Saturday, October 31, 2009

Araw ng Patay

Sa totoo lang, hindi ko pa rin alam ang distinction between Halloween, All Soul's Day at All Saint's Day. I-google ko na lang siguro mamaya.

Basta ang alam ko eh Araw ng Patay ang November 1.

Noong bata pa ako, excited ako kapag Araw ng Patay. Hindi dahil ako ay morbid kundi dahil bata pa ako.

Tingin ko, ginagawa talaga ng matatanda na something to look forward to ang November 1 para sa mga bata. Sino ba naman kasing bata ang makaka-appreciate at hindi matatakot kapag sinabi mong may araw ang mga patay?

Reunion ng mga magkakaanak ang Araw ng Patay, minus the namatay syempre. Picnic ang kinakakalabasan complete with latag sa ibabaw ng nitso ng kung anu-anong mga pagkain. Kwentuhan ang mga matatanda na ironically ay hindi ng tungkol sa binisitang patay (kahit araw nya, in the first place) habang naghahabulan sa sementeryo ang mga bata. Madalas, nagpapaligsahan pa kaming magpi-pinsan sa paggawa ng pinakamalaking bola mula sa tinipong candlewax na iba't iba pa ang kulay. Bantay talaga sa natutunaw na mga kandila habang akala mo ay seryosong binibigyang pugay ang nitso sa harapan.

Mas masaya actually ang gabi ng October 31 o gabi ng November 1. Totoo na walang trick or treat sa amin noon complete with costumes pero merong caroling. Pilit kong inaalala ang kinakanta namin noon pero hindi ko na mabuo. Heto lang ang mga parts na tanda ko:

"Kaluluwa'y dumadatal, sa tapat ng durungawan

Kampanilya'y something-something, ginigising ang maybahay

Maybahay pong inang ibig

La-la-la-la, higit sa langit

Araw-gabi ay tahimik, chika-chika nyong malapit

Kung kami po'y lilimusan, dali-dali na pong bigyan

At baka kami'y masarhan ng pinto ng kalangitan.

Palimos po!"

Yan ang kinakanta namin kapalit ng piso o singkwenta sentimos. Understood na namin na pag Pasko lang malaki ang kita sa caroling.

Sayang, kung may ganito rin sanang practice sa Hong Kong, mas malaki ang kita ng mga bata dahil dalawa ang Araw ng Patay dito. Isa para sa lalake at isa para sa babae.

I know! Paano tayo?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

X Problem

Actually, wala naman talagang problema.

Dahil naniniwala naman akong pwedeng maging magkaibigan ang mag-ex. Though you also have to consider din the manner of the breakup. Kung halimbawa eh may breach of trust. Mahirap din naman i-kunsidera na kaibigan ang isang tao na hindi mo pinagkakatiwalaan. Kahit pa nga hindi absoluto ang pagtitiwala, friends are ones you trust more than, for example, the man you met at the bar last night.

Wala naman kaming pinag-awayang matindi kaya kami nagkahiwalay. Like many immature relationships, we just drifted apart. Sana man lang may big fight o may dramang naganap para kahit paano eh masabi kong nahinog ang relasyon. Nahinog tapos nabulok, ganun.

Pero wala eh. Iba ang dinaanan nya at iba rin ang dinaanan ko. Unfortunately, never did the twain meet.

Wala naman sana talagang problema dahil we've both aged. At gracefully ha sa kaso nya kung picture ang pag-uusapan. Pero syempre lampas pa dun, I'd like to think that we've matured mentally and emotionally.

Wala naman sana talagang problema dahil kumportable naman ako sa sarili ko at mukhang masaya din naman sya sa buhay nya.

Wala naman sana talagang problema na i-add ko sya as friend sa facebook.

Madali sanang gawin. Kung bakla lang sana sya.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

10 for 10

This time next month marks my 10th year of being in HK.

Probably because I needed something to help me recoup my blogging ante, I thought of writing 10 posts for the past decade that I have been here. Considering my recent lackadaisical efforts to write on this blog, this will really be a tall order.

But then again, it may very well be worth the time to think about some stuff that I've learned and experienced within the period that my hairline receded for at least half an inch, my weight jumped by 30 lbs more (three pounds a year, not that bad actually), and my Chinese vocabulary improved from swear words to ordering my favorite dish, chiu pa fan.

Just to kick off, here are some random and trivial bits that I picked up along my 10-year, and counting, journey with friends, colleagues and compatriots in Hong Kong:

  • When you want to meet a friend who is not familiar with HK on a Sunday, just ask him/her to go to Black Man. It is a place that is at the heart of HK but is not really identified in any official map. Only Filipinos know about it.
  • An alley is a narrow street. But the alley-alley is a place to shop for cheap clothes and various knick-knacks. It is sometimes called alley-mall.
  • When a Filipino domestic worker says she just came from doing aerobics, do not look for leotards.
  • HK Bank (HSBC main building) has one the biggest concentrations of Filipinos on Sundays. In one day of petition signing, we gathered about 2,000 signatures from the habitués of the place.
  • Winter has started when manangs sell coffee while summer commences when now-you-see, now-you-don't halo-halo stands sprout.
  • Singing is really a passion for Filipinos – be it outdoors in Chater Road or in videoke bars in little nooks and crannies of Central. And no, Born Free is not part of the repertoire. More of Carpenters and Abba.
  • If you are invited for a couple of parties on a single day, expect to eat loads of pancit from sunup to sundown.
  • The nominal wage now of foreign domestic workers in HK is HK$280 less than 1999. Real wage is most probably much less.

Alright, that last bit is not really trivial. It may even be one of the major reasons why I'm still here after 10 years … and why I may still be here for 10 more.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


So I'm 30+.

If it wasn't for the fact that I spent my morning until 10:00 am or so answering texts and FB messages, I wouldn't really have thought much that it was my birthday. Being in a whole day meeting could do that.

Marking your 30th I can understand for life shall begin after 10 more years – or so they said. With the 31st, it's the fact that you are in your last digits with the Gregorian calendar. With 30+ … well it's like anything goes from now on.

Thanks to Kiks for the flattering and even more unflattering pics. (Tse! I'll get you for those two months from now!)

Thanks to friends and comrades who were there to eat and drink even for a few hours.

Thanks to those who greeted.

Thanks to those who believed I was 30.

Thanks to my mom who got speechless when I thought of her coming birthday instead of mine.

Thanks to the passion and fire I still have to continue for the years to come.

So I turned 30+. Big deal.

Just meant I got a +.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A soft start

Now I realize blogging is not like riding a bicycle or sex. It is not something that once you learn how to do, it comes back easily enough to you even after a long period of break.

A lot has happened for the past two months that to write about them seems like a futile exercise now. Moreover, it seems impertinent to even think that anyone will be interested on how I buried myself in my work and how I sort of slid back to my old self before blogging beckoned and before my interest in social networking – real and virtual – kinda picked up again.

There has been no epiphany or something of that sort that led me to click that 'new post' button again after 60 days of not really caring about what will become of this blog. There's also nothing in particular I really want to write about except maybe the new appointment to the OWWA Board of Trustees that GMA made – details of which can be read at

But since the link is already here, there is no point in writing about it again. Yet.

I did find interesting though the photo exhibition of a friend of mine that I visited a few hours ago at the Goethe-Institute. She vividly captured the images and colors of Filipino migrants as they while away their dayoff on pavements, roads and footbridges of Central.

The scenes were so familiar to my eyes for I live them every Sunday. Familiar and, at the same time, quietly reaffirming: there's a community and a whole way of life that thrives and will continue to strive for as long as a decent living cannot be had in our own land.

Anyhow, it'll probably take a few more takes before my blogging mojos completely come back. But since bicycles and sex are hard to come by from where I am sitting right now, I'll be happy to wait.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A question on independence

(This was printed in the June issue of the community newspaper True Friends. They requested me to write my thoughts on Independence day.)

Considering that there was a time in our history when the question of whether Philippine Independence Day started on 12th June 1898 or 4th July 1946 was raised, I cannot help but ask: are we really sure of our independence?

Some will probably say that it is a very simple matter for such a serious question. Some may even stop reading this article now thinking that it's a too serious topic to spend your free time with. Still others may ask the same question.

Since I started learning about Philippine history in school – which in the larger part was more of memorizing names, dates and places – I've been led to embrace the idea that Philippine Independence Day started there at the balcony of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo's mansion in Kawit, Cavite. An event perfectly pictured in the two-peso bill I grew up with.

I am pretty sure that anyone who has ever heard of Magellan, Lapu-Lapu and Andres Bonifacio knows that we have been colonized by Spain. As well, I am confident that anyone who has ever heard of the Philippine-American War, Macario Sakay, and the term 'benevolent assimilation' knows that we have also been colonized by the United States of America (USA).

But what I may doubt is that anyone who has ever heard of the Bell Trade Act, parity rights, US-RP Military Bases Agreement, Visiting Forces Agreement, World Trade Organization and war on terror knows or even believes that we have never really strayed far from US' control.

Celebration of Independence Day does give us a sense of history. But history did not stop in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 nor when the US supposedly granted us freedom on July 4, 1946.

Independence is not only the freedom to wave your own flag or even speak your own language. Independence is not also merely having a Filipino as head of state or conducting rounds after rounds of elections. It is also not merely about having a defined territory. It is neither just a mere date nor a picture in a now forgotten bill.

It is the liberty to chart the country's destiny, to have sovereignty over own resources, and to make decisions and policies free from foreign dictates.

Based on these, if I may ask again: are we really sure of our independence?

If we are, then we probably do not have a proposed Charter Change that'll give up our resources for other nations to take over. We probably do not have US troops roaming all around the country – free to enter and leave – in the name of joint military exercises. Daniel Smith probably will still be in jail.

Probably, Nora Aunor wouldn't have shouted "My brother is not a pig!" in the movie Minsa'y Isang Gamu-Gamo after her brother was shot dead by US military men who mistook him as a wild boar.

Probably, the more than 3,000 Filipinos who are forced to go abroad just to survive will not be at the airport everyday.

Probably, not everyone knows who Mickey Mouse is.

Also, probably all of those who have been president of the country would not have hurried over to speak before the US Congress and pledge support and cooperation with the US as soon as they got elected.

In many ways, we are still in the tight grip of the US. Our economy is still dominated by US investments, our trade is dependent on the needs of US and other more powerful countries, our country is neck-deep in debts to the IMF and World Bank that are controlled by the US, and our culture and mindset are very much Americanized.

After growing up believing in Independence Day, waving mini-flags and dressing in barong tagalog, it may really be hard to believe and, more so, to accept that our independence has been more in words and less in practice.

But then again, starting to question what we have been led to believe is probably the best way to get us working for the real thing.

So if someone asks me if we should celebrate our Independence Day on June 12 or on July 4, I will probably answer: soon, I hope.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pahabol sa Father's Day

May point pa bang mag-sulat ng post hinggil sa Father's Day kung wala ka ng tatay?

(from left) Ka Nilo Arado, Chair, PAMANGGAS (KMP Panay Region), victim of enforced disappearance; Ka Randy Echanis, KMP Dep. Sec. for External Affairs, victim of 'arrest and detention'; Ka Fermin Lorico, Chair, KAUGMAON (KMP Negros Oriental), victim of extra-judicial killing


Wala na ang tatay ko. Wala na akong magagawa dun.

Pero sa mga tatay na nasa itaas, meron pa. Kahit man lang sa antas na maipaabot sa ibang mga anak na may mga tatay na katulad nila. Kahit man lamang masuportahan sila sa paglaban para sa hustisya.

Para sa mga palabang ama, para sa mga amang biktima ng karahasan, para sa mga amang nangangarap at humahakbang para sa mas magandang buhay at lipunan sa lahat ng mga anak …. Maligayang Araw ng mga Ama sa inyong lahat!

(Ang picture ay mula sa facebook ni roy)

Friday, June 19, 2009

A virus like no other

Together with the rising cases of swine flu in Hong Kong, another threat looms above Filipino domestic workers: that of racial profiling. This one can prove to be even more virulent than A(H1N1).

Our kababayans have not yet fully-recovered from getting tagged as 'Superbug' carriers a few months ago. Now here comes the HK government declaring that Filipino domestics – after one has been diagnosed with it together with three others who just arrived from the Philippines – are carriers of the dreaded A(H1N1) virus and has called for employers to restrict them in their days off and their mobility. What a lot of bull!

Alright, I don't mean to downplay the seriousness of the rapid spread of swine flu. Even the World Health Organization has declared it as an epidemic already and they are already stonewalled on its origin and how to effectively stop it from spreading. We do need to seriously take precautions and probably, foreign domestic workers are as concerned as most of us because their work is their family's bread and butter.

Still, why zoom in on Filipinos? To set the records straight, the first cases of swine flu in HK were not Filipinos and most of the recorded cases now are also not Filipinos; not even domestic workers to boot. So why are Americans, Australians, British and the whole dang HK population not given the same advice as a preventive measure?

In reality, foreign domestic workers are not as exposed to crowded places as the rest of the people in Hong Kong. They only have one day off in a week for chrissake! The only time they leave their employer's house for the rest of the week is either to go to the market or send and pick up their wards from school. They also do not have the capacity to travel outside of HK whenever they want to. If truth be told, who is really more prone to this epidemic?

Already, some people I know of have been warned by their employers against going to the places they frequent during their days off, were ordered to go out on a different day, or were commanded not to take a day off at all. They have already been uprooted from the Philippines and now they are again uprooted from their communities, friends, families and social practices – a whole way of life.

Public health is indeed the public's concern. But when it gets racist and discriminatory, it breeds a sickness to our humanity that is an epidemic of probably even greater proportion.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Con-Ass: Up yours!

House of Representatives or House of GMA?

What a shame!

Should we allow ourselves be conned by these asses?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I just spent the best part of the past six hours wracking my brain to come out with a decent write-up about wage and foreign domestic helpers. I failed.

It's irritating to say the least and worrisome at most when – as you seem to think – you have the analysis, the language and the outline but you still cannot put them into words that'll make sense and better yet, gather support for the cause of domestic workers in Hong Kong.

So what did I do today? Stared blankly at my computer screen, wrote sentences, deleted sentences, answered phone calls, dipped into other people's affairs, smoked, drank coffee and yeah, slacked. Probably the most productive things I did were to take the minutes of a meeting and finalize the title of what I was supposed to be writing.

I need to do better. If I don't, then these will probably happen:

  • My list of things-to-do will only get longer
  • I will not be able to go to Volume
  • I'll gain more weight
  • I will get cranky and ill-tempered and probably lose my Ms. Congeniality title
  • "@work" will be constantly plastered on my YM and only the most daring of my friends will send me a message
  • I will miss another week of Tayong Dalawa


All because of a freakin' FAQ. FA-Q!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Black Monday

I'm taking a break. From writing reports for our board meeting, from arranging interviews for a coming researcher, from preparing stuff needed for the coming days, sa pag-e-emote, from thinking about the birds, the bees, the birds, the birds ….

Because …

… the peaceful peasants' campout in front of the Congress was violently dispersed. For 40 days, farmers tirelessly manned the camp to push for the approval of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill. Truncheons and not land, water cannon and not rights, were the answers of House Speaker Prospero Nograles and the government's armed forces to their demand.

… Fil-Am activist Melissa Roxas and her two companions, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc, were abducted by suspected military elements last May 19 in Tarlac. Melissa is a cultural activist from LA and a member of BAYAN-USA. This morning, Melissa was "surfaced" but there were still no words as to the fate of her two companions. Even migrants and immigrants – the country's so-called heroes – are not spared anymore from human rights violations of this state.

… for the GMA government and her blood-thirsty butchers, it is a crime to be a Pitao. Just this afternoon, news came out that Evelyn Pitao, sister of NPA leader Leoncio Pitao was murdered at her house with her common-law husband. In June 2008, suspected military elements gunned down his brother Danilo Pitao. In March 2009, Leoncio's 20-year old daughter Rebelyn Pitao, a schoolteacher, was abducted and later on was found brutally raped and murdered. They were all civilians. They were all Pitaos.

When will being Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo become a crime?

Nakakainis. Nakakagalit. Lunes na Lunes.

Saka na nga muna ang birds and the bees, and the birds and the birds …

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some endings

Spoiler alert!


It's the end of the road for the ex-prisoners of Fox River after running from seemingly endless enemies and unfortunate events. Honestly, I found the whole Scylla storyline (though it was the core of the whole thing) quite dragging and even the twist of the long-lost mother's appearance was a wee bit of a stretch. The first season was still Prison Break's best and I guess it was the one that got me hooked on the show and I just had to follow it through to the end.

If you're a sucker for happy endings, don't watch the last five minutes of its finale.


Another day has gone for Jack Bauer of 24. The twist on the life of Tony Almeida was not really that good after having watched his character in previous seasons.

I watch the show for its fast-paced story and the latest season did what was expected. However, if Jack pulls through again from where the script left him – in bed dying – he's really one lucky bastard.


Grey's Anatomy has always been one of my favorites. The characters are just so diverse and they always have their own stories to tell. I guess it's what makes it interesting for at the end of each season, you don't only ask what will happen to Meredith Grey but to the whole bunch of Seattle Grace's doctors.

Meredith and Derek appear to be settling down, Cristina has the hottie Dr. Hunt, McSteamy has mellowed down with Little Grey and Dr. Bailey has again shown where to hurt her most: her family.

Meanwhile, Alex Karev's character got more action in the latest season and he showed what he got (too bad, there was not much shirt off scenes of him).

As for George and Izzie, what will happen to them is the biggest question for the next season. Who's gonna die? For me, I love George but for chrissake, can't he play gay next time?


I will just echo what many fans have written of Brothers and Sisters' season finale: what the f*ck was that?


I am not much into endings because it's tiring to grapple with the question of when you'll really end something.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Snobbish-looking, yuppie, pierced, and with an office ID hanging around his neck. Probably just came out of the office and wasting time off before heading home, so I thought.

He went around the crowd, said hi to a few guys and bantered with some more. Another guy, obviously into him, monopolized him for a while. Probably a habitué, so I guessed.

He asked for a cocktail and beer that he drank alternately. Fascinating and a bit weird, so I mused.

I went back to nurse my beer.

Then for reasons I could not remember, probably the increasing crowd, he was right there standing right beside me – still looking aloof, still dressed like a yuppie, still with that ID around his neck, still with a glass of cocktail and a bottle of beer in his hands, pierced and (I noticed) tattooed.

And we talked.

He was not a snob. He was just on his way to work. He only knew the guys by their faces. He had only been there a couple of times. The other guy had been stalking him for two hours already, and yeah, his drinks combo was a bit weird but it somehow kept him from getting sloshed.

So much for probabilities.

We talked, got closer, talked, held hands, talked, got closer and ….

"What's the point of being in a relationship if you can't be physically together?"

So much for possibilities.

Though I don't want to think about it anymore, I sometimes do wonder if I got it wrong. Again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What happens in Manila, (unfortunately) stays in Manila

"So anong plano mo pag-uwi?"

"Wala. Since I'm definitely coming back here, I'm not planning to do things that I may regret."

Yan ang sinabi ko kay Kiks bago ako umuwi. I planned to be on a break and when I said break, it was really more of not thinking of things that should be done but just playing it by the ear and do what takes my fancies.

Most of the time, I was with my family and relatives. Tumigil ako sa bahay, inikot ang mga kamag-anak, nakinig ng radyo, nakipag-agawan sa mga pamangkin over the internet, nag-isaw, nag-halo-halo at naglaro ng PSP hanggang madaling-araw. Umuwi rin ako sa Batangas, naki-pyesta, nakipag-inuman sa mga tiyuhin at nakipag-diskusyon kung ano ba ang corruption at kung bakit ayaw ko kay GMA - habang masama ang titig ng mga bisitang pulis.

Naki-Mayo Uno rin ako syempre. Pagkatapos ng halos sampung taon, naka-martsa ulit mula uste hanggang LB at mula LB hanggang emba. Sa haba ng lakad na yun, nakipag-reunion na rin sa mga kasama nung bata pa. Nakita ang mga may-asawa, ang mga wala pa, at ang mga nagladlad na. To cap that day, I went to a free concert nina Lolita Carbon, The Jerks, at iba pa.

In between family and politics, I did go out.

Then I met Zeke.

And I thought of what I told Kiks.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

… and so it ends, and begins, again

Time does not fly. It just zooms away.

Nineteen days is not a very long time. I can even recite my itinerary day-by-day, blow-by-blow. And I swear, not much blowing was done.

Yes, time out is over. By normal standards though, whenever I go to the Philippines for any length of time, I am not really on an absolute break. But of course, what does constitute a break? Chika lang. I'm not gonna masturbate about breaks.

Anyway, it's not yet time to blog about what happened in 19 days. Suffice to say that I did enjoy my stay, reacquainted myself with some companions of my youth (naks!), spent time home listening to my mom gush about our parish priest (she'll adopt him soon if she can and it's definitely better than urging me to take up THAT habit), and did spur of the moment stuff that I will not regret though will toy with in my mind from time to time.

One thing I am kinda disappointed though is that I never got the chance to meet with some blogger friends. Oh well, next time.

By tomorrow, it's Hong Kong life once again. It'll probably be another 19 months or so before I can take that break again. Or not.

It's fine. Time zooms away. Right?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How to lose your social life in 10 hours

You woke up feeling refreshed after a relatively good sleep. Good because your mind was not filled with what should be done the next day for everything has been set in motion.

The evening, you thought, would be quite easy for your usual schedule has changed and you could probably swing by the bar and meet your friends for drinks.

Then your morning workload hit. You held your plans at bay and put your mind on the job at hand. Like a predator zooming in on a prey and thinking about how you could bring it down the fastest and easiest way. You wouldn't want to be too tired to enjoy your feast later.

Lunch time came and you set off for your favorite Nepali restaurant. Good food, good price and a place to have an easy conversation over a can of Coke and a stick of cigarette.

You went back to the office to do the remaining stuff in your list simply marked as TTD. The hours ticked.

Then Chip Tsao apologized. And you found it wanting.

Sorry but I'm just misunderstood. Sorry but English is an international language open to interpretation. Sorry but it was really a satire. Sorry but it was fictional. Sorry but it was not my intention. Sorry but blah, blah blah.

Why couldn't it be just 'sorry I was wrong'?

You realized you got to do more against racism and class discrimination.

Thus, you stayed in the office until 1:00 am. Then you remembered that April Fool's Day just passed you by.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Between agitation and titillation

I want to blog about sex and love.

But it's hard to have a titillating blog when you are confronted with the face of Chip Tsao splattered in the internet, print media and TV. How can I think of blogging when all I want to do is wash that oh-so-innocent smile off Tsao's face and tell him that there's a big difference between satire and a distasteful piece, a witty article over a racist writeup against a whole people and a particular sector who have been eating abuses and discrimination for breakfast?

Tsao can go the whole stretch of defending his column but at the end of it, Filipinos and the Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong felt demeaned.

If he made fun of GMA instead, I'll probably cheer him on. If he espoused a change in the situation of domestic workers in Hong Kong, I'll sincerely invite him for a cup of tea.

While Tsao's face haunts me for a couple of hours a day, another blood-curling news that keeps me from blogging comes by: foreign maids are not included in any statutory minimum wage for HK workers. The reason given by the Labour Advisory Board was that since maids work for 16 HOURS A DAY, they cannot likely give them its equivalence of HK$12,480 in a month!

Hmmm, so is the problem with the wage or the working hours?

So after a series of meetings with government agencies who gave them hope they'll be considered in this process, foreign domestic workers are again left in the ditch. Typical Hong Kong.

Maybe next time I'll really blog about sex and love. As long as my libido and romanticism hold up against my agitation at looking at Tsao's photo and dreading the next bad thing to happen to FDWs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Maraming pwedeng mangyari sa loob ng isang buwan. Maari nang tirhan ng alien molds ang naiwang kape at mag-amoy ipis ang hindi sinindihang yosi.

Pwede ka ring magka-crush, lumipas ang crush, magka-crush ulit sa dating crush hanggang dumating sa punto na sobrang diluted and nonsensical na ang salitang ito and it has become similar to saying "I love you" while you are reaching the peak in a one-night stand. Or a one-hour stand.

Sa loob ng isang buwan, pwede ka ring mawalan ng ganang mag-bate: mag-bate ng mga topics, pigain ang sarili at write them into a piece that can make sense of your jumbled thoughts. It's much easier to write about women's day, the murder of Rebelyn and even the irresponsible charge that Filipinos are 'Superbug' carriers than compose your thoughts on what you have done for the day.

Kaya marami kang unfinished drafts na pinaglipasan na ng lasa kaya ayaw mo ng tapusin. Pwede ka ng magpa-gimik ng choose your own ending.

Pwede ka ring maka-byahe sa loob ng isang buwan. You will like the place. It's serene, has no high-rise, walang nakakabaliw na traffic at maraming nakakabaliw na lalaki. Then you'll realize that it is more artificial than Hong Kong especially when you hear of the crackdown against Burmese migrants or the gay-bashing of a group of thugs during Gay Pride that did not even solicit a reaction from the powers that be. Doon, tago at ibinubulong ang mga bagay na dapat ay pinag-uusapan in the open at isinisigaw sa lansangan para malaman ng lahat.

Also, mare-realize mo rin na malagkit ang magpa-aromatherapy massage especially kapag hindi lang langis ang naipahid sa'yo..

In a month, you'll realize that you have only one more month to go before you can again take the jeepney.

Pagkatapos din ng isang buwan, pwede ka na ulit mag-timpla ng kape sa bagong mug at magsindi ng bagong yosi.

Then you'll realize na masarap pa rin ang mag-blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Singular sensation*

Recently, I've been having thoughts about being single. I don't know why but maybe, just maybe, it's because I am.

Or maybe it's because every time I talk to a family member, any one of them is bound to ask me if I have "someone" in my life. Then, I'm always bound to say, "I don't have a someone. I have many-ones."

Or maybe it's because of a botched meet up with A.

Or maybe guys and relationships are the usual topics I have with my gay friends. I don't mind.

Maybe that's it. I don't mind being single. You can't miss something you never had, eh?

I know what it's like to be in a relationship. Having been around with people in various stages and types of romantic relationships has given me a fair picture of what's it like. Yeah, some may disagree and say that to really know one is to be in one. I do concur but it does not debunk what I so far understand about relationships. It is the same as I don't have to be a woman to understand the basics of women's concerns.

Being in a relationship has its ups and downs. There are high moments and low ones. It's a life bound by the same economic, political, social and cultural conditions, blah blah blah. Just like being single.

I do believe that everyone has to have someone with them. But it is not necessarily with a romantic someone.

I am single but I am not alone. I've never felt alone and it's probably due to the constant presence of comrades, family and friends. It's a belongingness that works for me now.

I don't mean to say that I'll be single for life. Romance is not known to be ageist. And yeah, I will take THAT step sometime, somehow.

As matters stand now though, I am happy being single. Anyway, who says that happiness cannot be had single-handed?

* Title was suggested by G: the ultimate sensational single (?) guy.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Dahil marami akong sinulat pero isa man ay hindi pang-blog, ito na lang …

Salamat kay Kiks sa pag-aayos.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This Sunday and beyond

This Sunday will have the first major protest action of OFWs in Hong Kong against the ban on direct hiring imposed at the start of this year.

I mentioned the issue in a previous post and the points remain unchanged. The new rule still sucks. It sucks not only for domestic helpers in Hong Kong because it covers everyone in all countries and even professionals as it stipulated that direct hiring for them shall only be allowed for 10 employees per company.

A couple of things though came up after the issue has been brought to fore.

First is the barrage of statements from no less than the people responsible for rule that have not helped at all but instead muddled the basic flaw of the rule. Ranging from the ridiculous reason that only a few will be affected – yeah right, so let the overzealous recruiters have these precious few to get overcharged as well – to the even more ridiculous and made up distinction between name hiring and direct hiring.

Then there's also the matter about rehires and those applying with new employers. The memorandum does not make any distinction and so even if agencies currently say that these OFWs are not included, there's no telling when it will finally become a blanket rule. Probably if protests fizzle out.

To top it all off, there is this Administrative Order 247 recently issued also that directs recruitment agencies to be more aggressive in seeking out labor markets for Filipino migrants. Considering that the Magna Carta for OFWs explicitly said that the government does not promote labor export, this order obviously says otherwise.

While a growing number of OFWs get laid off from work, have their wages reduced or are facing non-renewal of contracts, there is still no clear program of protection and services established to cushion the blow of the raging crisis to Filipino migrants.

What we have are OFWs from Taiwan who got fired last year and are still waiting in vain for that promised assistance package. What we get is the news that an OFW in Hong Kong got hit by a bus and died reportedly because he was walking dazed and disoriented after getting the axe as well.

What we do now have is this ban that offers OFWs to unscrupulous recruiters in a silver platter.

So yeah, a major protest action is called for. Surely won't be the last in the very near future.


On a more personal note, I've been slacking recently. I'm still managing but I do need to up my ante if I am to pull off what I should be doing in the next few days.

Time to resort to what I have learned whenever I'm jittery and dreading what is about to come: it will happen and all I can do is prepare myself so that by the next day, I can still say that "it ain't that bad".

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Nag-enjoy sa Slumdog Millionaire. Nagka-crush ulit kay Tony Leung sa Red Cliff. Agitated pa rin sa ban on direct hiring. Nakipag-chikahan sa dalawang kaibigan hinggil sa relasyon. Nakipag-dinner sa mga beckies. Nakipag-inuman. Nakipag-date.

Pero wala pa ring ganang mag-blog.

Masyadong malamig ang winter.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Again, again, again

If a policy can be called the "undead", I think ban of direct hiring can qualify as such. It just keeps on rearing its ugly head every time you think it is dead.

Around this time last year, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued Memorandum Circular No. 04 that prohibited direct hiring or sometimes called name hiring of Filipino migrants. Direct hiring is processing without going through recruitment agencies, thus exempting the applicant from paying placement fees that run up to more than P100,000 for DHs even though the legal limit is only the equivalence of a month's salary. This policy also carried the ridiculous employment bond brouhaha.

Due to the uproar MC-04 created, it was withdrawn after one month.

Now, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a memorandum, (again!), banning direct hiring. But this time only targeting domestic helpers while for white-collars, direct hiring is limited to up to 10 employees per company. Like a broken record player, DOLE justified the rule to (again!) "protect OFWs."

Such a reason and such a rule are not new. In 1994, POEA issued MC-41 that basically said the same thing and also aimed for the same protection mantra. For years OFWs, especially in Hong Kong, campaigned against MC-41 and in 2001, DOLE issued Department Order No. 11 that revoked MC-41.

Now, DO-11 said: "In line with the State policy to afford adequate protection to Overseas Filipino Workers, POEA Memorandum Circular No. 41, Series of 1994, is hereby revoked".

What kind of a convoluted mind can use the same reason to justify two opposing sides – banning direct hiring and allowing direct hiring?

What is tricky about the new DOLE order is that it now focuses mainly, as I said, on DHs. This is probably because they were shaken by the reaction of the white-collar workers on the MC-04 and thought that professionals will now be more accepting of the ban.

But targeting only DHs should not make the ban more acceptable. In fact, it makes it more condemnable for it withdraws government responsibility to protect DHs who are very vulnerable during this time of crisis. It transfers such responsibility to recruitment agencies who we all know are mainly a blood-sucking bunch concerned only on how they can make the most from the migration process.

Agencies that provide a semblance of protection to OFWs and services to those in need are as rare as an honest word from GMA. But on second thought, honest and GMA don't really mix. So just think of Edward Cullen's family in Twilight.

But like in the same story, even "immortals" can die. They just need to get chopped into little pieces and burned to ashes.

This is probably what the ban also deserves.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Before 2008 left

The holiday season turned out real happy and such a blast.

  • Gifts. This was the only Christmas that I received more than two gifts including a Magical Orb that told me that I'll have a boyfriend this 2009 but we will also break up within the year. Talk about giving me a high and crushing my morale in a span of one minute.

  • Went to a Christmas party with my gay friends and drank the whole night away together with never-ending stories and laments about men and relationships. Why does Christmas, at times, bring to fore what should not be brought up? Still, it was loads of fun. Then I went home with a slight hangover and a big crush. Joke!

  • Finished reading Twilight. Though it's not something I am inclined to read again – as is my habit – it was alright. Half of the time I was reeling to strangle Bella to make up her mind and the other half imagining how it feels like to be torn between the likes of Edward and Jacob. It was a light read. Somewhat like Harry Potter but with fangs.

  • Greeted the New Year with fellow migrant workers and became the Fruitsalad Queen. I am not sure if I ever stopped smiling and laughing for five straight hours. Does it mean that I'll be like this for the rest of the year?

Other stuff that happened here and there: a dinner with Kiks and a good friend, Steve; an unplanned sleepover that made me discover an unknown sleeping disorder of mine, and; the biggest 'birthday' event I've ever been.

It was a perfect two weeks. Well, almost … if only Israel did not go all berserk, bombed Gaza, and spouted the same mantra of "terrorism" that Bush used to spout just before he invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

Happy New Year everyone!