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This clock never seemed so alive

24 May

To say that I am a fan of Lifehouse is an understatement. To say that I would exhaust all means to watch them live again is another one.

The truth is, though, no matter how much you love a performer, there’s just no reasoning with a wallet that has other priorities.

But just the same, there’s no giving up for this persistent fan.

Four years and about a dozen hairstyles ago, here was my 15-year-old self gushing over their 2008 “You and Me” tour — shaky point-and-shoot camera, braces and all.

What has changed since then?

Not my gratitude to Mama for surprising me with that ticket four years ago.

Not Lifehouse songs’ ability to stop me in my tracks, be it heard via iTunes, on the radio, or over the supermarket’s PA system.

Not that overarching desire for Jason Wade’s eyes to meet mine, the way it did for three seconds during their 2008 concert.

Then what’s new this 2012?

If there’s anything of value I’ve learned in the previous years, it’s asserting oneself and always, always finding a way for everyone and everything that matters to me.

So when upon reading’s concert tickets giveaway, I pounced on the opportunity, justifying why I deserved two tickets thus:

Winners were to be announced at 3 p.m. today, but an hour later, no results were to be found. Turns out they announced over at the facebook account that the announcements would be made at 5 p.m.

Mama called a little after five, asking to be fetched from work (another one of our straight-out-of-Freaky-Friday moments) because taxis were hard to come by. Before leaving for the parking lot, I hit refresh on the announcement page one last time and saw this beaut:

The grepa winning streak continues!

Mama was beside herself when she heard the news, gushing: “It’s the first concert I’ll ever watch in Araneta!”

Welcome back to Le Manille, bebeboy!

There are just some things for which a one-time occurrence is hardly enough. A Lifehouse concert is one of them.

And what makes my ear-to-ear grin wider is the thought that this May 26th, not one but two gushing fan girls will be rocking out to every riff and hanging by a moment (and eons more) with Jason, Ben, Bryce and Rick. ❤

Oh God, my chance had come at last

10 May

This is the story of how I potentially ruined a good pair of shoes, chased down a dream and made one of the best spontaneous decisions I’ve ever made.

When news of Morrissey’s Manila concert spread, I vowed not to let it pass — but the minimum ticket price of P3710 (for general admission, mind you) turned out to be a big middle finger raise to that promise. So I made a mental list of the ways I could possibly clinch a ticket.

Buy with own money? Nope, meager summer allowance pretty much crossed that option out.

Cover event as a member of the press? Tried, but my editor turned down the pitch because it wasn’t Lady Gaga level.

Join a raffle? Tried as well, but no relevant results turned up even after a thorough search engine scramble.

So when I heard of this contest by Rogue magazine, I thought, “This is it! This could be my one chance to see Morrissey!”

The trouble was, I only found out about the contest an hour and a half before the announcement of winners. And because it involved sending in an answer that could only be found within the magazine’s pages, it seemed like I would never make it on time.

At 3:22 this afternoon, I sent Rogue the following e-mail:

Morrissey in Manila: The answer to your question and why I deserve that ticket

Question: What was the brand of the meat grinder used in Isabelle Daza’s cover shoot?

Answer: The meat grinder’s brand is Fleetwood.

I first read about Rogue magazine’s ticket giveaway today at 2:30 p.m. I was at the office where I was taking my internship, a stone’s throw away from Greenbelt. To find out the answer to the question, I did what anyone in the 21st century would do: I Googled it. Not surprisingly, the answer was nowhere to be found.

I debated whether or not I should run towards the nearest bookstore. I made like I was going to the restroom and ran to the two convenience stores in our office building in search of Rogue. No such luck. I went back to my desk, ready to resign myself to the last few hours of the working day. I told my friends at work about the dilemma, and one of them nudged me by saying, “You know, the more time you spend talking is less time you spend getting there.”

Then in a fortuitous moment, the stars aligned and my supervisor went out for a late lunch. I raced down 18 floors, jogged along a bridgeway and dashed to Powerbooks — pending article assignment and time log be damned.

When the bookstore’s doors closed behind me, I ripped the plastic off the magazine and scanned the pages while brisk walking back to the office.

Did I get stared at by people passing me by? I wouldn’t know and frankly, wouldn’t care. Halfway through the bridgeway, I felt light on my feet. Was it the bliss of finding the answer? The exhilaration of knowing that despite finding out about the contest quite late, I might still stand a chance? Partly.

But as I returned the magazine inside its brown paper bag, I looked down and saw the real reason for the light feeling. There was now a hole where the toe cap and the heel of my shoe used to be joined tightly together.

All for the love of Morrissey. So please, Rogue staff — please give me a shot at those tickets. I sure could use the P3,700 savings for a brand new pair of shoes.

A minute before 4 p.m., I got the following reply:

Thank you, Rogue magazine for giving me a reason to grin and repress the urge to do a happy dance at the office.

Thank you, Sir Peds, for taking your well-deserved lunch break.

Thank you, Powerbooks for keeping your newsstand up-to-date.

This May 13th, I’ll be where there’s music and there’s people and they’re young and alive. ❤


20 Apr

(Hango sa antolohiyang “Hindi Man Lang Nakita” ni Messandel Virtusio Arguelles.)

Hindi ko makalimutan ang kanyang anyo

Gayong hindi ko ito ganap malarawan.

Hindi ilang ulit akong nagtangka

Hanggang ngayon, dito, ngunit sadyang akin

Ang malaking kakulangan. Sa aking panaginip

Nakita ko siya sa dilim, sa pinagmulang-

Liwanag, anyong palapit sa akin.

Itinaas ko ang aking mga kamay.

Inaabot ko ba siya o itinutulak palayo?

Sa ganoong alinlangan ako nagising,

Habol ang hininga sa katahimikan.


Open by Marion Bais Guerrero

8 Apr

Note: In the recently concluded Campus Journalism Workshop Summer Camp in UP Diliman, 28 teachers from all over the country participated in a series of fora and learning activities designed to maximize their potentials as campus paper advisers.

One such activity was a feature writing exercise. For this, the participants were divided into three peer review groups. They were given 1 1/2 hours to write a three- to five-paragraph essay on any of the following topics: a) an environmental issue in their locality, b) a personality profile of someone in their group, c) their most memorable UP experience (some of them were first timers in the university and in NCR, after all), and d) their most memorable experience as a campus paper adviser.

When writing time ended, the teachers convened in their respective groups and critiqued one another’s papers. What you will read below (posted with the author’s permission) was a favorite in the peer group I facilitated, and with good reason. Penned by Sir Marion Guerrero of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, the piece relates his musings as he and his students entered the State U for the first time.



By Marion Bais Guerrero

Thursday morning begins in a taxi ride. A shared taxi ride for both our first visit to UP.

In acid-washed denims, suede sneakers and a plaid top bought by overseas payslips, the student beside me hums to the tune of the Magnificat. Even Catholic schools have their own playlist.

The same student nonchalantly asks, “Why are there slums inside UP?” This should be a moment to introduce him to the premises of socio-politics and the economics of population, but the response came in a jest, “That’s the lab for sociology and urban planning.”

Either borne out of sarcasm or naïveté, the question reflects how students reared in selective education see the world beyond the wrought-iron fences and RFID counters. When he comes face-to-face with the harrowing concreteness of abstract terms, they remain abstract.

UP and its swathes and swathes of greens is an island in the murky expanse of an uncontrolled, sprawling metropolis. Yet, while others prefer perfumed perimeter walls, it embraces the good and the bad of urbanization. Yet, while others encourage an entitlement to exclusivity, it is never ashamed of being inclusive. Education, after all, is the great equalizer. The same student should have realized this when he saw Nike-clad runners greet the ice cream vendor by the sidewalk; but he opts to hum the Magnificat.

As we snake our way through the main university avenue, the same student asks, “Why are there no walls around UP?”

For which I reply, “Because UP is an open university.”

He gives a neutral nod, then mouths the word “open”, and continues to hum the Magnificat.

Getting it Write

4 Apr

Photo by Gian Suyat

The past few days marked a milestone for the UP Journalism Club and for its members. A year’s worth of brainstorming, troubleshooting and preps concluded in the organization’s first Campus Journalism Workshop Summer Camp.

For five days we subsisted on C2 Green Tea Pandan, cup noodles, fast food takeouts, caffeine kicks, the participants’ enthusiasm, and the contagious dedication of fellow JCers.

Each lecture, workshop and team-building activity — be it planned or spontaneous — was pegged to be instructive, interactive and insightful. We hope that these were instrumental in enhancing the students’ and campus paper advisers’ proficiency in and appreciation for the different facets of campus journalism.

Now that the event has come to a close, we say collapsar hoping that all those involved in the project took home more than just the camp shirt, kit and pictures.

We also look forward to a time when one (or more!) of our former participants will join our ranks as a CJWSC organizer.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped out in ways big and small!

Cheers to a summer that’s off to a super achib start!

5 Reasons to Enjoy Joey Gosiengfiao’s “Temptation Island”

15 May

Smile, ladies! You won't be doing that for very long.

When news of a Temptation Island remake helmed by Chris Martinez came out last April, I made a mental note to watch the Regal-produced Joey Gosiengfiao original before its latest reincarnation hit the theaters.

Gosiengfiao’s film featured newcomers Bambi Arambulo (Miss Maja Pilipinas 1977), Dina Bonnevie (1st Runner-up, Miss Magnolia 1979), Azenith Briones (Miss Photogenic, Mutya ng Pilipinas 1975) and Jennifer Cortez (Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 1978) as reel beauty queens vying for the Miss Manila Sunshine crown.

A great deal has changed since the original was released — hairstyles! outfits! gadgets! — but its self-deprecating humor, takes on beauty and society and unabashed candor remains just as saucy as it was in 1980. Here are some of the reasons why:

Now substitute the first "e'' in "betch" and "betches" with "i"

1. BFs. Boyfriends? Not quite. If you’ve watched White Chicks, you’d know what I mean by BF — and boy, are there plenty of them in this movie. We’re talking four girls from different backgrounds, all fueled by their own desires and motives, pitted against the elements and each other under highly combustible circumstances. And when I say combustible, I don’t just mean the summer heat.

2. CATFIGHTS (no caps, no passion)

Nuff said.

3.  Alfredo “falls” in love (this be cheesy — you have been warned)

4. Communism 

5. Economics and God’s supposed punishment

What I like most about the film is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither does it compel you to. But more than being just a beach flick,  viewers are able to draw insights on the nature of civilization and society. Despite maintaining a front of comedy and shallowness, Gosiengfiao’s material dips into the best and worst aspects of human nature, probing what makes people savage and what makes them human.

Lastly, in the context of an accident that would prove life-changing for all those involved, Temptation Island immortalizes the tempests and travails the characters rise above, as individuals and as a unit. But while some revel in the triumph of the human spirit, others are left to contend with  things that leave a mark but eventually fade away – like discrimination, sunstroke, and summer love snuffed out by a change of heart nary a season after.

Of children and the darndest things they say

9 May

Today, I taught my younger cousins AJ (15), Erika (12) and Bea (8) the concepts of biological sex, sexual orientation and gender expression and the misconceptions surrounding them. (Because I try to be a responsible ate like that.) This involved telling them about LGBTs and what the acronym stood for.

Me: Ang problema kasi sa Tagalog, eni-eni lang ang paggamit natin sa mga salitang bakla at bading. Samantalang sa English, may iba-ibang termino para diyan. Ang taong pinanganak na lalaki na hitsurang lalaki at may gusto sa ibang lalaki, ang tawag dun —

Cousins: Gay.

Me:  Tama! Tapos, ang taong pinanganak na lalaki na hitsurang babae at may gusto sa lalaki, ang tawag dun, transgender o transsexual.

Bea: Ah. Eh ‘di ang tawag  po diyan, ate, transport gender?

Me: *tumbling*


Me: O, pag nag-birthday ako ngayong taon, lahat tayo kailangan naka-dress!

Bea: Yay! Ate, turuan mo naman kami kung paano magpapayat.

Me: Alam mo , kailangan kumain ka nang mga nutritious na, nakakabusog pa.

AJ: Oo nga. Paano ka naman papayat kung puro taba tsaka balat yung kinakain mo?

Me: Matuto ka kasi kumain ng gulay.

Bea: Kumakain naman ako ng gulay eh! Kumakain nga ako ng kangkong.

AJ: Ilang kangkong?

Bea: Minsan, kumakain akong dalawang piraso.

AJ: Tapos sasabayan mo ng balat ng fried chicken tsaka dalawang kanin? Iba ka din eh.


Bea to our cousin Ian (14): Ang dami mo nang atraso sakin, pangit ka!


Auntie B: Alam mo, Bea, lahi tayo ng mga magaganda.

Bea: Eh bakit si Auntie S?

Mama: Bey, bakit mo naman inaaway si Auntie S, siya na nga lang kakampi mo eh!

Auntie S: Minsan nga tinanong ko sa bunso ko kung maganda ako. Sabi niya sakin, “Oo, Mama, maganda. Maganda ang iyong kalooban!”

Srsly, Mother

20 Apr

Mama: It’s so disappointing! I tried on five swimsuits today and none of them fit. Ang bagay lang talaga sakin, two-piece.

Me: Ahahahaha… 😐

The day in phrases

19 Apr

One day.

Three cities.

Five shopping centers.

Three mochi balls and organic (read: I-paid-too-much-for-something-that-tastes-like-oreo) cookies for lunch.

Window shopping for work.

Checking out products that cost an arm and a legwork, trying to look unfazed.

Reaffirming the truth upon which the relationship between girls and malls is founded: shopping = serious business.

Nostalgic stories of old Manila by the friendly company driver Manong Jose.

Leaving my bag in a native crafts store and coming back for it before any one noticed (yay for prints that blend in the background).

Realizing that revolving doors and a high-income clientele do not an exciting mall make.

Bringing home pasalubong for a change (Reese’s peanut butter cups, my favorite and mother’s too!).

Discovering a pastry stall that sells chocolate-coated cheesecake bars.

Waiting in traffic, thinking of nothing and of everything.