers. 1 bottle per hour again. Hik.

November 27th. The longest day. At least for a badminton game, we have ever played. We played and stayed at Lotus Badminton Center Inc. for almost 6 hours (rest and lunch included). If I remember it right, we started playing badminton since 3 years ago. Fairly enough, we have improved our game (in my opinion). We left the court by past 3 pm.

While on our way to the mall and pondering on pampering ourselves with much needed body massages and hot oil treatments, our car broke down. Luckily I was able to park it at the mall and did the troubleshooting right there. It was a busted alternator (again, since I replaced it approximately 6 months ago). I have no other choice but to buy a 2nd hand part that cost the same as the painting my wife was planning to buy. Ti abi. Good thing she hasn’t bought it yet.

I went home tired and dirty instead of refreshed and shiny.

November 26th. As a Sunday routine, I bought my copy of the Philstar (www.philstar.com). I was surprised upon reading that one of my favorite writer Max Soliven (also this paper’s Publisher) passed away last Friday, November 24th. While on his way home from Japan. Sanamagan.

I’ve admired him for his articles in By the Way. He wrote with courage and charisma and his style of writing almost never fails to amaze me. Well, that’s life I guess. Although I know that the list of writers with such caliber as Max are now dwindling in numbers, I just do hope that someone will come at par with the way he does.

Wherever you are, may you rest in peace.